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Bill Kenndy: A word on the propositions

Right Here Right Now

Posted: October 21, 2010 9:41 p.m.
Updated: October 22, 2010 4:55 a.m.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
— Edmund Burke

For what it was worth, I shared my views on the governor’s race last month. This month, here are my thoughts on the propositions.

Proposition 19. This would legalize marijuana under California law, permitting persons at least 21 years old to obtain or cultivate the substance for personal use.

Proponents argue that the drug is similar to alcohol, and that legalization would weaken drug cartels and generate billions in tax revenue.

The opposing view is that unlike alcohol users, marijuana smokers subject innocent bystanders to their vice through inhalation of secondhand smoke.

Moreover, easier access to marijuana could create greater markets for the drug cartels to exploit its suspected “gateway-drug” effect and move users to stronger substances.

Tax collection could be ephemeral, given that individuals would be allowed to grow their own. No on 19.

Proposition 20. This, along with Proposition 27, is one of the two most important initiatives on the ballot. A yes vote on this measure would remove elected representatives (who have a personal vested interest) from the process of establishing congressional districts and transfer that authority to an independent commission of citizens.

This move would counter the nonproductive consequences of gerrymandering and produce congressional candidates who would better reflect the makeup of the state, placing power back in the hands of the people where it rightfully belongs. Yes on 20.

Proposition 21. This measure would establish an $18 annual vehicle license surcharge to fund state parks and wildlife programs.

Though vehicles would be granted free admission to state parks should this initiative pass, this is nothing but a new hidden tax disguised as a fee.

Those who want to support state parks (and I am one of them) can do so by purchasing admission passes or making contributions.

Allowing the state to link a person’s need for a vehicle to the support of state programs is a dangerous precedent of fearful consequences. No on 21.

Proposition 23. This measure proposes to suspend implementation of the air pollution controls enacted by Assembly Bill 32 until state unemployment drops to 5.5 percent.

AB 32 mandates that government agencies and businesses implement air-pollution control measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

It was passed in 2006, during more prosperous economic times. We must review it in context of the tight economy and our need to relieve businesses of regulatory burdens.

The provision to link this well-intentioned environmental initiative to our economic realities seems reasonable. Yes on 23.
Proposition 24. This measure would repeal recent legislation that would allow businesses to lower their tax liability.

The reductions granted in 2008 and 2009 to help struggling businesses were well founded. Now, with state tax revenues down due to a struggling economy, some pundits are attempting to squeeze another $1.3 billion out of business by 2013.

But they fail to recognize that saving businesses and jobs is essential to recovery from economic disaster. To repeal benefits for stressed businesses now would be akin to eating our seed stock. No on 24.

Proposition 25. This measure would change the legislative vote required to pass a state budget from two-thirds to a simple majority.

Proponents argue the bill would take away one of the causes for budget gridlock while preserving the super majority vote required for new taxes.

Opponents argue it gives too much control to one party and will result in more wasteful spending.

I favor the status quo until district lines are redrawn by the duly appointed commission on redistricting. No on 25.

Proposition 26. This measure would require that certain state and local fees be approved by a two-thirds vote.

This initiative protects citizens from the burgeoning trend of public officials imposing hidden taxes under the guise of “fees,” which have a lesser standard of justification. Yes on 26.

Proposition 27. This measure would eliminate the state commission on redistricting, which is charged with drawing boundaries of districts for the state Legislature and the Board of Equalization.

We voters expressed our will in 2008. Now come some self-centered politicians who would take it away.
Keep the power with the people, where it belongs! No on 27.

Let your voice be heard on Nov. 2. Vote ... Right Here ... Right Now!

Bill Kennedy lives in Valencia and is a principal in Wingspan Business Consulting, chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, and a Santa Clarita planning commissioner. His column reflects his views, not necessarily those of these organizations or of The Signal. Contact him at


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