Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Cal Ballot Issues

Having been the hospital, I haven't had much time to figure out the lengthy California ballot for this November. My approach is to vote NO unless given a pretty good reason to vote YES. Here are some links to help you decide: recommendations from LA Times, SF Chronicle and Frank Pastore (talkradio host).

As of this writing, Pastore has YES recommendations for 1A, 59, 60 and 60A. The Los Angeles Times is recommending YES on 1A, 59, 62, 64, 66 and 71. The SF Chronicle editors are recommending YES votes for 59, 62, 63, 64, 66 and 71.

Thus, all three (2 liberal big city papers and 1 conservative talk radio host) of these sources are either against or silent about: 61, 65, 67, 68, 69, 70, 72.

So let's take a look at the ones they are saying yes to. Here is some information on 1A.
excerpt:
Proposition 1A is a historic bipartisan agreement among local governments, public safety leaders, the State Legislature, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and is authored by Democratic State Senator Tom Torlakson.

Proposition 1A prevents the State from taking and using funding that local governments need to provide services like fire and paramedic response, law enforcement, health care, parks, and libraries.


Sounds good to me. RR recommends a YES.

What is 59 about?
Excerpt:
You have the right to decide how open your government should be. That's why Proposition 59 was unanimously passed by the Legislature and it is the reason widely diverse organizations support the Sunshine Amendment, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the League of California Cities.


Okay, I'm for more openness in government. RR recommends a YES.

Here is some information on prop 60 which seems to be a companion to 62.
Excerpt:
(about 60) SCA 18 (Resolution Chapter 103, 2004), Primary elections: surplus state property.

(about 62) Changes to Primary System. This measure amends both the State Constitution and state statutes to make changes to primary elections. For most state and federal elected offices, this measure allows voters-including those not affiliated with a political party-to vote for any candidate regardless of the candidate's political party. The measure applies to the election of state constitutional officers, members of the Legislature, and members of Congress. The measure, however, does not apply to the election of the U.S. President or political party committees. If approved, the new system would be used beginning with the March 2006 primary.


I don't get it? Why is prop 60 fusing 2 completely separate issues together? And I think 62 sounds crazy. As much as we may sometimes dislike political parties, they do represent points of view and to erase their roles in the primary process seems excessive.

RR is recommending NO votes on 60 and 62.

UPDATE: Looks like I mis-read 60 and it doesn't fuse two things. I must have been loopy when I was reading it. Nonetheless, 60 sounds like it really doesn't do much while 62 goes back to the previous "open primary" system we had briefly. The "open primary" idea is an interesting way to force more moderate candidates to the fore in all races except for presidential nominee and party committee positions. I can see why some folks support 62 though I remain a NO vote on that one.

60A sounds like the 2nd half of 60 standing alone?
Excerpt:
PROPOSITION 60A gives voters the chance to reduce the cost of the bonds they overwhelmingly approved in March as part of Governor Schwarzenegger's plan to help ease the state's budget crisis.

Unfortunately, those bonds carry a high price in the form of interest payments. There is a solution. Experts estimate California has more than $1,000,000,000 worth of surplus property. By requiring that proceeds from the sale of all such surplus property be used to help pay off the bonds early, PROPOSITION 60A COULD DRAMATICALLY LOWER COSTS TO TAXPAYERS.


Makes sense to me. RR kindly suggests a YES vote on 60A.

UPDATE: 61 sounds nice. I mean who could be against Children's Hospital Projects? But as usual, I'm concerned with how it is funded. For other good causes but with questionable funding methods see concerns about 63, 67 and 72. Reluctantly, I'm a NO vote on 61. Does this make me a cold-hearted conservative-libertarian?

UPDATE: For 62, see above comments on 60.

How about prop 63?
Excerpt:
This proposition establishes a state personal income tax surcharge of 1 percent on taxpayers with annual taxable incomes of more than $1 million. Funds resulting from the surcharge would be used to expand county mental health programs.

I don't make over $1 million a year. The cause is a good one. So I can sit here and say soak the rich for a good cause. But, RR has to recommend a NO vote on this. What if millionaires opt to take up residence in other states to avoid this additional tax? The revenue stream for this good cause will run dry. What happens in bad economic times when those millionaires income falls slightly below $1 million? Again the revenue dries up. Its a good cause but not a good way to fund it.

What is prop 64 all about?
Excerpt:
There's a LOOPHOLE IN CALIFORNIA LAW that allows private lawyers to file frivolous lawsuits against small businesses even though they have no client or evidence that anyone was damaged or misled. Shakedown lawyers "appoint" themselves to act like the Attorney General and file lawsuits on behalf of the people of the State of California, demanding thousands of dollars from small businesses that can't afford to fight in court.

Closing that loophole sounds reasonable to me. RR requests you consider a YES vote on this item.

UPDATE: I don't get 65? Can somebody clarify what is going on here? If I don't get it, it gets a NO vote.

66 looks to modify the current "Three Strikes" law.
Excerpt:
(pro side)Ten years ago, voters were asked to pass tougher sentences for repeat violent criminals. We approved the Three Strikes law because that's what we were told it would do.

We weren't told that Three Strikes would also lock up nonviolent, petty offenders for life.

VOTING YES ON PROPOSITION 66 WILL RESTORE THREE STRIKES TO ITS PROMISE AND THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF VOTERS.

(con side) Don't be fooled. Proposition 66 won't protect children or save tax money. It creates a new legal loophole for convicted criminals that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars and flood our streets with thousands of dangerous felons, including rapists, child molesters, and murderers. That's why Proposition 66 is strongly opposed by every major public safety, taxpayer, and child protection group in California...

Hmmm, this is a tough one. I'm open to being pursuaded on this one. I'm all for strong law enforcement but if we really are locking people up for minor things then the law needs tinkering. Whether this is the right tinkering I don't know. At this moment I'm leaning to a NO vote.

UPDATE: 67 is the phone tax for emergency medical services. Good cause, lousy funding mechanism. NO on this one. Is the cold-mean-conservative libertarian label sticking on me?

UPDATE: 68 and 70 are Indian gaming regulatory initiatives. Too confusing. The Arnold is against both. 'Nuff said, NO on both.

UPDATE: 69 is the DNA database for crime fighting. I'm a law-and-order type BUT this seems to go too far. I can't see how this is going to survive some kind of 4th Amendment challenge. I'm going with a NO vote here. Does this make me a liberal who supports criminals?

UPDATE: 70 - see comments above on 68.

71 is the controversial Stem Cell Research proposition.
Excerpt:
Establishes "California Institute for Regenerative Medicine" to regulate stem cell research and provide funding, through grants and loans, for such research and research facilities. Establishes constitutional right to conduct stem cell research; prohibits Institute's funding of human reproductive cloning research. Establishes oversight committee to govern Institute. Provides General Fund loan up to $3 million for Institute's initial administration/implementation costs. Authorizes issuance of general obligation bonds to finance Institute activities up to $3 billion subject to annual limit of $350 million.


As a pro-life person, I have moral qualms about using embryo stem cells. There is a line in the sand somewhere about what we should and should not do for saving life and I'm not comfortable crossing this line. RR requests a NO vote on 71.

UDPATE: 72 is complicated. Mandates on businesses for health care might drive businesses out of California and make those that stay have a harder time. Good cause but I'm not sure this is the way to do it. NO on 72. The cold-mean-ruthless conservative-libertarian tag once again, eh?

Okay, that is my quick take on the ballot measures. Am open to persuasion.

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