California Propositions

Time for some state politics. Oh joy! I can hear the screams already. As some of you may or may not know, California has several ways that things can get enacted into law. The traditional method of proposal by one house of the legislature, creating a bill, voting on it, the other house getting it, amending it, voting on it, and getting it signed by the governor. Then you have legislation that is brought up by the same legislature, but instead of being passed to the governor, a measure is put on the ballot for the voters to decide. The third method comes directly from the people. An initiative written by the people, circulated by petition for inclusion on the ballot, and then voted for by the people. It is from the second and third methods that we get our propositions, and usually the third method is done by the people when the state congress simply refuses to act.

The system for the most part works, but as you can imagine it also leads to a bit of chaos and sometimes some really whacked out stuff makes it on to the ballot. But more often than not, the will of the people is spoken and executed. Though, sometimes not, and due to activist judges and the like, we sometimes end up voting for the same things again because some bastard on the bench decided his singular judgment was superior to that of millions of people.

[Yes, I know the picture is old - blame Google]

So with that in mind, here's a quick run down of what's coming in November and my quick take on whether or not I'll be voting for it.

Proposition 1A - "Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act"

This one sounds good in principle by the title, yes? Proports to give us a good working commuter rail system, saving gas money, creating jobs, lowering pollution, saving the planet and all that, right? The hitch here is this. It's a $9.95 billion bond measure. That means the state wants permission to borrow more money. We already have a massive deficit. We don't need a bigger one, no matter how good the cause might be. So this is a no vote on principle. No more debt. No bond measures. We can't pay back what we have now.

Proposition 2 - "Standards For Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute."

An initiative statute is one of the things conceived of and placed on the ballot by the people. Apparently the PETA guys don't like the way certain animals are kept as livestock. And since they've been unable to convince us through stupid TV commercials and other frankly aggressive and invasive means, they've now wasted the state's time with a ballot initiative. Guys, we have real problems to solve here in California. This isn't one of them. Go sacrifice a cob of corn to your pagan gods or something, but please just go away. Voting no because this is lunacy.

Proposition 3 - "Children's Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute."

Someone out there apparently wants the state to issue $980,000,000 in bonds to finance the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of "eligible" children's hospitals throughout the state. It's a bond measure, so despite it being "for the children" I'm voting no. Because the debt will also be "for the children".

Proposition 4 - "Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment."

Right off the bat, one might wonder why we need to amend our state constitution for this. This is one of those instances where the issue has been voted on TWICE before, and TWICE approved by the voters, and TWICE shot down by aforementioned activist judges. Religious, moral, and "reproductive rights" arguments aside. This seems like a no-brainer to me. An abortion is a medical procedure. It's already the law that you require parental consent, for example, to amputate a kid's leg. Or to authorize having that broken arm fixed. Or to sew someone up in the trauma unit after an accident. So why then should aborting a child be any different considering what needs to be done to accomplish that? I think it's absolute lunacy that we even had to come to the point of this after having twice voted in favor of this, but for some reason the judges won't listen. So now we have to take it to a level they can't strike down later. I'm voting yes on this one. Again. For the third time now.

Proposition 5 - "Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole, and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute."

On the surface, described as a funding initiative to expand on treatment programs for drug users. A bit ironic when you consider the state's fascination with marijuana smokers. But if you dig in just a little bit, into the 21 pages of 8 point italic type in the voter's guide, you'll find the real story. This is a blindsided attempt at instituting "restorative justice" in California. If you don't know what that means, think Vermont. Think sentencing child rapists to 60 days in jail and then sending them to a rehab camp on taxpayer money. That sort of thing, only for supposedly non-violent drug users. This is how Vermonts get made. I will be voting no on this one.

Proposition 6 - "Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statue."

Provides a maximum of $965,000,000 in state funding every year for the cops. On the surface this is a great idea. Cops need money, yes? So then why are we tying this together with 30 revisions to the California Penal Code? Is there something wrong with the 30 revisions that they couldn't stand on their own, with either a separate initiative to carry them or as separate issues for the congress to deal with? I haven't had a chance to dig into the meat here, but my gut says this looks like your typical rider tacked on to an otherwise good thing. Reluctantly therefore, I'll have to vote no on this.

Proposition 7 - "Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute."

Essentially requires government-owned utilities to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 50% by 2025. All well and good, right? After all, shouldn't the LA Department of Water and Power be subject to the same rules that Edison, PG&E, and the other companies are subject to? Well, apparently Edison and PG&E don't think so. A rather strange alliance between them and several environmental groups are behind the no vote movement. Normally such an alliance would have me thinking there must be something good about the measure. The problem is, the measure is backed by radical enviro-nazi types. You know, the kind who claim that "experts agree" when making blanket statements that you know to be false. The ones who say global warming is man's fault entirely and therefore only man can fix it. AKA morons. So because of who supports it, I will be voting no, even though I have no great love of SCE or PG&E.

Proposition 8 - "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples To Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment."

Right. The political hot potato of our time apparently. So hot the legislature passed a law banning it. Activist judge shot it down. We passed a ballot measure re-instating it. Another activist judge shot it down again. We re-passed it one more time. Yet another activist judge shot it down again, and then went further to legislate from the bench claiming gays have the right to marry. So as with Prop 4, we're now forced to attempt to amend the constitution of the state, with this simple one line change: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." That's it. That's literally the entire text of the proposition. Don't let the title of this initiative fool you either. Gays never had the right to marry in this state, therefore we cannot be eliminating it. They don't have it to be eliminated. But once again, the result of activist judges forcing their will by judicial fiat got us this one with the deliberately deceptive title it now bears. Frankly this to me is no longer about the moral issues, biological stupidity of it, junk science to back it, or the militant gay rights movement. This is about stopping activist judges from believing they are above the law. Every time we've passed it, it's been by an overwhelming majority. Every time the media portrays it as a completely lost cause claiming polls are against it. They may be true in San Francisco and West Hollywood but the rest of the state is not in favor of gay marriage. Neither are John McCain, Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, or Joe Biden. So not even the presidential candidates go along with the agenda. Enough is enough. Give it up. I will be voting an emphatic yes on Proposition 8.

Proposition 9 - "Criminal Justice System. Victims' Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute."

Perhaps someone is finally learning to game the system by not wasting time on amending the constitution. In any case, this one requires notification to victims and provides them an opportunity for input at the following: bail hearings, pleas, sentencing, and parole. Victim safety will be established as a consideration in granting bail or parole. All in all, a pretty solid piece of victims' rights law here. Unless I've missed something really obscure here, I'm voting yes.

Proposition 10 - "Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds."

There's that word again. Bonds. This time they want $5 billion from the general fund to use for the purpose of providing incentives for people to buy more efficient cars, and to provide research funding for renewable energy vehicles. I dunno. Nice idea. But borrowing money from yourself? How exactly does that work? Regardless, automatic no vote. Bonds are bad for the budget.

Proposition 11 - "Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute."

Oh boy, where to begin on this hornet's nest. If you've ever seen one of those redistricting maps with the really funny squiggly lines that wrap around in strange ways along geographically senseless boundaries, you're familiar with what California's congressional district borders look like. The reason they look this way, and often intertwine around each other, is because the jack-offs in Sacramento in power now have drawn them that way. Yep. You're letting the foxes guard the henhouse. Otherwise known as Gerrymandering. What Prop 11 proposes to do is take that power away from the legislators who have it now and hand it over to a commission of 14 people comprised of voters in the state. There are restrictions in the language to prevent politicians, lobbyists, and large donaters from serving on the commission. This is one of the group of initiatives Arnold sponsored a couple of years back and tried to get passed by ballot once before. I was quite surprised to see it on the ballot again, so we're getting another shot after the last one got voted down. Perhaps people are finally waking up and realizing that those dolts in Sacramento shouldn't be deciding their own district lines. Definite yes vote from me on this.

Proposition 12 - "Veterans' Bond Act of 2008."

$900,000,000 to provide farm and home aid for veterans living in California. As much as I support our troops and the veterans they come home as, I'm sorry. Bond act. The words of death. Voting no.
"It is pointless to resist, my son." -- Darth Vader
"Resistance is futile." -- The Borg
"Mother's coming for me in the dragon ships. I don't like these itchy clothes, but I have to wear them or it frightens the fish." -- Thurindil

Well. I guess that's that then.

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Posted on Oct 3, 2008 5:27 am by Samson in: | 21 comment(s) [Closed]
Wow, Samson, what can I say? I'm glad, from a legislative standpoint, that I don't share that state as a home with you. Overall, if I did live there I think I'd vote the same way and for mostly the same reasons that you're advocating with four exceptions: on propositions 3, 5, 6, & 12 I'd have to give some more consideration to the specifics before I could commit to your stance on those. I'm not saying that I disagree completely with you, just that I'm not certain that I know enough to agree with you. You're casting three of those four aside pretty much solely for budget reasons and, on the surface of what you've presented here, I'm not certain they wouldn't be worth some budget spending in my mind. On #3, I have too many children of my own not to delve into such a proposal with more than a bottom line read. For #5, I'm not entirely convinced that Vermont is totally out of line like you seem to be. You might very well be right about #6, but I'd rather know a bit more about some of those other measures this is being attached as a rider to. On #12, I happen to be a veteran who's been seriously considering becoming a farmer for the last few years...

Understandable. 6 is dicey but I don't like it when they attach riders for unrelated changes to the law that are buried in a mountain of legalese you can't decipher, so it's usually safest to vote against it and keep things as they are.

5 is a farce. Vermont is indeed as far gone as I've said. Have a look at some of the stuff Bill O'Reilly has done on them. I imagine he's kept an extensive archive of the various things he's uncovered up there. Especially the case where a guy raped 5 children and got sentenced to 60 days, then released on probation to a rehab clinic. All in the name of restorative justice. A sizable portion of Vermont's citizens were and are outraged by stuff like that.

3 and 12 being straightforward bond acts are no-brainers for me. This state is already in so much debt it's unreal. When you don't live here it doesn't seem like it would be that bad, but our deficit here is many billions of dollars and adding more bonds to that only makes it worse.

Of course, I'd say that many of the things being proposed wouldn't be necessary if the state would address the root cause of most of our problems here. Illegal immigration. But I think it's safe to say we'll never address it in our lifetimes.

Speaking of illegal immigration, did you hear today that they expect to ave to abandon the fence project due to increasing costs of materials?

What? You mean Chertoff LIED to us? Say it aint so!

No, I hadn't heard that actually. But it fails to surprise me since they've never bothered to START on the fence to begin with. All that bullshit about having built more than half of it is complete lies. Not one additional mile has been built here in California yet.

*shrug* The Paul Harvey show had the story, so it probably originated as an AP article or some such..

Gays never had the right to marry in this state, therefore we cannot be eliminating it.

The marriage licenses that CA issues now are currently valid, yes? They will be invalidated if Prop 8 passes, but aren't they valid until made not?

To further clarify: I understand that voters have not (yet) approved same-sex marriage in California. But two women or two men can apply for a marriage license and be married in a civil ceremony the same way that a heterosexual couple can, in a way that is legally recognized by the state, with all the state-granted rights and incidents pertaining thereto. Now, if Prop 8 goes into effect, it obviously will be legal no longer, but the fact that same-sex marriage is currently in a period prior to voter approval does not mean that same-sex couples don't currently have the right to marry. It's not in a legal gray area waiting approval; it's currently legally existent and awaiting a possible overturn (the same way it would be if voters had approved it and were awaiting a court decision which could reverse that.)

I'd just like to say that I find your votes being mostly based on money rather than reality pretty amusing. :)

Whir, I'd just like to say that I find your disconnect between money and reality to be even more amusing :)

Aw, c'mon, Samson, here I come all ready to debate you and you ignore my question. Leave that to the candidates, huh? ;)

*chuckle* I can't speak for Samson, Regina, but when I read your last two posts, I thought your questions were rhetorical. Honestly, I suspect that in the other states within the union which do allow same-sex marriages (or which respect such marriages when made legally in other states) those current marriage certificates from California even if they're made invalid by Proposition 8. Unless Prop 8 seeks to not only disallow future same sex marriages but also to specifically anull existing same-sex marrages as well, in which case those other states would also consider the existing marriages to be anulled as well.

Heh, yeah, I guess it does sort of pass as rhetorical. But my query was factual - Samson made an assertion, which I think the facts actually show to be wrong. So I wanted (still do) to know whether he would rebut me on the facts, agree with me on the facts but find another way to make his point, or totally change his mind. (I am also curious as to what he thinks of my likening it to if voters had enacted it and were waiting for a court decision which might overturn it, as I think this is exactly analogous.)

As to your points, it seems to me that the language would, in fact, annul currently existing same-sex marriages, and thus other states would not be able to reciprocally honor them:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

A marriage between a woman and a woman, by those words, is not valid or recognized in California. That holds true even if it originally took place in California. The women might still, in some sense of the term, be married, or have a marriage; but California cannot and will not give that marriage any legal validity or recognition. For the state's purposes, they're unmarried partners.

I suppose another state might honor the marriage, on the grounds that "well, they have the signed marriage certificate." But they're certainly under no legal obligation to honor a contract that another state has voided.

"Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." - The entirety of the text for Prop 8. I think it speaks for itself and needs no further explanation.

And no. There was never an explicit right granted anywhere in any state legislative document or in our state constitution that guaranteed them a right to anything. That was done through judicial fiat by judges legislating from the bench. So there's no point in debating it since there was never anything granted to begin with.

Makes you wonder if any homosexual couples have gotten (re?)married each time the state has approved of such marriages.. by the time this issue gets settled completely, do you suppose they'd have a new record for marrying the same partner repeatedly? Maybe someone should consult Guiness? :D

Can we please put this argument on hold and come back to it after I finish midterms? Because I have stuff to say, and no time to say it.


Not sure what's even left to argue. The only thing I saw anyone take objection to was Prop 8, and that's only become necessary because of an edict by judicial fiat. We shouldn't have to repeatedly vote to do something in order for it to stick.

Well, look, I don't disagree with you about what it means to vote a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution. But I think that when you say "an edict by judicial fiat" doesn't have the force of law to give a right as it currently stands, that's actually and demonstrably wrong. And I have substantive points to back this up, but it will take a while and I have a paper and two midterms (one of which, as it happens, is in Constitutional Law) this week, which have to be done before I can spend real time making a worthwhile argument.

I am not out to persuade you to change your vote on Prop 8. What I am out to do is argue that you're basing your current vote on a legal understanding which is wrong, and so I think you should reconsider your vote in that light. I want to change your mind about the reasons for your vote, because I think your current reason is based on false facts. Fair?

I don't have any problem whatsoever with your making an argument, but if the intent is to try and get me to reconsider my vote it's too late for that. My ballot has already been cast as of 2 days ago. Absentee ballots rule :)

When I say "an edict by judicial fiat" I mean 4 people on a panel of judges decided that they were right and 65% of the people of California were wrong and instead of simply overturning Prop 22 as unconstitutional ( which they *CAN* do ) they went further by declaring that gays have the right to marry, which is legislation from the bench, which they are *NOT* allowed to do in our system of government. So I think from a technical perspective I've got the description pretty much dead on. New law enacted by the judiciary is judicial fiat, is it not?

I also get that there are checks and balances in place to prevent the "tyranny of the majority" but this isn't a justification for flinging things entirely in the other direction where the courts become a vehicle for "tyranny of the minority" instead. If every decision we vote on can simply be reversed by the courts and turned in the opposite direction, why should we bother voting at all?

And as the election is now over, here are the results for California's propositions. According to NBC news, these are with 99% precincts reporting.

Prop 1A: High speed rail bond. Yes 52% No 48%. Bond issues are bad enough, but under a liberal president? It's insanity. But this is California.

Prop 2: Farm animals. 63% Yes 37% No. The bleeding hearts prevail. Seems they really do think we have nothing more important to enforce here :( Oh, and if the cost of your chicken dinner rises by 50% you did it to yourselves, assholes.

Prop 3: Childrens hospital bond. 55% Yes 45% No. Proof that "its for the children" is an effective battlecry even in the face of increasing the deficit. Results taken from ABC since NBC is dumb and didn't bother to report them.

Prop 4: Parental notification for abortions. No 52% Yes 48%. I guess there are really that many people who would allow their children to undergo medical procedures without their knowledge. Absolutely baffling.

Prop 5: Non-violent rehab. No 60% Yes 40%. Given the liberal tendencies, this sort of surprise me, but I'm happy to see that folks here saw through the BS of restorative justice.

Prop 6: Police funding, change 30 other laws. 69% No 31% Yes. I guess it was more transparent than I thought. Or people were as confused as I was and did the safe thing by voting no. I have to assume if additional police funding had been a separate issue it would have passed. Results from ABC, because once again NBC is dumb.

Prop 7: Renewable energy generation. No 65% Yes 35%. People of California are a funny lot. Hit them with something that will drive up their utility bills, and guess what? They vote like conservatives! Now if they'd only apply this logic to presidential elections....

Prop 8: Gay marriage ban. Yes 52% No 48%. The media sat on these results well into this morning, refusing to declare a winner. Well tough shit. I hereby declare that the people of California have spoken for the fourth time. With the same results. Activist judges can't undo it this time. Legally anyway.

Prop 9: Victims rights: 53% Yes 47% No. We're not entirely without common sense. Victims will finally have more of a voice in the parole process as they always should have. And kudos once again for skipping the bullshit other propositions have had to endure and directly amending this into the state constitution.

Prop 10: Alternative fuel vehicle bond. 60% No 40% Yes. Looks like the people saw through this one as well. Good job. Interestingly enough, this was apparently heavily backed by T. Boone Pickens. Mr. Pickens, a word of advice, next time don't pursue this as a bond measure in a liberal state with massive deficits. You might just do better.

Prop 11: Redistricting reform. Yes 51% No 49%. Way to go! This was probably the absolute most important measure on our state ballot. It got very little press one way or the other. But clearly someone, somewhere is finally fed up with gerrymandered districts. This small step here, now, may be the beginning of a path to a conservative re-awakening here in California. If it is, I helped take part in it.

Prop 12: Veterans bonds. 63% Yes 37% No. All I can say is I hope to God the $900,000,000 is put to good use so that we can at least say the added debt load did some good. But I'm not hopeful that the money will go where it should be going, which is generally why I don't support bonds aside from the fact that deficit spending is bad.

Also of interest in local elections: Garry G. Miller, Republican, was re-elected to his House seat. 61% to 39%. Ah well. Doesn't look like anyone kept true to their words to boot anyone who voted for the bailout. How quickly the people forget.

I just said something about this (well, prop 8) in the You Mean Like Democrats? comments.. nice critiques on these though. ;)

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