California general election

Probably only of interest to California residents.

Time for the general election voting. I'm a bit late this year compared to most years, but here's a record of how I'm voting this year.

Propositions:

Proposition 19: YES. Legalizes marijuana. I'm quite happy to pick this fight with the federal government. The way we handle drugs in this country is ridiculous. Other countries have had very good results from legalization, and marijuana is no more dangerous than drugs like tobacco and alcohol that are already legal.

Proposition 20: YES. Extends the redistricting reform already enacted for state offices in Proposition 11 to congressional districts as well. I think the effects of gerrymandering are overstated, but I'm strongly in favor of non-partisan districting and strongly opposed to having it be a legislative action. The Democrats are opposed to this, presumably because they like drawing the districts to their advantage. Even though I agree with them more than the Republicans, this is bullshit; districts should as closely as possible be simple divisions of the state into manageable chunks in a non-partisan way.

Proposition 21: YES. Increases vehicle registration fees to fund state parks. A fee increase, a fee on cars, and support for parks and wildlife programs. Fee increases are unfortunately somewhat regressive, but for me that's balanced by having it be a good idea as a matter of public policy to make owning and driving cars more expensive to make the cost closer to the real full cost to society.

Proposition 22: NO. I'm sympathetic to the argument from local governments that having their budgets played with by the state causes huge problems in local areas. However, protecting redevelopment programs is a bad idea; those are often giveaways to local (and even non-local) businesses. And I'm in general opposed to limiting government spending flexibility, since lack of flexibility has been behind a lot of our budget problems.

Proposition 23: NO. The worst proposition on the ballot. It's not only actively regressive, it's also actively deceptive. It purports to be a pragmatic suspension of a difficult requirement until the state economy is better, but the standard it uses for "better" would postpone any environmental action until the state economy reached a roaring pinnacle of runaway economic success that's been vanishingly rare in state history. In other words, in practice this is a flat-out repeal of state air pollution laws. We cannot improve state economy (even putting aside the fact that it's far from obvious air pollution laws are a net loss to the state economy) by killing people with air pollution and making the state's pollution problems far worse. This simply isn't right. The proposition is, unsurprisingly, funded by out-of-state oil companies.

Proposition 24: YES. Repeals a business tax loophole passd by the legislature that makes the state tax code more complicated and provides businesses with an unnecessary tax break (allowing them to not just carry forward losses as a tax deducation in future years, which is reasonable and still permitted, but allowing them to reduce previous year's taxes retroactively). Businesses are undertaxed already as far as I'm concerned and don't need new tax breaks, particularly complex time travelling tax breaks. That the federal government allows this is no excuse; the federal government shouldn't allow it either.

Proposition 25: YES. Repeals the two-thirds majority required for passing a state budget. The most important proposition on the ballot. Vote for this. This is the second most positive reform that we can enact to fix the state budgetary and financial process (the most effective would be to repeal Proposition 13).

Proposition 26: NO. Yet another attempt to prevent people from paying more taxes, particularly if they're rich. After all the paralyzation caused by similar measures, we need to put a stop to this. Local communities need to be able to raise taxes to fund local services, particularly when the state government is not able to fund local programs the way that it has in previous years.

Proposition 27: NO. The gerrymander reinstatement proposition. Repeals the redistricting reform passed in Proposition 11. The major political parties appear to be desperate to avoid losing control over their own districts. I'm completely unsympathetic.

State offices:

For all state-wide partisan offices and for Congress and local assembly positions, I'm voting a Democratic ticket, unsurprisingly. As always, it's the lesser of two evils. The only one there I'll particularly emphasize is that it's very much worth voting to keep Barbara Boxer and prevent Carly Fiorina from being elected. Even apart from her regressive and odious politics, I can't believe anyone would want to vote for someone who was so vastly incompetent and useless in her career at HP. If one wants to vote for a business executive, at least vote for one who didn't do her best to destroy a company.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson. The Mercury News endorsed Larry Aceves, but their caveats about him bother me much more than they apparently bother the newspaper. Having a hostile past with citizen groups is a very bad sign. I also like Torlakson's statements of priorities, and I want to elect someone who's skeptical of charter schools, since that represents my beliefs as well.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye: YES. My inclination is to vote against any Republican appointee since we should hopefully have a change of party for the governor and will then are likely to get a better judge. However, my inclination is also to vote in favor of a Filipino woman for this sort of office. What I've seen on-line inclines me towards her moderately, she seems to be thought of very highly for fair and intelligent rulings, and overall I think the diversity issue beats the political leaning for me.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Ming W. Chin: NO. Dissented on the decision to legalize gay marriage, so automatic no vote from me.

Associate Justice of the Supreme Court: Carlos R. Moreno: YES. Very strong history of rulings in support of gay marriage.

Local measures:

Measure A: YES. Increases property taxes to pay for child health care insurance, replacing lost funding from the housing collapse and the state budget crisis.

Measure B: YES. Increases the vehicle registration fee to pay for local transportation programs. The vehicle registration fee should be way higher than it is now, so I'm all in favor.

Measure C: NO. Term limits for Santa Clara Valley Water District representatives. I'm not generally a fan of term limits, and I'm particularly not a fan of term limits for obscure offices, since the resulting more-frequently-contested elections tend to go to whoever has the most money and political insider support. I'd rather tend towards going with the incumbant unless something is going wrong that raises enough interest to have a well-informed election.

Measure E: YES. Increases local property taxes to fund the local community college district. This is a slam-dunk for me. I'm a strong proponent and supporter of community colleges, and I think our property taxes should be much higher than they are.

Measure R: NO. Amends the city charter to place a permanent requirement on the number of Fire Department personnel the city must employ, requiring a measure to change it. This is nonsense. It's this sort of bullshit micromanagement of budgetary decisions by voters that has caused the mess the state budgetary crisis.

Measure S: YES. Realigns local election timing to match state and federal elections so that the city doesn't have to run its own separate election. Obvious cost savings. The only argument against is that local measures may be lost in the partisan election, which I don't think is a good enough reason to spend the extra money.

Local offices:

Santa Clara Valley Water District (District 7): Brian Andrew Schmidt. I like that his background is in environmental law, since the primary thing I want from the water district is solid support for enviromentalism and proper handling of natural resources. He's also been endorsed by progressive and environmental groups. His opponent is a Republican who's arguing for spending cuts, and I've had enough of that.

Posted: 2010-10-23 18:13 — Why no comments?

Last spun 2013-07-01 from thread modified 2013-01-04