In less than a week, the people of California, and the rest of the nation, go to the polls to elect an untold number of representatives, and make their decisions on a plethora of ballot measures. The following is a breakdown of what our local ballot will encompass.
Prop. 19, if passed, will basically legalize consumption of marijuana in California. Some say that legalizing marijuana will pretty much lead to the breakdown of society as we know it. Others say that the prohibition of marijuana just isn't working. I tend to agree with the latter. One of my best friends is a cop in Long Beach, and he says dealing with a guy high on weed is a walk in the park compared to dealing with a drunk.
Prop. 20 removes from our state legislature the right to establish congressional districts, and transfers that duty to a redistricting commission. The current districts are gerrymandered beyond any reasonable degree and this measure just makes sense.
Prop. 21 if passed will establish an $18 surcharge on annual vehicle license fees to "help fund state parks and wildlife programs." All I'm going to say on this is if you want to go wander around tens of thousands of acres of wilderness, you pay for it. Don't ask me to, and don't make me pay for finding you if you get lost.
Prop. 22 prohibits the state from "borrowing" redevelopment, transportation or other local funds from local governments. Let's face it, there is NO amount of money that the state of California cannot waste. Keep local tax revenues local. "Yes" on 22.
Prop. 23 would suspend AB 32, California's revolutionary but onerous greenhouse emission control act, until unemployment dips to 5.5 percent statewide. Given California's current political climate, unemployment will pretty much never get down to 5.5 percent. And making California lead not only the nation, but the entire world in some kind of utopian mission to eradicate greenhouse gas emissions is unrealistic and a job killer. As soon as China and India agree to adopt AB 32 type mandates, then I'll say it makes sense. "Yes" on 23.
Prop. 24 repeals tax "loopholes" on some big businesses. Not a major issue either way, but California's problem is more a spending problem than income problem.
Prop. 25 changes the vote requirement to pass a state budget from a two-thirds super majority to a simple majority. A simple majority is all that is required in 48 of our 50 states. Why is California so different? Let the majority act like the majority and let the chips fall where they may.
Prop. 26 if passed, would require a two-thirds vote to increase certain state and local fees. "Fees" are just taxes in disguise. We all know which party is more amicable to raising taxes or "fees." I for one will be voting "no" on 26.
Prop. 27 is a vain attempt by the state legislature to take back the right to draw state Assembly and Senate districts that voters gave to a 14-member redistricting commission just two years ago. A huge "no" on 27.
The polls open at 7 a.m. sharp next Tuesday. Remember if you don't vote, my vote means all that much more!
J. Kurt Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.