Barry's ballot recommendations

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Barry’s guide to the California 2006 ballot

Here are my ballot recommendations. As you can see, the voters agreed with most of them. Nothing terrible passed, and nothing wonderful failed. Of course, there is a lot of mediocre in between. Is there anyone who doesn't think our initiative system is NOT a mess? I didn't think so.

Here's what I said before the election:

It’s election time again. By popular demand, I’ve made my short analysis of the propositions. There are so many that this is a pretty long list. Sorry about that. And as long as I’d gone that far, it seemed appropriate to foist it on all of you. Sorry again. As always, I fully reserve the right to be wrong, even totally wrong. All viewpoints below are strictly my own. If you have opposing ideas, let me know. I might even change my mind. Check back later to see if I've made any changes. Just don’t forget to vote.

Some advice: ignore all the commercials. They are paid for in almost all cases by someone with a financial stake in how you vote. They will say anything to get you to go along with them. Even when I agree with their position, I find some distortion or downright lie in just about every commercial. The initiative system is such a mess. Clearly, we can do better than this.

 Without further ado, here we go...

Prop 1A – Transportation Funding Protection

Gasoline taxes are supposed to go to transportation funding like roads. When the state had a budget mess over the last few years, they used a lot of that money to help balance the budget. They also took a bunch from the schools, cities and counties. Isn’t that an easy way to balance your budget? Those other sources were protected by the voters in recent elections fairly well. Transportation dollars are still easy pickings. This proposition gives them some reasonable protection while allowing an out when things are really bad.

Recommendation – Yes

                                          

Prop 1B – Highway and transportation bond

This is the big one. It’s almost $20 billion. Of that, $11.3 billion is for highways and local streets, $4 billion is for public transportation, $3.2 billion is for goods movement (think ports) and air quality, and $1.5 billion is for safety and security. The federal government should be funding that last one, but don’t expect to see that. Yes, these numbers are huge. No, I’m not sure they’re enough. Here in little Lomita, our expected cost for repairing our streets is in the many millions. Ouch! This bond will help, but we still have a terrible backlog in repairs and highway improvements throughout the state. This bond is an investment in our future just as our current freeways were 40 years ago.

Recommendation – Yes

 

Prop 1C – Housing bond

This one is $2.9 billion dollars for low-income housing and assistance for the homeless. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would have much real impact. What will help is for housing prices to come down some. After all, our houses aren’t really worth that much, and we all know it. Market forces are now fixing that as was bound to happen. Since I’ve worked with a not for profit developer for almost 20 years, I’d really like to see more money for our projects, but this bond doesn’t seem too well laid out or a holistic solution to the problem. It’s not a bad idea; it’s just not a good enough one.

Recommendation – No

 

Prop 1D – School bond

What’s that you say, we’ve already passed lots of school bonds? You’re right. That’s what happens when you let things slide for years and years. Plus, skyrocketing construction costs have really eaten into those previous bonds. This bond is $10.4 billion. From what I’ve seen in the last few years, schools are in much better shape physically. Still, there’s a long way to go. We went to back to school night last night for Alex (yes, he’s in high school). It’s the same school Margie’s dad went to in the 1940’s. From the looks of things, that’s the last time they repaired their sidewalks. The place is crammed with portable classrooms that are not nice places. Higher education facilities have also been neglected. Both of these are the real economic engines of the state. An educated workforce is a must. Crowded and unsafe facilities (I tripped twice on cracked pavement last night) work against us financially in the long run. Plus, we need more schools in growing areas.

Recommendation – Yes

 

Prop 1E – Disaster preparedness and flood prevention

This is a $4 billion bond to pay for repairs and improvement to the state’s levee system. Can you say New Orleans? If they had had their act together and maintained their levees, they wouldn’t have had such devastation. People saw the warning signs and ignored them. Guess what? It’s our turn now. Are we going to keep ignoring this? If you think this is only a northern California issue, you’re right. Unless you like to drink water, flush, bathe or have a yard that is. The federal government should be paying for this one, but they aren’t too keen on California these days, and our Congressional members of both parties are too disorganized to do anything about it.

Recommendation – Yes

 

Proposition 83 – Sex offender residence restrictions and monitoring

Who came up with this one? It’s so extreme as to be unworkable. The idea is to keep sex offenders, including those who committed misdemeanors decades ago, away from most everything and watch them like a hawk. It sounds reasonable. Other states tried this system, and it was a total flop. It’s expensive, but at least it doesn’t improve safety. This is one of those things sure to pass so we can all look tough on crime but short on common sense.

Recommendation – No

 

Proposition 84 – Water quality, flood control, parks improvement bond

Wow, this one covers a lot of ground. Again, it’s a case of too little investment over many years having left us with a big fat bill. This one’s for $5.4 billion in bonds. What I like in this one is that it funds a whole bunch of little local programs instead of the big stuff. It will be a big help locally, wherever your version of local is. Being on the ballot with the other bonds is bad timing though, so I doubt this one will pass. Expect to see it back next time.

Recommendation – Yes

 

Proposition 85 – Parental notification and waiting period for minors to have an abortion

This one’s simple. If you are opposed to abortion rights, vote yes. If you think it’s up to the individual to decide, vote no. I remember friends in high school who got pregnant and had abortions. No, their parents did not know. With at least one case, I think they would have killed the guy. Really. Abortion questions are rarely simple or straightforward. I don’t envy any girl having to make that decision. I will not force her to confront her parents with the situation as well. I know many will disagree with me on this and I very much respect that. Maybe someday we can discuss education’s role in preventing them from getting pregnant in the first place, but that’s not as shrill and nasty as the partisans who use abortion to advance their agenda on both sides of the aisle.

Recommendation – No

 

Proposition 86 – Tax on cigarettes

This adds a tax of 13 cents per cigarette to the already high taxes on smokers. Good. I was opposed to this one until I noticed how many teens are smoking lately. Studies clearly show that teens cut back or quit smoking as prices rise in a very direct correlation. I don’t care if they take the money from the tax and use it to fund mayonnaise factories – and you know I hate that stuff more than anything. Just keep those kids from smoking. High prices will do that. Amen!

Recommendation – Yes

 

Proposition 87 – Oil tax

Gee, the other oil producing states have oil drilling taxes, including Texas. An oil tax will not raise oil prices because oil prices are part of a global market. The oil companies hate this idea. I would too if I were them. That wouldn’t mean the tax isn’t right. Who wants to pay taxes? No one does. That does not make this one wrong. The money goes toward alternate energy research, which we desperately need. That’s a good thing to get us off this crack called oil. Then we could ignore Venezuela and the other two-bit dictators who happen to live on pools of oil. Doesn’t that sound nice?

Recommendation – Yes

 

Proposition 88 – Parcel tax for education funding

Huh? This is one of those ideas that made fine sense at the cocktail party where they came up with it. In the cold light of day, it’s an awkward one size fits all solution that makes for some awkward problems. All parcels would pay the same tax, and that doesn’t make sense. Go back to the party and come back with something that uses existing funds please.

Recommendation – No

 

Proposition 89 – Public financing of campaigns

Having been in an election myself last year, I can see how funding campaigns turns ugly. In our little town, running costs only a few thousand dollars, but I understand how other elections can get very expensive. In our current system, the people and organizations with big bucks definitely get undue influence. Public financing is probably the best way to fix it, though I’d certainly like to hear other ideas. Having said that, this proposition doesn’t quite cut it. We need something that limits unions and businesses alike and provides some reasonable way for the public to find out about a candidates views, abilities, background, interests and whatever else they need to make a decision. While I don’t back this proposition, I hope it comes close to push the legislature into doing something.

Recommendation – No

 

Proposition 90 – Eminent domain and whole bunch of other stuff

This is the absolute worst thing on the ballot. Some nutcase from New York funded the whole thing with his own money while doing similar initiatives in other states. For starters, it addresses eminent domain abuse regarding people’s homes and economic development. California law already had much tighter rules than the rest of the country, so we were already covered. Still, Prop 90 uses that issue as its hook for the real agenda, which is a full out assault on all government regulation. Do you really want the end to controls on property? If a local government limited a property owner to only 10 units on a lot instead of 20, the local government would have to pay the property owner for the other 10 units. View protection ordinances, noise restrictions, and beach access would all be hacked way back or killed. This measure is incredibly extreme and would lead to lawsuits over so very many actions. Ask people in Oregon who have a milder version. It is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. This one needs to lose and lose BIG!

Recommendation –No

 

Judges

Who knows any of these people? You’d better find out fast, because more and more oddballs are running for judge and actually winning. My suggestion is to use your local paper’s recommendations and also look at www.smartvoter.org to see the League of Women Voters site with the judges’ own statements. Very handy!

 

Statewide candidates

I don’t usually endorse on these, but there are few I know something on that is worth sharing. Here goes:

Lieutenant Governor – Garamendi – McClintock is just way too extreme

Secretary of State – Either one!  Here’s a rarity, McPherson and Bowen are both very capable and good people. They even say nice things about each other.

Attorney General – Hold you nose and vote for Jerry Brown – I met Pachoogian’s staff last year in Sacramento and was horrified by how out of touch they were. Their boss is apparently from the same mold

Insurance Commissioner – Poizner – Bustamante is a politician in the worst sense of the word

 

That’s about it. If you have other thoughts, I’m open to hearing them. The address is below. Just remember to vote!

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Last modified: 10/23/2016