Friends, Americans, Californians – Lend me your eyes.
I come to share with you my overbearing opinions on the election. I know for many of you, campaign season has dragged on for an eternity. For those of us who are political junkies, there is no such thing as “too long” when it comes to this sort of thing.
PRESIDENT – Barack Obama
I’d like to start with the big one on everybody’s ballot – it should come as no surprise to you that I’m supporting Senator Barack Obama for President. As President, I believe he will consider how policy will impact our everyday lives, think carefully before he takes action, work to strengthen the economy and improve our standing around the world, and lead in a way that will encourage us to create change in our own communities. On every issue – from health care, to the economy, to the war in Iraq – he has outlined policies that will make us a better, stronger nation. For more information, visit his website.
Now, on to the California ballot!
YES on 1A, 2, 11, and 12
NO on 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10
YES on Prop 1A – SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT.
I’m still a bit torn, since this is a bond and California is broke. However, it builds our infrastructure; it will improve existing rail lines and bring electric-powered high-speed passenger train service from San Diego to San Francisco and points in between. We need transportation alternatives in the state. Prop 1A also creates thousands of jobs and does not raise taxes.
More info on Prop 1A from the Secretary of State
YES on Prop 2 – STANDARDS FOR CONFINING FARM ANIMALS.
Look, I admit it, I eat meat. I love meat. But do I want the animals that provide that meat to be abused in the process of being raised for me to eat? No. This measure would require that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens, and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that would allow the animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs, and turn around freely. That doesn’t sound extreme to me. Family farmers – that is, farmers that aren’t giant agri-businesses and conglomerates – support this measure.
Yes on Prop 2
NO on Prop 3 – CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL BOND ACT.
Wow, what kind of jerk is against children and hospitals? Me, I guess. I’m not against these things in principle; it’s simply that as I mentioned earlier, California is BROKE. And while this is a very worthy cause, I can’t defend spending on one small segment of the population in such tough times. (Whereas transportation benefits us all.) Sorry, kids.
More info on Prop 3 from the Secretary of State
NO on Prop 4 – WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY.
As the current No on 4 ads say, think outside your bubble. Many girls who become pregnant do not have the luxury of understanding parents with whom they can discuss their options or from whom they can receive support. They feel trapped and desperate and if Prop 4 passes, they could turn to dangerous options – unsafe, illegal back alley abortions or even suicide. The safety of these girls is paramount. Vote No on 4.
No on 4
NO on Prop 5 – NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENSES. SENTENCING, PAROLE AND REHABILITATION.
In theory, this proposition, which would allocate more funds for drug treatment for non-violent offenders (instead of incarceration), is well-intentioned but extremely expensive ($1 billion per year). It updates Prop 36, a law passed in 2000, but Prop 36 has not been wildly successful. More money for a program that hasn’t been proven to work? I just don’t think we can afford it.
No on Prop 5
NO on Prop 6 – POLICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNDING.
Again, more spending…and this time to build new prisons and jails, not to put more law enforcement on the street. It would cost $1 billion in the first year, and again, not one new cop…another law we can’t afford.
No on Prop 6
NO on Prop 7 – RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION.
It would seem odd that major environmental groups – including California League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club California – would come out against an initiative for “green” energy…unless that initiative was poorly written and would actually increase energy costs while slowing the development of renewable energy. This bill is seriously flawed, and voting no is the smart thing to do.
No on Prop 7
NO on Prop 8 – ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY.
Any initiative that starts off “eliminates right of” can’t be good. And this is DEFINITELY not good. Not many people realize that it was just over 40 years ago when interracial couples gained the right to marry…a right that no one should have been able to prevent in the first place. Same-sex couples have the right to marry in California today and passage of Prop 8 would strip that right away. Voting no on 8 won’t change anything in the education system nor will it force any church to marry same-sex couples. No person or group should suffer discrimination. Please vote NO on Prop 8; it's unfair, wrong, and we deserve better.
No on Prop 8
NO on Prop 9 – CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. VICTIMS’ RIGHTS. PAROLE.
While victims’ rights are important to me – especially having worked with the families of murder victims – Prop 9 is both duplicative and dangerous. Californians already voted for a victim’s bill of rights in 1982. Prop 9 repeats pieces of that initiative and then places some administrative duties (like handing out a card with information on victim’s rights) into the State Constitution, making them almost impossible to fix if there are errors. I’m going to quote the LA Times editorial, which states my case regarding the danger of Prop 9 more eloquently that I could: “The American legal system intentionally and properly distances families from prosecutions; the goal is evenhanded justice. The level of punishment a criminal receives should not depend on how persistent a particular family is in pleading for punishment or blocking parole. Civilized justice rejects vendetta and instead places retribution in the hands of the entire society. It may seem depersonalizing, but that's a goal, not a defect, of our system.”
No on Prop 9
NO on Prop 10 – ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGY.
Like Prop 7, Prop 10 purports to be “green” but in actuality, it’s about greed. Prop 10 would be a taxpayer boondoggle that would do nothing to reduce carbon emissions – it would give people rebates to purchase vehicles that create “no net material increase in air pollution.” It would rely on future tax collection to pay back bonds, meaning we would be subsidizing “alternative energy” vehicles that could pollute as much as current gas-powered vehicles.
No on Prop 10
YES on Prop 11 – REDISTRICTING.
Currently, California State Legislators, Democrats and Republicans alike, draw their own legislative districts. This ensures a 99% re-election rate for our state legislators, even as they refuse to take action on health care, education, the water crisis, and the state budget. Prop 11 will create an 14-member independent citizens commission based on strict non-partisan rules in an open and transparent process. We can’t afford political gridlock and we deserve to have our elected officials be accountable to us. Vote YES on Prop 11.
Yes on Prop 11
YES on Prop 12 – VETERANS’ BOND ACT OF 2008.
This act provides for a bond issue of $900,000,000 to provide loans to California veterans to purchase farms and homes. We already make these loans through the Cal-Vet loan program. Californians have voted 26 times to continue funding this program. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office states that all of that previous bond debt and operating costs have been covered by the veterans' mortgage payments. There’s no reason to believe this would change.
More info about Prop 12 from the Secretary of State
I’m open to hearing your opinions, so feel free to leave a comment. (If you're not one of the usual suspects: please be respectful. Vitriol will be deleted.) And as always, regardless of your stances on these issues, I encourage you to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 4th.
I leave you with two quotes:
“If liberty and equality, as is thought by some are chiefly to be found in democracy, they will be best attained when all persons alike share in the government to the utmost.” – Aristotle
“Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote.” – George Jean Nathan
Monday, November 03, 2008
Friends, Americans, Californians – Lend me your eyes.