US Midterms 2010: Propositions on the ballot: Results Update

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UPDATE 2: RESULTS..scroll down.

UPDATE: Came across this blog post by Digby. Read the whole thing. Then GO VOTE.

Voting isn’t just about making good things happen for yourself and your family. It’s about voting against things that will make your lives worse. And if this Republican party — at this point in history — wins big over the next two years, the lives of average Americans will definitely be worse.

Midterm elections generate low interest among less partisan voters, who need the excitement of a Presidential election to drag them to the polls. But with the ideological lines being drawn sharper now than any other election in recent memory, and vast amounts of shadowy corporate money flushed into the system courtesy the Supreme Court’s Citizen United ruling, there are real costs and consequences to your decision to abstain. Take 5 minutes and GO VOTE on November 2nd.

Typically, propositions with real teeth are introduced in midterm elections, since there are only a handful of devoted poll-goers with very specific demographic profiles that need to be convinced. Let’s confound those expectations by making sure we all vote, and vote in an informed fashion.


PROPOSITIONS

Summary

Proposition 19 – VOTE YES Result: FAILED

Proposition 20 – Vote YES Result: PASSED

Proposition 21 – Vote YES Result: FAILED

Proposition 22 – Vote NO Result: PASSED

Proposition 23 – Vote NO Result: FAILED

Proposition 24 – Vote YES Result: FAILED

Proposition 25 – Vote YES Result: PASSED

Proposition 26 – Vote NO Result: PASSED

Proposition 27 – Vote NO Result: FAILED

Proposition 19-Broadly speaking, voting YES on this measure allows local governments to regulate and tax the use and sale of marijuana. It also allows people 21 or over to carry and use it for personal use.

It is  a testament to the increasing acceptance of cannabis that the opposition to this proposition is largely on the basis that the proposition is written badly. If that argument sounds familiar, it is because that is often the last resort of opponents who can’t offer any other convincing rebuttal. Is there some merit to the fact that by allowing each local government to set its own rules, there is going to be an enormous amount of bureaucratic confusion generated by this measure? Not really, since counties do set some of their own taxes.

The federal statute still considers the use and sale of marijuana illegal, so there is the added gray space around this proposition, but legalizing personal use of cannabis in California sends a message to the federal governement to start treating this product on par with cigarettes and alcohol.

VOTE YES. RESULT: FAILED
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Proposition 20 and Proposition 27 – In 2008, sick of districts being gerrymandered, voters passed Prop 11, taking the power of drawing district lines for the state legislature away from legislators themselves and handing it to an independent commission. However, the power to redraw Congressional districts is still in the hands of legislators.

Voting YES on Proposition 20 would mean that even congressional districts would be drawn by an independent commission. Voting NO would maintain the status quo.

However, Proposition 27 aims to rescind Prop 11. Voting Yes on Prop 27 would mean returning the power to redistrict state legislative districts to the legislators. Voting No would keep Prop 11’s provisions for an independent commission in place.

What if both Prop 20 and Prop 27 prevail? Whichever proposition gets more votes will win. If Prop 20 gets more votes, then both state and congressional districts will be handled by an independent commission. If Prop 27 gets more votes, then the power to redraw districts will return to the hands of legislators (members of Congress).

While the sentiment behind Prop 20  seems to be admirable, it is almost entirely funded by Republican millionaire Charles Munger in an attempt to take redistricting away from the Democratic party in California. However, I am going to take a stand based on my opposition to gerrymandering.

VOTE YES on Prop 20 RESULT: PASSED

VOTE NO on Prop 27. RESULT: FAILED

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Proposition 21 – This ballot measure would fund California’s park system through an $18 increase in the vehicle registration fee; currently, the system is funded through the state’s chronically squeezed general fund. (I am told this is something like a surcharge on televisions to fund the BBC in the UK.)

The new fee would raise roughly $500 million a year, compared to the current annual state park operations budget of $439 million.

In return for paying the new vehicle surcharge, California motorists would get free admission to all state parks, which currently charge a day use fee of $5 to $15 per vehicle.

Voting YES would impose the fee. Voting NO would maintain the status quo.

Our family uses the local State Park at Coyote Hills frequently, and we buy an annual $50 pass for the privilege. Even with 2 cars (total surcharge $36), this measure is a no-brainer.

VOTE YES. RESULT: FAILED
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Proposition 22- This proposition prohibits the State, even during a period of severe fiscal hardship, from delaying the distribution of tax revenues for transportation, redevelopment, or local government projects and services.

The sentiment is worthy; during this recession, local governments have seen the state appropriate funds derived from local property taxes and fuel tax revenues, usually meant to be used for transportation related services, have been funneled to service debt. Voting YES on this proposition would severely restrict the ability of the state to make these appropriations. Voting NO would maintain the status quo.

However, propositions like these have slowly eroded the state government’s ability to make prudent and flexible budgetary decisions. If prop 22 passes, the state will have no choice but to impose new taxes to generate new revenue streams to make up for the $1 billion fiscal impact the new law will have. Also, richer communities will keep more of their wealth, and poorer communities will have to depend more and more on shrinking state revenues for essential services.

I think it is unfair for us to blame the state government for poor performance and budget woes and then help pass an initiative that hampers its ability to govern effectively.

Vote NO. RESULT: PASSED

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Proposition 23 – This is the infamous proposition to rescind AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006. AB 32, California’s landmark clean air act, required polluting companies to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Voting YES would suspend AB 32 and allow polluting companies to operate under older guidelines.

Voting NO would keep AB 322 in place.

My first opposition to this is that AB 32 was a law passed by the legislature, which is their job. If we disapprove of their actions, we vote them out. Governing by referendum is just not something to be encouraged and exposes the state to the tyranny of a hyper-partisan minority that actually bothers to go to the polls.

Secondly, there is a battle being fought at the national stage to cap greenhouse emissions, prompting the White House to chime in on this proposition. “The president is opposed to Prop. 23 — a veiled attempt by corporate polluters to block progress towards a clean energy economy,” White House spokesman Adam Abrams announced Wednesday. “If passed, the initiative would stifle innovation, investment in R&D and cost jobs for the state of California.” (Source L.A. Times)

If you are concerned about the environment, and interested in encouraging the development of clean technology and alternatives to fossil fuels,

Vote NO. RESULT: FAILED
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Proposition 24 – Voting Yes on this initiative would stop several corporate tax breaks that are slated to go into effect in 2010 and 2012. The tax breaks include:

* The “single-sales factor”. This allows multi-state corporations to choose whether they will be taxed on property, payroll or sales.
* Loss carry-backs. This allows corporations that are experiencing losses in California’s current economy to get refunds for taxes paid up to two years previously.
* Tax credit-sharing. This allows companies with more tax credits than they can use to distribute the tax credits to affiliates.

These tax breaks benefit only about 2% of California’s businesses , the richest, multi-state corporations in the state. In these poor economic times, repealing corporate tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations makes sense.

VOTE YES. RESULT: FAILED
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Proposition 25 – Voting Yes on this proposition would end the current requirement in the state that two-thirds of the members of the California State Legislature must vote in favor of the state’s budget in order for a budget to be enacted. It also requires state legislators to forfeit their pay in years where they have failed to pass a budget in a timely fashion.

This is a no-brainer. Requiring two-thirds majority for budgetary decisions has caused tremendous gridlock in Sacramento. And this initiative keeps the two-thirds requirements for any new taxes.

VOTE YES. RESULT: PASSED

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Proposition 26 – Voting yes would mean that it would require a two-thirds supermajority vote in the California State Legislature to pass many fees, levies, charges and tax revenue allocations that under existing rules can be enacted by a simple majority vote.

The biggest donor to this initiative is Chevron, followed by the California Chamber of Commerce, which should tell you plenty about the motivation behind this amendment. If this Proposition passes, it will make it harder to impose fees on corporations that cause environmental or public health problems. Also, imagine if local governments had to go to the public every time they wanted to impose a fee; the costs of running the decision through the electoral process would be more than the fees levied.!

This is another case of pushing all these decisions into the hands of voters rather than their representatives, and neutering government.

VOTE NO. RESULT: PASSED
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Proposition 27 – See Proposition 20.

VOTE NO.

CANDIDATES: Normally I would take a serious look at all candidates for office. However, if there’s one thing the last 2 years have illuminated very clearly, it is that the Republican party places a very high value on loyalty and ideological purity. There doesn’t seem to be any room for moderate Republicans with pragmatic ideas.  Instead, the Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has made it plain that his sole ambition, should the Republicans take the majority, is to take down Obama – not govern well, not reduce the deficit, but take down the President.

I am not going to enable this kind of shamelessness. I will, therefore, be voting Democratic down the line.

Plus, if you wanted a reason to vote for Jerry Brown, see this:

Ha!

CANDIDATES RESULTS:

GOVERNOR: JERRY BROWN

U.S. SENATOR: BARBARA BOXER

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: GAVIN NEWSOM

CONTROLLER: JOHN CHIANG

TREASURER: BILL LOCKYEAR

ATTORNEY GENERAL: STILL UNKNOWN AS OF WRITE TIME.

Thank you California voters, for keeping the state Democratic, even if you were quite bone-headed about the various propositions on the ballot!

Picture courtesy Alan Cleaver via Creative Commons.

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