Friday, October 12, 2012

November Election Pt 2: California State Propositions

Now it's time for the state propositions. These will probably be tricker than the city ones.

  • Proposition 30 - income tax increase of 0.25% for incomes over $250k to fund schools: Reluctant yes. I oppose targeted revenue. I believe all revenue should go into the general fund. In the end, targeted revenue is generally a deception, anyway, since unless the individual targeted component is more than the entire budget, then funding from the general fund can be reduced to bring the funding for that target back to or even lower than it originally was. Classic case: San Francisco voters decided to send more funding to MUNI so the police increased their fees they charge MUNI essentially taking all of that increased money for themselves. But I think the revenue is needed, especially in an age when the federal government is looking to push more fiscal responsibilities onto states.
  • Proposition 31 - Budgeting rule changes: No. Are you kidding me? I stared at this one for several minutes and I still had no idea what it actually does. This is way to complex for each citizen in the state to fully analyze and comprehend. This sort of complex legislation is why we hire people to represent us in Sacramento.
  • Proposition 32 - Political contributions by payroll deduction: Yes. This would prohibit unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political contributions. I am a full supporter of voluntary contributions from workers, but unions have a particular position of power over their workers, and to use dues deducted from worker pay for the purpose of lobbying is an abuse of that power. I do not feel the influence of unions on state government is net positive. There is an issue with the imbalance created by unlimited corporate donations, but I feel that this problem should and will be dealt with separately.
  • Proposition 33 - Auto insurance rates: No, no, no, absolutely no! This allows insurance companies to set rates based on a past history of auto insurance. This is grossly unfair to people who go "off the grid" and use alternate transportation, seeking to reduce their expenses by declining to purchase expensive auto insurance. This proposition is being claimed to facilitate switching insurance companies but it's a fraud.
  • Proposition 34 - Death Penalty: Absolutely yes. The death penalty is corrosive, expensive, and unproductive. This would essentially end it in California. Victims families will need to find "closure" in other ways, similar to the vast majority of the civilized world which long ago banned this barbaric institution.
  • Proposition 35 - Human Trafficking: No. I almost always oppose manditory sentencing. This isn't needed: there's already laws on the books against kidnapping and sexual exploitation. The remedy is to enforce the laws we already have.
  • Proposition 36 - Three Strikes Reform: Absolutely yes. I have always been against three strikes on many levels. This restricts the felonies to which the three stike law is applied to violent crimes or those involving firearms. This comes closer to the intent of the original law.
  • Proposition 37 - Labeling Genetrically Engineered Food: Yes. There is no conceivable reason to oppose this unless you are against all food labeling laws. There is considerable concern about the effects of genetically enginnered foods and the people should be able to decide for themselves whether the lower prices are worth what they perceive to be the risk.
  • Proposition 38 - Tax to fund education and early childhood programs: Yes. I need to read more of the fine print, but this seems decent. 30% of the revenue is targeted for debt reduction, which is good (but I'm not sure how it is enforcable). 30 and 38 are mutually exclusive but if you are unwilling to vote for both then vote-slipping condemns both to failure.
  • Proposition 39 - Yes. Miltistate businesses and "clean energy": I like the proposal to simplify the corporate tax code to remove the incentive for corporations to move their offices outside the state. I do not like the earmarking of revenue received for "clean energy upgrades." I fear these programs tend to be boondoggles of unchecked spending on installations which may or may not accomplish anything. The best approach to "cleaner energy" is to make the dirty energy more expensive, then the free market takes over. But I'll vote for this one.
  • Proposition 40 - Retain state districts designed by the redistricting committee: Yes. This one is no-brainer. There's not even an argument against in the voter guide.

Wow -- that's 8/11 yesses. I'm clearly slipping.


Chris Bernstien said...

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.

Efforts are also being made 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

djconnel said...

The death penalty is documented to be assigned in an almost arbitrary, almost certainly biased fashion, and it is executed only after decades of process. If you want to argue all murderers should be put to death in summary fashion, in striking contrast to the practice of the rest of the civilized world, you can make that argument. But what we have now is a farce. Better to get rid of it and move on.