Bearstar has built a reputation as one of the nation’s premier ballot measure strategists, helping win landmark campaigns expanding education funding, reforming the criminal justice system, increasing taxes on the wealthiest Californians, and strengthening gun safety, among others. We’ve developed, produced, and implemented media campaigns that have shaped California today and its future.
As with every election campaign we lead, Bearstar begins with the only objective that matters: winning. We then reverse engineer the strategic components to get there. Our firm never comes into a ballot measure campaign with a blueprint from past victories. Instead, we treat every campaign as a unique fight that requires combining experience and innovative thinking.
The firm’s record speaks for itself, including a few highlights:
Bearstar partnered with Governor Jerry Brown to pass Proposition 30, overcoming the odds to raise taxes on the highest earners and increase funding to California schools.
Bearstar led Proposition 36, a critical reform of California’s “three strikes” law, which prevailed in every county in California with nearly 70% of the popular vote.
Bearstar worked with Governor Jerry Brown to pass Propositions 1 & 2, which repaired California’s water system and created an essential rainy day fund to secure California’s financial future.
Bearstar ran Proposition 47, a landmark reform reducing felony sentences for simple drug possession and petty theft to misdemeanors, winning overwhelming support from 59% of Californians.
Bearstar teamed up with Governor Jerry Brown to pass Prop 57 pass with more than 64% of the vote, reforming the parole system and giving incentives for non-violent offenders to turn their lives around.
Bearstar worked to defeat the dangerous Proposition 53, which would have required voter approval for issuing new bonds.
Bearstar worked with then-Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom to take on the NRA and pass Proposition 63, a set of innovative gun laws that put California on the leading edge of public safety and helped position Newsom for his 2018 Governor’s race.
Bearstar led the No on Proposition 6 campaign, beating back a ballot measure that would have repealed the state’s gas tax and jeopardized critical infrastructure projects across the state. Despite the difficult challenge of convincing voters to uphold an unpopular tax, Bearstar succeeded in framing the measure as a public safety, rather than pocketbook issue, surprising political observers by garnering a nearly 57% no vote.
In one of the country’s most high-profile ballot measure fights, Bearstar led the media campaign for No on Proposition 21, which would have given local governments the power to enact strict rent control. The measure began with strong majority support, especially in the midst of a pandemic economy that put California’s cost of living in stark relief. Bearstar’s media focused on the measure’s potentially devastating impact on new housing construction – ensuring voters understood that despite its progressive framing, Prop 21 was in fact an anti-housing initiative. On election day, Proposition 21 was defeated by nearly 20%, a massive downward swing from where it began before the media campaign.