diet coke for breakfast


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Posted by Tanstaafl
Election Day

"There is no greater right than the right to vote - to participate in the electoral process, to elect responsible leaders, and to make your voice heard. As the general election nears, I urge you to exercise this fundamental right on Tuesday, November 7th."


Today I vote in California for the first time. While I lived here in college, I never established permanent residency and always voted absentee in CT. What a year to leave that state.

Anyway, I thought I might run down where I stand on each of the propositions. I've made up my mind on most, but may change it when I'm actually there.

1A - TRANSPORTATION FUNDING PROTECTION. LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. I will likely vote yes on 1A. Transportation is a significant problem in California, and especially here in LA. I view investments in infrastructure like roads as a critical responsibility of government so anything to try to direct more funds toward that, I applaud. My only hesitance is that this is a constitutional amendment which seems extreme. However, I am willing to be that this state's constitution is already pretty crowded, so this will likely only be a marginal change.


1B HIGHWAY SAFETY, TRAFFIC REDUCTION, AIR QUALITY, AND PORT SECURITY BOND ACT OF 2006.
I support this on the same grounds as 1A, that transportation infrastructure is important. I have heard several libertarians criticize all of California's borrowing. While CA does borrow outside its means in many instances, capital investments in infrastructure are legitmate reasons to borrow.


1C HOUSING AND EMERGENCY SHELTER TRUST FUND ACT OF 2006.
This is another bond issuance. I'm still trying to decide on this one. I'm considering voting no because I'm not convinced that this is a legitimate use of State funds. I have a hard time figuring what they could possibly be using $2.8B for. They would be better off taking the $204 million each year and giving it to local charities that help battered women and veterans.

1D KINDERGARTEN–UNIVERSITY PUBLIC EDUCATION FACILITIES BOND ACT OF 2006. This gets a definitive no. Public education is critical in terms of spurring economic growth. However, money is not the answer. The teacher's union in California is out of control as evidenced by their furious opposition to any sort of reforms that the Governor tried to enact 2 years ago. Until they can either be put in check, or they start looking for productive, practical fixes to our education system, I would prefer to starve them of funds.

1E DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND FLOOD PREVENTION BOND ACT OF 2006. Again, this is an investment in infrastructure, and so the proper reason for a bond. Also, this seems like a solution to a tragedy of the commons externality, and therefore a reasonable use of public funds.


Prop 83 SEX OFFENDERS. SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATORS. PUNISHMENT, RESIDENCE RESTRICTIONS AND MONITORING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.
Yes. I have no problem making sexual predators wear GPS and stay away from schools and parks.

Prop 84 WATER QUALITY, SAFETY AND SUPPLY. FLOOD CONTROL. NATURAL RESOURCE PROTECTION. PARK IMPROVEMENTS. BONDS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. No. I just don't recall this being a real problem north of the border.

Prop 85 WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR'S PREGNANCY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
This may be a game-time decision. I'm leaning toward no. I support the law in general. While I do not feel strongly one way or the other on the abortion issue (I see merits to both side's arguments), I do not think a 16 year old girl is likely to have the emotional maturity to deal with a decision like that on her own. Not wanting her parents to know because she is embarrassed is not acceptable when dealing with a life altering decision like this. Since there are provisions allowing a judge to waive the notification if the girl is in danger, I think that this should be ok. But should this really be in the state constitution? Why would it not just be a statute?

Prop 86 TAX ON CIGARETTES. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE. Yes. It's a sales tax that can be avoided by not purchasing the product. I am unconcerned with the criticism that not all of the funds will go to smoking prevention. Money is fungible anyway. Once it is in the state's coffers, no one can control what it is actually spent on. To the extent that it gets spent paying interest on the bonds that are fixing the traffic congestion on the 405 Freeway, I am happy.


Prop 87 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY. RESEARCH, PRODUCTION, INCENTIVES. TAX ON CALIFORNIA OIL PRODUCERS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.
NO. This is clearly the most controversial proposition this election. I firmly support research on alternative energy sources. But my support is not based on environmental concerns; it is based on a foreign policy need for energy independence. To that end, I would support a gas tax, but this is not a gas tax. This is a tax on oil extracted within California. This law is a anti-corporate effort to punish the oil companies and it will have disasterous unintended (or maybe intended) consequences. If extracting oil in California becomes more expensive due to the tax, Chevron, BP, Exxon and others will just get their oil elsewhere, probably from the Middle East. This works exactly against the goal of energy independance, and will cost California jobs.

Furthermore, punishing the oil companies is ridiculous. These companies have spent billions of dollars on an oil discovery, extraction, refinement and distribution infrastructure that allowed me to travel from Los Angeles to Palo Alto without ever worrying about being out of reach of gasoline. Those investments have likely been expensed by now, and so it is only fair that they can reap the benefits of those investments.


Prop 88 EDUCATION FUNDING. REAL PROPERTY PARCEL TAX. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.
No. I using the same reasoning as I did on the educational bond initiatives above.

Prop 89 POLITICAL CAMPAIGNS. PUBLIC FINANCING. CORPORATE TAX INCREASE. CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION AND EXPENDITURE LIMITS. INITIATIVE STATUTE. No. I am firmly against public funding of campaigns. I would rather not have politicians deciding which politicians get money to run for office. Moreover, why should corporations be forced to fund the campaigns of politicians that may be acting against the interests of the companies' shareholders? Search this blog for campaign finance reform and you will find more reasons why I think laws like this are absurd.

Prop 90 GOVERNMENT ACQUISITION, REGULATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT. Yes. This may go a bit too far, but I support rolling back the precedent set with Kelo.

I would go through the candidates, but none of them excite or outrage me, and if I keep typing, I will not have time to vote.


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