Proposition Me

Our modest take on the tuesday ballot

Proposition 1A: Gaming on Tribal Lands

SURE, WHY NOT? Proponents (who call themselves "Californians for Indian Self-Reliance") imply by their support of 1A that Native Americans can only kill whales, drink monumental quantities of hooch—oh, yes, and run casinos. 1A will expand their ability to do the latter. Should Native Americans aspire to something greater than card dealing, dice rolling and booze pouring? Who are we to judge—except when it comes to 1A's opponents? They say this measure "will throw open the floodgates of gambling in California." Prop. 1A "will jeopardize the cultural environment in which we live and rear our families." If it passes, "California stands in danger of becoming a 'Las Vegas by the Sea.'" "Cultural environment"? "Las Vegas by the Sea"? We've got two words for you: "Silicon Valley." And two more: "California Lottery." And two others: "Wall Street." And six more: "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" America is awash in gambling, and the reasons are many—the centuries-old dream of making it rich quick, a society in which the lifestyles of the rich and famous are beamed daily into the homes of millions of the poor and middle class, the rise of Wall Street as an alternative to Social Security, online investing, stagnating wages in a booming economy, collapsing savings rates, record-high personal debt, and the legitimate desire of millions of gambling fans to feel the kick-in-the-head rush of adrenaline as they put money on the table. We could go on, but you get the picture: the business of America is gambling. 1A is to America what the Maginot Line was to Nazis, what the Conestoga wagon is to transportation, what spats are to fashion.

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "It is good for a man not to marry" (1 Corinthians 7:1). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "Very doubtful."

Proposition 12: Safe Neighborhood Parks/ Clean Water/Coast Protection

SURE. If Californians pass all five bond issues—totaling a whopping $4.7 billion—on the March ballot, we'll put ourselves billions and billions more than that in debt for the next 20 years. We'd prefer our state tax dollars perpetually fund some of what's included in this park measure rather than, say, further enriching the prison-industrial complex. But since that ain't gonna happen, we're down with this initiative. For 16 years, the state has allowed its once-revered park system to deteriorate so badly that there's now a $1 billion-plus backlog of maintenance and rehab projects. Meanwhile, the population is exploding, but it has been eight years since California opened a new campground. This bond measure would spread $2.1 billion around the state for critical land acquisitions, improvement projects and environmental restoration. A large chunk of the dough would go to neighborhood parks in the state's urban centers. Why should mostly lily-white OC care? Because if we're going to allow ourselves to get suckered into believing those supposedly escalating youth-crime figures, we should gladly open our wallets for places that serve as alternatives to street life. Face it: the kick-ass economy has made the rich so much richer they can jet around the globe for their vacations. The rest of us rely on parks. Those parks deserve to be the envy of the nation once more.

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "When Apollos wanted to go to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples there to welcome him" (Acts 18:27). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION:"Cannot predict now."

Proposition 13: Safe Drinking Water

NO. Water districts say this $1.97 billion state initiative is needed because it will provide and protect safe drinking water. But when concerns are raised about the quality of the product supplied by those same districts, they insist the water's fine. What gives? It seems the Coalition for Safe, Clean and Reliable Water—the front group for this initiative—is looking at a population explosion so vast that we'll be forced to conserve what we're using now and make what's dirty fit for drinking. What we're looking at are unanswered questions: Why do OC taxpayers have to pony up for flood control in northern California, habitat destruction in central California, and water treatment plants in Los Angeles? Why do residents outside OC have to help pay for Santa Ana River flood protection (a problem that has allegedly been solved), habitat restoration along our various creeks, and water reclamation within the Irvine Ranch Water District? And didn't we pass a $995 million bond issue meant to ensure California's water future just four years ago?

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, 'Go, pour out the seven bowls of God's wrath on the Earth'" (Revelation 16:1). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "Outlook not so good."

Proposition 14: Library/Literacy

NOPE. Nothing against improving reading (we've got a vested interest in it, after all), but we just can't swallow this initiative, which would use $350 million in bond sales to construct and renovate local libraries. Not to get all Ronald Reagan on everyone's ass, but shouldn't local libraries be funded by locals? Newport Beach residents not so long ago took it upon themselves to fund what's arguably the best library in the county. This initiative would throw state taxpayer money around for technological upgrading, seismic retrofitting and structural repairs at local libraries. And who chooses who gets what? A new six-member state library construction board, who will have reporting to them a new state librarian. We say keep the state out of it. If Inyo County wants a cool library, let Inyo County fund it. If Tehama County wants fucked-up libraries, so be it.

WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "He said to them, 'You also go and work in my vineyard'" (Matthew 20:7). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "Yes."
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