01 noviembre 2010

¡A votar! California Props 19-23

Día de los muertos

A reminder to all of those registered to vote who have not done so - tomorrow is the big day! Get out there and vote!

There are many arguments as to why people do not vote: they do not believe in the system, they do not believe their vote counts, they are disillusioned by the act of voting altogether. However you feel about voting, though, not voting is not proactive. If you have complaints to make about the system and you think it needs to change then get out there and voice your complaints! And for those who are content with voting and feel that it is up to politicians to make sure the change we want comes to fruition - stop waiting around on others and take a more active role in the change you think is necessary for your community!

Tomorrow, California has several propositions on the ballot that you can read about at CalVoter.org and the Official CA Voter Guide. These are good places to access both pro and comments with regard to the propositions. My blog, however, will be biased because this is my personal and political opinion.
Prop 19: Allows people 21 years old or older to possess, cultivate, or transport marijuana for personal use. Fiscal Impact: Depending on federal, state, and local government actions, potential increased tax and fee revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually and potential correctional savings of several tens of millions of dollars annually.
Yes yes a million times yes on 19. I've heard my fair share of people convey their hesitance when thinking about the possibility of their children or grandchildren having access to and legally smoking pot. Let's just clear this up though - they have access to it already. If they want it the only issue becomes when do they get it, not if. This is a substance so readily available I think my cat could bring home pot. Fortunately, the cat and I have already had a discussion about substances and substance abuse and I feel he's educated enough to make the right, healthy decision.

Yes, I'm being ridiculous when talking about my cat, but do think about it. Remember that right now the issue is not availability but whether or not this is a criminal offense. We do not need room in our prisons (and not more money spent on building more of them) for marijuana related offenses. It's also important to note that there are, in general, a disproportionate amount of people from communities of colour who are imprisoned for such offenses.
Prop 20: Removes elected representatives from process of establishing congressional districts and transfers that authority to recently-authorized 14-member redistricting commission comprised of Democrats, Republicans, and respresentatives of neither party. Fiscal Impact: No significant net change in state redistricting costs.
I'm voting no on 20. I just don't see the point in allowing an unelected commission re-draw the district lines.
Prop 21: Exempts commercial vehicles, trailers and trailer coaches from the surcharge. Fiscal Impact: Annual increase to state revenues of $500 million from surcharge on vehicle registrations. After offsetting some existing funding sources, these revenues would provide at least $250 million more annually for state parks and wildlife conservation.
Yeah, I get that people might turn their noses up at the thought of an annual $18 vehicle surcharge fee, but for me this seems like a no-brainer. Yes on 21. These are our parks and our conservation areas. You think parks are cool, don't you? I like parks. Hey, it pays for the admission to the parks too.
Prop 22: Prohibits State, even during severe fiscal hardship, from delaying distribution of tax revenues for these purposes. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state General Fund spending and/or increased state revenues, probably in the range of $1 billion to several billions of dollars annually. Comparable increases in funding for state and local transportation programs and local redevelopment.
A similar law passed in Missouri stating that revenue from roads & transportation was to go only to those particular areas. Many people thought 'Hey, this is exactly where the money should go! Keep community funds in the community!' It does sound good at first, but then you must realize why the state borrows money. The state dips in to these funds to put the money toward other state programs, such as education. While some amount of community funds go toward education, by & large it is the state that is held responsible for funding public schools and other state social programs. We need that money to circulate throughout the state so that it goes where it is most needed. Another thing to keep in mind is that the state is required to pay back any money borrowed from these community funds, and sometimes with interest. No on 22.
Prop 23: Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Sources of Emissions to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.
23, the reverse of AB-32 (the law that would help regulate air pollution emissions). Another no-brainer, many groups across the board are voting no on this and I am as well. It should come as no surprise that this is a proposition backed by Valero (TX) & other oil companies like Tesoro (CA). Would you trust an oil company to dictate clean air acts? A gigantic NO on 23.

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