Huge Building Trades Effort Helps Defeat Prop 53

November 23, 2016 - Proposition 53, the ballot initiative that would have blocked or delayed vital infrastructure projects in California by subjecting all revenue bond funded projects greater than $2 billion to a statewide vote, was defeated by voters, following an extensive voter-education campaign spearheaded by the California Building Trades.

Building Trades President Robbie Hunter and Governor Jerry Brown, in the campaign’s closing days, travelled throughout the state, jointly speaking at press conferences spreading the message of the true gridlock that would be brought to California’s needed infrastructure should 53 pass.

The measure was leading in the polls for most of the campaign. But the Building Trades, along with the California Chamber of Commerce and Governor Jerry Brown’s campaign fund, combined to raise $21 million to lead an educational campaign to persuade voters to reject it. That effort, chaired by Building Trades President Robbie Hunter, along with Chamber of Commerce President Allen Zaremberg, made the difference. The final tally was 48.6 percent voting yes, 51.4 percent no.

The ballot measure was worded in an appealing way that made it seem voters were being empowered. But our advertising pointed out that it could stop the construction of important projects, and remove local control by enabling voters in Los Angeles to reject a project benefiting San Francisco, solely funded by a local sales tax in San Francisco and would be of no cost to Los Angeles voters, and vice-versa, and that it failed to take into account provisions for addressing emergencies, such as earthquakes. Ads featuring Governor Brown explaining the measure’s flaws were highly effective.

Your strong, unified opposition to Proposition 53 made all the difference. Thanks to all the trades and unions for their efforts.


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