First, I want to make sure that everybody is clear that these endorsements come from the Calitics Editorial Board, not the community as a whole. The Calitics Editorial Board consists of Brian Leubitz, jsw, Julia Rosen, David Dayen, Lucas O'Connor & Robert in Monterey. We would have liked to endorse as a community, but there are tremendous problems with ballot stuffing that this software just can't deal with. That being said, all are welcome to agree, disagree, flame us, whatever, in the comments. I'll give you our endorsements here, and then briefly discuss them over the flip. An endorsement required 4 of the 6 votes. Furthermore, this post should not be considered of anybody specifically. Rather, it is the voice of the Editorial Board as a whole. So, without further adieu, here they are:
President: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
Proposition 91, Transportation Funding: No
Proposition 92, Community Colleges: Yes
Proposition 93, Term Limits Reform: Neutral/No Recommendation
Propositions 94-97, Native American Gambling Referenda: No
Flip it for more.
President: Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
It was one of those fantastic things this year, we had a multitude of great candidates. You had a real progressive lion in the form of Chris Dodd who stood proudly for the values of the Constitution. You had Joe Biden who presents a coherent place for America in the new global environment. Kucinich, Richardson, Clinton, Gravel also brought much to the table. And, of course Sen. John Edwards was a very attractive candidate. For many of us, it seemed a tough course to reject Sen. Edwards; his message is so powerful. He is willing to stand tall against corporations and the anti-populists of the country.
However, when it comes to today, and given the current standing of the race, Sen. Obama is our choice. His vision of hope has brought countless young and otherwise new voters to the world of politics. In California, where 15-20% of the state makes decisions for the entire state, that is a particularly strong argument. And while some would say that he lacks experience, we ask them to look back over his political career in Illinois and DC. It is genuinely trying to find someone that really knows the man and will speak ill of him. He is an effective messenger for so many progressive causes.
Some also say that he hasn't spoken of specifics enough; we suggest they look to BarackObama.com and review his positions. They are specific enough for us to oppose him on several issues: “clean” coal, marriage equality, and healthcare, just to name a few. He's not perfect. He's not offering Medicare for all, like every other non-Kucinich candidate, and he is unable to leap tall buildings in a single bound, either. But, he is a tremendous pioneer and agent of progressive change that can get elected this year. And that's a great step forward.
Prop. 91, Transportation Funding: No
This issue was dealt with in Prop 1A in Nov. 2006, but was not removed from the ballot. It has no supporters, and there is no reason to vote for it.
Prop. 92, Community Colleges: Yes
This is a really tough issue for many of us. Ballot box budgeting is a bad concept in general, but occasionally, it's a good thing. While, it doesn't makes budgeting any easier, there are reasons to vote yes sometimes.
Rules such as the 2/3 requirement to pass a new tax mean that the legislature rarely takes action on big matters and we can't move forward on new programs. That's not a knock of any specific legislator, it's a flaw in our system. And, as we've said before, our entire system needs reform. But, today, we must deal with the world as it is. And in this world, our community colleges are flailing, struggling from consistent underfunding. How are we to be a state of innovation if we have no innovators? How can we succeed if the labor pool can't progress beyond high school due to the prohibitive costs associated with college?
We are aware of the opposing talking points that the tuition fees are only a small part of costs associated with college, but the facts show that when fees jumped from $11 to $26/hour, 300,000 students left California's community colleges. Fees matter. So, we support Prop. 92.
Prop 93, Term limits reform: Neutral/No Position (Brian's Disclosure)
Prop 93 changes how term limits work, from 6 years in the Assembly and 8 years in the Senate, to 12 years total in either House. We split on this measure, so we remain neutral.
Props 94-97, Native American Gambling Referenda: No
A No vote on these referenda would overturn the compacts. These compacts do not make any guarantees of revenues to the state, although they toss around huge numbers in their ads, $9 B is the normal number. This number is through 2030, the life of the compact, and the Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that on an annual basis, the income will be no more than $200M for the next few years, ranging up to the mid-hundreds of millions at their height. That is between 0.2% and say, 0.5% or 0.6% of the annual general fund income, which is currently $100B. Furthermore, if non-gaming tribes do not receive enough revenue, as dictated by the compacts, the state has to dip into its portion of revenues.
Furthermore, there is the issue of the unions. The tribes are not subject to NLRB standards, and these compacts make no assurances that the workers of this casino will have fair opportunity to organize.
A lot of money will be spent on this, and a lot of communities will be ripped apart. Even if one were to disregard Marc Cooper's story about the troubling incidents in the Pechanga tribe, the issues remain in favor of a No vote.