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 89 Political Campaigns, Public Financing, Corporate Tax Increase.
Lots of Prop. 89 sounds great. Candidates can either accept public campaign funds or raise money on their own. If they accept public funds, they still have to raise some money on their own to prove they are worthy of their candidacy. They also get extra money to keep pace with some bored billionaire who thinks it'd be neat to run for Congress. Lovely. But that money is raised exclusively through taxing corporations and banks. Some would argue they should pay because they have warped the electoral process with their money. But the fact is other special interests, good special interests like labor unions and environmental groups, flood the political market with their millions. What's more, or less, actually, this measure also limits how much a corporation can spend in either opposing or supporting a ballot measure. Again, we're not crazy about Chevron pouring millions of dollars towards defeating a proposition that would mean clean air for blind orphans, but if you're going to limit that group then you have to limit other groups, even good groups. Fair is fair.
Others in the office, including the sap editing this entry, say fuck fair: let's vote yes on Prop. 89! Those others (sap included) have no problem taxing the corporations because, they would point out quite rightly, they're the ones with the money.
Proposition 90 Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property
Of all of our NOs, this one may be our most fervent. Prop. 90 springs from last year's Supreme Court decision allowing local governments to use the power of eminent domain to seize a private home or business and give it to a developer if the project is deemed for the greater good. This scared the hell out of property owners who believed that eminent domain would only be used in extreme cases to benefit the public: a freeway, for example, or another bathroom for Don Bren's dog's guest house. So people are likely to look favorably at any measure that would limit the use of eminent domain. But this measure goes way beyond that by allowing for people to recoup money—real or imagined—due to "government actions that result in substantial economic loss to private property." These could be losses from simple changes in zoning laws or environmental usage measures. It would hamstring local governments and make them vulnerable to anyone claiming a loss when governments are just doing their jobs. "Folks" could argue that any change hinders them from making a buck. You wouldn't do that, of course, but your jerk-off neighbor Hal would. Hal is such a jerk-off.