This November 2nd, California will confuse and befuddle its electorate by putting before them the task of voting on numerous Propositions. While some people adore propositions because they believe in direct democracy, I abhor them because they bring us nightmares like Prop 8, ruin the state budget, and contradict existing laws. Anyone can get a Prop on the ballot if they have enough money to get enough signatures from harried customers outside of Trader Joe's.
So, in short, I don't like Propositions. It's also nearly impossible to tell sometimes if they're even good or bad. Sometimes they have good ideas, but bad execution, or have no allocated funds, and put California even further into debt. California politicians hide behind these Props, hoping that some rich citizens will put up the cash to get medical marijuana legalized or some other such legislation. Of course, dirty Republicans do the same... hoping that some rich citizens will put up the cash to ban same sex marriage. Propositions are generally bad news, but they're still up for a vote and intelligent votes matter, so here's my take on them.
Prop 19: Legalizes Marijuana in California
Awesome. Let's figure out the details later. Neither of us smoke, but we don't want our friends who do partake to be arrested for it. Let's tax the hell out of it, decriminalize it, regulate it, and keep folks out of jail. Done. Yes on 19.
Prop 20/27: Redistricting of Congressional Districts
Prop 20 essentially upholds Prop 11 from this summer's primaries that establishes a 14 person committee to redraw California districts. Consists of Democrats, Republicans, and individuals who aren't registered with either party. But I guess Prop 20 futzes around with what was already established in Prop 11. It's funded by a billionaire, Charles Munger, Jr., the son of a Wall Street tycoon.
The idea behind fussing with redistricting is that it would make districts more fair and less tailored to individual party preferences and would make each district more homogeneous. The idea is to reduce the gerrymandering of districts. It's very anti-incumbent. But my real question is how this 14 person committee is going to be held accountable. How do we know that it will be fair? Opponents to Prop 20 state that it contains Jim Crow type laws because it "mandates that all districts (including Assembly, Senate,
and Congress) must be segregated by income level and mandates that all
districts be segregated according to 'similar living standards' and that
districts include only people 'with similar work opportunities." (that's straight from the rebuttal to the arguments for the prop, so it's hard to know if that's true?) The Sacramento Bee is the only newspaper to editorialize against the bill, and the League of Women Voters has also come out against it.
PROP 27 basically negates Prop 11 from the primaries and keeps redistricting in the hands of the Legislature.
I'm going go with the Sacramento Bee on this one and vote NO on 20 and 27 to let Prop 11 do its job. Let's see if this committee can do a better and more fair job of drawing up districts. We'll see how that goes and then change it if necessary.
PROP 21: Establishes $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to help fund state parks and wildlife programs and grants surcharge vehicles free admission to all state parks.
Awesome. I'm willing to pay this because I'm a big animal/nature loving hippie and I always forget to purchase a parking pass ahead of time when I go to state parks. So, yeah. I'm willing to do that. Sorry if you aren't. YES on 21
PROP 22: Prohibits the state from borrowing or taking funds used for transportation, redevelopment, or local government projects and services.
Um.... Boy, this sounds nice. It's mostly funded by the League of California Cities, but as the Sacramento Bee points out, in a year where city managers have awarded themselves with gigantic salaries and perpetrated massive fraud (as in Bell, CA), this doesn't sit very well with a lot of people. Transportation workers and libraries support Prop 22, while health and education workers worry that this will limit their own funds. I say that while the state is in financial crisis, let's not limit our ability to make ends meet. NO on 22
PROP 23: Suspends implementation of air pollution control law requiring major sources of emissions to report and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming until unemployment drops to 5.5 percent or less for full year.
Um. FUCK NO. NO ON 23. Yeah, so let's just go back to polluting. I doubt that this will create more jobs and those jobs will simply be lost once this is repealed and these laws are enforced. Let's move forward and create jobs surrounding green and renewable energy and businesses. What a joke. NO NO NO NO NO on 23
PROP 24: Repeals recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability initiative statute.
During budget negotiations this past year, California created new tax laws that would allow businesses to save money. The debate is over whether this benefits small business or fat cat corporations. Does this save the state budget or drive business/jobs away from California? Eliminating those tax breaks would bring in $1.3 billion to the state which would most likely, in turn, go to our schools. That's a good thing. I'd also like to point out that MAJOR funding for the "No on 24" campaign has come from Viacom, Time Warner, and other big corporations. Obviously, they stand to benefit. However, almost all newspaper editorials have come out against Prop 24, as have a lot of genuine small business owners. This has already been in effect for two years, I guess a few more years can't hurt. NO on 24.
PROP 25: Changes legislative vote requirement to pass budget and budget-related legislation from two-thirds to a simple majority. Retains 2/3 vote requirement for taxes.
Thank goodness. I've been hoping to see this on the ballot for awhile. Part of the reason that California can't get a budget passed on time is because the minority of Republicans in this state hold the budget hostage. It's infuriating. Just look at the supporters (Federation of Teachers, Professional Engineers, Nurses Association) versus the opponents (Chevron, Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, Shell Oil). It's kind of obvious who stands to benefit from giving Republicans more control than they've earned in this state. YES ON 25. YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!
PROP 26: Requires that certain state and local fees be approved by two-thirds vote. Fees include those that address adverse impacts on society or the environment caused by the fee-payer's business.
No. I think I made my opinion clear on 25. This kind of shit ruins our state every year. This would mean that before the State Legislature decides to levy fines on polluters, they need Republican approval. Republicans who are funded by companies like those who oppose Prop 25. Number one supporter of Prop 26? You guessed it, CHEVRON. I'm sure they'd love to stop paying fees for ruining the environment. NO ON 26!!!!!!!!!!!
PROP 27: see above PROP 20
Many thanks to Ballotpedia for being a valuable resource for info on the Propositions. Grab your "Official Sample Ballot" and fill in your choices ahead of time to avoid panic in the voting booth! Tomorrow, I will try to tackle the judges for our district! Yipes!