Jeff’s Election Day Voting Guide

As I have done for the last couple of elections, I am posting my take on the issues and how I will vote. By the way, there are a lot of debt measures on the ballot, it’s worth noting that the state currently has about $45 billion in outstanding debt and is authorized to sell another $30 billion in debt but has yet to do so.


State Officers:

Governor: Schwarzennegger

Why: Because I’m not an idiot. Seriously, does anyone really know what Angiledes would do as Governor. He is the most uninspiring candidate that the Democrats could have nominated, Westly would have put up a much stronger campaign.

Lt. Governor: McClintock

Why: I admire his integrity (which separated him from all the candidates in the recall election) and think having a strongly conservative officer in the statewide office is a good balance for the very liberal tendencies of the State Assembly.

Sec of State: McPherson

Why: After the disaster that Kevin Shelley was, McPherson was appointed to the office and has done a good job. Key issue going forward for this officer is the implementation of electronic voting so I am more comfortable with someone who has proven they can do the job.

Controller: Strickland

Why: Attacking fraud and waste is just as important as closing tax code abuses, something Strickland understands.

Treasurer: Lockyer

Why: Lockyer is a capable candidate.

Attorney General: Brown

Why: Having been a mayor in the 8th most dangerous city in the U.S. I would hope that Brown would have a good grasp of the issues.

Insurance Commissioner: Poizner

Why: Because Bustamante is a slimeball.

Prop 1A: TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROTECTION.

How I voted: FOR

Why: This is conundrum for me because I generally feel that the various voter propositions over the years that have restricted public funds in specific ways has really hamstrung government. In other words, if the voters are going to mandate something like “xx% of the budget shall be applied to education” or whatever, then what’s the point of having elected officials in the Assembly and Senate? Having said that, the simple fact of the matter is that the elected representatives have a nonexistent track record at having discipline to “pay as we go” for infrastructure projects so if this is what it takes to get transportation improvements from gas taxes (like the Feds do) then so be it.

Prop 1B: HIGHWAY SAFETY, TRAFFIC REDUCTION, AIR QUALITY, AND PORT SECURITY BOND ACT OF 2006.

How I voted: FOR

Why: Hey, I’m not enthusiastic about taking on another $39 billion in debt (over 30 years) but if that’s what it takes to fund infrastructure improvements… see above for my logic.

Prop 1C: HOUSING AND EMERGENCY SHELTER TRUST FUND

How I voted: FOR

Why: $2.8 billion over 30 years to provide shelter assistance for the most vulnerable residents of the state is something I can support.

Prop 1D: KINDERGARTEN–UNIVERSITY PUBLIC EDUCATION FACILITIES BOND ACT OF 2006.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: How many $20 billion debt measures for education infrastructure are state voters expected to support when the performance of state schools is so poor? This is a rehash of an earlier proposition from another election and I didn’t support that one either. The State is funding public schools to the tune of about $52 billion a year, which is a substantial increase from last year… if they can’t maintain facilities with that kind of budget then I think we need to look at alternative models for public education. Seriously, as a taxpayer and a voter I am getting a little tired of the “throw more money” approach to public education. Here’s a good article that sums up the current dilemma… http://www.csba.org/csn/csnStoryTemplate.cfm?id=384

Prop 1E: DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND FLOOD PREVENTION BOND ACT OF 2006.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: $8 billion in debt to fund levee repairs and making drinking water “safe” is a little vague in my opinion. The Feds have stepped up over the years, contrary to popular public opinion, as evidenced by the massive flood control and wetlands restoration project up in Napa that is almost finished, so I’m not sure what this $8b is buying me. In addition to the above, there are a lot of questions in my mind about how much of the water supply would actually be affected by this, for example, the Hetch Hetchy water supply that SF and the Peninsula relies on is already undergoing seismic retrofitting and upgrades following another debt measure that passed in a previous election and is reflected in my increased water rates.

Prop 83: SEX OFFENDERS. SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS. PUNISHMENT, RESIDENCE RESTRICTIONS AND MONITORING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

How I voted: FOR

Why: Violent sex offenders… need I say more?

Prop 84: WATER QUALITY, SAFETY AND SUPPLY. FLOOD CONTROL. NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION. PARK IMPROVEMENTS. BONDS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: This is one of those “everything and the kitchen sink” initiatives with a really big price tag, $10.5 billion over the life of the bond. I like the idea of paying for park improvements and public access, but then there’s all that flood control and water quality language that I thought Prop 1E is supposed to fund (which I am also voting against).

Prop 85: WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY.

How I voted: FOR

Why: If an minor needs parental notification to get a tattoo then they should also require notification for an abortion, which is not a “minor medical procedure” under any circumstances. As a parent, this one is a no-brainer for me and given the options for relief (judicial intervention) there should be no reason to not support this.

Prop 86: TAX ON CIGARETTES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: Okay, so this one is a little difficult to explain but let me give it a try. Insofar as taxing cigarettes I am all for it, put a tax of $10 a pack on them and I wouldn’t object, but I do start to have an issue with the addiction that our state governments are developing on cigarette taxes as a source of revenue. The State of California makes more money on a pack of cigarettes than Philip Morris does and that makes them do unnatural things, like filing a brief in an Illinois court in support of Philip Morris (http://reclaimdemocracy.org/weekly_2003/state_tobacco_dependence.html) and issuing bonds backed by cigarette tax revenues. More germane to the measure itself is my objection to hospitals receiving funds from this measure also getting exemption from antitrust regulations… what’s up with that? Why would hospitals receiving funding from this bond need antitrust exemptions?

Prop 87: ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. RESEARCH, PRODUCTION, INCENTIVES. TAX ON CALIFORNIA OIL PRODUCERS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: I posted an extensive piece on Venturebeat about this but can’t find it now… funding another state agency with taxpayer money and little oversight is not good policy. There is no shortage of funding for cleantech, if the state really wants to play VC then they should pump $4b into the top 30 venture firms and be done with it.

Prop 88: EDUCATION FUNDING. REAL PROPERTY PARCEL TAX. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: This is a forever property tax increase that still doesn’t get to the performance issues that schools are facing. On top of that, in reading the proposition it’s not entirely clear that taxes collected in basic aid districts (like where I live) would go to local schools.

Prop 89: POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. PUBLIC FINANCING. CORPORATE TAX INCREASE. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION AND EXPENDITURE LIMITS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

How I voted: AGAINST

Why: Let’s be clear about what this is, a state funded restriction of free speech that will work just about as well as McCain-Feingold did. I fail to see how increasing taxes on businesses to pay for political campaigns is a good idea.

Prop 90: GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION, REGULATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

How I voted: FOR

Why: The Kelo v. New London decision that the Supreme Court rendered last year attacked the very foundation of our Constitution, property rights. While I empathize with the opponents of this measure that it will create a new category of lawsuits and cost state and local governments a lot money in legal and acquisition costs, I can’t think of a single more important right to protect in our State Constitution than private property rights. Furthermore, the trend in recent years where local governments have seized private property under eminent domain and then transferred that property to private developers is a perversion of what eminent domain is supposed to do. Seizing property for a highway or infrastructure project is one thing, seizing someone’s home so that a developer can build a new shopping mall is not something I could ever support, and that’s why I voted for this proposition.

10 thoughts on Jeff’s Election Day Voting Guide

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  2. Hey Jeff, you should have posted this a couple of weeks ago. All of the permanent absentee voters (like me) have already voted. It would have been nice to have your analysis.

  3. Hi Chris,
    It took me a little time to get through the voter guide this year, what with all the other stuff going on in my life right now 🙂

    I’ll be on it for ’08, promise!

  4. Jeff,

    You could have at least strayed from the party line on the really nutty ones like Prop 90.

    Prop 90 doesn’t have anything to do with Kelo, it just uses Kelo as an excuse to gut the power of local governments. I guarantee that if Prop 90 passes you’ll eventually wish it hadn’t. Just like the folks in Oregon already regret passing their version of a similar bad proposition. And McClintock is obviously lacking in either integrity or brains if he’s for it, because I’m sure he knows the true nature of the proposition in detail.

    And I’m guessing that “as a parent” Prop 85 will never have any impact on you since healthy families don’t need State Government to intervene in family communication. But I guess restricting the options of kids from abusive families should make the “government knows best” Republicans feel good.

    -Brian

  5. Brian,
    when it comes to the power of local governments, I really do think there should be a minor gutting. Take for example the new zoning and design guidelines that have been proposed for my tiny community of Emerald Hills. The rules, proposed by a homeowner association very few belong to and packaged for the county planning commission would have revamped everything from the size of a house (major) to what color it is (minor). Opposition to these rules cut across political affiliation when over 600 residents showed up at the planning meeting to oppose these proposed rules, but were it not for a small group of people in the community who actively opposed this it would likely have been rubber stamped through.

    Prop 90 is absolutely about Kelo because it explicitly prohibits local governments from seizing or condemning private property and turning it over to private developers. This is the essence of the Kelo case. You might want to read up about the Lake Ellsinore Redevelopment Project down in Riverside to see a real live eminent domain abuse that was only curbed when the residents fought back, or down in the City of Garden Grove where the city condemned a track of low/moderate income housing (well kept, even the city acknowledged) in order to build a Hampton Inn.

    What 90 will do is make the cost of eminent domain seizures a lot more, and as a result cities are going to have to think long and hard about those costs before embarking on every redevelopment plan that seems like a good idea. This measure will also give homeowners and small business owners a tool that they can use to fight back when their city attempts to seize their property for that much needed strip mall with a Ruby Tuesdays and a Starbucks.

    Insofar as 85, I really resent you mocking my position on it. I genuinely don’t believe that a teenage girl should be able to get an abortion easier than a tattoo. I think you are way off base in suggesting that this is just a partisan issue as well because with the polling going the way it is there is much to suggest that a significant percentage of democrats are for this measure.

    You are more than welcome to come here and comment but I really don’t put this up to be attacked or mocked. If you want to debate it, fine but do so on the merits and not the name calling as there is enough of that in politics in general. Also, I’d appreciate just a small amount of respect as to my right to decide the issues the way that I see them. Unlike most voters, I do in fact read the entire voter guide and research the issues, ultimately deciding on a combination of ideological, common sense, and compromise positions.

    BTW, look at each of my votes, I didn’t cast them according to party lines at all.

  6. Jeff,

    I generally avoid talking politics at all online and the only reason I comment on your site about political opinions is because I respect your opinions and usually find your responses persuasive.

    I will follow up on your suggestions for further reading regarding Prop 90.

    As far as 85, apparently I should have taken the time to word my comment more carefully because you seem to be taking that as much more of an attack than I intended it.

    I did not quote “as a parent” to mock you. I was trying to make a broader “libertarian oriented” point that people don’t people don’t vote for laws like 85 to protect themselves personally but to help “other people” who really may need this new government intervention in their lives. And I understand a lot of Democrats are for the proposition. On the surface who wouldn’t be. But the list of feel good, bi-partisan nanny laws we could pass is endless and many of these laws have unintended consequences, often for people who have a life situation we don’t understand and can’t envision.

    I guess this a bit of a lesson not to dabble in a discussion that I don’t have time to word more thoughtfully. Your blog just seems to bring out the devils advocate in me because I’m surprised how often I agree with your business commentary and how often I disagree with your political analysis. So I enjoy wading in and making a point or being persuaded in turn by a good debater.

    -Brian

  7. Jeff:
    I think its cool that you posted this. It is probably helpful to many who don’t have the time to research the issues and it does takes guts to post ones political views in such detail.

    I’m generally against billion dollar state spending bills at a time when housing prices are starting to fall (San Diego County, San Mateo County, etc.) and there are some indications of an economic slow down. However, I believe that shifting energy production/consumption is going to be a great global challenge over the coming decades. While, I’d like to see a little more oversight than Prop 87 offers, I don’t think it possible to throw too much money at the problem right now. Furthermore, I’m optimistic that the state funding, unlike venture investing alone, will help ensure that California retains its leadership as the center for global technology as software and IT become more commoditized.

    Lastly, I would take your comments about municipal government a step further. Why not just abolish local government entirely? Do we really need state, county and city government structures to keep the street lights on? I suspect that at least one of the three may not be necessary. For example, are my utility and policing needs as a resident of Palo Alto really that different from my neighbors in Mountain View? Couldn’t these issues be handled at the County? Furthermore, I have been told that the City of Palo Alto actually lost money when the World Cup matches were played at Stanford Stadium in 1994. City “beautification” projects like that silly egg at the corner of University Ave/Emerson and the roundabouts that replaced stop signs at a cost of 10X(?) really bug me when a new parcel tax for education seems to show up on the ballot every year.

    Q: What do credit cards and government spending have in common?
    A: Both are spending your money, but nobody seems to realize it.

    -Andrew

  8. Hi Andrew,
    on the prop 87 issue, there is nothing in the measure that stipulates the funding has to go to CA-based companies or projects so insofar as retaining leadership is concerned, well I think the state of our education system is a bigger issue to ensure that over the long haul, but investment finance is thankfully not.

    The state/county/city is an interesting issue. I suspect that the pull of local government is far too great to abolish, for the simple reason that it is the most personal form of representative government. The idea that we have counties is something that may be past it’s prime. Aside from maintaining the criminal and civil legal systems, and election mgmt I am not sure what else the county does that is that essential.

  9. Jeff:
    to be clear I don’t think that abolishing either county or city government is politically feasible in the near future because there are too many established parties with vested interests in how the system currently works. However, if one or the other were to be abolished, reorganizing at the county level would seem to offer the best trade off between efficiencies of scale and attention to unique local needs. Also, while I agree that cities are the more personal form of government, I would question what percentage of the general public realizes this. For example, how many people can name their city’s mayor or any of their counsel’s representatives? Furthermore, local election voter turn-out abysmal.
    -Andrew

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