Sun, 24 Oct 2004

How To Vote on November 2nd in California

I was planning on writing up a summary of how you should vote on each of the propositions on the California ballot in the upcoming election. Steve Friedl beat me to it though, and since I agree with him, in general, I'll limit my comments mostly to where I disagree and the emphasis of points I concur with.

Prop 59

Public Records. Open Meetings

Yes - public disclosure of government actions is good.

Prop 60

Election Rights of Political Parties

Yes - American elections are broken in general. The current system makes it almost impossible for third-party candidates to be elected. We really need to move to a system in which voters can vote for multiple candidates such as approval voting or even better, Condorcet voting in which voters rank the candidates.

Prop 60 does nothing to improve the situation, but, at least, keeps third-party candidates on the ballot.

Prop 60A

Surplus Property

Yes - Requires the government to pay off debt when they have a garage sale. I'd prefer they give me back my money, but this at least puts it to good use.

Prop 61

Children's Hospital Projects

No - Steve's right

The first thing I do when evaluating a bond measure is to look in the argument supporting it: if it says in capital letters "DOES NOT RAISE TAXES", I automatically vote no. This is like saying that using your credit card DOES NOT TAKE CASH OUT OF YOUR WALLET, and if they will be intellectually dishonest on this, I won't believe anything else they say either.

Politicians are idiots. They think they can borrow money without any way to pay it back.

Prop 62

Elections. Primaries.

No - I'm not opposed to open primaries. If political parties want to nominate candidates in a closed matter, they can figure out a way to do so not at public expense. I'm against 62 because it limits general elections to two candidates. (The opposition's repetitions about the Klu Klux Klan are absurd, though.)

Prop 63

Mental Health Services Expansion

No - Tax the rich to pay for others' medical problems? No thanks.

Prop 64

Limits on Private Enforcement of Unfair Business Competition Laws

Yes - This will require plaintiffs to show actual damages in order to sue for "unfair business competition". There are probably lots of things other than fraud encompassed by "unfair business competition" that shouldn't be illegal, but that will have to wait for another election, I guess.

Prop 1A/65

Local Government Funds/Revenues

Yes on both - I don't know that local government is any more fiscally responsible than state government, but I suppose they can be held accountable easier.

Prop 66

Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law. Sex Crimes. Punishment.

Yes - It doesn't get the people in prison for victim-less crimes out, but, at least, keeps me from paying as much for their incarceration. As the opponents point out, it would let out some nasty criminals who are currently imprisoned for less serious crimes, but who have already served their time for their more serious felonies. If their earlier sentences weren't long enough, sentence guidelines for such felonies should be changed. This proposition does double the sentences for sex crimes against children.

Prop 67

Emergency Medical Services. Telephone Surcharge.

No - There is already a 10% city tax on my phone. I don't want to pay 3% more. I pay for my medical care. If you came to my door saying I had to pay for your medical care, I'd tell you to get lost. If doctors aren't being paid, they should find a new job, new customers, or start a charity to raise money for them.

Prop 68

Non-Tribal Commercial Gambling Expansion

Yes - I have mixed feelings about this one. Since Indian reservations aren't really sovereign nations, in that their "citizens" are also U.S. citizens and are, as far as I know, entitled to the same tax-payer funded benefits, they should pay the same taxes imposed on the rest of us. This initiative doesn't impose the same taxes, but would collect significant revenues.

Alternatively, it loosens the restrictions on gambling, but not in a free market way, granting rights to some existing enterprises.

So, 68 gets an unenthusiastic Yes.

Prop 69

DNA Samples. Collection. Database.

No - I don't think this is terribly prone to abuse, but I don't like the idea of treating people who are arrested the same as those convicted.

Prop 70

Tribal Gaming Compacts. Exclusive Gaming Rights.

Yes - Another anti-free market initiative that gives Indians a monopoly on gambling in exchange for, apparently, unaudited tax revenue.

Prop 71

Stem Cell Research

No - Stem Cell research should be done by private enterprises using private funding.

Prop 72

Health Care Coverage Requirements

No - Employees should negotiate with employers for health care benefits that they want.

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The state is that great fiction by which everyone tries to live at the expense of everyone else. - Frederic Bastiat