By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Proposition 15: Crime Labs
NO. Perhaps the best reason Batman was able to solve so many crimes was because his Batcave contained the world's greatest crime lab. Of course, Batman funded the lab primarily through his own personal fortune. The state of California wants similar crime labs but lacks Batman's huge wealth. So the state came up with Prop. 15—$220 million in taxpayer-backed bonds to build new crime labs and repair old ones. Taking 25 years of interest into account jacks up the cost to $377 million. The bond supporters' main argument is simple and novel: we need new crime labs "so fewer innocent people are charged with crimes." We think there's a better, cheaper idea—simply stop throwing so damned many people in jail.WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "If you really keep the royal law found in the Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right" (James 2:8). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "My reply is no."
Proposition 16: Veterans
NO. This bond measure—authored by Orange County Democratic state Senator Joe Dunn—is supposedly designed to aid 800 military veterans who supposedly need state-run housing. While thumbing through your official voter guide, you might have noticed, as we did, that Prop. 16 proponents failed to offer any evidence of a crisis in housing veterans. That is, of course, because there is no crisis. In fact, the last veterans' home (built in Barstow) was half-filled the last time we checked. Though proponents claim the measure will cost taxpayers just $50 million, the actual price tag will be closer to $180 million after hefty interest is paid to Wall Street investment bankers—the measure's real beneficiaries—and the federal treasury is raided for matching funds. That means we'll be spending a whopping $225,000 per vet. "We do not ask much," three veterans groups stated in support of the proposition. Uh, yeah, you do.WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "An argument developed between some of John's disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing" (John 3:25). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "Don't count on it."
Proposition 17: Private Lotteries/ Charitable Raffles
YES, PLEASE. Writing laws is like cutting off the heads of a hydra, Socrates said. Here's the evidence: some feverish moralist, eager to monitor everyone's behavior, pushed years ago for passage of laws to outlaw gambling. Turns out the raffle ticket you bought from a Cub Scout at a pinewood derby puts you in league with the Mafia, Indian gaming interests and Las Vegas. And Satan. So now we need another law, one that says it's legal to participate in school raffles. Who could oppose such innocence? Take a hint from the name of Prop. 17's chief opponent, the Committee for Moral Concerns ("Your Voice for Moral Issues in Sacramento!"). Here's a Weekly proposal: How about we let people do whatever the hell they want, so long as they don't hurt someone else? And we're not talking hurt sensibilities; we're talking eyes poked out, teeth broken, butts kicked. Meantime, we'll vote for this half measure.WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?"Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David" (2 Timothy 2:8). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "Cannot predict now."
Proposition 18: Murder—Added Special Circumstances
NO. Apparently, California wants in on the Bush Bowl now raging across the South. While other states such as Massachusetts long ago banned the death penalty and now enjoy a homicide rate roughly one-third of the Golden State's, the Bush Boys in Florida and Texas are racing to see who can put more criminals in the chair. Prop. 18 expands our vaunted death penalty yet again. It changes the law to say killing someone "by means of lying in wait" is a death-penalty offense, in addition to the already accepted "while lying in wait." Sound stupid? It is. But the measure also provides new special circumstances of murder in connection with kidnapping or arson. Woo-hoo! By the way, did you know it's already a death-penalty offense to kill someone while in the act of "oral copulation," "train wrecking" or "mayhem"? What's up with that?WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by" (Mark 14:66). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "My reply is no."
Proposition 19: BART/CSU Peace Officer Murdered
NO. Keeping with the time-honored tradition of using the state initiative process to put more people in jail, thus forcing massive new jail construction backed by Wall Street bonds that make bond investors disgustingly rich, Prop. 19 expands the punishment for the crime of second-degree murder of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) cops and Cal State University security officers. Where aggravating circumstances are present, criminals doing in these cops will get life in prison without parole. Apparently, this punishment is already in place for University of California cops. Will somebody please place an initiative on the next election ballot banning crime/death penalty measures from all future ballots?WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas" (Acts 16:29). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "It is decidedly so."
Proposition 20: State Lottery for Books
HELL, NO. We're all for gambling—dicing, cards, dancing and drinking, too—but can't stand Prop. 20. If books are important for kids (and we like to think they are), then let's pay for them with real money rather than the leavings of the gaming table. Further, if gambling is a legitimate state function, why can't entrepreneurs get in on the game?WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? "The child's mother and father marveled at what was said about him" (Luke 2:33). MAGIC 8-BALL PREDICTION: "Most likely."