Monday, November 05, 2012

DownWithTyranny California Voters Guide, 2012


Do what your conscience tells you to do in the presidential race. We certainly don't want to see Mitt Romney elected, but California isn't going to award it's gigantic pot of electoral votes to him regardless of what you do tomorrow. The Field Poll released Saturday shows Obama cleaning Romney's clock in California 54-39% among likely voters. (The poll also shows Dianne Feinstein beating someone you never heard of, Elizabeth Emken, who the Republicans dug up somewhere, 54-33%.) I'm not voting in either race-- despite conservaDem Jonathan Chait's glowing endorsement in New York Magazine (and despite his more salient slam against Romney). And redistricting put a sleazy, warmongering, homophobic Blue Dog, Adam Schiff, is as congressman in my own district. We'll deal with him in 2014. I'm not voting in that race either. There are, however, 27 progressives running for Congress in California. Blue America has endorsed Lee Rogers, Jay Chen and Alan Lowenthal and we should have endorsed Raul Ruiz and Mark Takano in Riverside County as well (but they were too busy campaigning, which is fine; it looks like they're both winning). But what this post is about is the down-down-down ballot items, primarily the propositions.

Short version:

Prop 30- YES
Prop 31- NO
Prop 32- NO
Prop 33- NO
Prop 34- yes
Prop 35- no
Prop 36- yes
Prop 37- YES
Prop 38- no
Prop 39- YES
Prop 40- YES

I'll try to keep the explanations short. Prop 30 raises state income taxes very slightly on the top 2% ($250,000/year and above) and temporarily increases the sales tax by 1/4 cent to fund public schools. This is Governor Brown's proposal and it's a compromise and could have been a lot better, but it's the best deal available and the alternative is unthinkable-- turning California into another backward mess like Alabama or Mississippi. YES!

Prop 31 is some kind of conservative hodgepodge of faux-reforms that allow counties to gut environmental protections, cut back on funding for public education and keep the state from acting to protect citizens from predator billionaires. It's another financial measure meant to help the wealthy grab more power. NO!

Prop 32, the most deceptive thing on the ballot (other than Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan themselves) is an initiative dressed up as a way to get "special interest" money out of politics, but like the Citizens United decision, it is in fact designed to hand over democratic decision making wholesale to precisely those corporate interests who would rape the environment, destroy public education, undermine democracy and wipe out the business regulations that keep our communities safe.

How does Prop 32 do all of this? By making it illegal for unions to use payroll deduction to fund their political programs, effectively silencing working families in California decision-making. The same restriction will apply to corporations, their barrage of misleading TV and radio ads, claim, but here's the hitch: Big corporations pay for their lobbying and campaign contributions through their general funds, not through payroll deduction, so the measure will have no impact on their political spending. That's how the Koch brothers and Prop 32's other Big Money right-wing backers are tricking people into believing the initiative applies equally to business and unions, when in fact its sole purpose is to silence all progressive voices and make sure politicians only hear the voices and cash the checks of corporate America. Today we see a money laundering scandal that was used to finance this Proposition (and it leads directly to the puppeteer of American fascism, David Koch.) NO!

Prop 33 is a repackaging of the failed Prop 17 from several years ago, Mercury Insurance's own attempt to raise rates on poor people for no special reason other than some executive's mistress wanting new shoes. NO!

Prop 34 abolishes the death penalty. I favor the death penalty and always have. However, it is unfairly administered and should be abolished. YES!

Prop 35 seeks to increase penalties for human trafficking and redefines sex crimes in bizarre ways-- like a 17 year old and an 18 year old having consensual sex. It's an example of how this whole proposition crap has gotten out of hand. This is something the legislator should be dealing with, not voters. If Prop 32 is the most deceptive, this one is the stupidest and most lame. NO!

Prop 36 would amend the 3-strikes law for non-violent third offenses and authorizes re-sentencing for offenders serving life sentences now. I watch a lot of Lock Up Raw on MSNBC and I'm not very sympathetic to lawbreakers. But I do favor the idea of judges having a free hand in sentencing and not being bound by reactionary prejudices. I'm going to vote for this... with some trepidation. yes

Prop 37 is the one I've been writing about all summer and fall, the one that requires food manufacturers to inform the public if they're using potentially dangerous genetically modified ingredients in their food products. Don't you want to know if untrustworthy corporations-- who are spending over a million dollars a day to defeat this-- are injecting insecticides into your baby's formula?

Prop 38 is another example of an entitled billionaire-- albeit this one well-intentioned, for a change-- blundering into something foolish and dangerous. She wants to raise taxes on everyone right down to folks scraping by on $7,500 year, to fund Pre-K through high school. It competes with the much better Prop 30 and should be rejected. no

Prop 39 is complicated but basically closes corporate tax loopholes and raises money to fund projects that create energy efficiency and clean energy jobs. Out of state corporations doing business in California and avoiding state taxes will have to pay their fair share, which should raise around a billion dollars annually for the state. YES!

Prop 40 keeps the state senate districts drawn by a non-partisan commission. The Republicans don't like the boundaries. A YES vote tells the Republicans to go shove their heads up their asses. YES!

A couple of bits and pieces:

Los Angeles District Attorney- Jackie Lacey

State Assembly- AD-29 Mark Stone, AD-39 Richard Alarcon, AD-45 Bob Blumenfield, AD-46 Adrin Nazarian, AD-51 Luis Lopez

State Senate- SD-17 Bill Monning, SD-19 Hannah-Beth Jackson, SD-27 Fran Pavley, SD-29 Greg Diamond

And the most important race in Southern California:



At 7:57 AM, Anonymous me said...

Prop 34 abolishes the death penalty. I favor the death penalty and always have. However, it is unfairly administered and should be abolished. YES!

I agree with you, but for a different reason. Most if not all of those murderers certainly deserve to be put to death.

But the death penalty issue is not about them - it's about the people left behind after the murderers are gone. Contrary to what conservatives love to say, I think the death penalty CHEAPENS life. It encourages desire for revenge and feelings of blood lust among the public.

I'm against the death penalty not because of what it does to murderers, but because of what it does to the rest of us.

At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said... A good reason to support Prop 36.


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