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Endorsements: Too many propositions

Prop 1A: NO

I am the first person to take a bullet train. I love Los Angeles, and I don’t have a car. I would certainly seize the opportunity to take a weekend to visit my grandparents and hit the downtown clubs. Sounds fabulous, right? But an investment of this size needs to be an asset for the entire state, not just for SF-to-LA day trippers.

The alignment of this proposed bullet train has been explained very well at TransBay blog. Basically, at the request of the same San Jose developers that brought us BART-to-San Jose and VTA (a Santa Clara Countywide light-rail system that carries fewer people than one bus line in Oakland), SF officials conspired to use the Pacheco Pass, an undeveloped area south of San Jose, rather than the Altamont Pass, the exurb-laden route between Alameda and San Joaquin counties.

This means that the East Bay, the largest part of the Bay Area, and the Modesto-Tracy area, the most urbanized part of the northern Central Valley, and even Sacramento cannot be served the initial line or alignment. To bring service to Oakland, which is much closer to the rest of the Bay Area than SF, and then on to Sacramento, would require another line. While SF will then have three passenger rail lines connecting it to San Jose, the East Bay will continue to have not a single passenger-only rail connection.

I don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but with an alignment that skips the largest part of the Bay Area, fails to connect with Sacramento and Modesto, and brings transit service through a completely undeveloped wetlands, is it even good? Unfortunately, it’s not. Vote NO.


Prop 2: NO

I’m not into animal rights I don’t agree with the animal-rights movement, and agricultural regulation by ballot initiative really should not encouraged. I mean, animal activists got my precious foie gras banned (though you wouldn’t know it in the DTO), so if this is as moderate as backers say, why can’t they get the legislature to pass it? Trendy social movements, like everyone else, should be greeted with great skepticism when they try to legislate by initiative.


Prop 3: YES

The children’s hospital bonds can be rightly criticized for many of the same reasons voters turned down Alameda County funding for Oakland Children’s Hospital earlier this year. But these bonds are being paid by the whole state and Oakland will get a disproportionate amount. That’s like free money. Vote YES.


Prop 4: NO

This initiative is anti-choice and also discriminates against young people.


Prop 5: YES

I voted yes on this because I do think the California prison system shouldn’t lock up so many nonviolent offenders and should place more emphasis on rehabilitation. The costs of unrehabilitated prisoners are often borne right here in Oakland. But of course I generally think that issues should be settled through the legislature (which is very liberal, remember), and not the ballot box. Somewhat as a protest vote, I will vote YES.


Prop 6: NO

This is a naked attempt by Republicans to divert funds to their prized cause, law enforcement and prisons, even as California struggles to meet court-mandated prison reforms. This was defeated in the Legislature and shouldn’t be on the ballot. There are also 30 revisions of criminal law, which is way too many for people to vote on. This sets a terrible precedent for creating crimes via ballot initiative. Vote NO.


Prop 7: NO

Honestly, I’m somewhat confused by these environmental initiatives that are opposed by many environmentalists. Forcing public utilities to meet unrealistic renewable energy goals by initiative is not helping the cause. It’s important to remember that initiatives (unless place by the Legislature) are laws that have failed to get enough political support to pass the Legislature and often are radical changes that cannot be modified except by another public vote. NO is always a safe vote. On this, vote NO.


Prop 8: OMFG NO

I’m not going to persuade a Prop 8 supporter here and I really don’t want to encourage their comments. But I will mention that anti-marriage forces launched a cyber-attack last night and through this morning, and have been accused of a mean-spirited public rally in Eastlake. Please give if you can, this is the most expensive state election in the entire country.


Prop 9: NO

This essentially sets new, more restrictive parole rules through initiative. Again, this is not something that should be brought through initiative. Vote NO.


Prop 10: NO

A naked money-grab by the country’s only manufacturer of natural-gas cars! This is exactly what’s wrong with the initiative process, and why I did not vote for the stem-cell research bonds.


Prop 11: YES

California does need independent redistricting. Gerrymandering is old as America itself, but increasing political segregation and sophisticated algorithms have made gerrymandering simply too effective. As everyone has heard, not one of California’s 120 legislative seats has changed parties since 2002, when the current districts went into effect. There are still two more regular elections before redistricting, so this isn’t the last chance, but this seems fair and was created by nonpartisan groups (unlike the last stab at redistricting). It also will not affect Congress. Vote YES.


Prop 12: YES

It’s just renewing bonds that aid veterans, and was placed by the legislature. Vote YES.


Boy, aren’t there too many propositions? But you can do something about that. If you vote NO on most or all of the propositions (always the safe choice), that will discourage people from placing them in the future.

Posted in california, elections, endorsements, oakland.

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5 Responses

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  1. Becks says

    I honestly don’t know where to start so I’m going to hold off on my specific disagreements with you on individual initiatives (1A, 2, and 11), and discuss this overall flawed assumption you have about our legislature. I don’t like the initiative process very much either, but our legislature isn’t as liberal as you make it out to be.

    The Drug Policy Alliance has been working in Sacramento for years to pass legislation similar to Prop 5. Guess what? Their legislation rarely even made it out of committee and certainly never passed floor votes. Even though I think it’s a fairly moderate proposal that certainly makes sense given our bloated prison system and budget problems, Prop 5 was too controversial for the legislature to pass.

    Also, you need to keep in mind that it’s not just the legislature we’d have to pass things like 2 and 5 through. We’d need the governor’s signature. And as I experienced first hand this year when Schwarzenegger vetoed the medical marijuana employment rights bill that we passed through the legislature, just because the “very liberal legislature” passes something, that doesn’t mean that the governor will sign it. Even if the legislation is moderate and wildly popular.

  2. dto510 says

    Well, I did endorse Prop 5, but changing the criminal code by initiative sounds pretty scary. Are we going to be creating new felonies most voters only know about as “approximately 30 revisions to California criminal law” (prop 6)? I definitely distrust the initiative process in general and think that we have representative democracy for a reason. A law passed by the legislature but vetoed by the governor does seem like a good candidate for the ballot.

  3. skippy says

    I’m with you on voting no on prop.2 the bill would cost millions per farmer to make the changes. Most farmers would close. The price increases for eggs would go up to 6$ to $7 per carton. The supply would not meet the demand. The animal rights movement is being controlled by a religious extremist in the UK. He told the animal rights people if they set free the animals they would control the world. Keep the animal extremists out of the United States.

  4. Cali L says

    Skippy, you are paranoid. NO the cost of eggs would not go up that much, maybe by a few cents but not by dollars. This would also NOT close farms.

    I am more than willing to pay a little more for my meat, eggs, and milk to make sure that the animals FORCEFULLY GIVING THEIR LIVES for this purpose are treated as humanely as POSSIBLE. I do not think that giving them a little room to at least lean from one leg to the next is that big of a change but at least it is SOMETHING.

    And no, I am not a religious extremist in the UK. Heck, I am not even religious for that matter. I am also not a vegetarian or vegan (though I really wish I could be I just cant do it fully). I simply know the difference between right and wrong. Torturing animals that we are USING is wrong.

    Y E S ON PROP 2

  5. Brian says

    As somebody who owns chickens (yes, in Oakland), I strongly support Prop 2. This proposition is not extreme–it is about creating a very basic standard of humane treatment for living creatures. As the text of the proposition says, it requires that farm animals be able to lie down, stand up, turn around, and extend their limbs. Is that really too much to ask for?