October 13, 2006

Endorsements:

In this week’s edition we will take a look at Proposition 83 through 90 (Prop. 89 will in next week's edition) and try to provide a succinct and clear picture of these propositions and our recommendations.

Proposition 83: Sex Offenders. Sexually Violent Predators. Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring.

Should California amend existing laws relating to violent and habitual sex offenders and child molesters to increase penalties and monitoring?

Prop 83 is pretty basic; it wants to take the ambiguity out of the sex offender law, make prison terms longer and mandatory, and broadening the definitions of sexual predators. Prop 83 would also mandate Global Positioning Systems devices for sex offenders released from prison and not allow sex offenders to reside within 2,000 feet of a school or park. All of these changes are good. Nothing more offends our sense of right and wrong than sex perverts preying on our children.

This Proposition attempts to serve as a deterrent and as a tool to keep these predators off our streets.

What is missing, is that this bill deals with after the fact, after the crime has been committed and what to do in response to this crime. When are we going start taking a look at the prevention of such crimes. After the fact, the damage is done and there is nothing we can do to fix it. In the future, as a society, we need to start taking a hard look at what we can do to prevent such hideous crimes from ever occurring.

We support Proposition 83 Vote YES
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Proposition 84: Water Quality, Safety and Supply. Flood Control. Natural Resource Protection. Park Improvements.

Should the state issue $5.4 billion in bonds for a wide variety of projects related to water safety, rivers, beaches, levees, watersheds, and parks and forests?

Here we go again, another Bond proposal that looks more like a wish list instead of a concrete plan to solve a specific problem. With these types of bonds there is no specific goal by which to determine weather or not the $5.4 billion dollars was effectively used. For instance if we were told that this money was going to be used to build aquaduct to bring water from Northen California to Southern California, then we would have defined goals and cost. With a wish list, what invariably happens is money is thrown at several programs with no real focus. For example this bond proposes to spend a billion dollars on integrated regional water management, whatever that is. In all, there are 25 listed programs that this bond will fund: $45 million for the protection of ranches, farm lands, and Oak woodlands. Do we need to protect ranches and farm lands?

This is just another political boondoggle, we recommend a NO Vote on Prop. 84.
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Proposition 85: Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy.

Should the California Constitution be amended to require notification of the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion?

This is the second time around for this Proposition, Parental Notification was defeated in last year’s special election, but undeterred, this proposition was reintroduced and put on this year’s ballot. Parental notification is a personal issue that is represented by strong arguments for and against. The biggest fear that this Proposition presents is the fear that this Proposition will lead to the old days of when a woman would turn to the back alley abortion doctor.

This issue is also poignant in those particular cases of incest.

This Proposition makes every effort to alleviate this fear of back alley doctors and provides opportunity for the underage pregnant minor to forgo the Parental Notification in cases of emergency and in cases of incest through the intervention of the courts, which would be through no cost to the young lady. In cases of incest, the courts will turn the information over to the Child Protection Services.

It was our belief last year that the parents deserved the right to at least know that their daughter is facing surgery. This proposition does not deny the young lady the right to an abortion, even if the parents object to the procedure; it only ask that the parents are notified.

We strongly support the idea of parents knowing what is going on with their young children.

Once again we Support Proposition 85 and recommend a YES Vote.
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Proposition 86: Tax on Cigarettes

Should the state impose an additional tax of $2.60 per cigarette pack to fund new and expanded health services, health insurance for children, and expand tobacco use prevention programs?

Why don’t they just be done with it and list cigarettes as a drug and outlaw smoking all together? But that isn’t what lawmakers want do. With cigarettes they have a revenue source that they can continually tap into whenever they need money. Presently there is an 87 cent sales tax on cigarettes which equaled to $1.1 billion dollars last year.

Cigarettes represent an easy touch. Everyone knows smoking is bad for you; second hand smoke is bad, and it is outlawed from most public buildings and spaces such as parks. So, it is easy to muster support against cigarettes. For the poor smokers out there who can’t kick the habit, they find themselves in the minority, and as such, end up supporting projects of those who receive monies from this tax.

For a smoker, that is the bad news. For non-smokers, the good news is that some worthy projects are funded that otherwise would have trouble finding the dollars to see their projects through. In particular, this money would go toward health care and coverage for low income families, uninsured children, nursing education, hospital funding and cancer research.

Bottom line is this cigarette tax will continue to fund well-deserved and needed programs in our state.

We recommend a YES vote on Prop. 86.
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Proposition 87: Alternative Energy. Research, Production, Incentives. Tax on California Oil Producers.

Should California establish a $4 billion Clean Alternative Energy Program to reduce California’s oil and gasoline consumption by 25 percent through incentives for alternative energy, education, and training?

The cost of gasoline goes up and down like a yo-yo, mostly up.Consumers across the nation are aghast at what they are paying at the pump. In California the public’s response is Proposition 87: to tax the people who pump the oil out of the ground. California is third largest producer of oil in the country behind Alaska and Texas.

This tax is capped at $4 billion dollars, meaning once this amount is reached, that is the end of the tax. The intent of this Proposition is to encourage research into alternative fuel vehicles and fuel. This seems like a worthy cause but we just don’t see how this is going to help in the long run. The knowledge in regards to alternative fuels and cars is already here. We know what needs to be done but we are controlled by the multi-national oil corporations and automakers who don’t want to, or don’t have the will to, mass produce electrical cars or ethanol cars. Also, it will take a change in our culture of gas guzzlers (just take a look at how many Humvees you see on the road now) and it will take a national effort to change to an alternative fuel/car culture.

While the Proposition states that the cost of paying the tax cannot be passed on to the consumer, the Impartial Analysis from Legislative Analyst’s Office states that “it may be difficult to administravely enforce this provision…” and that cost would be left to the pressures of the market to control cost, which means that invariably the cost will be passed along to the consumer.

This Proposition is in reaction to the high cost of gasoline and reflects the consumer’s hapless feeling every time they pull into the gas station; they need the gas and have to pay the price. But this proposition will do little to resolve the problem and in fact may cause the price of gas to go up.

We recommend that this issue get kicked up to a national debate where real change can take place.

We recommend a NO Vote on Propostion 87.
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Proposition 88: Education Funding. Real Property Parcel Tax

Should the California Constitution be amended to levy an annual $50 real property tax on most parcels with the funds allocated to five K-12 education programs?

Education funding comes from homeowner taxes/property values. One of the biggest complaints of this tax source is why is it that only homeowners pay the tax when others who are also benefiting from quality schools - renters and business owners – are not contributing to the education system? To fix this problem, they, crafters of this proposal, want to add an annual $50 dollar tax on real property (in essence, anyone who owns property in the state of California who will be assessed a $50 tax). The problem with this is that homeowners will once again be taxed on top of all the other taxes every year for as long as you own property in the State of California.

Enough already. Prop. 88 is a good idea that went too far.

We recommend a NO vote on Prop. 88.
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Proposition 90: Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property.

Should the California Constitution be amended to require government to pay property owners for substantial economic losses resulting from some new laws and rules, and limit government authority to take ownership of private property?

The Supreme Court ruled that it was okay for private property to be taken through eminent domain and transferred to another private owner. Up until this time, it was assumed that eminent domain was to be used only as a last resort and only for community benefit, such as hospitals, schools, fire stationsand the like, but not not for private business use.

The message out of the Supreme Court was clear; it is up to each state to set the guidelines in regards to eminent domain and public use. Prop 90 goes a step further and outlines just compensation when personal property is taken through eminent domain and/or when government action devalues personal property. This is the one sticky point in the Proposition. Personal property also refers to corporate and developer property as well, and the real possibility is that these big businesses will use the law to extract money from the government.

It is our belief that we as citizens need to define what and when eminent domain can be used and how just compensation needs to be established. Local government tend to low ball property owners when they apply eminent domain procedures, and support this Proposition. If in fact corporations and the like do in fact take advantage of this law and it becomes abused by these entities, then, we can go back and fix this loop hole, but to do nothing leaves homeowners and the small businessman at the mercy of a bad Supreme Court ruling.

The City of San Diego has misused eminent domain as has the City of National City. We need to assure home-owners and the small business owner that they are not at the mercy of a government entity.

We support a YES vote On Proposition 90.

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