The Election Part III: California Propositions

by John Eberhard
11/01/04

We have a lot of propositions on the ballot in California in this election. I’m going to give some data on each in an effort to help people make sense of it all.

One guiding idea that I learned from a man I worked for about 10 years ago, is that as a general rule, I tend to vote against new taxes. Politicians and other special interest groups will often put measures on the ballot to raise taxes or borrow money which then has to be paid back out of tax money.

Considering the financial mess that Governor Davis and the Democratic-controlled state legislature got us into, we can’t afford to raise taxes right now or incur more debts. We have to continue cutting expenses, not add new ones.

I have reviewed literature on these propositions and also information from Governor Schwarzenegger with his recommendations.

1A – PROTECTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT REVENUES – YES
PROP 65 – LOCAL GOVERNMENT FUNDS –
NO

Prop 1A and Prop 65 are very similar.

Both measures stop the state legislature from raiding the tax dollars of local governments. Given their lack of fiscal restraint, I’d say we don’t want them having the power to raid the treasuries of local cities. It’s kind of incredible that they even have that power now.

On Prop 1A, Governor Schwarzenegger says YES and I say YES.

Prop 65 is similar, but it also makes changes in last year’s budget arrangements which have to then be approved by the voters in the next election, which seems way too complicated to me. It also gives the state legislature the right to make changes to local budgets, but only with the approval of the voters.

I think 1A is the better bet.

PROP 59 – PUBLIC RECORDS ACCESS – YES

According to the Governor, special interest legislation has eroded public access to government information. This proposition will correct that by giving citizens access to government documents.

PROP 60 – ELECTION RIGHTS OF POLITICAL PARTIES – YES
PROP 62 – ELECTIONS AND PRIMARIES – NO

The Governor did not weigh in on these. Prop 60 and 62 are related to one another, and are competing measures. The one with more votes will determine how primaries and general elections are held. Currently, the way the system works is that in primaries, one votes for statewide and congressional candidates from the party with which he is registered.

Then the candidate from EACH party that has the most votes advances to the general election.

Prop 60 will keep this method and make it part of the State Constitution.

Prop 62 will change it so that you can vote for whomever you want in the primaries, regardless of which party you are registered with. Then only the top two candidates in the primary, i.e. the two candidates receiving the most votes, will advance to the general election.

So under Prop 62 you might get a Democrat and a Green, or a Republican and a Libertarian, etc. Only the top two. So all the parties will not be represented in the general election anymore.

Make your own decision on this. But Prop 62 makes no sense to me. Prop 60 seems like a better bet.

PROP 60A – SURPLUS PROPERTY SALE – YES

Mandates that proceeds from the sale of state surplus property go to pay back bonds. It makes good financial sense considering the state’s financial condition.

PROP 61 – CHILDREN?S HOSPITAL BOND – NO

Allows the state to incur $1.5 billion in more debt. Say no more.

PROP 63 – MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES EXPANSION – NO!

This is the worst proposition on the ballot. The Governor says NO and I say NO. Note the Democratic Party supports this measure. This proposition would add a new tax of 1% on people making over $1 million to fund $800 million per year in new mental health services. Additionally, if the measure passes these funds can never be taken away. It amounts to a huge guaranteed funding increase for psychiatry in California. The Governor and Howard Jarvis are against this because they say it will make our budget situation worse. I’m against it because psychiatry is a failed practice with barbaric treatments, and wants to abolish the idea of right and wrong.

PROP 64 – SHAKEDOWN LAWSUITS – YES

Currently, attorneys in California can file a lawsuit against some business that they think has violated some state law, even though they have no client and there is no evidence that anyone has been harmed. Prop 64 closes that loophole and stops these shakedown lawsuits.

PROP 66 – LIMITS ON ?3 STRIKES? LAW – NO

Proponents say that our three strikes law is too harsh because the third "strike" can be a relatively minor offense, yet the criminal is put away for life. Well this measure will change the law so certain offenses are not counted – things like arson, residential burglary, attempted burglary, criminal threats, felony gang crimes, drunk driving in which people are seriously hurt or killed, and violent sex crimes by juvenile criminals. Those sound like they should be strikes to me. Vote NO.

PROP 67 – SPECIAL INTEREST TAX ON PHONES – NO

Notice the word "tax." That?s your first clue. This is a $540 million tax on your cell phone and phone services. 90% of this money will go to large health care corporations and other special interests.

PROP 68 – MORE CASINOS – NO

According to the Governor, this measure is a scheme by race tracks and card clubs to establish Las Vegas size casinos throughout California. Not a single penny from this initiative can be used to help balance the state budget. For me this is a no-brainer because gambling causes destructive effects in the communities where these casinos are built, causing gambling addiction and other problems. I don’t even think we should have casinos anywhere in California at all. So let’s not make the problem worse.

PROP 69 – DNA SAMPLES DATABASE – NO

The Governor is for this but I’m against it. This measure establishes a DNA database of felons. It may be a good thing but smacks a bit too much of Big Brother to me.

PROP 70 – MORE CASINOS AGAIN – NO

According to the Governor, this measure is designed to give Indian tribes a 99-year "blank check" to expand casino gambling throughout the state, without paying their fair share in taxes. It will also leave local voters with no way to prevent tribes from bringing casinos to their communities. Again, the destructive effects of gambling are obvious. That’s why it used to be outlawed in all but two states.

PROP 71 – STEM CELL RESEARCH – NO

Creates a new government agency to fund stem cell research. Note this is a bond which will incur about $6 billion in costs requiring $200 million per year in payments to pay it back. Proponents make claims that the lame will walk here, but there is no kind of proof that there is that kind of potential in stem cell research. Note that stem cell research is not illegal now. Private companies can do this research all they want. This measure just gets the state government into the business of funding the research, $6 billion worth.

PROP 72 – HEALTH CARE COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS – NO

This measure creates a huge government-run health care system funded by an estimated $7 billion in new taxes on employers and workers. The Governor calls this a job killer, because higher costs for businesses hurts their ability to hire people. Vote NO.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you at the polls tomorrow.

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