A Writer's 21st Century Memoir.

What’s on the Ballot in California?- Part 2

There is more to this year’s election than selecting the President of the United States. (There is also more than just Mitt Romney and Barack Obama on the ballot as well but that’s another discussion entirely). Along with individuals electing officials from party-nominated, voter-nominated and nonpartisan offices at the district, city, state and national levels, your state will also tack on propositions, or submitted measures, for registered voters to pass if they feel that it is necessary.

These measures end up on the ballot by either the Legislature, which has the ability to place constitutional amendments, bond measures, and proposed changes in law on the ballot or by any California voter who follows the initiative qualifying process.

After these selected initiatives, or a referendums, are placed on the ballot the state’s voters can go to the polls and select “yes” or “no” to support or oppose the advocated a course of action imposed from a specific viewpoint.

In the 2012 election there are eleven measures submitted to the voters. They cover different subjects, often include an influx in state tax revenue for execution and they are sometimes a little vague if you decide to read their descriptions for the first time while you’re standing at the voters’ booth.

Here is the rest of the list from my summarized endorsements of last Friday:

Proposition 34

My endorsement: Yes

This one was easier for me to decide than some of the other propositions. I generally don’t support the death penalty, and this proposition would replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole. Too many innocent death row inmates have been, and will be, executed. It’s not like they get released from prison when someone screws up after you take the fatal cocktail. You’re dead and unless you become a zombie you’re not coming back. For those of you who don’t care about the innocent victims of the death penalty, fiscally the process is very wasteful and it hasn’t kept us safe.

Proposition 35

My endorsement: Yes

I disagree with a few of the publications that I usually turn to for their opinions. I vote yes on this proposition because I want to curb human trafficking. Even though the LA Times believes that “the state already has laws to combat human trafficking,” and that this proposition is unnecessary, the strengthened laws on human trafficking & online sexual predators “will deter traffickers with higher penalties and fines, use fines to fund victim services, remove barriers to prosecute child sex traffickers, mandate training for law enforcement officers, require convicted sex traffickers to register as sex offenders, require all sex offenders to disclose Internet accounts, and protect victims in court proceedings.”

Human trafficking has become so commonplace that we write it into movies, make jokes about it and have adopted it as part of our human culture. “The average entry age of a minor exploited in sex trafficking is just 12-14 years old,” and “a domestic minor sex trafficking victim would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution,” according to  Shared Hope International. There are an estimated 12.3 million people being trafficked, only 0.4 percent of victims have been identified, and the ratio of convicted offenders to victims identified is 8.5 to 100. There needs to be more regulation.

Proposition 36

My endorsement: Yes

I think every person who has ever had to argue about the three strikes law in a law or communication course in college or who had ever been involved in a case sealing with the Three Strikes Law knows that it isn’t right the way most individuals end up due to the law.

Serving 25 years to life after shoplifting $20 worth of merchandise isn’t fair, and I agree with the LA Times on this opinion that “reserving harsh penalties only for dangerous felons, would help fix [these obvious] flaws in the three-strikes law.”

Proposition 37

My endorsement: Yes

I have to disagree with the LA Times on this one and ask that genetically modified foods be labeled before I purchase them. As a vegetarian I always want to be aware of what I’m consuming. There are so many shady things going on with our food right now and I would like to live in a world where more people were at least aware of it (you can begin to educate yourself by watching Food Inc. for now).

Proposition 38

My endorsement: No

Although this measure means well, I have to agree with the LA Times when they say that “Gov. Brown’s tax increase proposal would do a better job of protecting crucial programs and would put the state budget on a path to fiscal health” than Proposition 38 would. The K-12 system receives more funding than colleges and universities at the moment, and funding for education beyond the high school level keeps getting cut all of the time.

Focusing just on K-12 education wouldn’t benefit everyone, which is what Proposition 38 is attempting to do. Raising taxes for higher education along with K-12 will help relieve some of the tremendous debt that we have in California, but “Proposition 38, a proposed income tax hike backed by civil rights attorney Molly Munger and the California PTA, would not” because it would end up taking the vote away from Proposition 30. Both measures probably won’t end up getting passed with the huge deficit that we currently have because Proposition includes both levels of education, and “a vote for the measure is a potential vote against Proposition 30.”

Proposition 39

My endorsement: Yes

We would actually see some money coming back into the state with this proposition. Eliminating an indefensible tax break that has encouraged multistate companies to create jobs out of state will obviously keep jobs here and bring money in that would have most likely would have gone elsewhere. The “trickle-down effect” lifestyle isn’t working, and there needs to be something done about this ridiculous debt.

Proposition 40

My endorsement: Yes

The wording for this proposition is a little weird because a “yes” vote actually upholds California’s newly redrawn state Senate district boundaries, and a “no” changes things. There is no fiscal impact to moving the lines around, which is why I’m unsure of what this measure will do, but it would actually cost about a one-time $1 million to get it going.

I urge you to do your own research on the measures and double check facts yourself because, like I realized with the few publications that I usually turn to, you won’t agree with everything you read in an opinionated post. If you can, post counter arguments in the comment section below and reference other materials and research to persuade me otherwise. Just remember to do so before Tuesday, November 6 rolls around and everyone’s at the polls.

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