Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Young Californian's Voter Guide: 5.44

Since mainstream media never does any stories that actually make politics relevant or, dare I say it, interesting, I thought I'd take a try. Well, I'll try for relevant, at least. I'm not egotastic enough to think that I can actually make this stuff interesting. I'll leave that to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.

The real reason to vote in California has essentially become the Propositions that fill the ballot each year. Since Cali is so heavily blue, they're one of the few ways most residents can get their voices heard. Thanks, gerrymandering!

Anyway, since I know you're not going to investigate all the Props properly, here's a handy voting guide. Feel free to take a copy to the polls.

Prop 1A: Transit Funding
Provides a funding straightjacket for fuel taxes, requiring them to actually be used in transportation projects. Currently, they're used for whatever the Legislature decides, which is usually last-minute funding bailouts when they run short of money.
Atlas Sez: Unpopular though it may be, the Legislature is supposed to be in charge of spending tax money. This is the best they could do to try to make sure transit gets funding. Unfortunately, approving this measure could mean big cuts elsewhere to things like schools and hospitals as the Legislature overspends or gets into an actual emergency.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 1B: Transit Bonds
This would put $20 billion in bonds toward transit projects. It would also put about the same amount into the pockets of bankers: about the same amount is used for interest payments over the next 30 years.
Atlas Sez: Let's make the Legislature spend our money on this one. The needs are great, but they're not so critical that we shouldn't expect our Legislature to fix them without huge debts.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 1C: Battered Women Bonds
Not only battered women and children, but disabled people, veterans, the poor, and military veterans will be helped with housing and services. All of society's neediest get a shout-out in this proposition.
Atlas Sez: It's only three billion, so I'm saying yes....but only because I'm a total softie. My head tells me to vote no, but this IS the cheapest bond, measured in the millions per year, not billions. Yes, we'll still be paying for it for 30 years, but it's not much each year and it's truly helping those who need the most help.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 1D: Education Bonds
Bonds issued for all sorts of education goodies: earthquake retrofitting, new schools, more vocational/tech schools, and all sorts of other educational needs.
Atlas Sez: Again with the massive interest payments! About half of the $20 billion this will be eaten by bankers. This is what the legislature is for-- to spend tax money. Theoretically, they'll do it somewhat more efficiently than this if they want to keep their jobs. Also, we'll be boosting education funding a bit later down the ballot, so you don't have to feel guilty for the kids by voting "No" on this one.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 1E: Disaster Preparedness Bonds
Eight billion borrowed for disaster preparedness- including reinforcing levees in the Central Valley and other water protection improvements.
Atlas Sez: Wait, we're California and we're not prepared for disasters? Are you friggin' kidding me? Oh, you aren't? Yes, I guess a bond is appropriate since the likelihood of an earthquake strong enough to break levees is great when HUGE, ACTIVE FAULTLINES RUN THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE FRIGGIN' STATE.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 83: The Sexual Offender Prop
Expands the definition of sexual predators, requires GPS monitoring of sex felons, forbids them from living within 2,000 ft. of schools and parks, too.
Atlas Sez: Dude, no one likes sexual predators. But exiling them, and spending $200 MILLION PER YEAR to monitor them is way, way too much. And attaching GPS monitors to criminals is not something I think we want to get in the habit of doing. Even for sexual predators.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 84: The Water Prop
Would issue bonds for water-related improvements to the tune of over $10 billion.
Atlas Sez: Sounds good, but look at the numbers: $5.4 billion for improvements, $5.1 billion for interest payments. We'll be paying for this bond for 30 years. They say it's preparing for the future, but I'd argue it's mortgaging our future.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 85: The Abortion Waiting Period
Requires minors to get parental consent for abortions.
Atlas Sez: Sounds okay, but the details burden doctors unduly with tons of new paperwork. Also, girls with abusive, strict, or insane parents could be in real trouble. Bottom line: it doesn't help keep abortions safe, legal, and rare.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 86: The Cigarette Tax
Taxes per pack of ciggies will jump by $2.60 to pay for various health programs.
Atlas Sez: You know, I actually might've voted for this increase, despite the fact that I do smoke, if there wasn't so much stupid waste in this proposition. Anti-tobacco programs have a spotty record of actually encouraging kids not to smoke, and a huge chunk of this measure will go for this. We can, and should, figure out better ways to use tobacco taxes.
Suggested Vote: NO

Prop 87: Alternative Energy
Taxes oil from $1-6 per barrel to create a $4 billion fund to develop new sources of alternative energy, increase energy efficiency, and reduce oil dependence.
Atlas Sez: While market forces are helping to create these sources, Big Oil is making huge profits. Even $4 billion is just a nick in their profits. And this will benefit all of us down the line. Well, young people, anyway. Everyone else will probably be dead of skin or lung cancer by 2025.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 88: Education Funding
Homeowners' property taxes will go up by $50 per year to boost education funding. The poor and disabled are exempted.
Atlas Sez: I'm not a homeowner. And if you're young and Californian, you probably aren't either. And since this is one of the few props that HAS FUNDING INSTEAD OF BORROWING, we might as well soak the rich to fix the schools. But, do note that important auditing provisions are included to help ensure the money is well spent.
Suggested Vote: YES

Prop 89: Public Financing for Campaigns
Cuts out corporate money, limits campaign contributions from big bucks donors, basically makes public support the real determinant of campaign funding.
Atlas Sez: It's about friggin' time we cut money out of politics, and this measure would not only provide public financing for campaigns-- but the public wouldn't even have to pay for it. This is the single most important reform on the ballot I've seen in the years I've lived in California. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime chance for us to break the cycle of corruption.

Prop 90: Eminent Domain "Reform"/Gutting
Every time the government protects land from development, or buys it to build transit/schools/waterworks, etc., every property owner affected can sue for compensation based on the theoretical loss of property value.
Atlas Sez: The worst proposition on the ballot. Vote for this one and every time there's a new environmental protection, the local property owners can sue for 'lost value'. Basically, this would gut environmental protection and make it nearly impossible for the government to buy, use or control land for everyone's good. If you think permanently gutting environmental protection is a good idea, then by all means, vote yes.
Suggested vote: WHATEVER YOU DO, VOTE NO!



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um... you're an idiot. But thanks.

1:17 PM

Blogger Peggy Archer said...

Nice voter guide, and I appreciate the time you took to post it.

Although I'm totally voting yes on the ciggie tax. You cancer-spewers can rot in taxation hell :)

11:28 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Atlas, bonds are just the way we pay for things here in California.

Just like credit cards.

9:09 AM

Anonymous Monty Loree said...

I agree with your vote regarding putting taxes into developing alternative energy sources.

The government puts money into supporting the arts, which is important. They should spend money on alternative energy.

11:15 AM

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8:14 PM

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