Our Guide to the California Propositions

Proposition 1A – $9.95 Billion Bond for High Speed Rail – Vote YES

It’s way past time to get serious about transportation alternatives.

Proposition 2 – Humane Treatment of Animals – Vote YES

Would require people raising poultry, some pigs and veal calves to give them enough room to stretch, lie down, stand up and turn around (at least most of the time). Doesn’t take effect until 2015 to give plenty of time for building bigger cages. It’s kind of sad that a law like this is even necessary. 


Proposition 3 – $980 Million Bond for Children’s Hospitals – Vote NO

Hey, we appreciate the work that children’s hospitals do as much as anyone, but didn’t we just pass $750 million dollars in bonds for them only four years ago (only about half of which has even been spent yet)? Also, there’s the fact that (unlike county general hospitals) most children’s hospitals are privately owned. We’re not sure that creating public debt to benefit private institutions is such a good idea (even if it seems to be emerging as the foundation of our national economic policy).


Proposition 4 – Constitutional Amendment Requiring Doctors to Notify a Minor’s Parent or Guardian at least 48 Hours Before Performing an Abortion – Vote NO

The Taliban faction of the religious right is hoping the third time will be the charm in their effort to make life even more difficult than it already is for teens dealing with unwanted pregnancy (similar propositions have been voted down twice in the past two years).


Proposition 5 – Changes Rules for Dealing with Nonviolent Drug Offenses – Vote YES

 Aimed at moving nonviolent drug offenders out of the overcrowded prisons, mainly through expanding drug treatment diversion programs and parole rehabilitation programs. Also lowers penalties for possession of marijuana. Money saved by getting nonviolent offenders out of prison (it currently costs us about $46,000 per year to keep someone in prison) is expected to more than cover the expense of the new treatment programs.


Proposition 6 – Mandates an Enormous Increase in Spending on Law Enforcement and Revises Many Laws Covering “Gang-Related” Offenses – Vote NO

Requires the state to budget $965 million per year for specified law enforcement programs (with some of this funding to increase over time). We’re all for adequately funding public safety agencies, but the middle of a budget crisis is certainly not the time to mandate what amounts to a 60% increase in law enforcement spending – and locking in funding for specific enforcement programs is probably never a good idea. Opposition is widespread due to the fact that the money that would go to this Proposition’s pet projects would have to come out of other important programs, all of which have already been deeply cut. Not even the attorney general supports it. Ironically, the biggest donor to the Yes on 6 campaign (and the Yes on Prop. 9 campaign, as well), a wealthy conservative who amuses himself by trying to impose his twisted vision of public policy on the rest of us through the initiative process, is now himself under indictment on drug, conspiracy, and securities fraud charges.


Proposition 7 – Renewable Energy Mandate – Vote NO

Mandates that all utilities generate 20% of their power from renewable sources by 2010 and 50% by 2025. Sounds good. So why are the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the League of Conservation Voters joining PG&E and Southern California Edison in opposing it? Basically, because it’s a mess that could easily do more to harm the development of renewable energy than to help it. Another poorly thought through effort by a rich individual to force his own solution to a major problem. It sure would be nice if these guys would listen to some expert advice before spending a fortune to put their ideas on the ballot.


Proposition 8 – Constitutional Amendment to Ban Same Sex Marriage – Vote NO

Last we checked, this was 2008, not 1008. We’ve gotten this far without enshrining this kind of intolerance in our State Constitution. Why start now?

Contrary to the BS being cranked out by the proponents, the only kind of marriage that’s at issue here is the legal kind. The kind that any two unmarried adults of sound mind currently have the right to enter into with each other. It’s a legal arrangement that has nothing to do with religion (or love, for that matter). It’s as simple as going down to the courthouse, paying for a license and asking a judge to declare you married.

Religious beliefs about marriage aren’t affected in any way by the right of same sex couples to enter into this form of contract with one another – and same sex couples aren’t any more likely to be allowed to marry at churches that don’t approve than non-Catholics are to be allowed to marry at the Carmel Mission.

If nothing else, the American Taliban who support this thing have certainly demonstrated that honesty is not on their list of “traditional values.”


Proposition 9 – Constitutional Amendment on Criminal Law, Victims, etc. – Vote NO

Another mess from the same rich (and now indicted) guy sponsoring Prop. 6. Gives “Victim Rights” advocates more rights than the families of actual victims among many, many other problems. As with Prop. 6, the opposition is extremely widespread.


Proposition 10 – $5 Billion Bond for Natural Gas Powered Vehicles – Vote NO

Texas oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens is the rich guy behind this entirely self-serving proposition (Pickens owns Clean Energy Fuel Corp., a major supplier of natural gas for vehicles). Another effort to transfer public money into private pockets, this proposition has succeeded in uniting the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations with all three of California’s big taxpayer rights organizations in unified opposition.


Proposition 11 – Constitutional Amendment Creating a Commission with the Power to Draw the Lines of State Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization Districts – Vote YES

One glance at a map of California’s Senate and Assembly Districts is all it takes to realize that this is one Constitutional Amendment we really need. Leaving it up to the legislature to draw their own district boundaries was clearly a mistake. The extent to which the lines have been gerrymandered over the years is absolutely unbelievable. The Democratic Party is against it, of course, since they currently have the advantage, but that simply isn’t a good enough reason to stick with a system that’s this badly broken.

Proposition 12 – $900 Million Bond for Farm & Home Loans for Veterans – Vote YES

The Cal-Vet program has been extending low-interest loans to veterans since 1921. It’s a good program that not only should be kept going, it should be expanded to cover more would-be homeowners in need of the help. Oh well, maybe someday.


2 Responses to Our Guide to the California Propositions

  1. tufdaawg says:

    no on 1a. waste of money and time.

  2. thebirdsings says:

    Thanks for this!

    As it happens, I agree exactly on every single one. I published a letter in the Pine Cone on Prop 8 – it’s on my blog: http://thebirdsings.com/2008/10/16/proposition-8-and-why-you-shouldnt-vote-for-it/

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