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 1A Transportation Funding Protection
Maybe we're just feeling cranky, but we don't like rigidity in government. For the same reason we don't like mandatory minimum sentencing that takes away a judge's discretion, we don't like taking away the occasionally necessary flexibility to rob transportation to pay Paul. There are times when transportation funds need to be raided—for instance, when Governor Schwarzenegger needs to pay back all of those billions he borrowed from the schools.
Proposition 1B Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality and Port Security
Proposition 1C Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund
Proposition 1D Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities
Proposition 1E Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention
Now that we've got you completely confused, please let us tell you that we love highways, schools and levees. Especially levees! We also like clean air and housing for poor people. Seriously, we really do. In fact, we like and/or love them so much we would like to actually put our money where our big fat mouth is . . . and pay for them.
We're tired of the governor promising to rip up our credit card before ordering up $37 billion in trinkets. Very, very important trinkets, certainly, but look at it like we do: $37 billion is a thousand bones per California resident. People earning the state's median household income of $63 thousand can afford an assessment of $1,000 per family member—it would be a hit, to be sure, but they could do it. People working at Wal-Mart can afford much less, however, and Don Bren can afford much more, so we'd make some adjustments like that. (We also love the graduated income tax.)
Rather than feeling beneficent in our willingness to pony up our grandchildren's future earnings (which won't cost a mere $37 billion; it will be compounded by interest) for these things we claim are necessary and worthwhile, why can't we be beneficent in our willingness to pony up our own earnings?
Proposition 83 Sex Offenders, Sexually Violent Predators, Punishment, Residence, Restrictions and Monitoring
Whaaaaa? How could we be against stronger penalties for sex offenders? We're not. It's just that all of the good points of Prop 83 were signed into law when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger put his signature to a bunch of laws that increased sentences for child rape to 25-years-to-life, made possession of child pornography a felony instead of a misdemeanor, and extended parole for violent sex felons to 10 years. Done. So, that part of 83 would just echo what's already in effect. It's the other parts of Prop 83 that are less attractive: there's the bit about registered sex offenders wearing electronic monitoring devices for life, which not only sounds a bit Minority Report-ish, it's also disconcerting that no distinction is made between the severity of the sex crime—some registered sex offenders' crimes run along the lines of streaking. Even more disturbing is the provision that prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other locations where kids are likely to be present. Yeah, none of us wants our kids near child molesters. But this means there would be virtually no city in the state where these people could live, and they'll be forced out into rural areas—don't our sainted farmers have it bad enough, what with the spinach scare and the cow flatulence?—or simply driven underground. It's not that we're against getting tough on sex offenders, it's that we just did. Piling it on doesn't make good policy.
Proposition 84 Water Quality, Safety and Supply
Were you not paying attention during the Proposition 1s? Because they were right at the beginning, so you shouldn't have been bored yet. Go on back and have another look. We'll wait.
Proposition 85 Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy
This measure would mean minors, girls, couldn't have an abortion until 48 hours after a parent or guardian is notified by a doctor. Now, ideally, any girl who became pregnant would go to her loving family and receive support and guidance. But anyone who's actually been part of a family, or who's watched House of Carters, knows families can sometimes be very bad things. Many girls are raised in circumstances that are at best very tough and at worst really nightmarish. And as gruesome as it is, the truth is some girls become pregnant by family members. A pregnant girl from a supportive family will likely to go to them for guidance anyway. It's the girl with the unsupportive family we need to worry about because this measure would be putting her in even worse straits, including, heaven help us, forcing her into the waiting forceps of a non-medical abortionist. Who's up for playing 19th century? Of course, the people who wrote this thing really don't care about girls. This is the second straight year they've put this type of measure on the ballot. Last year's Prop. 73, which only narrowly lost, had a line in it about life beginning at conception, which tells you they're not concerned about girls or families. Rather, they see this as a stepping stone to ridding women and girls of their right to choose. And they're using girls to get the ball rolling. How do they sleep at night? Our guess is like a baby.