I should be walking a precinct today for one of my favorite candidates, but I seem to have injured my back or pulled a muscle. Now I have more sympathy for folks who are slowed or even stopped by lower back pain, but I’m hoping I can still make myself useful by putting down some thoughts on our local political choices.
To start off, we have lots of propositions and lots of pros and cons already. In my Democratic club we’ve continued debating some of them even after we made our recommendations and mailed them out.
It’s a testament to the complexity of making legislation, organizing our state and local budgets, and designing a constitution by the initiative process-well, it’s a mess. Voters have much less time to devote to deciphering them than legislators do and probably less inclination to make them their daily priority.
Then we have the voter equivalent of lobbyists-campaign consultants well versed in the art of advertising. But once these props get on the ballot, often by way of millionaires or corporations, we have to take them seriously.
You can find lots of organizations recommending the right way to vote based on your interest group. I check out many sources before deciding-including the local papers, labor unions, blogs (Tonya Love’s Lovehealthandadvocacy.com is just one of them), and the local Dem clubs to sort these out.
Here are my thumbnail recommendations:
Prop 30-Yes-Flawed but extremely important to stabilizing, if temporarily, our budget and our school system, some progressive taxes combined with some regressive ones but a necessary fix until we are willing to look at Prop 13 with a clear eye.
Prop 31-No-Another crazy scheme to hamstring the Legislature from making budgets in the guise of cleaning up the mess, gives the governor the ability to change or eliminate programs which the Leg voted to spend money on if he doesn’t think we can afford it. It is a constitutional amendment.
Prop 32-Hell No-It prohibits unions from collecting political donations and contributing to candidates while claiming to do the same for corporations which will still fund political campaigns the way they always did. It might as well be called the “Defund the Democratic Party Act” since it eliminates practically the only source of funding that is not from corporations and CEOs.
Prop 33-Stupid No- Aren’t we tired of Mercury Insurance yet? They should be tired of trying to fool us into voting away our right to some kind of control over car insurance costs. Geesh.
Prop 34-Yes-Repeal the death penalty with all its pitfalls-economic and racial injustice and ridiculous waste of public monies. If you were standing outside of San Quentin while they slowly murdered Stanley Tookie Williams like I was, well, please support this.
Prop 35-No-No, it’s not a no-brainer, it’s a mess of an initiative (or is that redundant)? It just adds another layer of people who will be locked away or not allowed to be part of society who may not be traffickers while not punishing other types of exploitation and does not support the victims. There is a law on the books which needs to be funded that supports the victims. See
Prop 36-Yes-Duh, this is a no-brainer. Stop spending our limited dollars on jailing people who have not committed violent crimes rather than educating them. Now if we could just end the war on drugs.
Prop 37-Yes-GMO Labels-In spite of all the ads and the blather that it’s not perfect, it’s just a label and might be the beginning of healthy eating or at least a step in that direction. Something civilized countries are already doing.
Prop 38-No-Munger Initiative-There’s lots of theories on how 30 and 38 affect each other. I’m voting no on 38 and encouraging a strong vote for 30 which goes into effect immediately and pays for more than just K-12 education.