Monday, November 06, 2006

california ballot guide

tomorrow? vote, vote, vote.

each year, Darien DeLu (former co-president of WILPF) puts out a voter guide for california. i disagree with Darien with 1E (flood bond) and 86 (cigarette tax), but like the looks of the rest of it. thanks, Darien, for taking the time to put this together and for distributing your knowledge to others.
    Darien's Ballot Guide to the Propositions:
    California Ballot - Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006

    Once again, with the help of many people and sources, I offer this progressive guide. Along with the positions of a number of other groups and organizations (abbreviation key follows) my own views are expressed with short analyses and recommendations - and with clearly stated judgments.

    Groups Abbreviated in Endorsements Below:
    ACLU of Northern CA ACLU
    CA Chamber of Commerce CofC
    CA Federation of Teachers CFT
    CA Labor Federation (AFL-CIO) Labr
    Friends Comm. on Legislation FCL
    League of Women Voters of CA Lge
    Republican Party (CA) Rep
    Democratic Party (CA) Dem
    Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assoc. Jrvs
    Peace & Freedom Party (CA) P&F
    Green Party (CA) Grn
    Sierra Club (CA) Sra
    Planning & Conservation League PCL
    Nat'l Organiz. for Women (CA) NOW

    Note - Groups on this list are always shown as a yes or a no when they've taken a position.

    I especially value the reasonable discussions in the FCL newsletter, which you can see at -

    Prop. 1A: "The Automobile Protection Amendment" - NO
    This measure will further tie the hands of our elected representatives in the face of some crisis or economic downturn. At a time when we should be *increasing* the flexibility of our use of excise *and* sales taxes from gasoline sales - for example, in order to begin to build an alternative infrastructure for a post-petroleum society - this *constitutional amendment* goes in the opposite direction.
    Why should transportation projects *always* get a higher priority for gas sales-tax funding than *any* other state expenditure? Yet that was the decision made by Prop.42. Prop. 42 has scant flexibility for critical situations, and 1A eliminates nearly all of that. What's more, 1A would also allow the Legislature, with the approval of the governor - but not the voters - to issue *new* bonds backed by gas sales taxes. Don't fall for the "plug loopholes" talk!
    No - FCL, P&F
    Yes - CofC, Jrvs, CFT, Labr, Dem, Rep

    Prop. 1B: Very Big Bond Bucks for Roads, etc. - NO
    Calif. spends about $20 billion per year on transportation infrastructure. This measure would provide another $20 billion - more than 1C, 1D, & 1E combined! It will ultimately cost nearly $40 billion (with interest). What is this - a special "one for the price of two" offer? Esp. now that is Prop. 42 in place, roads have *guaranteed* funding - unlike the other 1C-E.
    Only 1/5 of this bond goes for public transportation projects, and mere crumbs for cyclists and pedestrians. As the Calif. Bicycle Coalition (CBC) says in their opposing statement, 1B "will increase sprawl and worsen air pollution, and undermine efforts to curb global warming".
    No - Grn, P&F, CBC
    Yes - Lge, CofC, Jrvs, Labr, Dem, Rep, lots of newspapers
    No position - FCL

    Prop. 1C: Housing Help Bond - YES, YES
    Proposition 1C would provide $2.85 billion (cf. $20 B. in 1B!) in funds for 13 new and existing housing and development programs for battered women shelters, low income senior housing, veterans housing and shelter for homeless families. Here we have what I see as a good reason for a bond, much like a mortgage to buy your own home. Yet home ownership has become a hopeless dream for the groups this bond addressed by this bond.
    Yes - CofC, CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, Lge, PCL, Sra, NOW
    No - Jrvs, Rep, P&F

    Prop. 1D: School Bond - Yes
    Providing $7.3 B for schools - including colleges/universities - this is another big bond. OK, I'm a sucker for the value and benefits of education. Still, I'm concerned about the general refusal of voters to pay for tax increases in order to provide school funding, given "The Trouble with Bonds". (See article, below.) Yes - CofC, CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, Lge, Sra, Now
    No - Jrvs, P&F

    Prop. 1E: Flood Bond - No? [Yes]
    I'm not saying that we don't need $4.1 billion in flood control projects, but we must also enact zoning laws that prevent construction in areas likely to flood. Without such controls, aren't we simply subsidizing those making a buck at the expense of ill-informed, uncaring, or desperate home buyers?
    No - P&F
    Yes - CofC, CFT, Labr, Dem, Rep

    Prop. 83: They Came for the Sex Offenders... - NO
    Emotionalism and fear make for bad law, esp. in a time when repressive measures seem to have become more acceptable. This prop. would put *severe* restrictions on where sex offenders could live - so severe that they would find it impossible to live in many towns. Beyond that are many effectiveness problems. The measure is so indiscriminate that enforcement costs would drain resources that would be better focused on the most likely offenders. Besides, this prop. is based on the myth of the dangerous stranger; per FCL, 90% of children know their perpetrators. Also, research in Florida showed that perp's go out of neighborhood so as not to be recognized.
    No - ACLU, FCL, P&F, Grn
    Yes - Dem, Rep

    Prop. 84: Water Bond - Yes
    It is said that the today's wars are about oil, but tomorrow's will be about water. Already in Calif. many of the lowest income people - farm workers in rural areas - are paying the highest prices for their drinking water. Protecting the quality and supply of drinking water is, I believe, a critical governmental function. This $5.4 billion bond measure will also do other water projects - such as coastal restoration and (cf. Prop. 1E!) some flood control.
    Yes - CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, Lge, Sra
    No - Jrvs, Rep, P&F

    Prop. 85: Anti-Abortion for Minors - NO!
    This constitutional amendment seeks to restrict abortion access for minors. Wasn't it just last Nov. that we defeated the nearly identical Prop. 73, 53% to 47%? Of course, all parents would like to be able to talk to their minor daughters contemplating abortions, but the daughter who chooses not to tell her parents has compelling reasons! This prop. will cause girls' deaths from illegal abortions; and legal abortions, by being delayed, will become more dangerous. The option to go to a judge is a sham for an already frightened teen. Scary - with 44 states already with such laws, without reducing teen pregnancy.
    NO - ACLU, CFT, Dem, FCL, Lge, NOW, P&F, Sra, Grn
    Yes - Rep

    Prop. 86: Cigarette Tax - No [Yes]
    This *constitutional amendment* is a huge cig. tax increase that would be extremely regressive, given that smokers are disproportionately lower income people. The funds raised would go to many programs, but only a fraction of them - less than 10% - are even slightly related to tobacco use. Also, 86 would override some more directly tobacco-related program funding under the Prop. 99. Law enforcement fears tax avoidance by illegal & casino purchases.
    No - CofC, Jrvs, P&F, Rep
    Yes - CFT, Labr, Dem, Lge

    Prop. 87: Oil Exploitation Tax to Fund Alternative Energy - YES
    This is the most expensive prop. campaign in Calif. history, with oil companies on one side and those looking to make money on alternatives on the other. This *constitutional amendment*, creates a tax on oil extraction, similar to what most other oil producing states have. Where that annual $225-$485 million goes is clearly defined, as well as the composition of the administering Board - in a way that provides accountability to the tax payers. The prop. also prohibits gas producers from passing the tax to consumers. Other market forces may push up gas prices, but these same forces may also keep prices down - especially as investment of the millions of dollars raised by the tax succeed in reducing gasoline consumption.
    Yes - CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, NOW, P&F, Sra, Grn
    No - CofC, Jrvs, Rep

    Prop. 88: Regressive Parcel Tax for Schools - NO
    Another regressive tax - charging the same amount, regardless of the value or size of the parcel - and a *constitutional amendment* which could start a new wave of special-purpose state property taxes.
    No - CFT, Dem, Rep, FCL, P&F, Grn, Calif. PTA, Jrvs, Lge
    Yes - ?

    Prop. 89: Reducing Corporate Control of Elections - YES
    This prop. to limit campaign financing is an imperfect measure, as they're all likely to be as long as the Supreme Court continues to equate money with "freedom of speech". This *will* limit corporate contributions to ballot measure campaigns, and that difference would be huge!
    Yes - FCL, Lge, NOW, P&F, Sra
    No - CofC, CFT, Dem, Jrvs, Rep

    Prop. 90: Money Rights, Not Community Rights - NO!
    This *constitutional amendment* is *not* really about protecting home owners. Instead, 90 would force the government - ie., tax payers - to pay off companies and wealthy individuals when new laws (such as air pollution laws) could be construed as reducing the value of property. Basic laws that we now think of as a community's rights - zoning, environmental protections - could require millions in "ransom", even when real impacts are unclear.
    No - CFT, Labr, Dem, FCL, P&F, Grn, PCL, ACLU, Sra
    Yes - Jrvs, Rep
for additional recommendations, see the league of women voters of san francisco voter's guide (in english, spanish, and chinese!), the san francisco bay guardian's printable PDF voter guide, and danah boyd's california/san francisco/los angeles voter guide.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this was very helpful, thanks a lot! see you in class.