Tuesday, November 02, 2010

California Voter Guide Redux-- Expanded


Eight days ago we ran a California voter guide to help progressives with the propositions. Allow me to repeat it-- with a few additions. As I mentioned then, you can't figure much out from the misleading onslaught of TV ads, which barely give you a clue what any of these propositions are about. There are 9 statewide propositions this year, 4 good ones, 4 bad ones and one head-scratcher.

Let's start with Prop 19, which would legalize and tax marijuana, which I'll count as a good one. Politicians are afraid of it and they're virtually all opposing it. It was stupid-- and racist-- to criminalize marijuana in the first place. It's just idiotic and socially debilitating to keep it illegal. I haven't smoked a joint since 1969 but I'm voting YES.

Prop 20 was written by a right wing activist specifically to decrease the number of congressional seats the Democrats hold in Congress. Gerrymandering has been epic in California-- almost as bad-- but not quite-- as in Florida or Texas-- and when Florida and Texas end gerrymandering, California should as well. Until then, this bill is just one-sided Democratic unilateral disarmament. I'm voting NO.

Prop 21 will save the state parks, which will be shut down if the measure fails. The wealthy never want to pay for the commons-- like state parks-- but this attempt doesn't even tax them. It spreads it out among all vehicle owners at $18 per year. It's worth it. I'm voting YES.

Prop 22 is the most difficult of this year's crop of props to understand. It seems to help with funding for local governments-- cities and counties-- but at the expense of public education and other vital public services. I'm voting NO.

Prop 23 is the big one and the ad above captures the spirit of the debate. Wealthy Texas oil firms, Valero and Tesoro have put this on the ballot and are paying the run millions of dollars in deceptive advertising. It would repeal California's global warming legislation and wreck the state's burgeoning clean energy economy. The bill is a job killer for the sake of a few wealthy, avaricious oil tycoons with a malevolent agenda. I'm noting NO-- big time!

Prop 24 will close tax loopholes for corporations that are costing the state $2 billion annually by allowing corporate tax evaders to shift the burden onto ordinary working families. The Republicans want to keep the loopholes in place for their corporate donors. I'm voting YES.

Prop 25 is the long past-due majority-rule amendment for the state budget. This one would eliminate the 2/3 requirement in the state legislature to pass the annual budget, freeing the majority from the tyranny of a small minority of crazed ideologues and puppets of the super-wealthy with their own selfish agendas. I cannot wait to vote YES on this one.

Prop 26 is another right-wing special interest amendment, this time to protect polluters from legal remedies. It goes back to the old argument of who pays for clean-up when corporations pollute the air and water, the taxpayers or the polluters. The corporate polluters are spending big to make sure it's the taxpayers who pay, not the polluters who profit from the pollution. I'm voting NO! NO! A thousand times NO.

Prop 27 is the one I referred to as a head-scratcher. It seeks to eliminate the commission to redraw state legislative district boundaries and it's been endorsed by the California Democratic Party, the California Labor Federation, the teachers union, the state's biggest conservation group and other trustworthy organizations. But it's confusing, especially with Prop 20 on the ballot. My understanding is that if both Prop 20 and Prop 27 win, the one that passes with the highest majority will go into effect. My gut tells me to vote YES on this as a way of helping defeat the really odious Prop 20.

As for candidates... it's a lot simpler than it used to be. There are good Democrats and there are bad Democrats. But there are no good Republicans... not one... anywhere. Like she said in her "I'm not a witch" ad, they are all Christine O'Donnell-- stupid, self-serving, bigoted and incompetent. Unless you're just discovering DWT this morning, you already know we are adamantly opposed to both Fiorina and NutMeg. A couple words that explain why either would make a horrendous elected official, even if either really was as successful in business as they claim. Fiorina, as most people now understand, was a catastrophe for the workers and shareholders of HP and was fired for being the undisputed worst CEO in the history of the company. If you want to know how awful Whitman was, don't look at what she looted from the company, just speak with most long-time eBay users. I've conducted charitable auctions on the site for many years and brought in several million dollars. I stopped doing it because Whitman turned eBay into a nightmarish, fascist organization that makes users jump through hoops because of an intrinsically narrow, authoritarian mindset. Hoops on fire.

Before I started DWT I worked as the president of Reprise Records, a division of TimeWarner. I didn't fit into the corporate world at all but the company was extremely successful-- certainly not because of me but by their rules it looked like that-- so they tolerated me. I learned early on that many of the most apparently successful business people in the corporate world are very authoritarian and don't understand how to deal with people outside of their closed culture of sycophants whose bonuses are dependent on them. California voters have shrewdly gotten the distinct feeling that neither Whitman nor Fiorina is someone with the slightest bit of empathy for human beings.

Vote for the Democrat in every race and if you don't remember why, this will help you. Two nonpartisan recommendations: Tom Torlakson for Superintendent of Public Instruction and on retaining Supreme Court judges, YES on Carlos Moreno and NO on Ming Chin.

Now... check and make sure where you're supposed to vote today here. And if you have any problems at the polls... here's a Voter Protection website where you can get help. Their number is 1-866-OUR-VOTE. And there's last minute phone banking you can still do here. And there's always prayer.

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At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Miranda said...

Thanks for this, very helpful.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous me said...

Thanks for the guide. It was helpful.

I'm sure you've noticed how complicated propositions have been getting in recent years. That is without doubt intentional - if voters are confused, they are easier to manipulate with advertising.

Fiorina ... was fired for being the undisputed worst CEO in the history of the company

HP used to be a great company. They have turned into crap. Some of their products are still good enough, but many have been cheapened to the point of being terrible. Their bloated software sucks and customer service (farmed out to India, I presume as part of Fiorina's layoffs) is worse than useless, a complete disgrace. I used to like HP; now I stay far, far away.

One can just imagine what she would do to our country. Oh well, not to worry ... Fiorina might not win in California, but many of her ideological brethren will win across the country.

Well, Obama! Are you PROUD of what you have done?? Still glad you told liberals to fuck off? Still think kissing republican ass instead of prosecuting those no-good sons of bitches is a winning strategy? Goddamn wanker - thanks for nothing.


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