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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

My Vote on California Propositions

This morning, Sparkles Lund and I discussed the notion of how bills and propositions become law, and the voting process. We used the California General Election Guide which does a really good job of outlining how to vote, vote by mail options, and provisional voting.

After that, we reviewed the propositions. After some discussion, here is what we decided.

Proposition 30: Temporary taxes to fund education. Increases tases on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and increases sales taxes by 1/4 percent for four years.

We vote yes. Californian has one of the lowest quality public school systems in the nation, and some of the greatest challenges (high cost of living and costs associated with education to immigrants). California ranks as the 43rd lowest state in per pupal education funding (a result of Proposition 13 which limits increases to property taxes, the primary source of education funding). We believe that it is in the best interest to increase funding to improve the quality of education in California Public Schools. We also like the term limits on the tax increases as they will allow voters to repeal the increases if the school system does not improve as a result of additional funding. The YES vote won this proposition.


Proposition 31. Establishes a two-year state budget. Sets rules for offsetting new expenditures, and Governor budget cuts in fiscal emergencies. Local governments can alter application of laws governing state-funded programs.

We vote yes. The California State Legislature is hopelessly incompetent when it comes to passing the annual budget. This has the impact of creating funding uncertainties for local government along with the private industry that supports local government. The two year budget would ease the stress while providing local government and the Governor with opportunities to modify budget allocation from time to time as necessary.  The NO VOTE won this proposition.

Proposition 32. Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.

We vote yes. We believe that the playing field for raising money for special interests should be level. Any law that advantages one group (in this case unions) over another group (in this case corporations) is inherently unfair.  A yes voted means that unions and corporations could not use money deducted from an employee's paycheck for political purposes.  The NO VOTE won this proposition.

Proposition 33. Auto Insurance companies. Changes current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on the driver's previously carried auto insurance with another company.

We vote yes. This will increase competition and create a free market economy for consumers to shop for auto insurance. Today, if you switch insurance carriers, the new insurance carrier is not able to provide a customer discount on insurance premiums based on the number of years in the previous five years that the customer was insured by someone else. This law will fix that inequity.

Proposition 34. Death Penalty. This proposition repeals the death penalty in California.

We vote yes. Our vote on this has less to do with the ethics of the death penalty and more to do with the financial issues related to the death penalty. Our flawed justice system has the result of making it more costly to apply the death penalty than it does to keep a prisoner in jail for life. If the application of the death penalty did not have such overbearing costs, we might vote otherwise, since the death sentence is often applied to the worst crimes. We do have fears that this will lead to increased violent crimes in prison.  The NO VOTE won this proposition.

Proposition 35. Human Trafficking. This proposition treats human traffickers as sex offenders.

We vote No. This is a poorly written law that applies another body of laws (sex offender laws) against prostitues and the exploration of children alike. If the law excluded prostitutes, we would vote yes. Maxine Doogan, a prostitute, submitted a strong argument that she would be required to register as a sex offender if she uses proceeds from her erotic services work to support her child. If the law was limited to the exploitation of children, we would be all for it. The YES vote won this proposition.

Proposition 36. Three strikes law. This proposition is to modify the law to differentiate violent crimes from other felonies.

We vote Yes. Life in prison is a serious sentence. We agree that violent felony convictions are different from non-serious, non-violent felonies and should not carry the automatic Life in Prison sentence. This does not limit the judge from applying a sentence, but provides the judge to not be required to issue a life in prison sentence. The YES vote won this proposition.

Proposition 37. Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling. Requires that there be a label notifying consumers if it has been Genetically Modified.

We vote Yes. Duh. No explanation necessary.  The NO VOTE won this proposition.

Proposition 38. Increases taxes to fund eduction and early childhood programs.

We vote No. We prefer the Proposition 30 above.  The NO VOTE won this proposition.

Proposition 39. Tax treatment for Multistate Businesses. Requires multistate businesses to pay income taxes based upon the percentages of their sales in California.

We Vote No. Half of the money would be funneled into Clean energy and efficiency funding, which is a good thing - but the other half is non-qualified (slush fund for state government). Energy and efficiency funding is already provided by our gas tax, which ranks in the top three in the nation.

This is a poorly constructed proposition. California business tax is already very high. For years, the state has passed laws that have increased the cost of doing business in California and disadvantaged businesses based here, and that do business here. Today, California is ranked number 2 in the nation behind New York for the highest corporate tax rates. California needs to reduce tax rates on corporations to stimulate business growth and job growth. This tax will make it harder for businesses to compete, making an already big problem even bigger. The YES vote won this proposition.

Proposition 40.  Redistricting State Senate Seats.

We Vote Yes. This one is funny. The State Supreme Court ruled that the districts be kept in place for 2012. No a No vote would be cancelled anyway because it is against the law. The ballot by petition signatures is required to be published anyway. Even if it looses, the Proposition will not be enacted. The YES vote won this proposition.




6 comments:

  1. The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates.

    The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

    No “savings.” Alleged savings ignore increased life-time medical costs for aging inmates and require decreased security levels and housing 2-3 inmates per cell rather than one. Rather than spending 23 hours/day in their cell, inmates will be required to work. These changes will lead to increased violence for other inmates and guards and prove unworkable for these killers. Also, without the death penalty, the lack of incentive to plead the case to avoid the death penalty will lead to more trial and related costs and appeals.

    No “accountability.” Max earnings for any inmate would amount to $383/year (assuming 100% of earnings went to victims), divided by number of qualifying victims. Hardly accounts for murdering a loved one.

    No “full enforcement” as 729 inmates do not receive penalty given them by jurors. Also, for the 34,000 inmates serving life sentences, there will be NO increased penalty for killing a guard or another inmate. They’re already serving a life sentence.

    Liberals are also trying to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) This would lead to possible paroles for not only the 729 on death row, but the 34,000 others serving life sentences. On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving as little as 15 years. Life without parole is meaningless. Remember Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.

    Arguments of innocence bogus. Can’t identify one innocent person executed in CA. Can’t identify one person on CA’s death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. See http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com/

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  2. Thanks for the info Chris - you are very well informed (almost too well informed). Sorry to sound skeptical, but I know that there are professional bloggers who get hired to comment on blogs and social media to promote an agenda. You sound versed well beyond any causal consumer. What makes you so passionate on this topic?

    I prey that you are not the victim of one of these bad dudes. As I mentioned in my post - my vote is largely due to my assessment that the process of applying the death penalty is absurd, and costly. It is a broken system. That is the problem that needs to be fixed. Lets pass a law that indicates that anyone sentenced to death must be executed within 120 days of sentencing. Limit appeals to 1.

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  3. So I did a little checking on our friend Chris - Oddly enough, the only thing I can find about this guy on the web are copies of what he pasted here on the blog. I doubt that he is real - rather some shill for the agenda he is promoting - probably backed by some law firm that specializes in representing people on death row. Chris - you are real - reveal yourself. Do you have a facebook page? Friends?

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  4. I take that back - Chris may be real. I found someone on Facebook that could be him. This Chris Bernstein is a political consultant and advisor (and a young one at that). Also works in restaurants: https://www.facebook.com/chris.bernstein.100

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  5. Victor, Great topic of discussion with Sparkles. Especially on those issues that affect her now or in the future. In general I agree with your vote and the rationale behind the decisions. The ones that I would disagree with you on are prop 32 and prop 37 for the following reasons.

    Re 32 and the issue of political contributions paid for by payroll deductions. Corporations have an unfair advantage these days because of the Supremes vote on Citizens United. They determined that Corporations are People so they can spend as much money as they like on a political candidate or party or campaign without having to disclose who they are and how much they gave. Very few individuals could match those $$$, especially a union worker. The only way that the individual could get some parity is to pool the funding though a union. Union dues provide that funding and payroll deduction is the easiest and cheapest way to accumulate that funding. Regarding payroll deduction for corporations. That is not needed by the corporations since their funding comes out their general fund like any expense. I am not a 100% pro-union person. I believe that collective bargining has produced in some cases too much forward expense for retirement funding.

    Regarding prop 37. I don't have a problem with Genetically Engineered foods. Nearly all grains (wheat, corn, etc) have been genetically modified over the years to ensure drought and bug resistance and to produce significantly increased yields which has resulted in more food for a growing worldwide population. To have to label all food products that use some grain would result in everything labeled as GE. Nature naturally genetically modifies, it's called evolution. Man is just speeding up the process. People are genetically modified. Sparkles is a modified version of you and Marilyn. She is a product of "Man Made" genetic modified. For food companies to have to identify all genetically engineered ingredients would be a costly process subject to error of ommision or commision. The cost of doing so would add to the cost of the product. They would have to pass on the cost to the consumer. It would be like an added tax. And I am sure that you don't like added taxes. Prop 37 would also open the door for class action attorneys who would jump at the chance to litigate food companies for not following the terms of the propostion. Another cost to add to the cost of the food product. I would be very open to any data or information that educates me on the downside of genetic engineered foods. I need data not emotional fear factors

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  6. I don't like Citizens United either - but that is not a proposition. Writing new laws to correct for old laws is not good either. I would rather not pass this proposition, and vote for a proposition that repeals Citizens United.

    You may be right for prop 37 - but you know how we are with organics and natural food - extremists.

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Thanks a lot for leaving a comment. My phone number is 805-709-6696 if you have any questions.