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Dedicated to propositions, part 2

Democratic Voices

Posted: October 31, 2008 9:27 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2009 5:00 a.m.
 
Presidential election years are the World Cup for politics junkies, and this year has been one of the best ever. However, besides tracking all the important partisan races in the national and local spotlights, Californians are once again being asked to do their Legislature’s job and vote on 12 ballot propositions.
Here, briefly, is how and why I will vote on state measures 7 through 12 on Nov. 4.

Prop 7 – Renewable Energy Generation Initiative – No
I read the voter guide section for this initiative four times, but it is still very difficult to understand. On that basis alone, it should be voted down. When obfuscation is part of your overall campaign strategy, it is generally not going to be something good for the people. I have come to the conclusion that this initiative will do the opposite of what its supporters boast and set back the cause of renewable energy and its use in California.

Prop 8 – Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry - Constitutional Amendment – No
I understand the emotional appeal of the argument that same-sex marriage somehow undermines the institution of matrimony, but it has never been clearly explained to me exactly how it practically does that. As far as I can see, the biggest threats to marriage are no-fault divorce laws, Las Vegas wedding chapels and Hollywood celebrities’ historically cavalier attitude towards “’til death do you part” — not married gay couples. Committed, loving unions, bound by legal protections and responsibilities, are good for society, regardless of the sex of the participants. Separate is not equal.

Prop 9 – Criminal Justice System, Victim’s Rights, Parole Initiative Constitutional Amendment – No
This proposition is a rewrite of existing laws that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In flush financial times perhaps we could afford to roll the dice and assuage our sympathetic feelings towards crime victims, but not today. Victim notification is already law, and California has a tough but fair parole system. This initiative is redundant and expensive.

Prop 10 – Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds Initiative – No
Another great title, but a perfect example of the cynical use of the California initiative process to enrich a special interest. This could easily be called the “Make T. Boone Pickens Richer Act,” as he paid to have it put on the ballot and his empire will profit as he sells natural gas to fuel taxpayer-subsidized vehicles.
This bond would cost Californians $10 billion in new debt, in addition to the interest on that debt. Without this measure, Californians will still be able to drive a natural-gas car, but they will be responsible for the costs, not the government.

Prop 11- Redistricting Initiative Constitutional Amendment – Yes
Politicians are a necessary evil in our republic, but giving them the power to create their own fiefdoms is crazy talk. Yet that is what we do now. I understand that with the Democrats holding a majority in California, it goes against my political best interests to take the power of redistricting away from the Legislature, but I believe as a citizen, my interests will be better served by people who are not looking to preserve their own power and paychecks. This law is a small first step, but at least it is in the correct direction.

Prop 12 – Veterans Bond Act of 2008 – Yes
I am deviating from my newfound fiscal conservatism for this proposition. Members of our military do a difficult but very important job for America, and they are paid very little to put their lives at risk and their civilian lives on hold. The least we can do is help them achieve a small part of the American dream. Bumper stickers and magnetic ribbons are nice, but a low-cost home loan says “Thanks, soldier,” in a very tangible way.

Kevin Buck is a resident of Santa Clarita and a regular contributor to “Democratic Voices” in The Signal. His column represents his own views, not necessarily those of this newspaper.

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