Posts Tagged ‘election’

No on Prop 32 – Misguided Attempt to Limit Special Interests

November 2, 2012

Prop 32 is titled “Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.”

The official summary reads:

Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors. Prohibits union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees. Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees.

Prop 32 is the most visible of all the initiatives on the ballot this November. Both sides have put on radio and TV ads, and according to Ballotpedia, the Yes side has raised $59 million and the No side has raised $68 million.

The proposed law is very straightforward. The full text of the law is very concise. It requires employers or unions to get employee permission before deducting money for political purposes. It also bans corporations and unions from contributing to campaigns.

The No on 32 ads are the second most misleading in this election, only behind those opposing Prop 37. They claim that special interests like big banks, Wall Street and Super PACs have written in special exemptions for themselves. Read the full text. These do not exist at all.

Super PACs are an easy target because voters associate them with super-rich political donors. However, they are federal and not state entities. They also cannot be associated with a campaign in any way; they must be independent. They can run ads but cannot have any communication with candidates. So the alleged “loophole” portrayed is because state law has no jurisdiction over Super PACs.

I fully support the laws proposed in Prop 32, but I feel it is really misguided. Even if it passes, big union and corporate money will just pour into Super PACs instead. Politicians in Sacramento will still support those interests. If we want to limit corporate and union interests in Sacramento, we should only elect those into office who have integrity and values and won’t be sold to the highest bidder.

To implement real change, we need to change the people in Sacramento, not the laws governing a broken system. We also need to hold those in Sacramento accountable and make them do their jobs instead of relying on ballot measures for any meaningful legislation.

So while I support the premise behind Prop 32, I personally will be voting NO on it. Prop 32 is an attempt to fix a broken system, but the real fix is to elect politicians with integrity and values who will not sell out to corporate or union interests.

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Prop 31 – Unnecessary Budget Rules

November 2, 2012

Prop 31 is titled: State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

The official summary reads:

Establishes two-year state budget. Sets rules for offsetting new expenditures, and Governor budget cuts in fiscal emergencies. Local governments can alter application of laws governing state-funded programs. Fiscal Impact: Decreased state sales tax revenues of $200 million annually, with corresponding increases of funding to local governments. Other, potentially more significant changes in state and local budgets, depending on future decisions by public officials.

Prop 31 addresses many issues, and I don’t think it addresses them very effectively.

First, it seeks to establish a two-year budget cycle instead of an annual budget. I’m not sure how this is supposed to help taxpayers. If Sacramento can’t balance a budget without accounting gimmicks every year, why is changing it to every other year going to help?

Second, it creates rules that for every government program that exceed $25 million, the legislature has to either raise taxes or cut programs in the amount of the new program. While this sounds like a good idea, it could easily backfire. What happens if the state is running a surplus and wants to add a program to help schools? I know, the state of California running a surplus is pretty farfetched, but if it did, the legislature would still have to adopt cuts to offset the new program that could be paid for out of savings.

Third, it gives the Governor power to cut the budget by his or herself during emergencies. Personally, I am very leery of giving this kind of power to any individual. It basically makes the Governor the King of California because we will always be in a state of financial emergency.

Finally, it allows for about $200 million of annual sales tax revenue to be sent directly back to local communities. I really like this part of the Proposition, but not enough to vote for it. $200 million is only 0.14% of our state budget so it will have a negligible impact to the state. But this is a law that the state legislature should just pass. Why does it have to be on a proposition at all? This is further proof that our politicians in Sacramento do absolutely nothing and wait for ballot measures instead of doing their jobs.

This leads me to a perfect segue to my closing argument. Many proponents of Prop 31 say that we can’t trust our lawmakers to balance a budget or manage taxpayer dollars so we need this to pass.

If we can’t trust our politicians, it is our job to vote them out! If we want politicians in Sacramento to balance the budget, we need to elect representatives who will do just that! It makes no sense that we need to pass ballot measures to do something as fundamental as balancing a checkbook.

I recommend voting NO on Prop 31. It adds unnecessary layers to the state budget and will not change anything in Sacramento. There is a need to vote those in Sacramento who are absolutely failing out of office. There is no need for Prop 31.

NO on Prop 30 – An Expensive Bandaid to a Bigger Problem

November 2, 2012

I haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve decided to write a series as a Voter Guide for this year’s election. Mainly this is a way for me to formulate my thoughts on matters. Ballotpedia is a great resource.

The first ballot measure in the 2012 Election in California is Proposition 30. It is a proposed amendment to the California Constitution.

Prop 30 is titled “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment” and the summary reads:

Increases personal income tax on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. Increases sales and use tax by ¼ cent for four years. Allocates temporary tax revenues 89 percent to K-12 schools and 11 percent to community colleges. Bars use of funds for administrative costs, but provides local school governing boards discretion to decide, in open meetings and subject to annual audit, how funds are to be spent. Guarantees funding for public safety services realigned from state to local governments

Governor Jerry Brown says these new taxes will raise an additional $9 billion while other estimates are around $6 billion annually.

Many people in California are against Prop 30 only because it raises taxes. It could leave to wealthy individuals establishing residences in other states to avoid paying higher income taxes and by raising sales taxes, it actually disproportionately hurts lower income families and individuals. But I think that there are bigger issues that need to be addressed.

According to the current budget, California’s state revenue for this year is estimated at $132 billion. California’s state expenditures are estimated at $142 billion. Governor Brown’s revised budget with all the cuts still comes it at $138 billion.

The reason for this proposition is because our state is so dysfunctional that we can’t cut 4.3% of our state budget. You would think that you could find 4.3% somewhere. If you or your family is spending more than it takes in, you have to make sacrifices. You would probably be able to reduce spending by 4.3% fairly easily.

However, rather than trying to make meaningful cuts that could get our state going again, Governor Brown is proposing a couple of new taxes to increase revenues just enough to kick the can down the road a little bit further.

Prop 30 will not solve any of the current problems with California’s finances. It will only allow our politicians in Sacramento to put off any real changes for a few years before they have to come back and ask to raise the sales tax by another 0.25%.

The proponents of Prop 30 say this is saving our schools and it’s worth paying a little more to secure their futures. Having schoolchildren play the victim is a pretty easy card to play. Steven Spielberg even donated $30,000 to the pro-Prop 30 side. If Spielberg cared so much, why didn’t he donate that money directly to schools? Why donate it to a political cause?

I’m all for funding our schools, but I don’t think sending more tax dollars to Sacramento is the way to go. The current thinking in California, and the United States in general, is that we need government to take care of us. If the state or federal government won’t do it, no one will.

I am a much bigger proponent of local money supporting schools. Raise the funds at school district, city or county level. However, this money that we could raise locally will no longer be available because it has already been taxed away to Sacramento. For every dollar Sacramento takes from us in taxes, that is one less dollar we could have spent more efficiently at the local level.

To support schools in poor areas, we could have school districts set up partnerships with other school districts to help those in areas where funding is harder to come by. This would work much better than having bureaucrats in Sacramento arbitrarily dole it out.

Since Prop 30 is merely a band-aid to temporarily stop the bleeding in our state budget, I would strongly recommend voting NO on Prop 30. Rather than giving more money and power to Sacramento, we need to push for real and meaningful cuts to our state budget and open our minds to solve our school funding problems at the local level, where our dollars will be spent much more effectively.

Washington Decides to Throw Votes Away Too

April 29, 2009

The state of Washington has joined Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey and Maryland in a pact that will have their Electoral College votes go to the winner of the national popular vote.

So, basically, they are telling the residents of their states, that their vote doesn’t count, and that they will vote for whoever wins the national vote, no matter what.

What if Washington residents vote 90% in favor of the person who loses the national vote?  Then they send all of their electoral college votes to a person who 10% of their population voted for?  It really doesn’t make any sense at all.  It will just lead more Washington voters to stay home and not vote, because they know their vote has no bearing whatsoever.  Their votes will be controlled by the states with the largest populations, which sway the national poll numbers.

I agree that the Electoral College system as it exists now is not perfect.  It is dominated by the two parties who have rigged the rules in the states to give all of the electoral votes to whoever wins the state.  It just supports their interests, and not those of independents and third parties.

If Washington and other states want to make changes, they should split their Electoral College votes proportionally to the popular vote of their state.  That way, every vote at least has an influence.  In California, I can vote Republican every time, but I know that all of our electoral votes are going to go to the Democratic candidate.  By breaking up the electoral votes, it will reflect the will of the people, and will keep the Electoral College intact.

A Must Read for Any American Citizen

November 5, 2008

Last night, after the election, we heard about how “anyone, if they dream big enough, can be the President.”  Obama had overcome all the odds and was now the President.

Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but it’s not that easy.

You have to read this, and watch the Youtube videos it links to.  Pretty amazing if you ask me.  This is definitely a must read for anyone who gives a darn about the political process in this country.

http://www.reason.com/news/show/129852.html

Don’t Let This Stop the Momentum

November 5, 2008

Tonight, we witnessed history.  Barack Obama became the first African-American President.

It was an amazing electoral season that lasted from the primaries until tonight, and there are still many races and propositions here in California that are still undecided.

The population has been energized and become more politcally involved than ever before.  What we need to do now is stay motivated, and keep this energy going.

Now is the time to educate many of these people on the goals of the founding fathers and the Constitution of the United States.  While they might have supported Obama because of his personality and attitude, the message of Freedom and Liberty will influence beyond words and empty promises.

While government might get bigger over the next four years, it’s not like McCain was going to make it any smaller.  Real change will not happen until more peoples’ eyes are opened and our voices are heard.  We still need to remove career politicians and put the Constitution first.

We need more politicians like Ron Paul, and more movements like the Campaign for Liberty.  We need real change and more choices.  We need bigger ideas and more imagination.  We need less taxes and less government spending.  We need less government intervention, a sound monetary policy and an end to our foreign empire.

So, no matter who you voted for and how excited or disappointed you are, don’t get complacent.  Now is the time to act and to really make a difference in our Country’s future.

Where My Vote is Going

November 3, 2008

Well, there’s only a few days left until the November 4th election, and I think I’ve figured out who and what I’m voting for the most part.  Here’s my quick breakdown:

California Propositions (The title is how I interpret them)

Prop 1:  High Speed Railroad Bonds

Gotta say No to this one.  While a high speed rail system is an idea that should be looked at, I don’t think that we should use government bonds that will put the state millions in debt to fund it.  We need to have private developers partner with the state in order to get this project going.

Prop 2:  Standards for Confining Farm Animals

I oppose this proposition as well.  It sounds like a good idea to let farm animals like hens and veal to live in an enclosure that allows them to stand, move around, and go outside at least once a day.  However, this will cost farmers millions of dollars to change their methods, and the new rules completely contradict California Department of Food and Agriculture standards.  Due to the rising costs of California egg production, it will be shifted to farms in Mexico that do not have the same starndards we have, and there will be an increased chance of disease and illness.  Sorry to sound inhumane, but I favor my health and safety, keeping egg production in California, and keeping costs down over giving animals some fresh air.

Prop 3:  Children’s Hospital Bond Act

Yet another NO.  This Act will authorize $980 million in bonds to renovate Children’s Hospitals.  At this point in time, the last thing we need is to add almost a billion dollars in debt to the state.  I believe that these hospitals will be better renovated and renovated more efficiently if it is done by private donors.  State sponsored construction always goes over budget, doesn’t meet deadlines, and the quality and value is lacking.  There has to be a better, more well thought out way than $980 million (plus over $900 million in inerest) to renovate these hospitals.

Prop 4:  Watiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy

Clinics that perform abortions should be required to strongly encourage the minor to notify their parents, undergo counseling, and explore all options before deciding to terminate their pregnancy.  They should not be required to give parental notification.  It is the choice and decision of the girl and her doctor.  If she wants her family involved, she will tell them.  However, if she comes from an abusive household, she might not want her parents involved and could do something stupid like going to an illegal clinic and harming herself.  This all leads to a NO for me.

Prop 5:  Nonviolent Drug Offenses

This is a step in the right direction, but more changes need to happen before a law like this can take effect.  We need to stop our War on Drugs.  It leads to much more crime and gang violence and fills our jails with drug offenders.  Now, it has started emboldening Mexican drug cartels who have kidnapped thousands of people in Mexico and are now crossing our borders.  Nonviolent drug offenders should be offered rehab, rather than taking up prison space from a violent criminal.  Good idea, but the wrong plan at the wrong time.  Yet again, No on 5.

Prop 6:  Police and Law Enforcement Funding

This will require almost a billion dollars to be allocated from the state general fund for increased funding for sherriffs and police that will mostly go towards anti-gang programs.  I don’t see how you can mandate funding requirements.  How do you know what the budget is going to look like?  I can see allocating a percentage of money towards these programs, but mandating a dollar amount seems excessive.  That’s another NO for me.

Prop 7:  Renewable Energy Generation

This proposition is flawed in so many ways, I can’t even start to go into the details.  It’s basically funded by an Arizona billionaire who could make a lot of money setting up solar and wind farms in California.  A lot of the mandates in this proposition are already slated to go into effect anyway.  It’s overkill.  Renewable energy needs to be a priority, but this seems to be one man using the “green” catchphrase to make some money.  No on 7.

Prop 8:  Constitutional Amendment to Eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry

I’ve already written a couple of other posts on Prop 8.  It’s a definite NO for me.  It’s discrimination plain and simple.  It will not force anyone to accept same sex marriage.  It will not effect your church or your family if you are against it.  Also, it will not effect the education of your children.  If you have a problem with teaching gay marriage, go to the school board and district and change the rules so you can pull your kid out of same-sex marriage teachings.  No on 8, no on discrimination, no on government intervention in our lives.

Prop 9:  Criminal Justice System. Victim’s rights.

Again, a proposition that sounds great on the surface, but fails the smell test.  Victim’s of crimes should be notified when convicts are going to be set free on parole.  However, we already have a Victim’s Bill of Rights in California.  If we follow this law, there will a duplication of effort all throughout the state.  It seems that there is a strong propaganda campaign for this that uses anecdotal arguments to create a blanket law.  That is flawed logic to me.  No on 9.

Prop 10:  Alternative Fuels Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds

Wants to use over $3.4 billion to give incentives for alternative fuel cars and researching other renewable energy sources.  Why can’t the state just give tax breaks for the cars?  Why can’t private companies invest in renewable energy?  Give tax breaks to companies instead of costing tax payers billions!  Too much debt for me.  No on 10.

Prop 11:  Redistricting

Finally, a YES vote from me.  State assebly and senate members should not be able to draw their own district boundaries.  There is a HUGE conflict of interst there.  Putting redistricting in the hands of a nonpartisan commission is a great idea.  Even if this uses a small percentage of the budget, it will help restore a little credibility to our government in Sacramento.

Prop 12:  Veterans Bond Act

This is a state sponsored incentive that I believe is necessary.  Bonds that will help provide low interest loans to veterans is a positive step in the right direction.  More needs to be done to help our veterans and to encourage enlisting in the armed forces.  I have never served, but I feel that more needs to be done to restore the military as a choice of profession.  This is a continuation of a program that has existed since the 1920s in California.  The only qualm I have is that provisions should be made to allocate money to those who served in combat situations.  Yes on 12.

Thanks for reading this guide and I hope this might help you sort out what is going on and how a “small government” individual sees the issues.

Also, this brings up one big question:  What do they do in Sacramento anyway?

That will have to be a post in itself.

No Interest in the President

October 30, 2008

I feel kind of un-American, but I really don’t care who wins the Presidency this year.

Haven’t we been bombarded with all this election drama for almost two years now?  First it was the primaries, where McCain won pretty easily and Barack and Hillary went at it.  Now we have this election with Palin and Barack’s connections with old domestic terrorists.  In the meantime, the economy went down the drain and all they’re talking about is saving $75 a month on taxes.  Yeah, that’s going to fix things.

Maybe I’m so apathetic because I don’t feel that my views are represented.  Throughout my life, I’ve known that I did not belong with one of the major parties.  I knew they were virtually the same and were there only to preserve the status quo, and not really do what’s best for America.

In high school, I thought being a libertarian sounded great.  Small government, less taxes, and less intervention sounded great.  The party at the time though, was a mess, and their message sounded more like anarchy than a real political platform.

Then, I thought Nader was the answer and that his policies would save the country.  He had some good ideas, but I found myself voting for him because he was against the establishment and corporations, not because of his political views.

Now, I think I’ve found myself with the philosophy of Ron Paul.  His belief in the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers wanted is beautifully simple.  It makes so much sense and it makes me want to be part of the revolution he is starting.  The groundwork is there, now we just have to spread the message.

The message of the Constitution reaches beyond any sort of social status or group.  Everyone can come together behind the document that set forth the plan for this great country.  The goal now should be to get this country back on track and back to looking at the Constitution and what the Founding Fathers wanted.

I guess I don’t care about McCain or Obama because they want to continue the same policies.  They might tweak taxes or healthcare, but are they really invoking change?  Not at all.  They both voted for the bailout.  They both want to keep our military empire intact.  Neither has challenged the Federal Reserve.  Neither has questioned the validity of all the taxes we pay.  Neither has tried to address our welfare state.

We need a voice that counters the political establishment.  Until this voice is heard, it doesn’t matter who is the President.

Education – Special or Otherwise

October 26, 2008

Sarah Palin made a statement the other night that the Federal Government needs to play a larger role in the education of special needs children.  Personally, I don’t believe the Federal Government should have anything to do with the education of any children, special or not.

Currently, the Federal Government spends about $70 billion a year through the Department of Education.  This roughly accounts for 9% of the total money spent on education in this country, which is close to $1 trillion (both of these figures were taken from the Deparment of Education website, http://www.ed.gov).

However, the Federal Government has a broader reach with different Acts and Laws that require performance or allocation of money, such as the No Child Left Behind Act.  This forces the states and local school districts to follow laws that are mandated by Washington.  So, even though the Federal Government only funds 9% of the education programs in the US, it basically controls the allocation of all of it.

It’s great that Governor Palin wants to help those with special needs.  However, it should be left up to the states and local school boards, not politicians and bureaucrats in Washington.  The states should have control of the money they raise for school programs, and should be able to allocate their resources accordingly.

As Americans, we need to realize that we should not look to Uncle Sam for everything.  Instead we should look to our states and local governments.  It might sound good to have a President who wants to change education policies, but the federal government just throws a blanket over the entire system.  Local governmets can tailor policies and adjust to the needs of the area.  How are bureaucrats in Washington supposed to know this?

I really believe that as soon as we get the Federal Government out of the education of our children, the sooner they will be better performers and come out better prepared for the high tech jobs of today.  We need teachers teaching how to think, reason and question.  Instead, they are teaching how to pass a standardized test.

So when you hear a Washington politician talking about education, realize that they have good intentions.  However, if they really wanted to change the education policies, they would be talking about ending Federal education programs and returning that power to states and local school boards.

You’re Both Socialists!

October 18, 2008

Today, John McCain called Obama’s economic policies “socialist.”  Supposedly, being a called “socialist” is much worse than being called a liberal.  Personally, I don’t care because when McCain paints Obama as a socialist, he has nothing to prove how he’s NOT a socialist either.

Both Obama and McCain supported the $700 billion Wall Street Bailout, which is socialism at it’s finest.  Since when is the central government buying stakes in private banks capitalism?  The Federal Government also has stakes in Fannie and Freddie, and AIG, the world’s largest insurer.  So not only does the central government have a role in our finances, but they also have a role in our housing and insurance.  The only thing left is for them to take over the ability for us to cloth and feed ourselves.  At least then I wouldn’t have to work!

McCain needs to differentiate himself, and calling his opponent a socialist isn’t going to cut it.  All it does is add another negative approach to his campaign.  So far he has painted Obama as a socialsit terrorist… what’s next?

So, while Obama might be more liberal than McCain, they both favor big government.  We need real choices between candidates with real differences.

You might say that we don’t have a choice, but it’s because we haven’t demanded a choice.  If we demand politicians that follow the Constitution and limited government, we will have that choice.  There is definite momentum behind the Constitution and leaders like Ron Paul.  Now is the time we need to make our voices heard.  We need less government, less taxes, no nation building and more freedom and liberty.