Thursday, October 23, 2008
Barack Obama is smart, contemplative, understands the complexities of the economy, has an ambitious health-care initiative and a smart plan to get us out of the Iraq War, quickly. Plus, he has raised his campaign money from more individual donors than any other candidate in our history, which (we hope) will make him less beholden to traditional corporate influences. John McCain, on the other hand, is an unpredictable candidate who bears little resemblance to the independent of eight years ago. He’s shifted his positions to the right– and further right– to win over the arch-conservatives of his party and is now running a campaign of personal attacks, not policy. That’s disheartening; we deserve better.
Most disturbing was his choice to put Gov. Sarah Palin on the ticket, which completely undermined the seriousness of his candidacy. He’s 72, and has had health issues in the past. Palin is completely unqualified for the office (of VP or president). In our country’s history, a sitting VP has inherited the chief’s chair nine times. That means Palin has a 21 percent chance of becoming your president if McCain is elected.
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT 17Sam Farr
Sam, Sam, he’s our man, even though he voted for the $700 billion bailout plan.
SENATE DISTRICT 15Abel Maldonado
Jim Fitzgerald, a former Dem running as an Independent, doesn’t stand a chance against Abel Maldonado who, to his credit, opposes offshore drilling along the Central Coast, and protested proposed budget cuts to state parks and education. Plus, he makes the ultra-conservative contingent of his party pretty darn angry, and we like that in a Republican.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 27Bill Monning
As we wrote in May, before the state primary: The Weekly believes Bill Monning when he says he’ll come to the job with a mediator’s temperament, a visionary’s idealism and a practical list of tasks, committees and contacts to be engaged immediately in Sacramento. His plans for helping ag, transportation and trade were as detailed and thoughtful as his budget, health-care and environment ideas– and Monning outlined how he planned to achieve his goals.
His successful background organizing and his big-picture thinking coupled with his pragmatic approach to legislating make him the best choice for the 27th District. (And we think it’s about time someone from Monterey County had the seat.)
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT 28Anna Caballero
The Salinas-mayor-turned-Assembly-woman has been busy during her first term in the state house, chairing the Select Committee on Youth Violence Prevention, developing a “tool kit” to help local jurisdictions deal with youth violence, authoring bills to help agriculture and encourage cities and counties to build more affordable housing. In other words, she’s been looking out for her Salinas Valley constituents. And she’s running unopposed. Send her back to Sacto.
PROPOSITION 1A: HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAINYES
It will be expensive and take years to complete, but California would benefit from a high-speed train that connects S.F. to L.A. This initiative would authorize $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds for the planning and construction of a high-speed, no-emission train. It’s time for us to find key transportation alternatives in this age of peak oil. All aboard!
PROPOSITION 2: THE TREATMENT OF CERTAIN FARM ANIMALSYES
This would allow farm animals– for the majority of every day– to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around. Specified animals include calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs. Can you say “humane treatment”?
PROPOSITION 3: CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL BOND ACTNO
This proposition would authorize $980 million in bonds to be repaid from the state’s General Fund, to fund the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of children’s hospitals. Plus, it mandates 80 percent of the bond proceeds go to hospitals that focus on children with illnesses such as leukemia, cancer, heart defects, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis. All sounds good, except in 2004, Californians passed Prop. 61 to authorize $750 million in bonds to help children’s hospitals. To date, only $400 million of that has been spent. This bond will cost taxpayers $2 billion a year in interest. Let’s wait on this one.
PROPOSITION 4: WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCYNO
For the third time in four years, this right-wing, anti-choice measure is on the ballot, still intrusive on individual rights. It would require a physician to notify a minor’s parent or legal guardian at least 48 hours prior to performing an abortion. Pregnant teens are often afraid to go to their parents with bad news, and mandating parental involvement does not ensure the best interest of the teenager. The California Nurses Association, California Medical Association, California Association of School Counselors, California Teachers Association and Planned Parenthood all oppose Prop. 4.
PROPOSITION 5: NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENSES, SENTENCING, PAROLE AND REHABILITATIONNO
On the surface, this proposition will have public appeal, but the devil is in the details. Prop. 5 requires the state to expand and increase funding and oversight for individualized treatment and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees. But there’s more to this measure than contained in that language. This measure would do away with several successful drug diversion programs without replacing them with anything tried and true. It would burden the parole system and give an unreasonable cop-out to serious criminals who will claim their actions were the result of a drug crazed state-of-mind, in an effort to avoid jail time. The good intentions here aren’t in our best interests.
PROPOSITION 6: POLICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNDING. CRIMINAL PENALTIES AND LAWSNO
This is a completely misleading initiative. It would require a minimum of $965 million each year to be allocated from the state General Fund for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, jails and juvenile probation facilities. Some of this funding will increase in following years, according to the California Consumer Price Index. It also requires numerous revisions to California’s criminal law, many of which cover gang-related offenses. The attorney general opposes this proposition, and so do we.
PROPOSITION 7: RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATIONNO
At first glance, this seems straightforward and positive: Prop. 7 would require utilities to get 50 percent of their power from renewable sources– meaning solar, wind, geothermal, biomass and small hydroelectric generation– by 2025. But the details of this proposition could tie up efforts to invest and build renewable energy projects, and the measure is opposed by a long list of solar and environmental advocates and utilities. Plus AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, already forces the private utilities to get 20 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2010. This measure will hurt the renewable energy momentum, not help it.
PROPOSITION 8: ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME-SEX COUPLES TO MARRYNO
Last we looked it was 2008. Isn’t it about time to ensure that all people have the right to choose whom they want to marry, regardless of their sexual orientation? The same people who seem to want government out of our lives are the ones pushing for Prop. 8, which makes no sense at all. Plus, consider the business opportunity if Monterey County becomes a destination for gay weddings: More than 3,500 gay couples have married each month in California since the state legalized same-sex marriage in May, and the average U.S. wedding costs more than $28,000. The local hospitality industry can seize one clear expanding market. This measure is a winner ethically and financially.
PROPOSITION 9: CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, VICTIMS’ RIGHTS AND PAROLENO
Thanks to mandatory sentencing, California went nearly two decades building prisons but no schools of higher learning. Prop. 9, the third victims’ rights initiative on the ballot since 1982, keeps us going in that direction. This initiative would be a financial disaster for the state and worsen prison overcrowding by restricting early-release programs, and creating a disincentive for good behavior. This measure could cost California millions of dollars per year. No thanks.
PROPOSITION 10: ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGYNO
T. Boone Pickens, an oil magnate, bankrolled Prop. 10, so don’t be fooled by its eco-cool sounding name. This initiative would authorize $5 billion in bonds paid from the state’s General Fund, principally supporting purchasers of natural gas fuel vehicles. Guess who has a stake in the natural gas stations? The state analysis concluded it would cost taxpayers about $9.8 billion over 30 years.
PROPOSITION 11: REDISTRICTINGYES
Redistricting is mandated every 10 years, after the new census comes out and population shifts are determined, so that political representation can be adjusted. Unfortunately, it’s become a complete political charade. Locals remember when our rising-star state Assemblyman Fred Keeley was redrawn out of the district, thanks to some horrible political payback. We need a new system to overhaul this highly politicized process. Prop. 11 will do just that by getting the remapping out of legislators’ dirty hands.
PROPOSITION 12: VETERAN’S BOND ACT OF 2008NO
Since 1921, California veterans have a nice perk: they can buy homes (and farms) with low-interest loans subsidized by the Cal-Vet program (funds for Cal-Vet come from the sale of bonds). This measure would allow the state to sell $900 million more in bonds to provide more money for the Cal-Vet program. However, the program already has more than $100 million in its account.