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Appointed Insurance Commissioner Bill Blames Voters for Quackenbush Scandal
This proposal has been defeatedSenator Speier's Proposal Blames Voters for the Quackenbush Scandal.
The following letter regarding SCA 19 was sent to Senator Jackie Speier, author of the Appointed Commissioner legislation, on May 15, 2000.
Dear Senator Speier:
We are writing to notify you formally of our strong opposition to SCA 19 and our profound disappointment in your decision to promote the legislation.
As Chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, you have jurisdiction over the activities of the Department of Insurance (CDI) and the insurance companies doing business in this state. As the Quackenbush scandal has shown, there is much to be done for Northridge policyholders who have fought the insurers all by themselves for six years, and for the voters of this state who have the right to believe that corruption in office will not be tolerated by elected officials.
In that context, SCA 19 is not only bad public policy, it is a dismaying rebuke to the voters. Put in the most favorable light, its message to the voters is: "you cannot be trusted to elect an honest commissioner."
You have said that there is no insult to the voters in giving them another opportunity to review their decision to make it an elected office. But there is no groundswell of support for the idea -- in fact, outside Sacramento, outside the insurance lobby and Mr. Quackenbush himself, there is no call at all for this legislation.
The voters are angry about the Quackenbush scandal. They are wondering how it could happen. They are wondering why their elected representatives did nothing about this for years despite the many reports of misconduct and wrongdoing in the CDI. Now they are wondering why the Legislature isn't actively moving to remove this individual from office. Instead, the Legislature is moving to strip the rights of voters.
For the record, here are our objections to making the office an appointed position:
The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights
The following legislators will vote on SCA 19 on Wednesday, May 24, 2000 please contact them immediately:
Senator Debra Bowen (Marina Del Rey)
Senator John Burton (San Francisco)
Senator David Kelley (Idyllwild)
Senator Jack O'Connell (San Luis Obispo)
Senator Richard Rainey (Walnut Creek)
Senator Byron Sher (Palo Alto)
Senator Cathie Wright (Simi Valley)
Click here if you don't know your California State Senator
Click here to e-mail your Senator if not listed above
E-mail Senator Jackie Speier and urge her to drop the Appointed Commissioner legislation.
1. Based on data in State Average Expenditures & Premiums for Personal Automobile Insurancein 1997, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, March 1999.
2. Based on data in State Average Expenditures & Premiums for Personal Automobile Insurance in 1995, National Association of Insurance Commissioners, March 1997. States with appointed commissioners, on average, have seen their average auto liability insurance premium rise 20.4%, compared to 16.8% for states with elected commissioners, since 1991.
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