Jim Porter: My humble recommendations for Nov. 2
Special to the Sun
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; By now you have received your sample ballots for the upcoming Nov. 2 election. The accompanying 127-page Voter Information Guide, albeit helpful, is tedious and at times almost indecipherable.
And so it is with some trepidation that I offer my suggestions for the statewide propositions; plus a few candidates you might not otherwise know about. You wonand#8217;t hurt my feelings if you throw this column in the trash. But do vote on the 2nd.
Prop 19 (legalization of marijuana). Soft No. Iand#8217;m reluctant to make any recommendation. While we spend too much money enforcing marijuana laws, I canand#8217;t quite conclude that it is better to just make marijuana legal. Federal law will continue to criminalize use of marijuana and a DUI for marijuana use would be more difficult to prove. There will be unforeseen consequences from Prop. 19, but itand#8217;s for you to decide.
Prop. 20 (congressional redistricting). Yes. California voters recently authorized a neutral 14-member redistricting commission to establish district boundaries of state offices like the Senate and Assembly. This proposal authorizes that commission to configure congressional districts. Anything is better than leaving the formation of voting districts in the hands of the politicians whose districts they are.
Prop. 21 (vehicle fee for state parks). Yes. Our state parks are in serious decline. This measure establishes an $18 annual vehicle license fee to help fund state parks and wildlife programs. If state parks are a priority for you, a Yes vote makes sense.
Prop. 22 (prohibits the state from raiding funds). Probably OK. On its face Proposition 22 looks good as it tries to stop the state from taking funds earmarked for one purpose and using them for something else. But at its core, 22 is one special interest group locking in its share of money. On the other hand, Prop. 22 will benefit cities and towns like Truckee.
Prop. 23 (suspends AB 32). No. This proposition, financed almost entirely by two oil companies, delays or some would argue, effectively stops implementation of Californiaand#8217;s stringent air pollution control law, passed in 2006, which created green jobs and helps the environment. While the net economic impact of Prop. 23 remains a matter of debate, my take on Prop 23. is: oil companies trying to get a second bite of the apple and kill worthwhile legislation. If you own a trucking company and would have to retool your diesel fleet under AB 32, you might feel otherwise.
Prop. 24 (repeals recent legislation). Soft No. This proposition is a rollback of tax breaks which where recently passed by initiative. One partisan group fighting another and#8212; trying to undo what was just approved.
Prop. 25 (budget vote). No. Prop 25 attempts to change the legislative vote requirement necessary to pass the state budget and spending bills related to the budget from a two-thirds vote to a simple majority. Sounds good, but it really is whoever is in power, currently Democrats, trying to increase their power by controlling the budget by majority vote. A two-thirds vote requires consensus building and#8212; something sorely missed in Sacramento.
Prop. 26 (approve taxes by a two-thirds vote). Soft No. This one looks good on its face, after all who likes taxes; and it may be if you are an anti-tax voter. But 26 appears to be an insiderand#8217;s power play and for sure will cost the General Fund billions of dollars.
Prop. 27 (eliminates new redistricting commission). No, No. This brazen measure is another second bite at the apple effort to keep the Legislature manipulating/gerrymandering the boundaries of their own districts. In 2008 we voted to create a neutral redistricting commission to establish legislative districts in California and#8212; taking that role away from the legislators, who abused that power. Prop 27 would undo the commission and let the politicians once again set their own district boundaries.
My general rule on propositions, a horribly abused process, is vote No unless there is a good reason. A better practice may be to just vote No.
Yes, on Tani Cantil-Sakauye as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. Yes, on all of the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court. We have an excellent California Supreme Court and these justices deserve your votes.
I am too chicken to recommend local candidates. Besides you know everyone anyway. One you may not know is Howard Rudd, the best candidate for Sierra Community College, Area One.
This week was the ground breaking ceremony for Domus Developmentand#8217;s Housing NOW project on Deer Street in Kings Beach and#8212; years in the making. Congrats to Domus (especially Meea Kang), Placer County, TRPA and so many others that got this much-needed housing project approved and almost in the ground. Perseverance pays.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon, with offices in Truckee, South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village and Reno. He is a mediator and was the Governor’s appointee to the Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. He may be reached at email@example.com or at the firmand#8217;s website http://www.portersimon.com.
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