Monday, October 22, 2012

Time to vote! Proposition opinions in profusion

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I need to mail in my ballot now, so as to have maximum energy for getting out the vote for Prop. 34. If you are working on a campaign (and if you haven't participated in some way, you are letting other people make decisions for you that you may not like), it's always a good idea to get your own vote into the mail early!

Over recent months working on a California initiative myself, I've had to become more conscious of what the other 10 items are about; people often assume that if you're knowledgable about one measure, you can be a source of information about others. In this welter of propositions, that's probably not true. But here are the choices I've made and why:
  • Prop. 30 - Yes Popularly called "the Governor's tax measure," this one raises revenue from high-income taxpayers and hits all of us with a quarter percent sales tax levy through 2019. We have to pass on it because of the stupid rule that requires a two-thirds vote in the legislature for tax measures -- and the Republicans (the angry white guys' party of tax resisters) still hold one vote more than a third of the seats in Sacramento. If we don't want to have to vote every time the state needs money to keep the doors open, we need to kill the 2/3s rule. Meanwhile, we have to vote for this if the state wants public schools.
  • Prop. 31 - No This is an attempt at structural reform of state budgeting that dodges the real problem: slightly over one third of California's citizens refuse to contribute to the general welfare and have organized as the Republican Party to keep it that way. Various "good government" fidgets won't strike at the root of the problem; they just multiply the hoops in the way of governing.
  • Prop. 32 - NO The same people that don't want to pay taxes for the general welfare want to kill off the few forces that stand in their way, the most organized of which is the labor unions. This lying measure would gut union political power while doing nothing to inhibit corporate spending on elections. It's a con.
  • Prop. 33 - No Cars matter to Californians. Consequently, we've managed to pass some pretty good regulations to make mandated auto insurance rates somewhat fair. The guy who runs Mercury Insurance wants to change the rules so he can make more money by overcharging people who for some reason go without insurance for awhile. Take a temporary assignment for a job in another state -- end up paying through the nose for auto insurance when you come back. Is that fair? Of course not -- just more insurance company gouging.
  • Prop. 34 - YES If you read this blog, you know about that one.
  • Prop. 35 - no Every ballot seems to contain one like this: something that could have been worked out in the normal manner by the legislature but which attracted a rich sponsor fulfilling a pet interest. Nobody wants to be soft on human trafficking -- that means pimping and slave labor -- but this is one of those overblown, ill-drafted, emotionally attractive laws we'll have to back away from someday.
  • Prop. 36 - yes We passed the three strikes law in a moment of panic about repeated dangerous criminal offenders, but we didn't really mean to lock up petty criminals for life. But that's how it has worked out too often; this would require that a third strike conviction be for something violent or otherwise serious.
  • Prop. 37 - yes I wrote this one up here. Big agriculture doesn't like it, but we've got a right to know whether they've been monkeying with the genome for enhanced profits.
  • Prop. 38 - no I find it hard to vote against a tax to be used for the schools. Goodness knows, the schools need the money. But this is the ultimate vanity proposition (see also Prop. 35 above). A rich person decided she knew better than all the political forces in the state and has invested millions in her pet scheme, even though she couldn't sign on the folks who are the most important factor in education: the organized teachers. That smells bad to me, so, unhappily, I've vote no.
  • Prop. 39 - yes This will force companies that do part of their business in California to pay taxes on that part in California. Seems simple, but somehow they've been enjoying a big loophole and Republicans won't let the legislature plug it, so we, the voters, have to.
  • Prop. 40 - yes This affirms the State Senate boundaries we're using in this election -- they were redrawn to conform to one person one vote rules after the census. Some Republicans didn't like the results and put this on the ballot, but then realized it was hopeless and orphaned it. But we still have to vote on it.
Are you tired yet? I am.

This election I'll spare you the local measures, except to urge San Franciscans to vote Yes on A to keep City College alive!

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