- Written by Ken Alpern
26 Oct 2012
POLITICS - Our current slew of “30-something” propositions are not always easy to wrap our heads around. There are so many, and although a few have had more airtime than others (30, 32, 37 and 38 in particular), they all have one thing in common:
they all need to NOT be evaluated in a knee-jerk, sophomoric and naïve manner, but with the wisdom and experience of people who reach age 30 or older (i.e., a “thirty-something”) and who know what the term “unintended consequences” means.
So with the understanding that I am well beyond that “30-something” era of my life, but still choose to focus on life as a full-fledged adult and not as an impulsive teenager, let’s review our state and local propositions (with a few exclamation marks thrown in to establish fervency, or lack thereof):
Prop. 30 (NO!!!): It’s understandable why many would choose to vote for this as a way to correct our state’s budget while the imbalance is so glaring, but the taxes start retroactive to this year and the Legislature actually had the nerve to vote on a budget presuming this proposition would pass. Furthermore, this money goes into the general budget and with very little accountability as to where the heck that money will go—it does NOT have to go to education!
If that’s not “Exhibit A and B” as to why the Legislature, the Governor and their union thug allies need more reform, not a bailout, I don’t know what is. Furthermore—and think this through, folks—if we smack the highest earners (who make far, far more than I do) with a markedly disproportionate amount of taxes, as this proposition does, we will see an even greater exodus of these folks to other states, which has occurred in other states that have done this…and the revenue WON’T come!
Prop. 31 (NO): This is actually a pretty good idea…for another time when remaking the constitution and long-term budgetary and regulatory reform was one that could be center stage. Shifting local control to the cities and establishing a two-year budget are very attractive ideas (and one could do worse than vote for this proposition), but the unintended consequences of doing so much with so little knowledge of the details and secondary consequences makes the timing of this all wrong.
Prop. 32 (YES!!!): I’ve heard all the doom and gloom about how evil big businesses is (and how HAS our state fared as it pushes these evil-doers away?) and all the screaming about protecting public union power (and how HAS our state fared as they become the single most powerful lobby in Sacramento?). Banning political contributions (or at least daylighting them) from corporations and unions is long overdue—and if further reform is needed, then bring it on ASAP for the next election!
Prop. 33 (NO!): This is supported by the same car insurance companies who’ve cherry-picked customers and have nailed many (often the majority) of individuals simply because they live where they do. It helps a few but hurts the many, and while it’s easy to claim this helps capitalism and free enterprise and choice, this is one of those times that car insurance companies need to (again!) be limit-set. We need to have more drivers insured, not more profits to insurers.
Prop. 34 (NO!): This is a real toughie, because I am unabashedly pro-death penalty. If someone does something horrible to me, my family and friends, or anyone else in society, that needs to merit a punishment that means the ultimate price—and if capital punishment is an easier way out than life in prison, then why does everyone on death row fight that day when they pay the ultimate price for the ultimate crime?
However, the DNA evidence exonerating some individuals on death row, and the reports of overzealous District Attorneys, is startling and deeply disturbing. Ex-Governor Pete Wilson (pro-death penalty) had it exactly right when he demanded quality defense attorneys and DNA testing whenever possible for those convicted on first-degree murder charges, and those who push for this current measure are mainly anti-death penalty to begin with. Let the budget go up to pay for greater DNA testing, more daylight and judges for the death penalty backlog, and let new death penalty guidelines be our way to reform instead of this proposition…which is OPPOSED by the greater law enforcement community.
Prop. 35 (NO!!): This is, on first-glance, a well-meant law to limit human trafficking and expand our sex offender registry. However, this is best done at the federal and law enforcement level and has the risk of being abused by overly aggressive individuals (including battling ex-spouses with children) and should be done thoughtfully and not impulsively. The devil’s in the details, and this is too detailed an issue to just vote on because we rightfully hate human trafficking and sex offenders.
Prop. 36 (NO!!!): This appears worthy on first glance, because the three strikes law is only meant to keep violent criminals permanently incarcerated. However, we ALREADY HAVE the ability for judges and prosecutors to use judgment and flexibility for that third strike to only apply to violent offenses, and there most certainly WILL be violent criminals who will be allowed “one more chance” by this proposition. Do you want that “one more chance” to be committed on you or your family?
Prop. 37 (NO!!!): Want to kill California agriculture and manufacturing? Want to help lawsuit attorneys remain gainfully employed until kingdom come? Then vote for this proposition. The definition of “genetically-modified foods” is so vague and ripe for scientific rebuttal (virtually all foods, including “organic” foods, have some sort of modification and preservation techniques to ensure quality and safety) that this will make California a place from which food-growers and producers will flee. There is no science to this measure, only a quasi-theology that is being universally panned by those with a proper education who learn about it. This will cloud over, not provide transparency and science to, food production in our state.
Prop. 38 (YES!): It’s easy to oppose all tax measures, and it’s also easy to give into the fear-mongering from the Governor, the Legislature and their education union thugs to vote for their pet Prop. 30. If we MUST vote in favor of preserving education of K-12, let’s send the money to the school districts (and particularly to the classroom) where we can ensure it won’t go to education bureaucracy, education pensions or the state general fund. If you want your education tax dollars to go to children and not to Sacramento politicians and lobbies, this is the way to do it.
Prop. 39 (YES!!!): I am as pro-capitalism and anti-taxation-without-representation as anyone, but if one sends their operations out of state (or out of country), there should be no tax loopholes to accommodate or encourage it. If an employer wants to move because it’s too onerous to do business here, then he/she should decry it and even make the move (and take the jobs away) to protest it (Sacramento, are you LISTENING?), but there’s no fiscal or moral justification for that employer to stay here while the jobs go away. I don’t blame infuriated employers from leaving, but if you must, then GO or PAY UP.
Prop. 40 (YES): This is very confusing to many, because the California Republican Party which originally opposed this measure (to approve the State Senate district lines drawn by an independent citizens commission) now favor it because the State Supreme Court approved these redistricted lines. No one opposes it now, and it’s a shame we have this confusion. If you think that the lines are unfair, vote to oppose this, but overall all major players appear to endorse this.
County Measure A (NO!!!): County Assessor (former, really) John Noguez is getting nailed for corruption and bribery, so what good would it to remove this office from the elected power of the voters? Why should we give the County Board of Supervisors even more power to assess our property and make this office an appointed one? Let’s be glad that the press and the courts did their job and keep this office elected and accountable to the voters.
County Measure B (NO!): Surprise! Expected a physician like myself to favor condoms on porn stars for all L.A. County-produced pornography, right? Well, I believe this was tried by the porn industry a few years ago and they discovered that it really hurt sales…and now they oppose this measure. It’s a tragedy that anyone catches diseases likes HIV, and condoms should be demanded by all those in the industry who so wish to use them. However, this measure will shut down the industry and/or force it to go underground in this county (perhaps it’s a good way to make the industry go elsewhere, if that’s the desired effect)…and that won’t help anyone.
Furthermore, there’s no mechanism to enforce this otherwise well-intentioned measure. So what should be done? Create a segment of the public health sector in L.A. County to have more nurses and doctors on set and require more frequent and monitored testing (to be paid for by all legal porn shoots with overall minimal costs), which probably will receive cooperation from both the actors and the producers, who neither want infectious disease or lawsuits that accompany unsafe behavior. And have the industry promote more safe sex to the general community!!!
County Measure J (YES!!!): No surprise here. I’ve covered this in my CityWatch article last week, and will raise this up again before the election. This measure covers the gap between Measure R (which set the priority and vetting of solid rail and highway projects, as well as local transportation initiatives, but takes decades long to implement) and Measures A and C (which will complete their payment of current/completed projects in the decades to come), as well as a state and federal government that is all too parsimonious on transportation/infrastructure spending. This helps ensure a pipeline of vetted and cost-effectively planned construction that is a legally-mandated process, and which will ensure ongoing road/rail/freeway and overall transportation plans to fund a L.A. County for the 21st Century.
So go VOTE…and good luck weighing all the “advice” (including my own tripe) as you make a sober and thoughtful decision to help steer our community, state and country into the right direction for both current and future generations. Too many people have fought and even died for our right to vote, so it’s not too much to ask for us to spend some time, thought and energy and do our most sacred civic duty. (The election is November 6th.)
Vol 10 Issue 86
Pub: Oct 26, 2012