The number of people that have asked me for this is a bit scary. Until I was way late in posting this, I didn’t realize how much people listened to what I had to say on these propositions. This year, I’m only reviewing the propositions and my local city council and mayoral races. As far as the state-wide offices go, I’m voting party line this election. I’m not thrilled with all of the Democratic candidates, but the Republican candidates scare me. They are running on a platform of having no experience in politics, and I simply can’t think of any job where not having any experience would be an asset.
City of Anaheim Elections
Mayor Tom Tait I’ll be voting for Tom Tait for Anaheim Mayor on Tuesday. I’ve met both candidates a number of times, and I simply think Tom will be able to serve the city better. I think Shirley McCracken is a good person that has served the community well in the past and is running for all the right reasons. However, I think that Tom is a bit more savvy and will be able to get better deals for the city when negotiating with powerful interests like developers, Disney and our two sports teams. Also, I like how he views leadership and management. He wants to push the decision making as low down the totem pole as possible, empowering our city staff to make a difference in our community.
Councilwoman Kris Murray One of my two votes for City Council will go to Kris Murray. She has been actively working in government and our community for many years. She has been instrumental in getting Anaheim to apply for an Enterprise Zone, which I would expect we’ll get approved in the next couple of months. This will be a great benefit to Anaheim by encouraging additional investment and job growth within the city. I support Kris for City Council so strongly that I’ll be walking for her campaign on Saturday.
Councilman John Leos My second vote for City Council will be going to John Leos. I’ve had the opportunity to talk with John on numerous occasions over the past few months. He is a bit of a rarity, in that he is a Republican that’s also a union guy. In a fairly Republican city with a lot of union activity, I think John is well placed to be an effective city leader able to navigate between the residents and the unions.
State-wide Ballot Initiatives
Proposition 19 – Legalizes Marijuana Under California but Not Federal Law. Permits Local Governments to Regulate and Tax Commercial Production, Distribution, and Sale of Marijuana. Initiative Statute.
YES. I’ve been going back and forth on this proposition for weeks now. I support the legalization of marijuana. However, Prop 19 has some problems with the way it goes about that. The drug war against pot costs the state and our cities untold millions of dollars to arrest and prosecute people that are doing something that is harmless to society as a whole. I’m sympathetic to MADD’s argument that Prop 19 doesn’t do enough to define what driving while high means. However, there are already laws on the books that say you can’t drive while under the influence of drugs, whether they are legal drugs or not. Prop 19 also doesn’t define how cities are to regulate the sale of marijuana, but thinking about it, the State doesn’t define how cities regulate the sale of alcohol either. Yes, there will be a period of time where cities have wildly different regulations, but as time progresses, cities will get more or less in line with one another and things will work out. After thinking about Prop 19 for a good long time, I think the long-term benefits of legalizing marijuana now outweighs the short-term disruptions we might see while holes in the law get filled in.
Proposition 20 – Redistricting of Congressional Districts. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
YES. In 2008, Californians passed Proposition 11 which created the Citizen Redistricting Commission to determine the district boundaries during the next round of redistricting for California Senate and Assembly Districts. Prop 20 will also have the Citizen Redistricting Commission redraw the California congressional districts. I’m not 100% sure of the outcome of the Citizen Redistricting Commission, it’s a big and complex issue for part-time volunteers to wrap their arms around. For the most part, I think the districts will be drawn by the staffers assigned to the commission. However, I think it’s an interesting experiment that has great potential to create some competitive races within California. If we’re going to make this change for the state house, we should do it for Congress as well.
Proposition 21 – Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs. Grants Surcharged Vehicles Free Admission to All State Parks. Initiative Statue.
YES. Personally, I’m a big believer in preserving open space and making it available for people’s use. This proposition will provide more money for California’s State Parks while freeing up monies currently being used for the parks to be used for other state services.
Proposition 22 – Prohibits the State From Borrowing or Taking Funds Used for Transportation, Redevelopment, or Local Government Projects and Services. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
YES. Earlier this year, the State of California took over $2 Billion from cities throughout the state to balance the budget. This proposition would prohibit the state from doing that again. Most Californians receive the basic government services through the city they live in, not through the State itself. Just like that State, cities are having a hard time balancing their budget during these difficult economic times. We can’t allow the State to continue increasing the burden on our cities and making it harder for them to provide the essential services we use every day.
Proposition 23 – Suspends Implementation of Air Pollution Control Law (AB 32) Requiring Major Sources of Emissions to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming, Until Unemployment Drops to 5.5 Precent or Less for Full Year. Initiative Statute.
NO. In 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) into law. AB 32 is intended to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to the levels they were in 1990 by 2020. Prop 23 suspends AB 32 until California has a 5.5% unemployment rate for a full year. Unfortunately, California has only had an unemployment rate that low for about seven of the last forty years. Prop 23 essentially ensures AB 32 will not be implemented for another five or more years. Prop 23 represents very short-term thinking, trying to address current economic concerns, while ignoring the long-term consequences of inaction. Global warming is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed now, it can’t wait another five years.
Proposition 24 – Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Lower Their Tax Liability. Initiative Statue.
YES. Recently, as part of state budget agreements, California has changed the laws surrounding taxation of businesses. One of the changes that was made was that businesses were given the ability to carry back their current losses to future years. That means that if a company was taxed on money they made last year, but lost money this year, they could apply those losses to last year and be given money by the state for not being profitable. There is no guarantee that this company will ever make money or create jobs again. At least companies need to make a profit this year to see a benefit from carrying forward their losses. This is simply a handout to businesses that were competitive in the good times but are getting squeezed out of the market during the lean times.
Proposition 25 – Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget and Budget-Related Legislation From Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
YES. Clearly, California has had a budget crisis for the past decade, even when the economy was booming. The majority of the problem with California’s budget woes comes down to the fact that a two-thirds majority is required to pass the budget. A two-thirds majority vote is undemocratic and leads to a tyranny of the minority. Our budget system currently enables a small number of legislators to dictate far reaching changes to the budget that the majority of people wouldn’t agree with. This one change to the process will vastly improve the way California functions.
Proposition 26 – Requires That Certain State and Local Fees be Approved by Two-Thirds Vote. Fees Include Those That Address Adverse Impacts on Society or the Environment Caused by the Fee-Payer’s Business. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
NO. As in my argument for Prop 25, a two-thirds majority vote is undemocratic and leads to a tyranny of the minority. Prop 26 would ensure that taxes will not be increased or added. The unfortunate fact is that we’re already underpaying our taxes and experiencing a reduction in services because of it. At some point, if we want to maintain the important services that government provides such as quality education, roads, clean water, sanitation, and innumerable others, we will have to raise taxes again. This is just another measure designed to starve government of funding and bankrupt the state.
Proposition 27 – Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
NO. Two years ago, California voters created the Citizen Redistricting Commission through Prop 11. The Commission hasn’t even been selected yet and hasn’t had a chance to do their work. Let’s give the process a chance to work its way through at least once before we abolish it and try something different. In fact, this is one of the things I hate the most about California’s initiative process. If people don’t like the turnout of a vote, they just continue trying until they get what they want. That’s hardly a democratic process.