Saturday, October 15, 2016

California Voting Guide for the 2016 General Election

I have a friend who every election cycle puts out a voting guide.  He does extensive research and actually works in the California legislature.  I don't agree with him on everything, but he navigates the more confusing issues well.  Have a look before you vote:
Legislative Analysts’ Office (non-partisan analysis):

Here you go. The recommendations should follow your ballot card (in order of appearance).

Proposition 51 – $9 Billion Education Bond for New and Retrofit Capital Projects – NO
While there is no doubt that our schools need more money for retrofits, this is a statewide measure that is unaffordable. Governor Brown and the Sacramento Bee are opposed to this measure. The Department of Finance notes that this will average $500 million per year in principal and interest payments out of the General Fund, displacing other priorities. If local residents want a local school bond, they can pass something that they are accountable for and for which they can maintain oversight.    

Proposition 52 – California Medi-Cal Hospital Reimbursement Initiative – YES
This extends a fee that already exists to provide for matching federal funds. Should the legislature want to change this, they can with a 2/3 vote.

Proposition 53 – Voter Approval for State Revenue Bonds above $2 billion – YES
If we are doing large projects that have a statewide benefit, then we usually pursue general obligation bonds which already require voter approval. However, over the last several years, untenable projects that would not likely get voter approvals go the direction of the lease-revenue bonds to avoid this problem. This bill is necessary to avoid good money going after the beleaguered high-speed rail train (of which I’m totally opposed) and possibly the Delta water tunnels project (of which I’m agnostic) without any voter oversight. If the voters think that money should go to these projects, then they will vote for them. And don’t be fooled that this would require voter approval on bonds for emergency purposes because I’ve found no examples where a large lease bond was ever used for this reason.

Proposition 54 – Public Display of Legislative Bills – YES, YES, YES
If you want more sunlight and access to legislative process and hearings, vote for this measure. If you are tired of bills being gutted and amended in back rooms in the dark of night when the public isn’t possibly paying attention or involved, then vote for this. This proposition requires bills be in print for 72 hours before being voted on. It also gives open access to recordings of all public hearings.

Proposition 55 – Extension of Proposition 30 Income Tax Increase – NO
Proposition 30 tax was supposed to be a "temporary" income tax on wealthy to expire by 2018. Instead, as revealed in several recent articles in the Los Angeles TimesCapital Public RadioBloombergReuters and the New York Times, the unfunded liabilities for public pensions and retiree healthcare costs have skyrocketed and this money is intended to be expended for 12 years to pay for untenable pension costs. California had the largest state budget in the nation’s history totaling over a QUARTER OF A TRILLION DOLLARS this year. The legislature shows no signs of constraint and will keep writing checks they can’t cash unless they are required to confront their reckless spending habits head-on.
Proposition 56 – Healthcare, Research & Prevention Tobacco Tax – NO
This will place an additional $2 tax increase on a pack of cigarettes, creating a black market on tobacco products. While it is commendable to address the problem of smoking and nicotine addiction, these kinds of projects only raise money for special interests and nothing of value ever comes of it.

Proposition 57 – Parole of Non-Violent Criminals & Juvenile Criminal Proceedings – NO
This was another end-around of the legislature by Governor Brown that will only exacerbate AB 109 (prison realignment to the local jails) & Proposition 47 (changing definitions of crimes to reduce incarceration). Brown could have produced a bipartisan measure with lawmakers, but he finagled this one on the ballot after overcoming several legitimate challenges in court as he changed the language of the proposition. This will shift more costs to local governments and increase homelessness.

Proposition 58 – Non-English Language Education – NO
Amends and repeals Prop. 227 while trying to get around a "total immersion" program that is working. While it is great to encourage multilingual opportunities, English needs to be the official language of the state/nation. That is, if you want a cohesive and functioning society, common language is necessary.

Proposition 59 – Overturn of Citizens United Act – Advisory Question – NO
This is just an advisory question that has no effect on the federal law. It is an attack on First Amendment rights trying to silence effective voices. If I were to change the political disclosure laws, I think that donations to a candidate should be unlimited as long as there is full and immediate disclosure of those donors and recipients. What part of “Congress shall make NO law” don’t people understand in the First Amendment? Also, this would silence newspapers and their endorsement if Congress were to take action. This is a huge waste of time. Why bother the electorate with a meaningless measure? 

Proposition 60 – Condoms Required for Performers in Adult Films – NO
I don’t know what to say about this that won’t be construed inappropriately, but if we’re more worried about the use of condoms in making pornography than the pornography itself, we’re in a world of hurt.

Proposition 61 – State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards – NO
Like the old adage that is proving itself with the failure of Obamacare, “You think that health care is expensive now, wait until it’s free,” price controls of prescriptions only make medicine more expensive.            

Proposition 62 – Death Penalty Repeal – NO
I support the death penalty. It works as a deterrent and punishment when used speedily and not sabotaged by the legislature and other capital punishment opponents. I think that our death penalty process needs reforms, but abolishing it does not fix anything and only further aggrieves the families of victims promised justice. On a related note, most of the people supporting this proposition also support infanticide and physician assisted suicide. They would rather kill the innocent than those that are truly guilty of the most heinous crimes.
Proposition 63 –Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine Ban – NO
I support the right to keep and bear arms. The legislature intentionally did not act on this issue as to give something for the Lt. Governor to run on as he seeks to become Governor to boost his liberal/progressive credentials. If enacted, this will not lead to less violence.          

Proposition 64 – Marijuana Legalization – NO
While I am generally fine with the idea of legalizing drugs and allowing adults to make dumb decisions – the prohibition of alcohol didn’t work – this is a federal issue and the Congress should make this decision. Despite the vote, marijuana will still be illegal under federal law. Besides the fact that legalization of marijuana is having a negative impact on my former home of Colorado (call your friends there and ask how they like it), I don’t think that concentrating more marijuana consumption in California under the color of being legal is going to benefit the state as a whole. 

I'm going to disagree with my friend here.  Vote YES.  I'm libertarian, and he's not.   I'm not a fan of bans in general.  Prohibition had an impact on alcohol consumption, but ultimately wasn't worth the blood spilled or the money spent to impose it.  It was repealed.  It's time to do the same with the ban on marijuana.  I don't need the government to tell me not to drink alcohol.  I've already made that decision.  Very few people derive medical benefits from the use of marijuana, but I think education is a better solution than a ban, much like with alcohol and cigarettes.  

"South Park" (of all sources) provided one of the truest explanations of marijuana use I've read (that's right, I didn't watch the show):  "Well, Stan, the truth is marijuana probably isn't gonna make you kill people, and it most likely isn't gonna fund terrorism, but… well, son, pot makes you feel fine with being bored. And it's when you're bored that you should be learning some new skill or discovering some new science or being creative. If you smoke pot you may grow up to find out that you aren't good at anything."  

In addition, marijuana use most probably lowers your IQ and hurts your memory.  Of course, there are also studies that show it does no harm.  We all probably know people who have used pot, or do use it regularly.  In my experience, regular use at the very least suppresses motivation, but does seem to have a lasting effect on cognition.  Don't use it.  That said, the ban is still pointless.
Proposition 65 – Redirecting Mandated Carry-Out Bag Fee – YES
I wrote a lengthy study on plastic bags while working at a think tank a few years back and after much research and analysis, we came to the conclusion that banning plastic bags was worse for the environment, using up other precious resources as a poorer substitute. A better pathway would be to enforce littering laws. But since the legislature passed this bill after several attempts under much duress and pressure from the environmental lobby, rather than having the fees collected for buying plastic bags at the store go to the stores, it should go to environmental programs that would clean up the litter. 
I sure do love this.  Plastic bag bans stink.  My county voluntarily imposed one and it's one of the least convenient things ever.  The argument for doing it is that it helps the environment, but the legislation at the state level was dead in the water until the grocery bagger union got involved.  The unions wanted the money, and in many places, they're getting it.  This proposition is a big, "Screw you," to the unions and it redirects those collected fees to what people actually want done with it.  Also, I love screwing over the unions that rule California politics.  I don't think big money and influence should control politics, and I don't care if it's unions like in California or corporations as in many places.  The voice of the people should govern.  So I'm for anything that takes money out of the pockets of big unions.     
Proposition 66 – Death Penalty Reform – YES
I support the death penalty, but think that there should be some reforms. This proposition moves public policy in the right direction.
Proposition 67 – Referendum on Ban of Single Use Plastic Bags – NO
As stated above, I support the use of plastic grocery bags as stated under the explanation in Proposition 65. Here is the lengthy study on plastic bags I did a few years back.

United States Senator: Loretta Sanchez – Since there is no other choice in this race, I prefer the moderate Democrat, who could win if Republicans and Independents vote for her over a very progressive Democrat in Kamala Harris. Harris is not afraid of taking us back to the Stone Age with her climate activism and she’s proud of vilifying YOU and those who stand up for religious freedoms.
Additional voting options in my area (use them to vote on similar things in your area):

Sacramento County Measure B – More Sales Tax to fund Transportation – NO  Never vote for more tax.  The county actually has money to do this and has been doing it.  More sales tax won't help and will likely end up misused.

Sacramento County Measure P – Bonds to fix Schools – NO  Great googly moogly no.  Bonds are high interest rate loans.  They're the worst way to fund anything.  Funding education with bonds is much like using your highest interest rate credit card to buy groceries and pay your electricity bill.  Schools need improving.  This is the wrong way to do it.


President and Vice President – In California, your individual vote here literally does not matter at all.  The poll that ranks Hillary Clinton lowest has her up by 16 points.  There is nothing you could do on facebook or a blog or word of mouth that would influence enough California voters to change the inevitable result of all of California's electoral votes going to the Democrat candidate.  The Democrat party could actually nominate Joseph Stalin and all of California's electoral votes would go to Joseph Stalin.  We have a preponderance of voters who will vote party line no matter what.  For those of us who find our top two choices disgusting and unconscionable, this is liberating.  Go vote your conscience.  You will not affect the outcome of the election for the office of president.

United States Representative, Congressional District 7 - Scott R. Jones is my choice.  I interacted with him before he was Sheriff, and overall I really like him.  He made CCW easier in Sacramento county, so that puts him way ahead of his opponent (the incumbent Ami Bera) in supporting individual freedom.  When given a choice in candidates, I will always vote for one that supports individual liberty over nanny big government.

Now get out there and vote your conscience.  Unless you're ill-informed and voting party line, then please stay home and don't vote.  Much like Mike Rowe, I don't think everyone should vote.  Take time to read his post, because it's pretty great.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I prefer Sanchez for Senate because she's such a nutcase, at least she'll be entertaining. Hopefully it cuts Kamala Harris (who supports keeping criminal illegals in sanctuary cities rather than deporting them) off from future political rise as well.