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Nov 06 2012

California In Crisis: Critical Ballot Measures

California Voter Recommendations from Black Skeptics & Radical Women Los Angeles:

We live in contradictory times, and the ballot reflects this with several, mostly bad, tax propositions plus an entreaty to eliminate the death penalty, repeal Three Strikes and increase funding for K-16 education.

  • Proposition 30: Temporary Tax Increases for Education and other Needs— VOTE YES

According to RW “If passed, this measure would increase the state sales tax by .25% for four years, and increase modestly graduated income tax rates on individuals making at least $250,000 a year for seven years. This measure is on the ballot because Governor Brown convinced the California Federation of Teachers to abandon their popular grassroots-initiated Millionaires Tax, which exclusively targeted the 1% with permanent tax increases but frightened Brown’s big business allies.”

Although Prop 30 is a stopgap it is CRITICAL.  If it doesn’t pass school districts that already have nearly a month of unpaid teacher furlough days will have more, massive layoffs and displacements will occur and class sizes will increase at the K-12 level.  The community college and four year systems will be even more overburdened than they are now; with fewer classes, more waiting lists, less long term instructors and longer transfer and graduation times.

  • Proposition 31: State Budget Restrictions—Vote NO

This complex constitutional amendment would require “performance review” of all state programs, budget cuts to balance all new expenditures and give the governor power to make unilateral cuts in times of a “fiscal emergency.”

  • Proposition 32: Limits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction—Vote NO

This measure pretends to get big money out of politics, but exempts big business and their PACs. The real targets are public and private sector unions who would be forbidden to use members’ dues for any political purpose without express, yearly, written permission from individual members. It’s an attack on labor’s ability to fight for working-class issues.

  • Proposition 33: Car Insurance Increases based on Prior History—Vote NO

This is another attempt by the insurance industry, particularly the CEO of Mercury Insurance, to raise premiums on those who have not had continuous coverage for five consecutive years. The first to pay will be the poor, students and immigrants.

  • Proposition 34: Replace the Death Penalty with Life Without Parole—Vote YES

This would rid California of the death penalty, a legacy of slavery. Despite the many things wrong with this initiative—mandatory life without parole, and mandated work for those convicted of murder—this is a step forward to end a practice that kills mostly the poor and people of color.

  • Proposition 35: Increases the  Penalties for Human Trafficking—Vote NO

As socialist feminists, we abhor human trafficking of laborers and sex workers. However, this initiative statute poses a threat to civil liberties, has an overly-broad net that could impact any sex worker—trafficked or not—and duplicates current laws while doing little for victims.

  • Proposition 36: Revises the  Three Strikes Law—Vote YES

The original law mandates life in prison for anyone convicted of three felonies. This initiative statute would reduce the life sentence in a limited number of cases. A better option would be to strike down the entire law because it disproportionally affects the poor and people of color.

  • Proposition 37: Labeling Genetically Engineered Food—Vote YES

This initiative statute is a step in the right direction in providing consumers information about food purchases, although it contains many exceptions.

  • Proposition 38: Income Tax Increase to Fund Education—Vote NO

Like Proposition 30, this is aimed at increasing funding for California’s impoverished education system but, this measure increases taxes on all income earners—including the overburdened poor and working class— instead of targeting the rich and corporations.

  • Proposition 39: Multi-state Business Taxes—Vote YES

This initiative statute closes a loophole used by businesses that operate outside California, and adds $1billion to state revenues while establishing a Clean Energy Job Creation Fund.

Los Angeles Measures

  • · Measure A. Appointment of County Assessor – LA County—Vote NO

This measure is an advisory vote on whether to replace an elected official with an appointed one because the last elected County Assessor was corrupt. But appointed boards are loaded with corrupt power company stooges, real estate tycoons and big business crooks.

  • · Measure J. Maintain sales tax increase– LA County—Vote NO

This measure would maintain the current one half cent sales tax increase for accelerated light rail construction for another 30 years. Basic infrastructure should be paid for by taxing the wealthy and their businesses, not by an unrelenting parade of regressive taxes. Enough already.

 

 

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Stacy

    Only one serious disagreement: Measure J. I agree we should tax the wealthy too, but in the meanwhile, funding for light rail and transportation infrastructure is too important to let the half cent sales tax increase expire.

    1. 1.1
      blackskeptics

      I just read an impassioned editorial by a transit activist in South Los Angeles who complained that J would not provide any funding for projects there. The community is one of the most transit-dependent in L.A. and is being shortshrifted and put in danger by the MTA board’s refusal to develop the Crenshaw line underground.

      1. Nathanael

        I think you’ve been had by the BRU; the ‘safety’ issues are the same as on the Gold Line, Blue Line, Expo Line, or Green Line (given the Crenshaw design, mostly Green Line) — no significant “danger” — and as for “short-shrifted”, underground rail isn’t better than elevated rail unless there’s mountains to cross (Red Line), and isn’t that much better than surface rail unless there’s really huge traffic levels (Purple Line). As LA should know, given that Green/Gold/Blue/Expo work.

        The point about regressive taxes is still a good point though.

  2. 2
    James

    I was surprised at your assessment of 32; I’d been in favor of it from the short description. However, you inspired me to do additional research, and it seems that that measure would not have promoted my interests, after all. It is fortunate that I read this and changed my mind before going to the polls.

    1. 2.1
      blackskeptics

      Good to hear. It is at the end of the day just another union-busting tactic by big business. Fortunately it looks like it’s headed for defeat.

  3. 3
    Beyond The Political Spectrum

    Interesting. However, weren’t the introduction of so many people-initiated ballot proposals why budget problems cropped up in California’s economy in the first place?

  4. 4
    Joah

    While I’m all in favor of labeling food with labels based on empirical science and data, Prop 37 does not seem to be written on that basis. The NAACP came out opposed to it, too.

  5. 5
    jamesfrank

    From numbers I’m seeing so far it looks like Prop 35 either successfully tricked people with its false appeal to aiding victims or California voters hate sex-workers so much that they’re willing to destroy lives forever in their moralistic zeal.

    Sometimes I’m not sure whether I love or hate our state.

  6. 6
    vltava

    You left off 40 – a yes vote allowed the redistricting to stand.

    I agree on all except 37, and the reasoning behind no on 38. 30 includes a sales tax, which, as you know, is the most regressive tax there is, and even hits those on public assistance. I voted yes on 30 and no on 38 because 38 provided nothing for community colleges, and it could have ended the educational spending requirements of prop 98, since it would have changed the way education funds are disbursed.

  7. 7
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    I see Prop 35 passed with 80% of the vote. It seems to have some good intent buried in lots of really bad (and unconstitutional) components. The more I hear about what is included in the law, the scarier it gets.

  8. 8
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Oh, and I see it has been temporarily blocked already.

    1. 8.1
      blackskeptics

      Some of the support for this was an emotional decision for those who either weren’t aware of the implications vis-a-vis criminalizing sex workers/prostitutes or didn’t give a damn.

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