"What is this babbler trying to say?" Acts 17:18

Thursday, June 3, 2010

California Ballot Measures 2010

As promised, here are some reasons for voting on the Propositions in the California ballot June 8. As always, be an informed voter and chime in with any pros and cons I may have missed.

Yes on Proposition 13. This measure is about a matter so trivial it is hard to fathom how enough signatures were collected to put in on the ballot. It eliminates tax assessments on buildings that have been retrofitted for earthquakes. In theory it could be a tax cut but as the Record Searchlight points out: “in practice county assessors don’t tax seismic retrofits anyway, according to the legislative analysis of the bill” (redding.com).

No on Proposition 14. While there is a certain idealism in doing away with political parties, this measure is somewhat frightening. “The proposal will require that candidates run in a single primary open to all registered voters, with the top two vote-getters meeting in a runoff” (ballotpedia.org). My question is: why even have a primary? Why not just hold the election and give it to the top vote getter since this is basically what this measure does? Consider: if two Republicans or two Democrats get the top votes in such a primary it means there will only be two Republicans or two Democrats to vote for in the general election. Since California is dominantly Democrat it is more likely to be two Democrats. And what about third parties? Say goodbye, they won't even be an option on the ballot in the general election. Not surprisingly, all six ballot-qualified political parties in California oppose Prop. 14.

No on Proposition 15. If passed this measure would overturn a longstanding ban on using taxpayer money to publicly fund candidates (specifically Secretary of State but potentially any candidate). It also charges all lobbyists groups $350 dollars a year, money which will go into a newly created campaign fund. I just don't see why the government should be funding every Joe Blow who begs, borrows, or steals 7,500 signatures and $5 donations. But it is complicated so see ballotpedia.org for this and all the other measures.

No on Proposition 16. Follow the money trail... PG&E doesn't want their monopoly challenged so they have given $41 million in support of this measure. While it sounds good that the voters get to vote, is it really necessary? A 2/3rds majority just so a local government (i.e. a city) can set up their own power grid and not pay PG&E? If the city of Redding is any bellweather, Redding Electric Utility rates in the city are cheaper than that provided by PG&E in the surrounding area. I would rather see more power companies than less. I am being a bipartisan voter, however, since Prop 16 is supported by the Republican party and opposed by the Democratic party.

Yes on Proposition 17. This measure allows auto insurance companies to give discounts to new customers with a good insurance history. It rewards the responsible, although critics say it could also penalize the irresponsible and young. The bottom line is that it does away with an arbitrary government regulation forced on the auto insurance business in 1988. And that is a good thing.