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Consumers and Nurses Challenge The Billionaires Behind Props 32 and 33 To A Public Debate

CNA Press Release Press Release, 10/24/12

Contact Information | Media Center

On Ballot Initiatives That Would Give Them Power and Profit

3’ x 2’ Posters Plaster the Faces of Munger and Joseph on the Streets of SF and LA, Expose the “Insurance Billionaire Deception;” Radio Ads Also Launch

Santa Monica & Oakland, CA – Nurses and consumer advocates challenged Charles Munger Jr. and George Joseph, the two billionaires behind Props 32 and 33, to a public debate on the merits of the ballot measures they have together spent $39 million to promote. Props 32 and 33 will hurt working people in California, but the two reclusive billionaires have refused to step out of the shadows and defend their measures in a public forum, preferring to hide behind massive paid advertising campaigns fronted by public relations firms.

Consumers and nurses are fighting back with a grassroots campaign. Orange and black posters featuring woodblock-style drawings of Charles Munger Jr., the $22.9 million backer of Prop 32, and George Joseph, the $16.4 million sponsor of Prop 33, plastered their faces around the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco today, warning voters of the two ballot initiatives’ “Insurance Billionaire Deception.” 

Radio ads airing on Los Angeles radio stations through Election Day also call out the billionaires sponsoring Props 32 and 33 and warn the voters they can’t be trusted.

The “Consumer Alert” radio ad asks: “Californians have already rejected the bad ideas behind Prop 32 and 33. So why are insurance company billionaires spending millions trying to fool Californians once again?”

“We know that more and more Californians are appalled at the specter of billionaires and multi-millionaires corrupting our political process and would like to hear answers from those spending so much in this campaign. First and foremost, they would ask: Are the $22.9 million and $16.4 million checks you have written for Propositions 32 and 33, respectively, aimed at anything more than buying the vote for personal and political gain?” wrote the California Nurses Association and Consumer Watchdog in a letter challenging Munger and Joseph to a televised public debate.

Download the letter.

The California Nurses Association, Consumer Watchdog Campaign, and Consumer Federation of California are sponsoring the radio ad and poster campaigns.

Charles Munger Jr. is an heir to the Berkshire Hathaway fortune including GEICO Insurance and other major corporations. George Joseph is the founder and Chairman of Mercury Insurance.

Proposition 32 is deceptive because it claims to be campaign finance reform, but in fact would devastate workers’ ability to participate in the political process but leave intact the ability of corporations and wealthy individuals to spend unlimited amounts for political causes.

Proposition 33 is deceptive because it claims to reward responsible consumers, but in fact would raise insurance rates on good drivers who have a lapse in coverage for almost any reason, even if they didn’t have a car and weren’t driving.

The ad says: “This is a consumer alert from Consumer Watchdog. Californians have already rejected the bad ideas behind Prop 32 and 33. So why are insurance company billionaires spending millions trying to fool Californians once again? Prop 33 is a deceptive initiative financed by one insurance company executive. Don’t be fooled. Prop 33 will raise your auto insurance rates.

“And Prop 32 is yet another attempt by these same insurance companies to buy more influence in Sacramento and stop you from fighting back.

“Hi I’m Maureen and I’m a California nurse. When did the insurance industry ever spend millions of dollars on ballot initiatives to protect you and me? Don’t be fooled. Vote no on 32 and 33.”

Listen to the full radio ad.

View and download each of the four street posters.

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