California has a number of Propositions on the ballot this year. Some are fairly straight forward and easy to understand while others are intentionally misleading. Let’s look at a few below:
Proposition 32 is the Paycheck Protection Initiative. It was written to deceive voters into believing that it will eliminate special interest money. As this bill was written by “special interests”, Trudy Schafer of the California League of Women Voters has it right when she says that the proposition “promises reform but it’s really designed by its special interest backers to help themselves and harm their opponents.”
Business and the Republican Party want the initiative to pass while most unions, citizen groups and the Democratic Party are opposed to it. Before you go and vote Party allegiances, let’s take a look at why such lines are drawn.
The initiative will essentially remove the ability of unions to raise funds for political activities. The initiative does nothing to stop Super PACs, business and the affluent from contributing to political campaigns. The core question you and I have to ask ourselves is why we would prohibit one side from political fundraising instead of both. This ballot initiative is essentially the same thing that happened at the federal level when corporations and Super PACs went to the Supreme Court to argue that ‘corporations are people too’ and can give as much money as they wanted to in an election (yet they can’t go to jail). This corrupted Washington DC to the point that the common man no longer has a voice with many in Congress and the Senate with the electorate having their lowest confidence in their elected leaders in recorded history.
If we are going to prohibit big money from elections, shouldn’t it be done in a fair and equitable manner for all? If you agree with that statement, you have to vote ‘no’.
Now if you feel that it is okay for business to have more power over their workers in a high unemployment economy, you should vote ‘yes’. I personally find that workers need some semblance of fairness in the election process in an increasing inequitable society. What is good for one side should be good for all.
Moving on to Proposition 33, this initiative allows auto insurance companies to set the price of your insurance based on your driving history. That seems reasonable until you look deeper. The problem with this initiative is that the bill really focuses on payment history in addition to driving history – drivers who have suffered from unemployment and lost their insurance for financial reasons would be charged more. The insurance industry and Republican Party are for Prop. 33 while most consumer watchdog groups and the Democratic Party are against it. While the initiative seems good on the surface, the punitive measures on people struggling to pay their bills seems harsh and unfair.
Proposition 36 is about reforming California’s Three Strikes Law. This initiative is meant to fix the law in order to keep nonviolent criminals from getting life sentences for using, transporting or possessing drugs. Those arguing for Prop. 36 point out that it would ease prison crowding and save the State money. Those against the proposition cite that people possessing “date rape” drugs with prior rape convictions or a child molestation charge in their past would be released as they would be deemed non-violent. The Democratic Party is for Proposition 36 while law enforcement and the Republican Party are against it.
I hope you see that voting straight down the Party lines may not agree with your positions on these issues.