Elected Officials – straight party line this time, all good candidates.
Barack Obama for President of the United States of America
Mike Thompson for US Congress, first district
Lois Wolk for California State Senate, fifth district
Mariko Yamada for State Assembly, eighth district
California Propositions and Initiatives on the flip…
California Propositions and Initiatives
YES on Prop 1A
High speed rail is good for Yolo County, good for California, a good investment for the future. Click the link for the detailed argument.
YES on Prop 2
While I have friends who are moved to support 2 by the whole cruelty to animals aspect of this bill, the bottom line for me is the issue of safe food production. Right now, the crowded conditions in factory farms lead to stressed animal immune systems, a disease-prone environment, massive pollution problems because of the waste issues with that densely packed cage farm environment, higher use of antibiotics to try and control resulting diseases, and thus a much higher risk to the general human population of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Bills similar to prop 2 have been passed in several Western states, and their ag economies have not collapsed as some of the no on 2 ads have claimed. While this would have been a stronger bill had it also held imported eggs and meat to the same standards so as to avoid a race to the bottom undercutting CA farms, as well as some funding to ease the cost of transition, the fact of the matter is that the status quo is a health risk, and giving the animals enough room in their cages to turn around should make things better, both for the animals and (most importantly IMO) the people of California who eat them.
And if you haven’t read any of Michael Pollan’s books on the subject (Omnivore’s Dillemma for the in-depth take, In Defense of Food for the Cliff’s Notes version), I strongly recommend them. This is not like the sentimental “don’t eat horses” prop a few years back (which I opposed on grounds of absurdity – meat is meat), this has implications for the quality of the food we eat, and ultimately of whether we want to further the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by giving them a perfect environment in our crowded factory farms. When those antibiotics stop working because we bred superbugs in those cramped cages, the cages will have to get a lot bigger anyway (if not outright abandoned), and it’ll hurt our ag economy a hell of a lot more.
Meh on Prop 3 – no recommendation
I’m torn on this one. On the one hand, it’s a vote for local pork, as one of the children’s hospitals the funds would be used for is the UCD med center hospital. And who could vote against sick children? On the other hand, I’m edgy about bonds, given how bad the credit situation is right now, and am less than pleased that public bond money would be used – 80% – to finance private children’s hospitals. Taxpayer money ought to be used for public goods.
NO on Prop 4
I am so sick and tired of having to beat back this stupid anti-abortion trojan horse every other election. Once again, this prop would force teenaged girls to ask their parents for permission to have an abortion, unless they ran through an intimidating and no doubt complex bureaucratic gauntlet by going to a judge and pleading their case. As with the last several times the fundamentalists threw this one up against the wall, the problem here is that the teens who are afraid to tell their parents about being pregnant in the first place often have reason to be, whether it’s because they were victims of incest, or are afraid of being physically beaten by their parents, are afraid of being thrown out on the street in punishment for their “sin,” or are just afraid of their parents forbidding the abortion and forcing the teenager to carry their child to term. Life is not perfect, and while many of us have happy families and adequate communication between parents and children, one does not write laws based on the best case scenario.
Rather, the law needs to be written with an awareness of the complexity of life and difficult situations that people – and yes, even minors – find themselves in. Prop 4, like its predecessors, is so fixated on the questionable “right” of parental authority over their children that it completely ignores the cruel way that this bill would heap suffering on vulnerable people in an already painfully difficult situation. Do we really want to be forcing pregnant teenagers in abusive or disfunctional families, possibly in an incest case, to be reporting their choice to have an abortion to those same people, being forced against their will to carry a fetus to term in their own body?
Prop 4 plays upon the anxieties of parents with teenage daughters, but gives little concern for the well being of those daughters themselves. It is wrong headed and cruel, and should be rejected just as the past two tries were.
YES on Prop 5
The drug war has been a colossal failure on all fronts. We have thrown so many people in prison that the courts have found California to be in violation of basic constitutional standards. Many of those prisoners committed no violent crime, but are in there as part of the “warehouse ’em all and forget about ’em” mentality that has sadly been a part of the fabric of California politics since at least the “law and order” Reagan Governorship. We pay more for prisons than universities in Calfiornia, even though it is far cheaper to send a kid to college than lock them away. Rates of drug use have not fallen, and drug use is common throughout all racial and economic classes, but rates of prosecution are highly racially biased all the same. Locking up nonviolent drug users is a failed solution to what was never a legal problem in the first place. Countries where drugs are not dealt with in this ham-fisted and draconian manner have far lower rates of drug use, ironically enough. Notably, those countries also have far better treatment options than California.
It isn’t working.
Prop 5 seeks to reverse that trend by diverting nonviolent drug offenders into treatment programs instead of prisons. The law and order industry, from police unions to prison workers unions to Yolo County’s very own ignore-state-law-when-he-disagrees-with-it DA Jeff Reisig is adamantly opposed to this because it cuts at their source of funding. That is to be expected, everyone fights for their meal ticket after all, and a lot of people make a lot of money off this costly and counterproductive war against the citizens of California.
But as a taxpayer and a human being, anything that dials back the use of incarceration as a dumb hammer to deal with complex social problems (and some that aren’t problems at all; in my opinion, drug use without antisocial behavior should not even be a crime, although prop 5 does not push things that far) is a good thing, and long overdue. No people that believe that they are, at heart, their brother’s and sister’s keeper have any business locking people away for petty offenses and leaving them to rot in prison.
The “law and order” incarceration-mad approach of the drug war has incontrovertibly failed, in California and nationwide. Prop 5 is a step away from a fiscal and moral abyss. Take it.
NO on Prop 6
The converse of prop 5, prop 6 is yet another in a long line of “tough on crime” initiatives locking in ever-expanding public funds for an ever-more draconian war against the poor and the nonwhite in this state under the guise of fighting crime. This time it’s gangs, with prop 6 increasing the penalty for any crime if the person who did it has been labeled as a gang member (which, as we saw in West Sac not too long ago, can be abused by ambitious DAs to label whole communities as “gangs” and then persecute them collectively for whatever crimes are committed in their midst). This whole “tough” mentality does not work, and is wrecking our budget while producing nothing of value to the state except fat payrolls for the prison workers union. Enough, no more money thrown down that hole, let’s try something different.
YES on Prop 7
Prop 7 would require that all utilities – public as well as private – get a large and expanding % of their power generated by big renewable power projects in the decades to come. The only problem with this proposition is that they stepped on some environmental groups’ toes by not consulting them before they put it on the ballot, so the Sierra Club and others decided to fight against it out of pique. We desperately need big solar and wind projects in this state ASAP, if we are going to turn ourselves around on global warming and insulate us from what looks to be a rise in the price of natural gas in the decades to come. This will not solve all problems – there needs to be a place for small projects, especially solar roofs, in any comprehensive solution – and is not intended as such, but what it does do is serve as one big silver BB that can be used to get us closer to where we need to be with big power projects.
I have read all the criticisms, and they strike me as not particularly valid. We need to think big, and prop 7 does that by gibving us both needed regulation and funding to make it happen.
NO on Prop 8
My marriage and family have been a bedrock in my life. I cannot imagine trying to weather life’s storms alone, without that companionship, trust, and love. How could I ever tell two people in love that they aren’t as good as me, that they should not be treated equally under the law, that their marriage, their companionship, trust and love are inferior to my own, and that they should either divorce or not marry?
Please do the right thing and vote no on 8. Marriage is too precious, too important to be used as a cynical pawn in the culture wars. If you want to protect marriage, work on your own, Lord knows none of ours are perfect anyways.
No on Hate. No on 8. (Click the link for the full argument)
NO on Prop 9
This is yet another of these “law and order” bills, this time sold as a “victim’s rights” initiative. It would give the families of crime victims more grounds to object at parole hearings, make parole harder to get, and generally keep more people in jail for longer period of time.
It’s an effective emotional argument, but it cloaks the very dire financial consequences of continuing to put more and more people in jail for longer and longer periods of time. Something has got to give. If it had a tax hike connected to pay for the damn thing, at least it would be honest, but it doesn’t even go that far. Just another unfunded mandate that doesn’t make anything better for the money spent, except if you’re a prison guard.
NO on Prop 10
This is something that sounds pretty good until you read the fine print. Texas oil zillionaire T. Boone PIckens has funded this one in hopes of making a mint off of the natural gas market by subsidizing a fleet of natural gas-burning cars. This does nothing for global warming or carbon emissions, plays into our unsustainable suburban low density development model, will create a competitor with power plants for natural gas (thus bidding the price up and making electricity and heating more expensive), does little for the common good, and makes a rich Texan oilman even richer. While I have some grudging respect for T. Boone’s efforts to give visibility to the huge issue of Peak OIl, this prop is a total non-starter.
NO on Prop 11
It’s a scam to protect the Republican party and conservative democrats cloaked in good government nonpartisan “reform” language. While there might be a better way to draw districts, prop 11 isn’t it. Don’t fall for it. (Click the link for the extended argument)
YES on Prop 12
CalVet has been around forever, it works, it costs the state next to nothing, and it has helped out generations of Calfiornia veterans. Given the huge number of vets that Bush’s little imperial adventures have produced, and the economic strains the Bush administration’s VA cutbacks, miserly pay, stoploss backdoor draft, and extended tours of duty has posed to veterans and their families, we owe it to them to make it easier for them and their families to buy houses, farms and start businesses. It’s good for California, and it’s the right thing to do. The only way this could be improved as a bill is if it was expanded to the population at large, but even as is, it’s a no-brainer.
Local Ballot Measures
YES on Measure N
Measure N would give Davis an essentially blank city charter that could be amended in the future to adapt city law to whatever sorts of thing we as a community wanted to do. Right now, Davis is a common law city, which means that what we can do on a variety of issues is constrained by whatever the state legislature says we can. Personally, I think the Davis electorate is intelligent, educated and engaged enough to make a charter work, and have not found any of the arguments against a charter to be compelling at all. Besides, just think of all the fun letters to the editor battles in the Enterprise a charter could create!
Seriously, though, from choice voting to district elections to financing solar panels on roofs like Berkeley did to creating a Davis Public Utility to broadening our tax base beyond just property and sales tax, to all other sorts of stuff, the freedom this would give Davis to choose its own path and experiment without asking permission from the utterly useless state government (thanks in no small part to prop 13) makes it a good idea in my opinion.
YES on Measure W
In short, as I say with with every election with a school bond on the ballot, you’re a bad person if you vote against a school bond. This bond would fund a whole bunch of teachers in the Davis Joint Unified School District that will otherwise be cut for a pittance, given the kind of money that flies aroiund this town. If you have the money to buy a house, if you have the money to drive a nice car, if you have a kid in Davis schools, if you plan on getting old and want talented educated doctors and nurses taking care of you, or a thriving knowledge economy keeping those tax coffers full so that you can retire in security with Social Security or your 401K, you have no excuse not to vote for W.
It reality is that simple. If you vote against this thing, your neighbors will be justifiably mad at you for wrecking their kids’ education and property values. Do the right thing, public schools are at the very foundation of modern society, and deliver tremendous value at a very low taxpayer cost.
originally at surf putah