Chad Mayes For Assembly 2018
Sacramento—After last year’s passage of the landmark California Consumer Privacy Act, big tech companies including Google, Facebook, and the Chamber of Commerce are spending big on lobbying in Sacramento and Washington D.C.
The nonprofit Consumer Federation of America released a study this week finding that California’s tough “prior approval” regulation of auto insurance rates under Proposition 103 is a model for the nation. Nearly 30 years of insurance industry data show that California has maintained the slowest pace of premium growth of any state and built the second most competitive auto insurance market in the nation.
A California court has rejected a request by State Farm, the nation’s largest insurance company, to conceal the financial arrangements between its $168 billion parent company, based in Bloomington, Indiana, and its California subsidiary, which sells homeowners insurance and claims it’s in financial trouble.
People are fighting back against robot cars.
Self-driving cars being tested in Arizona by Waymo, a Google sister company, have been attacked by residents in at least 21 separate incidents, according to the Arizona Republic. People in the Chandler area have thrown rocks at the cars, slashed their tires and run them off the road. One man even pulled a gun on a Waymo test driver.
As wildfire victims fled for their lives in Paradise and Malibu this November, utility executives and lobbyists for California's big utilities were wining and dining 12 influential state legislators in a different paradise -- Wailea, Maui.
The New York Times broke the story about the junket and the discussion about the wildfires there, which had to include the the inevitable bailout for the utilities that helped spark the blaze.
Governor Jerry Brown fancied himself a climate change warrior and so does Governor Elect Gavin Newsom. But if Newsom really wants to do something to avert catastrophic climate change, he’ll have to undo some of what his predecessor did, and then go much further.
Given the divide in America, it’s truly been remarkable how much we have accomplished together in 2018. Below's just some of what we accomplished in 2018, and you can also watch this short highlights video about our victories.
The nation’s toughest online privacy law: A new California law requires that companies tell you what information they collect about you, give you the right to say no, and are legally accountable for data breaches.
Consumer Watchdog has joined a coalition of 22 consumer and public health advocacy groups calling on the Federal Trade Commission to stop Google’s app store from promoting games that violate children’s privacy, feature inappropriate content, and lure kids to watch ads and make in-app purchases.
Assembly Member Chris Holden is the point man for Pacific Gas and Electric on its legislative bailout plans over the 2018 fires. That's why we paid his holiday party a visit. Watch us sing Chris Holden our holiday carols.
First, we carolers had to convince some beefy Pasadena police that we didn’t come to Assemblyman Chris Holden’s Christmas open house at his district office to disrupt the festivities and dirty up the place (though we did leave a lunch bag of coal behind).
Governor Brown may not have lit the match that set off the recent wild fires in Sonoma and Napa, but he has responsibility for failing to clear the tinder that spread the flames.
For your reading pleasure, here’s a quick look at your ballot menu for November 6:
Los Angeles, CA — As a UN panel finds the world is losing the war with global warming and urgent action is needed, US insurance companies have reported holding more than $50.9 billion in fossil fuel investments that exacerbate climate change, according to reporting to national insurance regulators.
Consumer Watchdog’s review of public filings reveals nine of the 10 largest American insurance companies have considered the impact of climate change on their investments, but only two, AIG and Farmers, say that they have altered their investment strategy in response.
Adults have gotten nowhere calling on Jerry Brown to limit oil drilling within a couple thousand feet of homes and schools.
This 30 second TV ad features a nine-year-old trying to get through to California’s 80-year old governor with some very strong words.
A win in the California statehouse on the last day of session usually means not losing too much, but last night California consumers scored tangible victories.
Here is last night's statehouse scorecard:
By Jamie Court, THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE
July 20, 2018
Can the people beat powerful industries that abuse their trust and remind corporations who controls America?
A shining example 30 years ago in the ballot measure process is giving new life to the power of the people to reestablish their power over industries that plague them.
Yesterday was a big day for consumer justice!
Just 24 hours after we launched the #BoycottSherwinWilliams boycott, the paint company decided to pull its deceptive ballot initiative to erase its liability for poisoning families with lead in its paint.
Add that victory to the signing of yesterday's online California consumer privacy law and June 28th 2018 will go down in history as a monumental day for consumer rights.
UPDATE: 6/28/18 5 PM The Boycott worked! Sherwin Williams and Con Agra pulled their ballot measure from the November ballot. Congrats to all.
Paint maker Sherwin Williams has decided to go to the California ballot with a deceptive ballot initiative to erase its liability to the public for poisoning families with lead in its paint. We have decided to boycott Sherwin Williams paint stores.
Privacy is a right enshrined in the California Constitution. The only problem is that there are few laws and regulations in place to actually protect our privacy, particularly when it involves the use of our personal information online.
At the 2018 Rage for Justice Awards on June 2nd, 2018, the Consumer Advocate Hall of Fame Award was presented to RoseAnn DeMoro for her career leading the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Association to fight for patients and improved healthcare. A tireless advocate that has fought many political battles over her career, she still wishes to see one more victory in Sacramento, the end of MICRA, a law from 1975 limiting medical malpractice damages for pain and suffering to $250,000.
Frank Pitre was presented with the Lifetime Legal Achievement Award at the 2018 Rage For Justice Awards on June 2nd, 2018, at the Beverly Wilshire. His career has been defined by standing up for the unprotected, the vulnerable, the disenfranchised. Here is the tribute video to Frank as well as his acceptance speech.
“Not every Angeleno is going to prosper in the ‘Next-Gen new economy,’” according to a recent newspaper ad by the State Building & Construction Trades. The union wants politicians not to “be bullied into supporting job killing regulations that are designed to shutter yet another Southern California industry.” This one being the oil and gas industry.
Browns Last Chance campaign asked Governor Brown to cross to our side of the tracks at Union Station on Friday and start keeping oil in the ground.
Every doctor in California will soon be required to use the most powerful tool we have to identify and prevent opioid abuse: the state prescription drug database known as CURES. Beginning in October, doctors will have to check the database and review a patient’s prescription history before prescribing opioids and other dangerous drugs.
Much of the criticism of Mark Zuckerberg's testimony in Congress from the public and the media alike was leveled at members of Congress for asking supposedly stupid questions rather than at Mark Zuckerberg for his disingenuous responses. "Congress doesn't understand Facebook," claimed Dylan Byers of CNN.
Bipartisan efforts to amend a key Internet law so rogue websites like Backpage can be held accountable for facilitating child sex trafficking are moving ahead rapidly with an endorsement today from the White House.
The California Senate Transportation and Housing Committee’s hearing this week, “Autonomous Vehicles: Opportunities and Challenges,” was meant to be an opportunity to field questions and concerns representing both public and private interests about putting self-driving cars on the road. Instead, the Senate committee’s investment in protecting corporate interests ultimately outweighed senators’ concern for the public.
A Superior Court Judge today approved a settlement of a class action lawsuit brought against the Department of Water & Power (DWP) and City of Los Angeles for illegally taxing ratepayers billions of dollars on their power bills and using it for city services, rejecting our objection. Under 2010’s voter-approved Prop 26, money raised from power rates that is not used to improve utility service is an illegal tax and to make it lega
My dry cleaner assaulted me last weekend furious about a thirty percent increase in his health insurance premiums. Yesterday, a California Anthem policyholder, Josh Libresco, emailed me about another 19% increase in his premiums, bringing his monthly bill to $2754 for a high deductible policy.
One victim of sex trafficking began her ordeal when she was 15. She was sold through website Backpage.com for sex to men across Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. She was raped over 600 times over the course of four months.
Carolers raised their voices before the Governor’s Mansion last night, singing “Jerry Brown Jerry Brown, Keep It In The Ground” to the tune of Jingle Bells and also Consumer Watchdog’s 12 Days of Brown Christmas, both remakes of classic carols that highlight his dirty energy policies.
Governor Jerry Brown sells himself as one of the world’s foremost climate change warriors. But as long as he protects the oil industry, California will miss its ambitious 2030 greenhouse gas emissions targets.
In Europe recently, Governor Brown touted “cap-and-trade” as the answer. A new report by Near Zero, an adviser to the state on its market mechanism to control emissions, shows why he is wrong.
The wildfires devastating Bel Air, Ventura and Southern California's canyons are destroying homes in their path. Unfortunately, many of those homeowners are going to find that when they try to rebuild their homeowners' policies may not cover the real costs.
It's a sad cycle that happens after too many wildfires, include the historic devastation fires wrought recently in Sonoma and Napa Valley.
Corporations don’t vote, but the Senate just approved a 20% tax cut for them to be paid for by us -- the people who vote, breathe and struggle to make ends meet.
If you’re as sickened as I am that a founding principle of this nation has been turned on its head -- no taxation without representation – you can take action now to stop it.
When President Trump moved to expand the Keystone pipeline to the Gulf, we warned him that it wasn't just a risk to the land, but the economy.
The report Consumer Watchdog issued in 2013 along with Tom Steyer, in his pre-impeachment campaign days, showed the pipeline was going to drive up gasoline prices in the Midwest.
No matter how you look at it, from a sham trading system to "cut" climate-warming emissions to consumers gouged at the pump, Big Oil has us over a barrel by paying the state and politicians what amounts to hush money to stay off its back.
Earlier this year, we told you about Nacole S., whose fifteen-year-old daughter was sold repeatedly online for sex. The website that aided and abetted the pimp, Backpage.com, was shielded from liability under outdated Internet law.
Originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Corruption can kill.
The fires that laid waste to California’s Wine Country and at least 42 lives were not merely the product of a changing climate and extra-heated winds.
Early reports suggest the failure of Gov. Jerry Brown and his appointees to adequately regulate our public utilities to prevent such fires also fueled the fast-moving flames.
Consumers just scored a victory with NRG's announcement that it is pulling the plug on a natural gas power plant in Ventura.
The Houston utility had contracted with Southern California Edison (SCE) to build the hotly contested Puente plant in Oxnard. Ratepayers would have shouldered the $300 million price tag.
Consumers looking for bold action this year on laws protecting their wallets from rapacious drug companies, their privacy from the prying eyes of telecom companies, and their environment from the degradation of the oil and gas industry, didn't get any. But they did get some legislation that helps them take banks to court for fraud and to follow the money behind political ads.
Mayor Eric Garcetti just sold out Los Angeles by pushing through the Delta Tunnels. Two of his five appointees to the Metropolitan Water District (MWD), the giant water wholesaler for the region, voted yes on diverting water from the Sacramento River under the San Francisco Bay Delta to the South, helping to ensure an overwhelming majority vote.
Every day, we have been scanning Governor Jerry Brown’s legislative updates. So far, he hasn’t signed SB 634, a bill with the innocuous, sleepy-sounding name of “Santa Clarita Valley Water Agency.”
The bill is anything but innocuous and sleepy.
We thought the days of bills benefitting just one company were over. They aren’t, and this one benefits not just developer Five Point Holdings, but Kathleen Brown, Jerry’s little sister.
If you were to go looking for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti right now, you’d have a hard time. The media has taken note, with the L.A.
Sharing the midday, San Francisco sunlight with Bernie Sanders Friday, I had a rare feeling these days, that everything is going to be all right. It felt just the way Bob Marley sang it.
Bernie thundered away from the stage in Yerba Buena park to the applause of a thousand nurses from the mighty California Nurses Association and thousands more San Franciscans on their lunch break. It’s hard not to feel good on a sunny day in Frisco surrounded by a sea of nurses standing a few feet from Bernie and Jane Sanders.
As the legislature ended its business for the year in the early morning hours, legislative leaders proclaimed a prolific progressive session. Not so if you care about consumer protection.
Key public interest causes were abandoned because of the power of the usual moneyed interest groups and the dependency of state house politicians on them.
In the documentary “I am Jane Doe,” which hits Netflix this weekend, a mother Nacole S. talks about how her daughter was turned into a child prostitute for 108 days by a website, Backpage.com, that has legal immunity even though it helped pimps traffick in children by crafting ads and makes hundreds of millions of dollars doing it. That’s according to a US Senate report on the topic, not the National Enquirer.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Health Committee voted decisively to move S.B. 562 to the floor of the Senate. The Healthy California Act would establish a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system in the state, ensuring that all Californians have access to affordable healthcare. The bill was proposed by Senator Toni Atkins and Senator Ricardo Lara as well as aided by the support of the California Nurses Association, physicians, and a coalition of progressive organizations.
Sacramento, CA – Physician oversight remains broken four years after a legislative review committee considered shutting down the Medical Board of California if it did not improve patient protection, Consumer Watchdog will testify today at the sunset review hearing into the future of the Board.
Californians are paying billions of dollars too much for electric plants we don’t need. That’s the finding of a major Los Angeles Times investigation and a new Consumer Watchdog report explains why.
Governor Brown has embraced the building of fossil fuel generated electricity, along with the reopening of Aliso Canyon’s gas reserve, even while Californians have a glut of electric capacity.
The populist president just revived what will be a bad economic deal for Midwest gas prices and American jobs, the Keystone XL pipeline.
My nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog studied the issue in 2013 and found that the Keystone XL extension was a way to move Canadian crude to Asia through the gulf coast, which would re-route cheap crude that now feeds Midwest refineries. The likely result: higher Midwest gasoline prices.
Paul Simon v. Blue Cross of California d/b/a Anthem Blue Cross, Los Angeles Superior Court Case Number BC639205
In one of his first tests as President, Donald J. Trump will have to decide whether to uphold an eleventh hour appointment by the Obama Administration giving carmakers the keys to the development of robot cars.
Will Trump let the robot car manufacturers guard the robot car factories?
Uber is hearing Tommy Petty. It won’t back down in its dispute with the California Department of Motor Vehicles over putting its robot cars on California roads without a license to drive.
Would longtime Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson make the most inappropriate Secretary of State in American history?
Make no mistake. T-Rex would have one key mission: rescue the oil industry from near extinction following rising global awareness of climate change.
In 2012, Vladimir Putin was quoted saying to Tillerson, “Mr. Tillerson, I am very happy to see you... This is already our second meeting in a short span of time and there is a good explanation for this: increasingly close relations are being forged between your company and Russian market players.” (Bloomberg News)
As Uber’s CEO moved into the inner circle of Trump’s tech advisors today, Uber has rolled its robot cars on the streets of San Francisco without getting a license for its robots to drive.
Uber gave the middle finger to state regulators by not getting a DMV permit to test the technology.
Three advanced auto safety technologies can prevent thousands of deaths and injuries each year, and billions of dollars in property damage, caused by rear-end crashes. Using combinations of radar, lidar (reflected laser light) and cameras, these technologies – known as Automatic Emergency Braking – are able to help prevent collisions. But right now, they’re mostly available only as expensive options on luxury cars – depriving millions of Americans of these life-saving protections.
Feller et al v. Transamerica Life Insurance Company, United States District Court, Central District of California (Case 2:16-cv-01378)
Consumers who bought life insurance protection from Transamerica Insurance Company decades ago are now facing a choice between paying enormous increases in their monthly premiums or losing their policies, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles by Consumer Watchdog and other consumer advocates on behalf of Transamerica policyholders nationwide.
Aetna, Inc., and its subsidiary Coventry Health Care Inc., are attempting to circumvent the central reform of the Affordable Care Act—the so called “guaranteed issue” provision, which ensures all patients are guaranteed access to health insurance regardless of their health condition—by discouraging patients with HIV/AIDS from enrolling in or remaining enrolled in Aetna and Coventry health plans, according to two national class action lawsuits currently being litigated by Whatley Kallas, LLP and Consumer Watchdog.
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Consumer Watchdog Highlights
Ashley Aitken awards Nacole S.