Oh, yeah, there are ballot measures

ballot imageBallots are in the mail. I’m voting yes.

by Brian Leubitz

In case you missed it, the election started a few days ago. Ballots went in the mail early this week, and by the end of this weekend, millions of votes will already have been cast.

So, how are you voting on those pesky ballot measures? NextTen has a helpful guide, California Choices, with information about the measures and who has taken a position on either side.

But here’s how I’m leaning as of right now. I probably won’t actually cast my ballot for another week or two, but this is my general inclination right now: Yes. On all of them. So, a quick rundown:

Prop 1: Water Bond: Yes

This is far from perfect. I’d prefer more money in conservation as opposed to storage projects, and there are a lot of implementation details still to be decided. However, with the current drought, I think it is pretty clear that we need to be spending money on water infrastructure. This gets us one step along the way.

Prop 2: Rainy Day Fund / Budget Stabilization: Yes

A little bit of smoothing in our boom and bust budget is probably a good thing. This law requires a reduction in reserves by school districts, which makes some education folks a bit nervous. But, in theory, the state won’t be making the massive cuts to education when the economy takes a bit of a hiccup. Again, some questions of how this will actually work are still to be ironed out, but this is generally worthy of a Yes vote.

Prop 45: Health Insurance Rates: Yes

Dave Jones is working hard to strengthen his office’s ability to review health insurance rates. The opponents argue that the review could delay plans making it to the health care exchange. I have been reassured by Insurance Commissioner Jones that this will not be an issue, timely review is indeed possible. If all works right with this measure, health insurance plans will just have to show that they are spending their money wisely and on medical care. I’m leaning towards Yes.

Prop 46: Medical safety: medical negligence limits and drug testing: YES

I’ve written about this measure several times. The caps on non-economic damages is unfair, provides cruel incentives, and doesn’t do what it purports to do (lower insurance costs). Privacy concerns about the drug testing are valid, but surely we can come up safeguards. This measure is long overdue in California. Please, Vote YES ON 46.

Prop 47: Criminal Sentencing: Yes

Sentencing reform championed by San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon. It will reduce non-violent offenders in our prisons, reduce the ridiculous amount of money we spend on our prisons while allowing us to increase money for treatment programs. All of this makes sense, I’m voting Yes.

Prop 48: Approve Tribal Gaming Compacts: Yes

A referendum that is more about the relationships between various tribes than anything else. Some current gaming tribes are less than pleased about a new casino being opened up within Central Valley city borders and off a reservation. I don’t love all the casinos opening up, but they are going to happen given the current state of the law. I can’t see any reason why this one is really any worse. I guess I’ll vote yes.

8 thoughts on “Oh, yeah, there are ballot measures”

  1. Prop 46 has a couple of good provisions, but it has to be all or nothing.  As you say, the cap on non-economic damages is unfair. Demanding that doctors be drug tested is insane.

  2. Mr. Leubitz must feel good knowing that he, Stewart Resnick and that meathead Sean Parker are on the same side of this issue.

    NO on 1!

  3. Why? $2.7 Billion reasons, all having to do with digging a bunch of dry holes(reservoirs) that won’t contain any water until the drought is over.

    The money would be better off being used as matching funds for building desalinization plants like is being done in Carlsbad CA, where Reverse-Osmosis is a good thing to do and would provide more water per Dollar than any dry hole would. This plant is 65% complete now and in 2016 will be open for business, it’s cost is $1 Billion according to this article here: http://carlsbaddesal.com/in-ca

    The San Diego County Water Authority has agreed to buy at least 48,000 acre-feet of water from the plant each year for about $2,000 an acre-foot. An acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons(less than a penny per gallon or $0.0061349693251534 according to the calculator here), roughly enough for two families of four for a year. The authority has made a long-term bet that those costs – now double those of the most readily available alternative – will eventually be competitive. But it still means the authority will pay more than $3 billion over 30 years for only about 7 percent of the county’s water needs.

    As Sandra Kerl, the deputy general manager of the authority, said in a recent interview, “There’s a lot of eyes on this.”

    The technology used in the Carlsbad plant, known as reverse osmosis, was developed decades ago. It involves pushing the water through a series of microscopic sieves rolled up into larger cylindrical filters. The energy-intensive process separates pure water from both salt molecules and impurities. The filters, some of which are made locally, are cheaper and more durable than they were a decade ago, industry accounts say, bringing down the overall price of the plant and its operations.

  4. I’m voting YES on Prop 1, 2, 45 and 46

    As for Prop 47, it would make burglary a more viable lifestyle, but I have to VOTE NO

    If you can’t serve the time, don’t do the crime

    In SF, Prop E will tax sugar filled soft drinks

    I’m voting YES, but, I’m afraid it might fail

    Too much money from the soda companies paying for ads and phone calls

    We’ll see

    David Chiu for State Assembly  

  5. This is a progressive blog, is it not? So why in the world would Calitics drink Jerry Brown’s kool-aid about the water bond? Prop 1 won’t do anything about the drought, but it will prepare the infrastructure for the Death Tunnels. Bye-bye Delta, bye-bye salmon, bye-bye commercial fishing and sport fishing industry, bye-bye California’s best-suited region for growing Chenin Blanc and asparagus, bye-bye sandhill cranes, bye-bye small farms. Prop 1 will build dams in arid locations where water will have to be pumped miles uphill at great cost ($340/ac-ft) and where evaporation and loss of wildlife habitat will result. Prop 1 will make the entire public pay for the private water-taking benefit of a few, including Corporate Welfare Queens like the Resnicks and frackers like Chevron. Prop 1 will cost California $14.4 billion but it won’t fix our 100-year-old leaky pipes. It will take even more water away from the North Coast. It won’t do a damn thing for the central coast from San Benito and Monterey to Santa Barbara b/c the grant money will go to the Tunnels, the Southern San Joaquin Valley and an array of  meaningless pork projects in L.A. It won’t help pay the bill for desalinization in San Diego or toilet-to-tap in the O.C. or the Inland Empire. It won’t solve San Francisco’s really expensive Hetch Hetchy delivery system problem. It also won’t stop Nestle and others from putting desert groundwater in little plastic bottles with pictures of snowy mountains on them to sell at enormous profit as being better for yuppie joggers and political campaign volunteers than what comes out of the municipal tap. Nor will it do anything to address climate change. Yes, we need to be spending money on water infrastructure, but Prop 1 is the wrong way to do it. What we really need is a 2014 re-think of how water is delivered, priced and consumed. Why is there so much decorative grass in our urban areas? Can our plumbing systems be retrofitted for maximum conservation? Are our ag irrigation systems efficient as if water was scarce? Do we grow the right crops in the right places? Oh, hey, never mind. Instead we’re getting a 1950’s-style large, expensive pork barrel public works boondoggle that makes Jerry feel like a real man with big-ticket stuff the way his Dad did, while pleasing his (and Di-Fi’s) billionaire donors. Please vote NO on Prop 1.

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