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New Prop. 103 Panel May Foreshadow Political Endorsement

Times Staff Writer

State Board of Equalization member Conway Collis and consumer advocate Harvey Rosenfield will announce on Monday formation of a citizen support commission for Proposition 103, the successful Nov. 8 ballot insurance measure sponsored by Rosenfield’s Voter Revolt group.

The move suggests that Collis has the inside track on getting Voter Revolt’s endorsement if he decides to run for state insurance commissioner in 1990.

Rosenfield and Collis were at pains Friday to say that there is as yet no commitment by Rosenfield to support Collis or by Collis to run for the job, which was made an elective position by Proposition 103.

Voter Revolt announced last week that it is searching for a candidate to endorse for insurance commissioner, specifying that it would not back Assemblyman Tom Hayden (D-Santa Monica), who has emerged as a leading Democratic prospect for the job.

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During an interview, Rosenfield and two associates in the Voter Revolt organization referred favorably to Collis as a prospective candidate. Collis, 41, elected to the Board of Equalization in 1982, is a Democrat who has far less name identification than Hayden.

Given its successful stewardship of Proposition 103 with little money against well-financed insurance industry opposition last year, Voter Revolt could carry considerable weight with an endorsement for commissioner.

The new private organization to be announced Monday under Collis’ chairmanship will be called the Proposition 103 Insurance Action Commission and is described by Collis as a “broad-based group to formulate long-term reform proposals” to carry forward the changes begun by Proposition 103.

Collis said Friday that one post-Proposition 103 change that the commission might advance is a requirement that insurance companies pay state income taxes in addition to the gross premium tax they pay now. He estimated that this might bring in $250 million a year. He said it might also encourage the development of group auto insurance policies permitted under Proposition 103.

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Collis and Rosenfield said in separate interviews that the commission will be independent of Voter Revolt because it will be directed by Collis and will arrive at its own positions.

Prospective Candidates

Rosenfield said, however, that he and his associates have advised a number of prospective candidates for insurance commissioner that if they want Voter Revolt support, they ought to demonstrate their backing for implementing and expanding Proposition 103. Collis is the first prospective candidate to do that, he said.

“After the election, we asked him for help,” Rosenfield said of Collis. “He came back with the notion of a commission. . . . We’re really glad that someone is standing up to help us.”

Rosenfield added: “Anybody who helps us out and fights for 103 is a friend, but nobody should be mistaken that this indicates our endorsement of anyone. We’ve said, however, that our No. 1 criterion for endorsing is that someone has proved they are committed to working hard for consumers and helping us to do the same.”

Proposition 103’s best-known sponsor was consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who wrote a message for a new Voter Revolt fund-raising letter that has gone out in recent days, but Rosenfield said Friday, “We haven’t talked to Nader about this, and he usually doesn’t endorse candidates.”

A spokeswoman for Nader, contacted in Washington, said Nader “is not taking any position on any candidate right now. But I can’t say what he’d do in the future.”


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