Monday, November 01, 2010

Let me tell you how to vote.

Okay people, I know you want to do the right thing by America and California. So you need to vote. But only if you agree with me. Just kidding, obviously. I am sharing with you how I voted, because I want to spread the gospel of my brilliant political analysis. But you should vote however you think is right.

Before I share my ballot choices with you, I should disclaim (is that a verb? can we make it one?) that I spent a lot more time on the propositions and the judicial retention elections than the candidates. I basically voted straight Democrat for the Statewide, Congressional and Assembly races because I didn't spend much time researching which races were tight and needed my vote and which races were no contest and my vote would have gone to support the third parties. I am critical of the two-party system, but my limited mental energy was devoted to the ballot initiatives and the judicial elections. If you want more information on the state races, the endorsements from the progressive political blog Calitics is a good way to go.

One obvious mention, if you don't already know this: the Governor's race and the Senate race are too close to call right now (translation - your votes for Brown and Boxer are REALLY FREAKIN IMPORTANT if you don't want the Republicans in those offices.) According to this poll, the reputability about which I know nothing, nationally, the Republicans are slated to gain 6 Governors' houses, 8 Senate Seats and 62 seats in the House, and the House will most likely become Republican. The Senate will likely remain Democratic, but by a much slimmer margin. And when races are too close to call, the Republican is usually favored because Republicans are more reliable voters than are Democrats. So because seeing the Republicans in power makes me more nauseous than does seeing the Democrats, I voted straight Democrat for all the statewide elections.

Anyhow, here goes on the rest of the ballot, with short commentary afterward if you want to hear it.

As you may have noticed by my FB posts as of late, these elections are way more important than the information about them gleaned on the internet would lead you to believe. Basically, these justices are appointed by the Governor but are up for approval by the electorate during a gubernatorial election. And they interpret the law, and usually with some sort of political bias. If the electorate votes to retain a particular judge, they continue to serve their term. If we vote NOT to retain a particular judge, then the governor who wins that gubernatorial race gets to pick a new one. That new judge will be up for approval by the electorate during the next gubernatorial race.Interestingly, this extremely right wing judicial endorsement website shed a tremendous amount of light on the judicial retention elections, even though the writer was using it to get us to vote the exact opposite way that I actually voted.

Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye - weak yes
Because the Governor's race is too close to call, I am voting yes for Cantil-Sakauye. She is a moderate Republican and is fairly uncontroversial, though is more sympathetic to corporations. She did perform a gay marriage. If Whitman wins, I would rather have Cantil-Sakauye on the bench than any of Whitman's picks. But if you think Brown will win and you'd rather have his pick, vote NO on her.

Ming W. Chin - NO
Anti-gay marriage. Very conservative.

Carlos R. Moreno - Yes
Very liberal. Was the only judge who dissented in the opinion that found Prop 8 to be constitutional.

Conrad L. Rushing - Yes
Democrat and seems supportive of LGBT issues.

I'll be honest - I voted based on People Power endorsements, because I like People Power's political analysis most of the time and I reasoned that if a council member is supportive of alternative, environmentally friendly modes of transportation, then we probably agree on most other things. So I chose David Terrazas, David Foster, and Ron Pomerantz.

Prop 19 - YES
I know there are a lot of pot dealers in Santa Cruz who are worried that this measure will undermine their income, but a lot of people get thrown in jail or otherwise harassed by law enforcement because of marijuana being illegal. People who usually don't have access to good lawyers or some other form of privilege. This is a huge waste of taxpayer dollars and people's lives.

Prop 20 - YES but I was not 100% on this one
So this bill turns the congressional districting responsibilities from the legislature over to a bipartisan appointed commission, and it's a constitutional amendment. I voted for it because I'm not a huge fan of elected officials drawing districts. But I am also not stoked that the commission is not directly accountable to the people. I kinda felt like the first issue bothered me more, so I voted for this. Also Common Cause supports Prop 20 and I generally agree with them. Prop 20 is linked to Prop 27, which abolishes the commission and turns all redistricing efforts back to the legislature. If both prop 20 and prop 27 pass, the one that got the most yes votes will be the one that becomes law. However, you can vote no on both, which would mean the commission would continue to decide the districts for state level offices, but the legislature would do it for Congress.

Prop 21 - YES
No brainer. $18 bucks yearly for car owners so that we can have access to state parks.

Prop 22 - NO, but this one is not super clear cut.
So Prop 22 would prevent the state government from using transportation, redevelopment, and local government funds to balance the state budget. I was all set to vote FOR prop 22, but there is this sneaky part of this measure that prevents the state from restricting how redevelopment agencies spend their money. Redevelopment agencies seem to be largely in the pockets of developers, who, in my opinion, seem to have little regard for environmentally sound land usage and view California as the place to build wasteful and unnecessary strip malls populated by annoying corporate chain stores. And they can use eminent domain to do this. Yuck. Also, the budget is in crisis right now, and I do think it's important for the state to be able to fund schools and fire departments in times like this.
The reason why I was going to vote for Prop 22 is because cities all over CA are struggling financially, libraries and local services are closing, and I don't really like the idea of the state taking money from cities to balance the budget when corporations get tax breaks all over the place. Also, I am voting on two other measures that would increase state revenue, so I had felt like I was doing my part to make sure the state had the funds it needed. BUT this redevelopment agency thing did NOT sit right with me, so I decided to oppose 22 in the end. So that's why it's not so clear cut for me.

Prop 23 - NO
Moratorium on legislation aimed at mitigating climate change until unemployment drops below 5%. Polar bears may not make it that long. Plus, we need to focus on shifting the economy towards greener industries that will lower our unemployment rate, not rely on the same industries that contribute to climate change in the first place to provide us with jobs.

Prop 24 - YES
This repeals tax breaks for businesses, particularly really big ones. Part of the measure would impact all business by preventing them to use current income losses to offset their tax liabilities in previous years, and shortening the amount of time that they can use current income losses to offset tax liabilities in future years. However, part of it is specifically focused on repealing tax breaks for multi-state and multi-entity businesses, i.e. businesses way bigger that your friendly mom-and-pop.

Prop 25 - YES
Gets rid of 2/3 majority vote needed to pass the budget. Two reasons to vote for this one: 1) the 2/3 vote causes our budget to be REALLY late every year; 2) this basically gives the minority party (the Republicans) no incentive to compromise, and way more power than their actual number of seats should give them. Essentially the party in power (Dems) have to cut all kinds of deals in order to get the votes they need to pass the budget. I say, if the Republicans want to control the state budget, they should get out the vote and get more seats in the Legislature. I mean, I don't actually want them to do that. But that would at least be more fair.

Prop 26 - NO
This would require a 2/3 vote in order to instate certain state and local fees, including ones that address adverse environmental impacts. Don't believe the hype about this being a 2/3 vote for new taxes, which is the case now and will be the case even if Prop 26 doesn't pass and Prop 25 does. This  includes cleanup fees assessed on businesses.

Prop 27 - NO
See Prop 20. This would get rid of the appointed bipartisan commission responsible for deciding state legislative districts and give those responsibilities back to the Legislature. Also a constitutional amendment. I feel more strongly on my no vote for this one than on my yes vote for 27. Basically, I don't think an elected official should get to decide who votes for him or her. Where's the accountability in that? Let's see, we want to stay in office so we are going to just gerrymander our districts so that the people who are most likely to vote for us are in our districts. Prop 27 would save the state a small amount of money, but I'd rather save the state money by getting rid of tax breaks for multi-state, multi-entity corporations (see prop 24.)

Measure H - Yes
I'm okay with paying $1 a month to make sure parks and youth programs are funded. Does that mean I'm a communist?

Anyhow, there you have it. Tracy's voting record, for the record. Hope it's helpful!

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