Judges and Propositions Galore!
There’s no denying this ballot is overwhelming.
I urge you to take a deep breath, dig in, and get knowledgeable about your choices.
Most of all, I encourage you to
I’ve recently received numerous requests for voting recommendations. It appears that most people are informed about the candidates and know who they prefer. However, they want information about the 17 California state propositions, 2 county measures and 8 judges who are on our November 2016 ballots.
For those interested in my views, here they are:
• Office No. 11—Steven Schreiner
• Office No. 42—Efrain Matthew Aceves
• Office No. 84—Javier Perez
• Office No. 158—David A. Berger
My statement: Many of the propositions this year are complicated and written in ways that are non-transparent. A few lump multiple issues together. One thing is clear… most will increase residents’ personal tax burdens. I’m opposed to continually taking more income from tax-payers to fund endless programs with unknown outcomes. It’s important that we live within our means, both personally and in government.
Prop. 51—NO School Bonds: Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities. It would allow the state to sell $9 billion in general obligation bonds for education facilities ($7 billion for K-12 public school facilities and $2 billion for community college facilities). It will require bond payments of about $500 million per year for 35 years.
Prop 52—YES Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program. It will protect an existing program developed by California hospitals to secure available federal matching dollars for Medi-Cal. It prohibits the Legislature from diverting this money for other purposes without voter approval.
Prop 53—NO Revenue Bonds. Statewide Voter Approval. If passed, this proposition would require voter approval before issuing state revenue bonds totaling more than $2 billion for a project funded, owned, or managed by the state. This sounds like a good idea, unfortunately it could have unintended negative consequences. It requires that the entire state vote on local projects, despite them being paid for by taxes from local residents. Critical infrastructure projects that have been planned for many years could be shelved by voters who won’t be paying for it. These would include projects that have important repairs needed. There are also no provisions made in this proposition for emergency services in the event of a natural disaster. It would require a statewide vote to secure funds for infrastructure and state assistance when time is of the essence. If it passes, we can also expect to see special interest lobbying groups attempting to influence voters on these projects during campaign season.
Prop 54—YES Legislature. Legislation and Proceedings. I strongly support this measure. It prohibits the Legislature from passing any bill unless it is published on the Internet for 72 hours before the vote is taken. My only wish is that they would be posted sooner.
Prop 55—NO Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare. Extends the 2012 temporary income tax increases on personal earnings over $250,000 which are scheduled to end after 2018. If passed, the tax increases will continue through 2030.
Prop 56—NO Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare… It would increase the State excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products such as e-cigarettes, from .87 cents to $2.87. Percentage-wise, this is an enormous jump. Much of the tax revenue would go to insurance companies and healthcare providers, without clearly delineating how it would be allocated. This tax would inevitably drive many residents to purchase cigarettes online, which would impact local corner stores and businesses. As we have seen happen in other states, the tax collector could then begin a monitoring program for online cigarette sales and tax residents who purchased cigarettes via the internet. While I’m not a smoker, I don’t support attempts to change people’s personal habits via taxation.
Prop 57—NO Criminal Sentences. Parole… A complicated measure. Essentially, if passed, it would continue California’s early release program. In 2011, a program began which saw 40,000 non-violent state prison inmates released over a few years. The statistical results of that program make it clear that crimes have increased in direct correlation, including in Glendora. California’s prison system needs systematic reforms including drug rehabilitation, juvenile services, and mental health support before we should consider expanding the bungled early release program. If passed, this bill would also allow judges in juvenile cases to decide if the minor should be tried as an adult. Currently that decision is made by the prosecuting attorney. If voting on this issue alone, I would vote yes; unfortunately, it’s tied to the dangerous early release program.
Prop 58—YES English Proficiency. Multilingual Education. I am a proponent of local schools and parents having decision-making ability with their students’ education. This proposition, which is supported by teachers and parents, allows area schools to decide how best to teach English learners. The goal is that English language acquisition be as rapid and effective as possible. It is projected to have minimal fiscal impact on schools’ budgets.
Prop 59—NO Corporations. Political Spending. It is an advisory measure only, which would request that the California legislature should petition US Congress to create a constitutional amendment overturning the 2011 Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court decision. In general, I don’t find it useful to vote on advisory measures, and a Constitutional Amendment is a significant alteration to our founding documents that I don’t take lightly.
Prop 60—NO Adult Films. Condoms. Health Requirements. In November 2012, Los Angeles voters approved Measure B, which requires sex-actors to wear condoms on set. This year, we get to vote on Prop 60, which aims to further enforce Measure B and would create a new platform for lawsuits costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in court fees. It is the only initiative on the ballot that is opposed by both the California Democratic AND Republican Parties.
Prop 61—NO State Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing Standards. It would increase prescription prices, reduce patient access to needed medicines and produce more bureaucracy and lawsuits. State agencies currently are able to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs without reference to the prices paid by the US Dept. of Veterans Affairs.
Prop 62—Yes. Death Penalty. It would repeal the death penalty in California and replace it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. For several reasons, my position on the death penalty has changed over time. Economic studies show that it’s far more expensive to deal with a death row inmate than a prisoner convicted to life without parole. Taxpayers have spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment since it was reinstated in 1978, or $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out since then. Capital trials, enhanced security on death row and legal representation for capital defendants add $184 million to California’s budget annually compared to those sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. We have also learned, with the introduction of DNA evidence, that our judicial system can be flawed and has incarcerated people who are later proven innocent upon new evidence. Prop 66 is a conflicting measure that also addresses the death penalty.
Prop 63—NO Firearms. Ammunition Sales. If passed, it could increase state and local costs by multi-millions of dollars from increased burdens on law enforcement and the court system. It is opposed by law enforcement, anti-terrorism experts and civil liberties groups.
Prop 64—NO Marijuana Legalization. It would legalize growing, possessing, or using marijuana for non-medical purposes. Before legalization is considered, however, there must be standards and technology for addressing the problem of people driving under the influence of marijuana. Those standards don’t yet exist. Medical marijuana use is already legal in California and won’t be affected by this measure.
Prop 65—NO Carryout Bags. Charges. This would be a multi-million dollar tax on California shoppers. It bans plastic grocery bags statewide and requires stores to sell recycled/reusable paper bags for 10 cents or more which would be paid to a new state fund for the environment. It would require that retailers keep daily accounting records of the bag sales, transfer the money to the State and cover the costs of implementation. It only addresses grocery bags, no other types of shopping bags or plastic products, which makes it a largely symbolic strategy. Prop 67 is a conflicting measure that also addresses plastic bags.
Prop 66—NO Death Penalty. Procedures. This was written as a challenge to Prop 62. It vows to speed up death penalty court procedures, however the implementation would be costly to taxpayers and adds new layers of government bureaucracy. This is not where to begin with prison reform.
Prop 67—NO Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. Similar to Prop 65, this prohibits retail stores from providing single-use plastic or paper carryout bags at checkout and permits the sale of recycled/reusable bags at 10 cents each. This time the revenue would remain with the stores themselves, to cover the costs of the program, rather than being paid into a gov. fund. Again, it’s another way to tax people. If both Proposition 65 and 67 pass, the one with the most votes would prevail.
• A—NO Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks… It creates an increase in property taxes to replace the funding from two expiring temporary taxes for parks. It would levy a property tax of 1.5 cents per square foot of every building every year, hitting businesses and apartment building owners especially hard, leading to higher prices and higher rents. It is a permanent tax.
• M—NO Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan. It proposes a new ½ cent sales tax to fund transportation projects, along with continuing the existing ½ cent LA County transportation tax, both of which would become permanent taxes.