…and some local ones. I received my absentee ballot the other day and was a little intimidated to see that it’s 5 separate slips, front and back. Besides the obvious national debate, there are a host of local offices up for grabs (we live in Richmond, Contra Costa County), as well as a slew of state-wide initiatives: 16 state-wide, 4 county-ish, and 2 city. “Democracy is hard, let’s go shopping!”
I spent a few hours today (mostly during the Presidential debates) going through the voter information documents, reading opinions of sources I trust, and discussing with a few friends a number of these. I’ve filled out my sample ballot and think I’ve got votes I’m happy with for the measures that really will have an effect on us (and that we can have and effect on the en-action of). I’m not going to get in to discussion of individual office candidates (people) here, there’s too much of that already (and there’s not a lot of information about the local races to make it really interesting). I’m posting my intentions here because I’m very interested in what other people may have to say. Any questions/comments/insights, please post a note below or trackback to your own entry. There’s a lot on the ballot to critically look at.
1A – Yes - I think we should keep property and sales taxes local. Living in Richmond, I see a lot of impact due to lack of local revenue (as well as many other issues, but that would require even broader change…), but I don’t like the idea of the state having mandate over both my payroll taxes and my local taxes.
59 – Yes – Government sunshine initiative, always a good thing to have transparency in the local process.
60 – Yes - Counter to Prop 62, which could lock out third parties from state-wide elections.
60A – No – Ties the states hands to use one source of income (from the state-wide yard sales) to pay off one source of debt (from the state-wide bond restructuring).
61 – Yes – Bonds for children hospitals.
62 – No – Restructures the election system in a way that could lock out third party candidates and regulate a two-party-only system. No, no, no.
63 – No – Good cause, but this feels like a bad case of class tax warfare. I don’t like the idea of specialized taxes on only certain groups of people.
64 – No – I’m worried that the big backers of this bill are major corporations which have suffered some major anti-trust losses recently (and for good reason, IMHO). I don’t want to limit the people’s right to seek grievances, and leave it solely in the hands of a politically motivated Attorneys General office.
65 – No – No-one wants this bill at all anymore, they want you to vote on 1A instead (which I’m thinking “yes” for).
66 – Yes – I’ve long thought that “Three Strikes” was much too harsh.
67 – No(?) – I’m torn on this one. While I don’t like the idea of a regressive tax on a specific utility (the phone system), I live in an area where our Emergency Rooms are under constant threat of closure.
68 – No – I can’t find anyone whose actually for this who doesn’t run a racetrack…
69 – (???) – I’m really torn on this one. Building a DNA database for criminal detection does sound like a very good thing, but I’m worried that this bill doesn’t have enough privacy protections…thoughts???
70 – No – Severely limits what we could get from the tribal casinos for almost a century, and is only supported by one of them, so this one isn’t very popular. Lets see how the Govinator’s negotiations come out.
71 – No – As promising as it sounds like stem cell research is, I don’t want this state in the business of funding it. (Federal government, that would be a different case…I think).
72 – No(?) – I’m skeptical of a state-mandated health system, but I’m in a pretty good position WRT health care, so I could be looking at this through rose-colored glasses. Anyone have a solid argument for a “yes” vote?
AA – Yes – BART is heavily over-subsidized anyways, and I would much rather see this come out of road or gas taxes, but my wife rides the Transbay tube every day, so I want it as safe as possible.
BB – Yes – Even though AC Transit drivers keep trying to kill me on my bike, they’ve made some excellent local improvements to the buses and stops recently with well-placed funding. Since no-one seems to be against this one, and even though its a (minor) tax on me as a home-owner, I think it would be a good investment.
CC – No(?) – I can’t get a good read on what this tax is supposed to actually fund in the parks, but I use them quite a bit so I could be easily swayed…
J – No(?) – Torn again. At first I didn’t like what I read out of this bill because it seemed extremely broad and focused too much on roads (which I really don’t want a whole lot more of). Reading the arguments against this measure I see that more than half of it is actually dedicated to non-automotive enhancements, so I’m not sure…Again, though, I would like to see this as a fuel tax (which it somewhat is coming out of sales taxes).
Q & R – Yes – Very little description or discussion of these measures, but they seem sane and there’s no-one arguing against them…even the sales tax increase.
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