How I am Voting on the Propositions

Proposition 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

This is essentially a bail out to compensate for a California State legislature that is incapable of doing its job. The State of California operates at a $13 billion deficit because the state legislature spends money it does not have. This is a symptomatic fix to a systemic problem. In 2010 the California state legislature enjoyed a 9% approval rating, yet California voters turned out not a single incumbent. Not one.

The state legislature needs to understand that you can only buy goods and services that you have the money to pay for. They need to understand that given limited fiscal resources, you have to prioritize spending. Voting for temporary tax increases while the state legislature continues to spend with complete abandon is to facilitate behavior that is counter to the best interests of Californians.

I am voting no on prop 30

Proposition 31: State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

As I see it, prop 31 implements measures to force fiscal responsibility. I understand the opponent’s arguments that it is not a perfect solution but I also note that most of the opponents have a financially vested interest in the current state budget. A $13 billion deficit is not going to be easy to address. Left to their own initiatives, I do not believe the California State government is capable of it. The proposition does increase the power of the governor’s office but not beyond what, at least to me, seems reasonable. The governor has to power to cut budgets but only during fiscal emergencies. Do not want the governor to get that power, don’t allow fiscal emergencies to develop. Pretty simple, really. Brinksmanship suddenly becomes distasteful.

I am voting yes on prop 31

Proposition 32: Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.

The union’s argument against prop 32 assumes that the current playing field is level. That individuals, corporations, unions all have fair and equal influence on the political system. I do not believe this is true. I think, have long thought that unions have an advantage. I think that unions first represent unions, then the members of those unions. Unions are first about self preservation, members are second. Unions provide a lot more influence than just dollars. Unions hold persuasive power over their members that corporations do not. Unions can deliver votes. Unions also deliver campaign workers. Union influence in the American political system is significant beyond simple cash contributions.

I might feel differently if this were a right to work state and people actually had a choice about joining the union. In many occupations they do not, teachers, public safety, airlines just to cite a few examples. If you do not like the politics that the union is promoting you do not have the option to leave the union without leaving your occupation. Or losing your benefits.

Nothing prevents the unions from forming SuperPACs and participating in the political process the same way corporations do. If the union members agree with the union’s political endeavors, they can sign up to make an automatic payroll contribution to the PAC, much the way some industry employees do now. That would put the political influence of the unions in the hands of its members and allow those members to make their own decisions about how their money is used.

I am voting no on prop 32.

Proposition 33: Auto Insurance Companies. Prices based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

As I understand this proposition it will create greater competition between auto insurance carriers by allowing them to compete on price for consumers. The current rules provide an advantage to the company that currently has the individual’s business. Increased competition is good for the consumer. The primary argument against this proposition is essentially that individuals who opt to discontinue coverage for more than 90 days will pay a penalty upon re-entry. However, that might also be stated this way. All drivers should be penalized so that those individuals who opt not to have auto insurance are not. I would like to see greater competition among auto insurance companies.

I am voting yes on prop 33.

Proposition 34: Death Penalty. Initiative Statute

This is about money, pure and simple. The death penalty is too expensive and I do not think that the process can be revised to make it economical. While I do believe that there are some crimes for which the perpetrator should die, I can find no argument that reasonably justifies the expense of the death penalty.

Scholarly Articles on the death penalty published in Loyola Law Review.

I am voting yes on prop 34

Proposition 35: Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Human trafficking and sex slavery are horrible injustices that should be fought at every opportunity. This proposition does not add anything of substance to that fight. It does increase costs to the state budget which is already out of control. Victims’ advocacy groups are critical of the law. Education in human trafficking and sex slavery is already required at the federal. I know this because I have to complete a course on it every year for the Army.

I am voting no on prop 35

Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Again, it is about budget. I think the Three Strikes Law is a good idea. However, I do believe the state of California can continue to afford incarcerating everyone who gets convicted three times. Thus, it makes sense that we should apply the three strikes rule more vigorously to those who commit serious or violent crimes.

I am voting yes on prop 36.

Proposition 37: Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute.

I am just short of militant about pure food. I adamantly believe that GMOs should be labeled. 37 will not deliver that in any kind of effective measure. Just because companies like Monsanto are against it does not make it a good law. It is important to also look into who is backing it and why.

San Francisco Chronicle Editioral.

I am voting no on prop 37.

Proposition 38: Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute.

The California education system needs a ground up overhaul to improve effectiveness and efficiency. The state legislature needs to step up and do its job of deciding what the state is going to fund and how. Managing the budget for the state’s education system through complicated and competing ballot propositions is damning condemnation on those elected as law makers to the state legislature. They are the ones that should be figuring this out. Continuing to fund a bad system is not a good answer.

I am voting no on prop 38.

Proposition 39: Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

I was originally intending to vote yes on prop 39. In researching this blog entry. I changed my mind. California desperately needs to increase revenue as well as cut costs. That is the only way it is going to reduce and eliminate its $13 billion budget deficit. While this proposition would close a loop hole in the tax code and increase tax revenue by an estimated $1 billion, it then also dictates that money be spent on green energy and education. Spending on green energy has been a fiasco in my opinion, with Solyndra as its poster child. But more to the point, given California’s current and ongoing budget crisis, I do not think the state can afford this kind of directed spending.

Californians need to demand that its legislators finally show up to work and do their job. They also need to provide the resources in an unfettered manner to get that job done. I believe that the state and the country is ill served by those who use the ballot to promote their favorite issues. Life and its governance is complicated and cannot be reduced to pursuit of single concerns. There are a plethora of issues and problems facing California today. Green energy does not deserve special funding in the face of the current budgetary issues this state faces.

I am voting no on prop 39.

Proposition 40: Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

It started with proposition 11 in 2008, proposition 20 in 2010 and now, what we should hope will be final approval with prop 40. This process takes control of the political districts out of the hands of the party in power in the state legislature and puts it in the hands of an independent committee. This is not a perfect solution but it is an improvement.

Passage of Proposition 11
Redistricting Committee FAQ

I am voting yes on prop 40.

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