|Drunk Voters' Guide
||[nov. 1-a, 2010|11:29 pm]
Lady Crimson Tide
Feel free to link to this.|
Once again, some friends and I got together, got drunk, and discussed the voter's guide.
PROP 21: Raise taxes $20, to go directly to state parks
YES: 9, NO: 2, MAYBE: 2, Me: Yes
The arguments for and against this measure all say the same things would happen -- more money would go to state parks than goes now, and the existing $250 million could be used for other things in the state budget. Opponents at the table note that this is a flat tax, and therefore regressive, ie, it hurts poor people more than it hurts the rich. Also of concern is whether specifically legislating how to spend money is appropriate, the fact that this amount is not inflation-indexed, and the fact that trucks and other non-residential vehicles would still have to pay entry and parking fees (the bill specifically says that parking will be free). Proponents at the table note that state parks are closing and this doubles their existing budget, also, it's a rare piece of legislated budgeting that actually creates a tax to pay for itself. All the yesses were "sure why nots" rather than "hell yeahs."
Edit: Dana points out below that pickup trucks do in fact gain the benefits of the tax.
PROPS 20 and 27 (Constitutional Amendments):
20 - Puts districting for federal positions under control of the Citizens' Committee that was formed for states previously. YES: 7, NO: 9, MAYBE: 2, Me: No
27 - Repeals Citizens' Committee districting that was formed for state positions. YES: 1, NO: Everyone else, Me: No
In 2008, Prop 11 established a citizens' redistricting committee to draw districts for state offices. Prop 20 would have this apply to federal offices as well. Prop 11, and now prop 20, attempt to solve the problem of gerrymandering, and cause districts to more accurately reflect geographic and social boundaries rather than just defining who gets seats. This is, essentially, an experiment. Breaking ground like this could lead the way to leading other states away from gerrymandering, or it could backfire horribly and reduce California's voice at the federal level. In general the room agreed that the existing situation should be given a chance at the state level (ie, no on 27), but was split about continuing the experiment at the federal level (prop 20) until we see how it pans out at the state level .
PROP 22: No borrowing state funds (Constitutional Amendment)
YES: 1, NO: 9, MAYBE: 9, Me: No
People in favor of this believe it will help lead to a balanced budget, and also keep state budget problems from filtering down to municipalities and counties. The existing situation also caused schools to lose money in the short term. People against this point out that legislating how the state could spend its money is part of how we ended up in a budget crisis, and that current law requires borrowed funds to be paid back within three years. Steve additionally points out that the law prohibits the state from using money collected for transportation to service transportation debt. Ady notes that the more legislation you make about how money can be spent, the less flexibility your government has when they find themselves in a bind.
PROP 23: Suspends air pollution penalties until unemployment is reduced
YES: 0, NO: Everyone, Me: No
The room agrees this is a transparent attempt by the oil companies to get people to let them off the hook. Unemployment has rarely been as low as this proposition wants it to get, and furthermore, what does unemployment have to do with air pollution? Linking the two is idiotic.
PROP 24: Repeals legislation allowing businesses to lower their tax liabilities.
YES: nearly everyone, NO: 1, Me: Yes
The bill essentially allows businesses to go ten years into the past, and 20 years into the future (until the recent law, they could only go 10 years into the future, and not into the past at all) to find losses to offset their tax burdens. It also allows them to use out-of-state losses for offsetting. In general this does not benefit small businesses but rather only MegaConglomos, because it will essentially allow big businesses to never pay taxes. Isa and Steve both say that although they are small business owners, they are voting yes. Adam points out that while businesses definitely come to California because of our awesome way of life, they should have to pay taxes to support that way of life.
PROP 25: Changes budget legislation to require only a 50% vote rather than 66% (Constitutional Amendment)
YES: Many, NO: 1, MAYBE: 2, Me: Yes
California is the only state with legislation requiring a 66% vote for both new taxes *and* a balanced budget. Others with these sorts of constraints only have one or the other. This would reduce the minority party's ability to stonewall the majority at no loss to themselves. Beth says she wishes the state would just fuckin' figure it out and issue her checks on time. Jarvis is opposed to this one, the League of Women Voters is in favor.
PROP 26: Requires environmental fees to get a 66% vote (Constitutional Amendment)
NO: Everyone, Me: No
The room quickly conluded that this is another attempt by big oil to get out of paying taxes, and asked could we please talk about weed now.
PROP 19: Legalize it
YES: Many, NO: 1, Me: Yes
Don, the "no" vote, did not like the possible implications this could have at the federal level. A straw poll of the room revealed that a far smaller number of my friends smoke pot than you might think (approximately 20% of the room). I'm not going to revisit all the reasons people gave for voting yes on this law, but the room spent approximately 20 minutes vehemently agreeing with itself.
Whitman - 1 maybe, Wells - 1 maybe, Brown - everyone else
Cece doesn't like the way Whitman seemed pro-fucking the little guy. Adam doesn't want his state run like a business, he wants more compassion. I like the way Brown tried to reduce spending (not taxation, that's different) during his run as governor.
Newsom - everyone
Someone notes that Maldonado did at least attempt to vote in the budget as a Senator. Crickett says, re: Newsom, "Viva Los Homos!"
Everyone: Can't we just vote "no?"
Fiorina is running on her credit as a businessperson, yet she drove HP into the ground. Also, she's endorsed by Sarah Palin. Nobody likes Boxer, but we like Fiorina less. A few folks might go for Lightfoot or Roberts.
SECRETARY OF STATE:
Bowen - everyone
I make an impassioned plea that Bowen has proven that she understands that computerized voting is horribly open to fraud, and has actually forced us back to paper until we can come up with a more secure solution. Someone says that Dunn's candidate statement makes him sound like a dumbass.
Chiang - everyone
The room likes that Chiang took Schwarzenegger to court to keep him from docking state employees' checks.
Lockyer - most; Teyssier - a handful
The room largely splits on party lines for this one. Folks like that Lockyer took being insurance commissioner seriously back when he had that job. Mimi Walters' statement makes it look like she doesn't understand the job.
I didn't take a straw vote here. Most people seemed pro-Harris.
Adam expresses concern that Cooley is a former prosecutor. Everyone notes that Cooley doesn't state a position on 19; we wish he'd have the balls to say he was against it. Sarahliz says Harris has been working very closely with Jerry Brown to enact pro-environment law.
Jones - everyone
All the third-party candidates had really weak statements. Villines sounds OK, but we wonder what having three kids has to do with insurance. Some people say they've heard of Jones' work to stop unfair health insurance hikes. The room generally likes the concrete numbers put forth in Jones' statement.
STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION, District four:
De Baets - most of the room
There is no Republican candidate for this office and the Democratic candidate could not be bothered to give a statement. Of the two statements in the voter's guide, we find it hard to choose between them for awesomeness. Nancy Lawrence (Peace and Freedom) just says "Tax the Rich!" which is kind of an awesome one-line statement, but then Peter "Pedro" De Baets beats her with is one-line statement: "www.VoteForPedro.com."
We were all bored and tired at this point. We talked about it a bit, then gave up and decided to go with the LA Times recommendations. We did discover Judgepedia in the process, though.