“Bad people are sent to Washington by good people who don’t vote.”
– Former US Secretary of the Treasury, William Simon
Hi there, Voters!
I’m glad you dropped by. 
I believe we need to help each other make informed choices, so I’ve been researching and sharing my ballot with friends, and then friends of friends, for about 10 years.  Please come back and visit before every election. (And be sure to refresh your browser each time you return to this page–I’m continually updating it.)
Thank you. ~ April

This is my very own Manhattan Beach, CA ballot for the November 6, 2012 election.

For your very own ballot, go to SmartVoter.org provided by the League of Women Voters.

Note: I generally don’t take a stand on candidates and issues unless I vote in their districts.

And if there’s not a YES or NOby a candidate or issue, then I am still researching…

Take this to the voting booth – My ballot in a nut shell. (Click here for PDF)

 

If you’d like to be on my political email list, email me: aprilstory (at) A O L (dot) com
(and let me know if you live in Northern or Southern California…or if you live outside of CA)
(PSSST!  Some really incredible Voter Resources are waiting for you at the bottom of this page)

Propositions

Name Yes/No My Comments


Proposition 30

Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Should the California Constitution be amended to (a) temporarily increase sales and personal income tax rates; (b) guarantee certain revenue transfers to local governments; and (c) eliminate state funding of certain mandates to local governments?

YES

If Proposition 30 fails, trigger cuts will shred the fabric of our beautiful state. K-12 schools and community colleges would lose $5.35 billion. The University of California and California State University systems would each lose $250 million. City police departments, CalFire, the park system, flood control programs and others would also lose several million dollars each.

Supporters include Governor Brown, the League of Women Voters, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers, the LA Times

Opponents include the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

see: http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#1

From the Courage Campaign: Governor Brown’s tax initiative to fund schools.  Raises income tax on the top 2% of Californians to fund schools and vital services.  Also includes a quarter cent (1/4 cent) sales tax. More info: www.yesonprop30.com

Proposition 31

State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

Should the state constitution and law be amended to require government performance reviews and two-year budget cycles, to prohibit the Legislature from creating certain expenditures unless offsetting revenues or spending cuts are identified, and to make changes in certain responsibilities of local governament, the Legislature and the Governor?

 NO


http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#2

Establishes a two-year budget cycle. Beyond that it’s complicated. Ya gotta click on the link above.  Trust me.

One of the arguments against Proposition 31 is that it will undermine public protections.  According to the rebuttal in our official ballot guide sent by the state, “It allows local politicians to override or alter laws they don’t like, undermining protections for air quality, public health, worker safety WITHOUT A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE. PROPOSITION 31 WILL MAKE IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO CUT TAXES OR INCREASE FUNDING FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION.” [Those big, yelling capital letters are theirs, not mine.]

Proposition 31 was put forward and is largely funded by the political arm of the reform group California Forward. The California Republican Party also supports the measure, although some local branches are against it.

Opponents include the California Democratic Party, California Federation of Teachers, California League of Conservation Voters, California Tax Reform Association and Health Access California. And to confuse you even more, the East Bay Tea Party is also against the measure.

From the Courage Campaign: Misguided “reforms” that allow counties to override environmental laws without an effective way to prevent abuse.  Implements a spending cap which would make it difficult to restore funding to programs decimated by previous budget cuts. More info: www.prop31facts.com


Proposition 32

Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.

Should unions, corporations, government contractors and state and local government employers be prohibited from using payroll-deducted funds, or in some instances their own funds, for political expenditures?

 NO

http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#3

Supporters say…the measure would stop special interest groups from controlling Sacramento.

Two of California’s top three billionaire spenders, Jerry Perenchi and Charles Munger, have donated substantially to Prop. 32  [April speaking here: hmmm...sounds like special interests to me...]. Other supporters include the California Republican Party, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association and Democrats for Education Reform.

Opponents say…the measure unfairly limits unions and would not stop special interest spending, since it does nothing to stem the flood of money to super PACs.

The League of Women Voters says: Proposition 32 promises “political reform” but is not what it seems. It was designed by special interests to help themselves and harm their opponents. It unfairly targets one set of large campaign donors while letting others benefit from special exemptions.

Major opponents of Prop. 32 include the League of Women Voters, the California Democratic Party and most labor unions, including the California School Employees Association, the AFL-CIO and SEIU.

From the Courage Campaign: Deceptive corporate initiative that pretends to be “campaign finance reform” but is truly Citizens United on steroids.  Would increase the power of corporations and Super PACs and eliminate the voices of working people in California politics. More info: www.stopspecialexemptions.org


Proposition 33

Auto Insurance Companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

Should automobile insurance companies be permitted to offer a discount to drivers who have continuously maintained their insurance coverage, even if they change their insurance company?

 NO

 http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#4

The only “yes” for Proposition 33 on California Choice’s chart is the California Republican Party.

The Campaign Courage titles this the Mercury Insurance Initiative (again)..and writes: Basically the same initiative that voters rejected in 2008.  Allows car insurance companies to raise rates on good drivers, even if their gap in coverage was because they didn’t own a car.  More info: http://stopthesurcharge.consumerwatchdogcampaign.org/


Proposition 34

Death Penalty. Initiative Statute.

Should the death penalty be repealed and replaced with life imprisonment without possibility of parole when someone is convicted of murder with specified special circumstances?

 YES

Every listed non-profit, political party and newspaper on California Choice’s chart recommends a yes vote except…you guessed it, the Republican Party.
To be fair, many law enforcement associations oppose the measure, including the California State Sheriffs’ Association and the California District Attorneys Association.

Supporters: Former San Quentin warden Jeanne Woodford initiated the measure. The ACLU, California Democratic Party, League of Women Voters and the California Conference of Catholic Bishops support the measure.

http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#5

The Courage Campaign says: Replaces the death penalty as maximum punishment for persons found guilty of murder with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. Applies retroactively to persons already sentenced to death.  Also requires convicted killers to work while in prison, directs their earnings to their victims, and earmarks $100 million for police to solve murders and rapes.  More info: www.safecalifornia.org


Proposition 35

Human Trafficking. Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Should the definition of human trafficking be expanded, penalties for traffickers be increased, convicted sexual traffickers be required to register as sex offenders, and additional training for law enforcement officers be required?

 NO

There’s a lot of disagreement on this one.

http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#6

From the KQED site (the link above): Prop. 35 would expand the definition of human trafficking to include crimes related to creating and distributing child pornography. So a person could be convicted of human trafficking for duplicating child pornography, even if the offender had no contact with the child. [April's underlining]…Opponents say the measure limits online free speech.

[This is April speaking now:] So…see…that’s where I have a problem.  Free speech is free speech is free speech, right?  It’s not always clear-cut, is it?  I look to the ACLU of both Southern and Northern California for guidance on issues that slide into the free speech arena, and both of these groups oppose 35.

The Courage Campaign is for Proposition 35, although they say this: Some allies believe it is unconstitutional and have concerns about increasing penalties within the troubled justice system, which incarcerates people of color and the poor at a disporportionately high rate.
More pros and cons:www.couragecampaign.org/Prop35


Proposition 36

Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties. Initiative Statute.

Should California law be amended to provide that a life sentence should not be imposed for a third felony conviction unless the third conviction is for a serious or violent felony?

 YES

On the California Choices chart, green is for yes and red is for no.  There’s an awful lot of green in the Proposition 36 column.http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#7

The Courage Campaign says: Revises the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is “serious or violent.” Authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences. More info: www.yeson36.org [This is April: this is a pretty powerful website.]

This Los Angeles Times editorial likens our current three strikes law to the premise of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, which was exactly what I’ve been thinking…
http://www.yeson36.org/news/three-strikes-law-a-big-error

 


Proposition 37

Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling. Initiative Statute.

Should labeling be required on foods containing genetically modified ingredients when such foods (whether raw or processed, plant or animal) are offered for sale to consumers in California?

 YES

So here’s the thing: we are so behind the rest of the world in this area it’s embarrassing. More than 40 countries label GE foods, including all European Union nations, India and China.But we do not.

http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#8

Supporters say…there’s a dearth of peer-reviewed studies on the effects of GE foods on human health…such foods should be labeled. Consumers have a right to know how their food is produced.

Major donors include the Organic Consumers Fund, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps and Nature’s Path Foods, who had raised $3.9 million dollars by late September.

Opponents argue genetic engineering is a tool that can help fight hunger and ward off pests.

The list of opponents includes many large food corporations, such as PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Kellogg, General Mills, Sara Lee, Kraft and Nestle. Monsanto, a leading producer of GE seeds, is the largest donor against the campaign. All told, opponents had raised about $32.5 million by late September.

[This is April speaking] Thirty-two point five million?!?

From the Courage Campaign: Requires clear labels letting consumers know if foods are genetically modified.  Would become the first law of its kind in the nation. More info: www.carighttoknow.org


Proposition 38

Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute.

Should California’s personal income tax rates be increased during 2013-24 to provide funds for public schools, early childhood education programs, and state debt payments?

 NO

http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#9

According to California Choice’s chart, there are a lot of folks on both sides of the aisle that don’t like this one and/or are making no recommendation.

In fact, most supporters of Prop. 30, including the California Democratic Party teachers’ unions, and the Courage Campaign, have not taken a stand on Prop. 38.

I’m against it.  Why?  Well, according to KQED’s site, Prop. 38 isn’t tied to this year’s state budget, so if it passes with more votes than Prop. 30, education and public safety programs would still lose $5.9 billion between now and next July. That’s because state legislatures included “trigger cuts” to trim the budget if Prop. 30 fails.

Yikes.


Proposition 39

Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

Should the California tax code be changed to require multistate firms to pay income taxes based on a percentage of their sales in California, with roughly half of the resulting tax increase to be used to fund clean/efficient energy projects for five years?

 NO

http://www.kqed.org/news/politics/election2012/statepropositions-guide.jsp#10

What Proposition 39 Changes

Multistate businesses would have to pay their income tax based on what percentage of their sales are in California. A company that sells one-quarter of its product here would pay income tax on one-quarter of total profit. Companies would no longer have a tax incentive to keep their California staff small.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the change would bring in an extra $1 billion annually.

The Courage Campaign likes this proposition. More info: www.cleanenergyjobsact.com

But here’s why I’m voting against it.  My very smart friend likes that this proposition closes the tax loophole.  But she doesn’t like the fact that it earmarks where these funds would go.  Elect smart officials who will make good decisions, she says, don’t shackle them.


Proposition 40

Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

Should the current state Senate districts be retained?

 YES

It’s nice to end on a positive note.  Every organization on California Choices’ endorsements chart that has taken a position on Proposition 40 likes it (this includes the Democrats, the Republicans, the Green Party, the League of Women Voters and the California Chamber of Commerce).

Strange bedfellows.

The Courage Campaign writes: A “yes” vote will approve the new State Senate districts drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission (created by 2008′s Prop 11).  A “no” vote will require the districts be drawn again.  More info: holdpoliticiansaccountable.org

President/Vice President of the United States

Name Yes/No My Comments


Barack Obama/Joseph Biden

Democratic Party

 YES


Obama’s still my hero, even if he didn’t bring me a pony or grant me wings.

US Senate

Name Yes/No My Comments

Diane Feinstein

Democratic Party

 YES

US Representative

Name Yes/No My Comments

Henry A. Waxman

District 33

Democratic Party

 YES

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/sep/23/local/la-me-adv-waxman-bloomfield-20120924

Excerpts from the LA Times (link above):

In Congress, where he is the senior Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Waxman has shepherded landmark legislation, often enlisting Republican help, on clean air, tobacco regulation and generic drugs. He secured money to fight AIDS and battled government fraud. He was a key player in the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, derided by Republicans as “Obamacare.”

Waxman, whose supporters include Obama, isn’t buying Bloomfield’s nonpartisanship, noting that he volunteered in McCain’s presidential campaign and has contributed generously to Proposition 32, a November ballot measure that would restrict unions’ ability to give to candidates but allow leeway for business interests.

State Assembly

Name

Yes/No My Comments
Al Muratsuchi

 

District 66

Democratic Party

YES, YES, YES!

Al is pro-choice, pro-education, thoughtful, moral and experienced.  His opponent’s views are so dangerous, so far right that even the conservative Daily Breeze has endorsed Muratsuchi:http://www.dailybreeze.com/opinions/ci_21662389/here-are-our-november-picks-south-bay-harborOf the two men who are running for a new state Assembly district that essentially takes in the heart of the South Bay, Democratic candidate Al Muratsuchi is the one who best represents the region’s values.The state prosecutor has served on the Torrance school board for seven years, allowing him to gain the experience of crafting a balanced budget, which will be valuable as the state struggles with ongoing budgeting problems.The social leanings of Muratsuchi’s Republican opponent, Craig Huey, are out of touch with the values of the South Bay.

[This is April speaking: need a lawn sign?]

County

Name Yes/No My Comments

Jackie Lacey

District Attorney; County of Los Angeles

 YES

Lacey is endorsed by the LA Times, Maxine Waters, the LA County Dems, etc.

Here’s her full list of endorsements:  http://jackielacey.com/pages/endorsements.html

Special District


Member, Board of Directors; West Basin Municipal Water District; Division 3

Yes/No My Comments
Carol Kwan

 YES

I don’t know anything about this office or Kwan.
Here is her list of endorsements:http://www.carolkwan.net/c3_006.htm

I’m voting for her because I could find no website for her opponent.  I only found his FaceBook page which had only this paragraph, nothing more:

I am a Manhattan Beach resident who believes that the protection of our water via ethical, transparent governance is of paramount importance as this already-precious resource becomes even more so.  If you live in Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Lomita, Torrance or Redondo Beach, vote for me on November 6, 2012.

Local Measures

Name Yes/No My Comments
Measure A

Appointment of County Assessor -County of Los Angeles

(Advisory Vote Only)

Do you support seeking to change the California Constitution and the Los Angeles County Charter to make the position of Los Angeles County Assessor an appointed position instead of an elected position?

No

At first I thought that this was a slam dunk. Why make our assessor go through the fundraising and politics of an election?

But my very smart friend close to this situation says if the assessor is appointed, the five folks on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors would probably do the appointing, and it won’t make much difference. It’s an advisory vote only and she (and I) are advising no.

Measure B

Safer Sex In the Adult Film Industry Act – County of Los Angeles

(Ordinance – Majority Approval Required)

Shall an ordinance be adopted requiring producers of adult films to obtain a County public health permit, to require adult film performers to use condoms while engaged in sex acts, to provide proof of blood borne pathogen training course, to post permit and notices to performers, and making violations of the ordinance subject to civil fines and criminal charges?

 YES

http://www.smartvoter.org/2012/11/06/ca/la/meas/B/

HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases are a public health issue.

If you don’t buckle your seat belt, you may die in an accident.  That should be your choice.  But if you don’t use a condom, I may die ten partners removed from you.

That’s beyond a personal choice issue.

Measure E

El Camino Community College Improvement/Transfer/Job Training Measure -El Camino Community College District

(School Bonds – 55% Approval Required)


To prepare students for universities/transfer/jobs, including nursing, healthcare, fire-fighting and high-tech jobs, by expanding science labs, upgrading outdated electrical systems, wiring green energy for savings, building earthquake/fire-safe classrooms equipped with up-to-date technology, improving facilities for Veterans, acquiring, constructing, repairing facilities, sites/equipment, shall El Camino Community College District issue $350,000,000 in bonds at legal rates, requiring all funds remain local, financial audits, citizen’s oversight, and NO money for pensions/administrators’ salaries?

YES

My very smart friend Diane Levitt says:I’m in support.

(a) I think facilities matter, both in supporting achievement and in communicating our investment to students;

(b) I believe in infrastructure investment for creating opportunity today in the form of jobs, and for the next 50 years in assuring facilities for learning;

(c) The place is falling down and the demand is skyrocketing.

And when I mentioned that this measure didn’t cover teacher salaries, etc, another very smart friend (coincidentally ALSO named Diane), Diane Wallace, said:

I have reviewed this. Bonds are really for construction only. And maintenance has been delayed for a long time at El Camino. Considering the rising costs of 4 year programs and the increasing demand on community colleges, there is a need for this! Some classes are held in really old bungalows. I am supporting Measure E.

Measure J 

Accelerating Traffic Relief, Job Creation -County of Los Angeles

(Continuation of Voter-Approved Sales Tax Increase Majority Approval Required)

To advance Los Angeles County’s traffic relief, economic growth/ job creation, by accelerating construction of light rail/ subway/ airport connections within five years not twenty; funding countywide freeway traffic flow/ safety /bridge improvements, pothole repair; keeping senior/ student/ disabled fares low; Shall Los Angeles County’s voter-approved one-half cent traffic relief sales tax continue, without tax rate increase, for another 30 years or until voters decide to end it, with audits/ keeping funds local?

YES

Why I’m for J:
Because my very smart friend, political activist and environmentalist Dency Nelson says:
The official position of the LA County Democratic Party & me is Yes on J!
NOTE:  The order of the contests and candidates on this ballot representation is NOT necessarily the same as your official ballot.
If you print and mark your choices on this page and take it to the polls instead of an official sample ballot, be very careful.
“If cousin Pookie would vote, if Uncle Jethro would get off the couch and stop watching sports center and go register some folks and go to the polls, we might have a different kind of politics. That’s what the Moses generation teaches us.
Kick off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes. Go do some politics. Change this country!”
-Barack Obama

Voter Resources

For UC Berkeley’s madly wonderful chart of how California non-profits, newspapers, political parties and unions stand on the props, jump to the bottom of this page.
  • Go to CAvotes.org for a Pros and Cons guide and In Depth, a supplement to the Secretary of State’s Voter Information Guide. In the Voter Information section you’ll find FAQ’s about the Top Two primary system and the new redistricting maps.
  • California’s Secretary of State is Debra Bowen, my hero. Here’s the Sec. of State’s official site: www.sos.ca.gov
  • Go to www.EasyVoterGuide.org to print a copy of the new Easy Voter Guide for the June 5, 2012 election. You will also find a variety of additional resources for new and busy voters, including: The popular Fast Fact series on State Ballot Measures, CA State Budget and Taxes, and Political Parties, “Voting is Easy as 1-2-3”, and a Brief “Why Vote” videos in English and Spanish. Questions? Contact the Easy Voter Guide Project via email through the website.
  • PeaceActionWest.org~ Of all the groups I give to, I save my biggest donation for Peace Action West, which is a lean, efficient and politically pragmatic organization. Once a year, a Peace Action West staffer comes over for lunch and teaches me a TON about the peace movement and specifically what Peace Action West is doing to move our politicians, our policies, our country towards peace.
  • Los Angeles Times article, It’s Too Easy To Amend California’s Constitution: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/04/opinion/oe-hodson4
  • Terms on this ballot that I didn’t completely understand until I looked them up:Initiative Statute (from Ballotpedia):An initiative statute is a new law that a state adopts via the ballot initiative process. The most common form…is when groups
    collect signatures and once those signatures are collected, election officials place the measure on the ballot for a vote.Constitutional amendment (from Wikipedia):A constitutional amendment is a formal change to the text of the written constitutionof a nation or state.Most constitutions require that amendments cannot be enacted unless they have passed a special procedure that is more
    stringent than that required of ordinary legislation.Referendum (from Ballotpedia):A referendum has two distinct kinds of direct democratic votes that often get the designation of referendum: veto
         referendum
    and legislative referendum.
    Here are the definitions:

    • Veto referendum. When a state legislature passes a law, and citizens collect signatures to place that law on the general election ballot so that the voters of the state can decide whether to keep it or nullify it. In some states, this is known as a citizen referendum.
    • Legislative referral. This is a ballot measure that is placed on the ballot because a state legislature votes to have it appear on the ballot. In other words, no citizen signatures are collected to place the measure on the ballot.
Watch this video–I’M VOTING REPUBLICAN BECAUSE..Though it was made for the 2008 election, it’s still funny and relevant.

For more about this video and further voting resources, check out their website:http://www.imvotingrepublican.com/

CaliforniaChoices.org is a nonpartisan clearinghouse for state governance reform issues that will enable more Californians to participate in the public conversation about how we can get our state back on track.
This is California Choices’ wildly wonderful endorsement chart I’ve been referring to in discussing the propositions, above.
It compares non-profit, newspaper, political party, and union endorsements for all the propositions. (you can also click on the image to take you to their site.)

If you experience, see or hear about voting problems in your state, please call the toll-free, nonpartisan Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).