Tonight we tackle all 9 statewide (California) ballot propositions, plus the city of SLO's Measure H. Let's get to it....
Proposition 19: Yes The war on drugs has failed, and its draconian view of marijuana consumption and the punishments imposed are a throwback to the 1950s. This measure would allow people over the age of 21 to possess small amount of marijuana, treating the drug much the same way we treat alcohol, which is the way it should be.
Proposition 20: No This measure, along with Prop 27, is a classic example of the CA ballot initiative bamboozle: Confusing as hell and probably no right answer. So I'll just say this, when I found a slickly produced mass-mailer DVD in my mailbox a few weeks ago, I watched it. Told in Michael Moore, "can you believe this crazy bullshit?" style, it tells the story of the evils of gerrymandering, even explaining the origins of the term. But I found myself wondering who would put up the cash to produce such a film, and who would pay to mail copies to 20-million California voters? Turns out it's right-wing Republican billionaire Charles Munger, Jr., who's shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars into propositions over the years that seek to tweak the California electoral process toward Republicans. Munger is, for all intents and purposes, Prop 20's sole financial backer. Once I did a little research on this character, I just decided to run screaming away from Prop 20. It doesn't pass the sniff test.
Proposition 21: Yes Prop 21 would increase the state vehicle registration fee by $18 per year and the new revenue, estimated at more than $500,000,000, would be earmarked specifically toward protection of state parks. In exchange, all Californians would have access to all state parks and beaches free of charge. This is a common sense solution we only wish the legislature could have come up with on its own. With the 2/3rds majority budget rules, however, the just say No Republicans make such solutions impossible. Vote Yes on 21!
Proposition 22: Yes Prop 22 seeks to end longtime practice of state government raids on local government funding sources. If Prop 22 passes, local revenues from such sources as hotel taxes, parcel taxes, utility taxes, transportation taxes and sales taxes would remain under local control. As it stands, whenever the state is feeling pinched, it dips down into the local trough, leaving city and county governments scrambling to find funds for much-need local services.
Proposition 23 No Prop 23 is an onerous and evil measure --funded almost entirely by two Texas oil companies -- that seeks to place certain economic restrictions on the state's landmark AB 32, better known as the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 or the "green jobs bill". Prop 23 would freeze AB 32 until such time as the California unemployment rate falls to 5.5%...for four consecutive quarters. As it stands, the CA unemployment rate is 12.4%, and it has never dipped below 5.5% for four consecutive quarters so long as they've been keeping records! Ergo: Prop 23 aims to overturn AB 32 by imposing economic standards that have never been achieved in the state's history.
Proposition 24: Yes Eliminates the corporate tax cut Republicans finagled when they held the budget hostage last year. The additional new revenues created after Prop 24 passes will be used to hire teachers and fund the S-CHIP program giving health care to poor children. It's a no brainer.
Proposition 25: Yes The first step toward reforming Prop 13, Proposition 24 frees the legislature to pass the state's annual budget with a simple majority. Until now, the 30 Republican members of the state assembly have repeatedly, by virtue of a simple No vote, held the state budget hostage. This measure puts the kibosh on the tyranny of the minority. Please vote Yes on 25.
Proposition 26: No If we need Prop 25 to get rid of the 2/3rds vote on the budget, why would we vote for Prop 26, which simply imposes a new 2/3rds rule, this time on any fee increase in statewide services? This measure is also yet another sneaky attack on AB 32, the "green jobs bill," because that measure depends on such fees to pay for state efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Proposition 27: Yes Confusing as it may seem, Prop 27 is basically the polar opposite of Prop 20. Prop 27, if approved, will eliminate the redistricting commission created by Prop 11 in 2008. That measure was supported by Arnold Schwarzenegger and is, at its core, a Republican effort to take the redistricting power out of the hands of Democrats and into their own, with the ultimate goal of turning our Blue state Red.
San Luis Obispo City, Measure H: No As we talked about the other day, this is one of those counter-intuitive measures: If you say YES to the Prado Road Extension, you must vote NO on Measure H. We would urge you to vote No. How many times have you been driving down either So. Broad or So. Higuera streets and said to yourself, "It sure is a long way around to get to the other side of this frigging town?" And please, spare me the whine about how Prado Road will run too close to the soccer fields and the kids will have to breathe in dangerous levels of car exhaust. If that's all you got, then get on board. Vote NO on H.