In the coalition pushing Proposition 6, the California anti-crime initiative on the Nov. 4 ballot, the person who has contributed the most financially stands to gain little and has become the campaign’s biggest liability, says the Los Angeles Times. With a single $1 million contribution last December, billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III supplied most of the cash for the Safe Neighborhoods Act. Then during the summer, he was indicted on drug, fraud and conspiracy charges. He is accused of manipulating stock options, supplying customers with prostitutes and maintaining properties for cocaine and methamphetamine use and distribution. Yet Prop 6’s proponents say they see no reason to give the money back.
“The crimes that he’s accused of are not the kinds of things we’re dealing with,” said Sen. George Runner (R-Lancaster), one of the initiative’s authors. “We’re dealing with street crimes that Californians are confronted with every day.” Among other changes, the initiative would increase punishment for home invasion robbery or carjacking and allow people who lie to the police about gang crimes to be prosecuted as accessories. Critics contend that the proposition would be too expensive and punitive and would abridge civil rights. Some argue that the harsh new penalties would worsen problems in the state’s prison system, now swollen with 170,000 inmates.