Thursday, November 2, 2006
PROPOSITION 1A ~ Transportation funding Protection
NO — California receives $3.4 billion a year from
the state excise tax on gasoline; under the state constitution
that money can be used only for roads and other
transportation-related expenses. This proposition deals with
the state sales tax on gas—about $2 billion a year. That money
goes to state services like schools and environmental
protection. Prop. 1A would mandate that all of this money be
earmarked for transportation. While that makes sense on the
surface, it would make it harder to fund other government
PROPOSITIONS 1B, 1C, 1D, AND 1E ~ Infrastructure Bonds
YES — These four bond measures will help pay for
highways and transit, housing, schools, levees, water systems
and parks. Prop 1B would spend $19.9 billion on highways and
local roads, public transportation, ports and bridges. Prop 1C
would provide $2.85 billion to help build affordable housing;
Prop 1D would raise $10.4 billion for building funds for K-12
schools as well as universities, community colleges and
vo-techs; and Prop 1E raises $4 billion to build levees for
PROPOSITION 83 ~ Jessica’s Law
NO — This proposition sounds good at the surface: more restrictions for sex offenders. But it does nothing to protect kids. Ninety percent of child sexual assaults are perpetrated by the victim’s friends, neighbors and family members, not predators.
It would require, among other things, GPS tracking devices for offenders. That will not give law enforcement agencies information that they need. Offenders are required to register so cops can already keep track of them.
Out of 447 registered sex offenders in Monterey County, the whereabouts of 86 are unknown. A bracelet isn’t going to fix that. Instead, this proposition will drive more perpetrators underground, and flood rural areas with offenders.
The cost could drive local enforcement agencies deep into the red, as they will be required to track violators.
Experts agree that denying offenders the ability to
reintegrate into society leads to higher recidivism rates.
Prop 83 is a knee-jerk reaction to a scary problem. We need to
get control of sex offenders and the laws that govern them. If
we don’t want them around, that’s something that needs to be
tackled at the sentencing level.
PROPOSITION 84 ~ Clean Water, Parks, And Coastal Improvement
YES — This measure raises $5.4 billion to protect
beaches, forests, rivers, and streams from sprawl, while
investing in improving levees and controlling floods. One of
the largest parks and water bonds in history, it is a wise
play that will pay dividends forever.
PROPOSITION 85 ~ Parental consent for abortion
NO — This proposition requires minors to get parental consent or a court order before having an abortion and requires physicians to report abortions performed on minors.
The proposition is a leap back to the pre-abortion rights days. A 17-year-old girl who wants an abortion but is afraid to tell her parents will simply have one under unsafe conditions.
This amendment to the state constitution would also deprive a young girl of the protected relationship they have with their doctors, who will now be required to report her or pay dearly.
Communication between parents and teens is key. But it
isn’t always a reality. The state simply has no business
intervening in the private decisions of young women and
PROPOSITION 86 ~ Cigarette Tax Increase
YES — Proposition 86 would impose a 13-cent tax on every single cigarette sold in California. That adds up to $2.60 a pack, and $2 billion a year. The money would be used to pay for emergency medical care, health insurance for children and anti-smoking programs.
This is not an ideal way to fund these services. It is regressive and unfair. All Californians have a duty to pay for emergency care and health insurance for people who can’t afford it. Yet our leaders in Sacramento refuse to face up to this responsibility.
Only 14 percent of Californians smoke. Because raising the
price is one sure way to bring that number down, it is likely
to decrease over the next decade. That is not Prop 86’s
goal—it’s really nothing but a ham-fisted way to get money
from a scorned and defenseless segment of population—but it is
a positive outcome. As the number of cigarettes sold falls,
the state will be left to figure out another way to get this
money. Meanwhile the Prop 86 money will do some good. We
support it through gritted teeth.
PROPOSITION 87 ~ Oil Company Tax
YES — This is a vote for Big Government, California style. It uses Big Government power to confront huge business interests, with the goal of creating a Big Government program to foster alternative energy. We love it.
Prop 87 would raise as much as $4 billion per year for clean-energy programs, giving that burgeoning industry a massive boost. It would get the money from the big oil operators in the state.
Proponents of the measure point out that Alaska and Texas impose a drilling tax that brings each state billions of dollars, whereas California does not. To be fair, it must be noted that California imposes steep corporate income taxes on oil companies, while Alaska and Texas do not. It is also worth mentioning that the proposition’s backers include the very clean-energy businesses that would profit from its passage.
Prop 87 money could help California lead the nation and the
world in the development of alternative power. That’s a big
deal, and we urge a yes vote.
PROPOSITION 88 ~ Parcel Tax For Education
YES — This measure would impose a measly $50 annual
tax on each parcel of land in the state, raising a measly $470
million for grade schools. The only question it raises is: Why
must we do this? Why can’t Californians pass local bonds to
pay for schools, like we’re supposed to? Of course we should
pass it. But we ought to confront the abysmally low spending
on schools for real.
PROPOSITION 89 ~ Public Financing Of Campaigns
YES — What is often called campaign finance reform could simply be called political reform. There is no doubt that many lawmakers are influenced in policy decisions by the people who give them money for campaigns. In this way, super-rich donors—mostly big corporations—are able to buy laws, or prevent bills they don’t like from becoming law.
This situation does grave damage to our political system. It undermines people’s basic belief in democracy—because it is just plain undemocratic.
Prop. 89 would place stricter limits on contributions to state legislative candidates and political parties and restrict donations to ballot initiatives. It would create a fund of $200 million a year through a small increase in corporate and bank taxes—two-tenths of 1 percent—to finance campaigns.
Proponents say passage of the bill will help restrict
special interests’ ability to influence elected officials.
PROPOSITION 90 ~ Eminent Domain Restrictions
NO — In recent years the property rights movement has made it more and more difficult to control growth by arguing that zoning regulations and such are incursions into their sacred right to bulldoze and build. Hooey.
Prop. 90 would block state and local agencies from taking private land for projects. That alone would be a good reform—there have been some abuses of eminent domain in recent years, largely by redevelopment agencies. But it also would define anything that restricts any type of use on private property as “taking,” and require that the government pay compensation. That makes this proposition unacceptable.