CALIFORNIA (USA): SILICON VALLEY STEER CASH TO DEATH PENALTY REPEAL BID
July 19, 2016: Some of Silicon Valley's biggest names are pouring money into an effort to overturn California's death penalty as support for capital punishment has declined to the lowest in decades.
Reed Hastings, the billionaire chief executive officer of Netflix Inc., donated $1 million, and Salesforce.com Inc. CEO Marc Benioff gave $50,000 to support a measure on the November ballot that would replace death with a life sentence without parole.
7 wealthy donors from technology companies have contributed the bulk of the $4 million raised so far. "My objection to the death penalty is not based on some abstract principle that it's bad to kill people," said Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator, Silicon Valley's largest startup factory, who contributed $500,000. "It's because so many of the people who get executed are actually innocent. If you look at the way some of these trials are conducted, it's shocking."
Technology executives increasingly are using clout and deep pockets to take socially liberal stands on issues such as gun control and same-sex marriage.
They're stepping in where efforts by Democratic lawmakers have failed, with contributions to voter initiatives and threats to withdraw business in states passing laws they find objectionable.
Their involvement is a reflection of the leanings of their millennial workers and represents a shift from a corporate mindset of avoiding controversy to keep from alienating customers. (Source: Bloomberg News, 19/07/2016)