I'm in Ohio until the election, but I did want to pass on these California ballot recommendations by Bill Magavern, whose judgment I found to be excellent for past elections:
Bill Magavern's Recommendations for November California Ballot
These are strictly my personal opinions, for whatever they're worth. Feel free
to forward them or post to web, but please do not add the names of any other
individual or organization by way of identification or affiliation. And get
ready for some change we can believe in. -- Bill
Proposition 1A --Yes
Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.
If you’re wondering what happened to Prop 1, the Legislature replaced it with
1A, which is still a high-speed rail bond, but with significant improvements in
both fiscal accountability and environmental safeguards. This bond measure calls
for borrowing almost $10 billion, which is no easy sell, but creating a clean
and fast rail line linking most of the state’s population is a goal worth that
kind of investment. We need clean transportation alternatives to freeways and
airplanes, and if we don’t pass 1A it will be a long time before we have another
Proposition 2 -- Yes
Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute.
The Humane Society has a simple proposal: farm animals should have enough room
to actually turn around. Decreasing the density of confined animals will also
decrease pollution and help family farmers. The additional cost will be less
than one penny per egg.
Proposition 3 -- Yes
Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.
Public borrowing for private institutions should have to pass a high threshold
of worthiness, and I think children’s hospitals meet that standard.
Proposition 4 -- No
Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s
Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
Sure, it would be great if minors discussed all important life decisions with
their parents, but having government require it is not going to make it happen.
A more likely result of passing this measure would be an increase in dangerous
Proposition 5 -- Yes
Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute.
Treatment and rehab programs for nonviolent offenders are more effective than
the lock-‘em up policy that the state has relied on in recent decades. These
programs will cost money, but will save higher amounts over time.
Proposition 6 -- No
Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative
Does anybody really think that our prison populations are too small, or that
sentences are too short? This measure would throw a lot of money into the
prison-industrial complex without accountability for how the money is spent.
State money that now goes to schools and healthcare would be shifted to building
jails and funding other local responsibilities.
Proposition 7 -- No
Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute.
A billionaire had a good idea – ramp up renewable energy standards. But he got
really bad advice, then his team refused to listen to experts who suggested
changes in the proposal, or to recognize that the Legislature and Governor are
already moving toward the nation’s highest and best clean-power requirement. So the ballot language
would actually obstruct development of the small-scale solar and wind projects
we need. Just about all the state’s newspaper editorial boards and major
environmental groups are opposed.
Proposition 8 -- No
Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional
Why is it that the proponents of this constitutional amendment are so worried
that their marriages will be threatened if gay people are allowed to keep the
right to marry?
Proposition 9 -- No
Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional
Amendment and Statute.
This measure’s billionaire sponsor, Henry Nicholas, is under indictment for
fraud, drugs and prostitution, but he poses as a champion of victims’ rights.
Victims already have a bill of rights under the state Constitution, and Prop 9
would duplicate existing laws and cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars
Proposition 10 -- No
Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute.
Another billionaire trying to make energy policy through the ballot, but this
one – Swift Boat campaign funder T. Boone Pickens – knows exactly what he’s
doing: trying to enrich his natural gas business. Like Prop 7, Prop 10 also has
drawn opposition from just about all the state’s newspaper editorial boards and
every environmental group that has weighed in, along with taxpayer and consumer
groups. Natural gas vehicles are relatively clean, but shouldn’t be subsidized
by long-term state borrowing and shouldn’t be favored over cleaner alternatives
like battery electric vehicles.
Proposition 11 -- Yes
Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
CA needs to take redistricting away from the legislators, who have a conflict of
interest, and give it to an independent commission, as this measure would do. I
don’t buy many of the arguments of supporters – redistricting reform will not
make the Legislature more centrist or less partisan, which are over-rated virtues anyway. But it will make legislators
more responsive to their constituents, and will yield districts that are drawn
for their communities of interest and geographical compactness instead of the
self-interest of the politicians. Prop 11 isn’t perfect: it doesn’t cover
Congress, and the system of choosing the commissioners is overly complicated.
But it’s a lot better than the status quo, and is probably our best shot at
reform for a while, which is why the League of Women Voters and Common Cause
Proposition 12 -- Yes
Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008.
This system of financing veterans’ home purchases has worked before, at no
direct cost to taxpayers.