While I try not to lose my mind over the Presidential election, I also need to figure out how I'm voting on all of the California Propositions. Ballot.FYI is a really good site for breaking them down in easy to understand fashions. Here are my thoughts, I'm open to hearing yours.
Prop 51: Bonds to pay for Schools: Leaning towards No
In general, I'm always in favor of more money for schools, but the fact that Gov Brown is against this one gives me pause. I think he does a pretty good job and he says the way this one works isn't good and doesn't get enough money and he's been working on getting it done properly. I've spoken to a teacher friend of mine and they are conflicted as well.
Prop 52: Get Federal Money for Medi-Cal: Yes
California is sort of gaming the Federal Medical Funding system and this continues it. It's a little sketchy, but I'm ok with it. The way it works is that the Federal Govt will match $1 for $1 when CA puts money into Medi-Cal. Previously, we just tax Californian citizens for about $1B and get $1B from the Federal Government for a total of $2B. We previously changed to temporarily taxing the hospitals for $4B and get $4B in Federal matching dollars... and then we reimburse the hospitals their $4B. So, instead of getting $2B in Medi-Cal, we get $4B without directly taxing CA citizens or hospitals. (We still indirectly pay for it because it uses Federal tax money, but at least the rest of the country contributes. We provide a surplus in tax revenue, so I'm ok getting some back.)
Prop 53: Require public votes on large infrastructure projects: No
I'm not interested in every damn construction problem becoming a political fight. The infrastructure and jobs are good, even if some of the projects fail.
Prop 54: CA Bills need to be posted online for 3 days: No
I don't think it'll provide a ton of benefit, but it will definitely fuel the outrage machine which thrives on headlines without substance.
Prop 55: Keep the higher tax rates on the wealthy: Yes
A few years ago, the top income tax rate in CA was 9%, but we passed a temporary tax raise on those making over $250K, over $500K+, and over $1M each year. This prop renews that. If you're earning a million PER YEAR, you can afford it and we need you to contribute back to CA that has helped make you wealthy.
Prop 56: Increase Tobacco Tax and include Vaping, E-Cigs: Yes
They are a public menace.
Prop 57: Rehabilitation Credits for Early Parole for Non-Violent Inmates: Leaning to Yes
I'm open to suggestions on this one. In general, I'm in favor of reintegrating people into society and letting them go back to a normal life. However, opponents make a valid point that the language on what qualifies as "non-violent" is vague and could include violent people. Additional however, those who make the "they'll let felons out of prison" have historically tended to be on the wrong side of the discussion and tended to have a racial tinge to their arguments... so that dampens my desire to listen to their argument.
Prop 58: Allow local schools to control how English is learned in classes: Yes
The current situation is that students learning English were put into English-only immersion classes instead of bi-lingual classes. This proposition allows local schools to choose. Scientific studies have been performed to see which path is more effective and they are inconclusive. However, when I read what the main opponent of Prop 58, who is also the author of the original English-Only proposition, says... it makes me want to vote Yes for Prop 58 twice. He describes Prop 58 as an effort to force Anglo children to learn Spanish. That guy can go fuck himself.
Prop 59: Advise CA to Fight Citizens United: Yes
This law doesn't DO anything, but it tells the CA Government that the voters want them to do everything they can, up to and including a CA Constitutional Amendment, to fight against Citizens United.
Prop 60: Mandatory Condoms for Porn: No
After reading through both sides, it seems like there is already a VERY aggressive system in place for constant STD testing for performers, so this seems like a solution in search of a problem.
Prop 61: Limit the price State agencies can pay for drugs based on what the VA pays: Yes
My general approach is: fuck just about every healthcare for-profit corporation because they rake us over the coals for stuff that shouldn't be a capitalist market in the first place. But, I can't have Single Payer, so I have to play the game for now. On one hand, it makes PERFECT sense that the State should negotiate drug prices and I wish Obamacare and Medicare had included the ability to negotiate drug prices. The problem is it's almost a certainty that drug companies will just raise prices on the VA and refuse to go lower because they have monopolies on some of the drugs, which means this will lower prices for some and raise them for others.
Bernie says to vote Yes on Prop 61. I know there are going to be problems if we put this into effect, but there are already problems and I think this goes in the right direction.
Prop 62: Repeal Death Penalty: Yes
Prop 66: Keep Death Penalty and Do It Faster: No
Most importantly, the Death Penalty is barbaric. Secondarily, it is ineffective and expensive. So, even if we needed to be barbaric to achieve some kind of greater "good", the Death Penalty wouldn't do it either.
Prop 63: Regulate Ammunication: Yes
Require background checks for ammo, regulate online purchases of ammo, etc. Fuck yes.
Prop 64: Legalize Marijuana: Yes
Less harmful than alcohol and would produce a crazy amount of tax revenue. I don't even consume marijuana in any fashion and I think we should legalize it twice.
Prop 67: Ban Free Plastic Bags: Yes
Prop 65: Make Grocery Stores send the Bag fees to CA: No
I support banning all the crappy plastic bags and refer to use the reusable grocery bags, but I have no problem with the grocery stores just keeping the money for selling the cheapy plastic bags.