Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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California Primary – Voter’s Guide

June 8, 2010

Today is election day. It’s time to go hit the ballot box. It’s your responsibility as a citizen to cast your vote and let your opinion be known.

The following is a voter’s guide for California Propositions.  This primary features 5 of them.  Read up below to find out what it’s all about.  Some background: I am a fiscal conservative, social libertarian and a political independent.  Some of my good friends refer to me as an evil right-wing propagandist. Regardless of my background, I try my best to offer an unbiased summary of each proposition. 

When you are done reading my post, please comment.  I would appreciate opposing points of view.  What’s important is that you are informed before you vote.  Democracy works best that way.

Proposition 13 – LIMITS ON PROPERTY TAX ASSESSMENT. SEISMIC RETROFITTING OF EXISTING BUILDINGS. LEGISLATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
If you own a building and you spend money to seismically retrofit, you will no longer have to worry about your property taxes going up. Obviously, a seismically retrofitted building is safer for you and the public. This will cause the property value to go up. This law will prevent property taxes from being reassessed until you sell the building. Everyone is for this and no one is against it (No argument against was submitted on the California Voter’s Guide). The State Senate and Assembly both passed this proposition by a unanimous vote. Vote Yes.

Proposition 14 – ELECTIONS. INCREASES RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN PRIMARY ELECTIONS.
Our current election systems features a Primary Election in June and a General Election in November. The Primary Election is segregated between the political parties. For example, if you are a registered Democrat, you would vote for the Democrat candidate you want to run in the General Election.

This proposition would amend the Constitution to allow all California voters, regardless of party affiliation, to vote for any candidate running in the Primary Election. Democrats can vote for a Republican, Republicans can vote for a Green party candidate, and Independents can vote for Democrats. The top two candidates from the Primary Election results would then face off in the General Election in November. Candidates running in either election will no longer have to claim a political party.

This is known as an Open Primary. The theory is that it will result in more Moderate candidates facing off in the General Election. A Moderate politician is more likely to work with other politicians once they gain office. This is supposed to get rid of the gridlock in the California Senate and Assembly. The final result is more things will get done and more problems will be solved.

In my opinion, the theory will prove true if this proposition passes. I believe more Moderates will be elected and the gridlock will go away. I think the California State Government will become much more efficient when it comes to getting things done. If this is something you want, vote Yes on Proposition 14.

I will be voting No.

I do not want a super efficient California State Government. I think a state government that gets along will pass more bills that lead to more programs and higher taxes. Gridlock in Sacramento may not a good thing during the current economic crisis – but – an out of control State Government during boom times will only lead to more spending and fiscal irresponsibility. This is what got us into the mess we’re in now. Thinking long-term, this bill is a bad idea.

Proposition 15 – CALIFORNIA FAIR ELECTIONS ACT.
Candidates running for Secretary of State will now run using public funding. The funding initially will come from a Lobbyist fee and not tax dollars (except voluntarily by individual tax payers per Section 18798.1) . This is a pilot program to see if publicly funded elections is a viable solution to special interest dollars affecting elections.

On the surface, I think this is a great idea. When someone comes up with a new idea, it’s always a good idea to try it out on a small-scale. If it works out, you can think about expanding it to a larger spectrum. If it fails, you can ditch the idea and move on to something else. Of course, the trick is to make sure a true account of the pilot program is presented to the public before deciding whether or not to implement the program on a larger scale.

The problem with this 9 page proposition is the details. For starters, this bill will repeal section 85300 of the Government Code.

“No public officer shall expend and no candidate shall accept any public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.”

There is no amendment to the Government Code to prevent other offices from using public money to pad private election funds. This loophole is too big for my taste.
Another loophole of concern is the funding sources. The proposition sets up a Fair Elections Fund that receives the majority of funding from Lobbyist fees. However, there is a provision that allows the Legislature to appropriate additional revenue from the general fund (section 91135 e and g). That means tax dollars.

I am in favor of publicly funded elections. I hate the fact that a CEO of some huge corporation thinks she he or she can buy her his or her way into the Governor’s office. Even if I agree with him or her. These days, it seems like you need to be loaded with $71 million of your own money to get anywhere in politics. Publically funded elections would be a great way to level the playing field.

With that in mind, I think this law has a few holes that need to be fixed. For one thing, I think there should be an expiration date to this “experiment”. I will be voting No this time around. Hopefully they fix the law to be a bit more palatable for next time.

Proposition 16 – IMPOSES NEW TWO-THIRDS VOTER APPROVAL REQUIREMENT FOR LOCAL PUBLIC ELECTRICITY PROVIDERS. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.
Proposition 16 was written by PG&E. PG&E has spent more than $30 Million to support Prop 16. What is it? It’s exactly what it says. The new law requires a 2/3 vote from citizens if a city or county wants to invest in a public utilities. The law is very short and to the point.

I am usually for giving voters more control over how their money is spent. If this proposition was on the ballot in my county or city, I would be voting yes. However, since this is a State Constitutional Amendment enforcing rule of law on local governments, I will be voting No. Regardless of PG&E’s corporate interests, I don’t like big government taking away the rights of local government. If you want a 2/3 law for your city or county, petition your local government/city council for a local ballot initiative.

Proposition 17 – ALLOWS AUTO INSURANCE COMPANIES TO BASE THEIR PRICES IN PART ON A DRIVER’S HISTORY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

This is an even argument.  This laws will allow Auto Insurance companies more freedom to vary their rates based on driver variables.  Those against this law say Insurance companies will unfairly target drivers who have a legitimate lapse in coverage.  

In my opinion, the auto insurance market is saturated.  If you are a safe driver, you can get a great rate.  If you have speeding tickets or other issues, it’s not fair to depend on the State Insurance Commissioner to keep your rates down.

Then again, there is a problem with lapse in coverage.  If you are in the military and you leave for a 12 month deployment, that is considered a lapse in coverage and you could pay penalties.  Other examples exist where a legitimate lapse in coverage could cost safe drivers.

I will be voting Yes on this proposition.  I think the market will work out the kinks.  If enough drivers think they’re getting screwed by a company, they can look to other companies to get better rates.

If you think the lapse in coverage issue is too big of a hurdle, you should vote No.

There you go…

There is a basic voter’s guide to the California Propositions.  I hope this helps you to understand what they’re all about.  For the full text pdf of each proposition, go here.  Do your duty and go vote.  If you are reading this sentence, you can consider yourself part of the informed electorate.

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For -or- Against?

August 12, 2009

If you can’t see the video above, it’s likely that Obama’s brown shirts have removed it, and every other copy, from the Internet in an attempt to silence any dissenting opinion (even if it’s by the President himself).

Obama must think the general population is stupid. Maybe we are. I consider myself to be average in intelligence and education – High school graduate with some college with a 1400 on my SATs back in 12th grade. His argument for Government-run Health Insurance can be summed up this way:

When it comes to sending mail,
the Government-run Post Office is A.F.U.
Private enterprise (FedEx and UPS) are doing great and have great service.

If this is Obama’s argument for Government-run Health Insurance, he does think America is stupid. As history has continually shown, Government-run anything is never a good idea.

The only way our founding fathers were able to convince 13 Colonies to band together into a union was to promise them to keep the Federal Government limited. The Colonies back then didn’t want to give up their governance to an all powerful central entity. The Constitution was written to allow the States sovereignty – the ability to govern themselves. The Federal Government, however, was limited to specific areas.

The Constitutional requirement of smaller government is one of my arguments against Government-run and mandated Health Insurance. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the Federal Government is supposed to put their grubby mittens on health insurance, deposit insurance, retirement insurance, education, etc.

When you look at the things that Government is involved in, on the Federal, State, and local level, you won’t find much success. Obama is talking trash about the Post Office in the video above. Think about it for a second and ask yourself these questions.

  1. Would you rather send a gift with the Post Office or with FedEx, DHL, or UPS?
  2. Would you rather send your kid to Public School or Private School?
  3. Can you count on Social Security to be there when you retire?

When you honestly answer these questions, how can you not be against Government-run anything? In my opinion, the Government is too large. It’s time to roll back all of these inflated government programs and start putting things where they belong… in the private sector.

It’s time to do your country a favor; Write your Congressman or Senator and tell them to say NO to Socialism.

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California Voter Guide continued…

October 28, 2008

This is part 2 of 2 of my California guide to propositions. Again, I am a conservative independent but I tried to stay unbiased… except for Prop. 8. On a side note, I am voting for McCain. I don’t believe in redistribution of wealth or any of the other Socialist ideas Obama has been pimping.

Here’s the proposition list…

Prop 6 – Safe Neighborhoods Act

This proposition would be a great idea if it was written for a large town or small city. The problem is that it is written for the whole state. This proposition would create an Office of Public Safety Education and Information with a $12.5 million annual budget. This $12.5 million dollars is for statewide coverage.

I’m voting “No”. This proposition has a lot of good ideas but it is ridiculous to think they will work on a statewide scale.

Prop 7 – The Solar and Clean Energy Act

Regardless of what you believe about Anthropological Global Warming, this proposition is about the inevitable road to clean energy. I have always believed in the free market, private industry leading the way in technological innovation. I have never trusted in government programs or regulation to force change. Regarding solar energy, I would bet that any electric company would prefer investing in solar panels instead of having to pay for fossil fuels and the associated facilities. Solar Energy is so much cheaper to maintain and sunlight is free.

The first thing I noticed when reading the full text version of this proposition is the excessive use of rhetoric. Terms like “Special interest groups” and “Big Oil” are thrown around like it is an article for the New York Times. My instincts tell me this proposition was written with the primary purpose of sticking it to “Big Oil” and Special interest groups”.

The second thing that caught my eye was the Clean Energy requirements. Power companies will be required to produce 50% of their product via Clean Energy by the year 2025. Right now, only 10% of California’s Energy is generated from clean sources. It would be a huge undertaking for electric companies to meet this goal considering the rising level of demand expect over the next 10 to 15 years. Combine that with the fact that fossil fuels can produce much more power than clean energy for a given square footage.

The way I see it, it is very likely the electric companies will limit their output, regardless of demand, just so they can meet the 50% clean energy standard. That means rolling blackouts during peak use. The alternative for them is stiff financial penalties that could not legally be passed on to the consumer.

I’m voting “No”. If you are in favor of counting on the government to drive innovation, you should vote “Yes”. If you believe the private sector, university research and the free market should drive innovation, vote “No”.

Prop 8 – California Marriage Protection Act

This is my favorite proposition because it is only a couple of lines. The California Constitution will be amended to state the following: “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California”. How can you argue with that?

Marriage is an institution of Religion. In most religions, homosexuality and gay marriage is forbidden. Therefore, as a gay, you are either a) religious and recognize your religion’s belief that your lifestyle is forbidden and marriage is impossible or b) not religious and have no desire to get involved in some crazy religious ritual.

Besides, a civil union affords all, if not, most of the rights enjoyed in a marriage. Therefore, you are not being denied any rights that anyone else has. Furthermore, if you really want to get married, Mr. Homosexual has every right to marry a woman just as Ms. Homosexual has every right to marry a man… provided they are of age, not already married, and human.

Put this to bed and vote “Yes”. Any more talk could lead to my Brother marrying my Sister or my Dad marrying my Daughter.

Prop 9 – Victim’s Bill of Rights Act of 2008: Marsy’s Law

This proposition already passed way back in 1982. Vote “Yes” or “No”, I don’t care. I will not vote on this proposition because most of the provisions are already in place. The highlight of this proposition is that Parole guidelines become tougher on the criminal. This law would not be needed if California’s prisons were not overcrowded.

Prop 10 – California Renewable Energy and Clean Alternative Fuel Act

If this passes, $5 billion dollars that California does not have will go towards research and development in the area of alternative fuels and renewable energy. I’m voting “No” because California is broke.

Prop 11 – Voters FIRST Act

This is all about redistricting. As the law is written now, an elected official can draw his own district, thereby insuring his or her re-election. Incumbents in California are re-elected 99% of the time. I’m voting “Yes” because is a solution to an unfair situation. The districts as they exist are ridiculous.


Prop 12 – Veteran’s Bond Act of 2008

If passed, this proposition will authorize the issuance of $900 million in bonds to assist veterans who are purchasing homes or farms. I’m voting “No” even though I am a veteran because I don’t want more tax dollars being spent when California is broke. Again, if you are not a super duper Conservative, you might want to vote “Yes”.

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California Voter Guide – Propositions…

October 28, 2008

I’m a Conservative Independent. The following is part 1 of 2 of my California Voters guide. I tried to keep it as unbiased as possible. I’ll be the first to admit that being completely fair is just about impossible for me.

If you are a liberal, communist, Anti-American, Fascist pig, you should read this and vote the opposite of my recommendations. If you are a fellow conservative or a middle of the road independent or Democrat, you should read this and use your good judgement to make a good decision.

Prop 1a – Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century

I’m voting “No”. This is what responsible tax payers would call a boondoggle. The supporters say it will cost $40 billion to complete this project. The proposition is written to raise around $10 billion via the issuance of general bonds. There is no guarantee that the High-Speed project will ever be completed. Not to mention, recent estimates put the final cost at around $80 billion.

As a conservative, I can’t in good conscious vote for a bond measure that will only cover less than 15% of the total cost of a project that may never be completed… or may never even start. If passed, this “bond money” will go towards a bunch of bureaucrats who will pretend to work towards the goal of building that shouldn’t be built by the super efficient California government.

In reality, these bonds, which will have to eventually be paid for by tax payers, will do nothing except help these bureaucrats continue to live their lives as unproductive members of society (High-Speed Passenger Train Finance Committee and the High-Speed Rail Authority).

Prop 2 – Standards for Confining Farm Animals

First of all, I don’t care about food animals. I’m voting “No” for that reason alone. I understand that some people who read this might actually care a lot about animals raised for food. If that is the case, go ahead and vote “Yes”. For those of you in the middle, read the following.

I know proponents of the proposition have been showing full grown cattle being handled by a forklift, but this proposition has nothing to do with that. In fact, the whole forklift/cow incident is already illegal. This proposition will only cover egg-laying hens, calf raised for veal, and pregnant pigs. So, most of California’s livestock industry will remain unaffected.

This is expected to hurt California farms, more specifically, producers of eggs and veal. It is estimated that the cost of an egg from California will go up 25%. This will lead to more importing (from other states and Mexico) of eggs. As of right now, the majority of eggs consumed in California are from other states.

What does this proposition do? It requires commercial farmers to confine these animals in a way where they can freely extend all of their limbs and turn around in a circle without touching their enclosure. Failure to comply will result in a misdemeanor fine not to exceed $1000 or up to 180 days in a county jail.

This proposition looks to slightly lower tax revenues in the agriculture sector (around 1%). In my opinion, this prop could pass or not pass. I don’t care. When it all comes down, this would be a minor victory for the animal rights groups. However, following the theory of “Creeping Incrementalism”, this could lead to some wacky, far left propositions in the future.

Prop 3 – Children’s Hospital Bond Act

I’m voting “No” because I’m an evil conservative who does not want my tax dollars to go anywhere until the California State Government can get their act together. If you are not an evil conservative, read below.

This bond will provide close to $1 Billion in funds to the five major Children’s Hospitals in California and to any other qualifying hospital. This money is needed for facility renovations. From what I understand, equipment and facilities are becoming outdated and are in need of upgrade.

Like all of the other propositions, I have read the entire text version of this bond measure. It seems like a pretty responsible proposition. If you have to spend tax dollars, this seems to be a winner. I was concerned at first with the “other” hospitals and facilities that could qualify for funds. After reading the requirements, I feel it is safe to say that only hospitals and clinics dedicated to children’s care are eligible to receive funds. If you are not super duper conservative, I recommend voting “Yes”.

Prop 4 – Child and Teen Safety and Stop Predators Act: Sarah’s Law

If this proposition passes, Physicians will be required to notify parents if a minor requests an abortion. I’m voting “Yes” because I believe parents have a right to parent their children.

There are a number of arguments against this proposition. The most prominent argument states that children who live in abusive homes will attempt a “back alley” abortion because of their fear of punishment. I understand this argument but it is not applicable with this proposition.

Part of the law will allow the (unemancipated) minor to take her case to a judge. The judge can then rule on whether informing the girls parents is not in her best interest. This provision was added to protect unemancipated minors from abusive parents.

In my opinion, I believe the “judge” part of the proposition is more likely to be abused by minors who want to bypass the law. California certainly has a lot of liberal judges who would rule in favor of a secret abortion on bad faith.

Regardless, I think this law would be a great victory for parental rights. I think a lot of liberals will vote no thinking they’re protecting some imaginary slippery slope that leads to the overturning of Roe v. Wade. That line of thinking is bogus and is not supported by any evidence. I recommend everyone from all political leanings to vote “Yes”.

Prop 5 – Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act

This proposition is huge. The text version takes up 21 pages… but I read them all. I’m voting No.
A little history…

New York prior to Giuliani was a cesspool of crime and drug use. Giuliani implemented a police policy that required cops to arrest anyone who was using or distributing drugs, even if they were not committing any other crime. The removal of drug users and dealers from the streets led to New York becoming one of the safest cities in the US.

This proposition would not only prevent the incarceration of drug users, but it would reduce the parole requirements of those who were already in prison. This is not good for fighting crime.
Additionally, this proposition would increase the size of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. I am never in favor of growing government.

What really makes me angry about this law, it does not allow for one dime of funding to go towards Religious-based drug treatment programs. Also, a judge can’t allow the option to go to a Religious-based program in lieu of jail. The only programs that qualify are science-based programs that don’t even have to be licensed or certified by the State.

The advertisements on TV suggest that non-violent drug offenders should be treated instead of going to jail. The advantage is that jails will be less crowded and drug offenders are more likely to kick their addiction. In my opinion, I think this is relatively an acceptable idea but the proposition is poorly written. I would recommend a “No Vote” or voting “No”. There is too much extra baggage for this proposition to be considered good law.