Southern California breaking news and trends

Campaign to end the death penalty raises nearly $3 million

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings gave $250,000 to the Proposition 34 campaign, which would end California's death penalty.

So far, those campaigning to end the death penalty in California have vastly outraised their opponents in the brewing battle over Proposition 34, scheduled for the November ballot. According to records put together by MapLight, a money in politics watchdog, the ballot initiative that would end capital punishment and replace it with life without parole has raised $2.9 million. It's opponents, meanwhile, have about $44,800 in the bank.

Capital punishment, it turns out, has some wealthy foes: Nicholas Pritzker, whose financial empire includes the Hyatt hotel chain, gave $500,000 to Prop 34. Other big donors include the ACLU, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and Quinn Delaney of the Akonadi Foundation.

Donations against the proposition have mostly come from law enforcement groups so far, including the Peace Officers Research Association of California and the Sacramento Deputy Sheriffs' Association. 

It's early in the election season still, with the biggest political pushes happening in the fall rather than the summer. But the Prop 34 campaign has already started their media effort, with editorials in major papers and several events around the state. The campaign has also hosted two press tours: one features wrongfully convicted former inmates exonerated of violent crimes; the other, victims of violent crime who oppose the death penalty. Meanwhile, the campaign against the initiative has mostly been mum.

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