The Malibu Times ballot picks

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From the Publisher/Arnold G. York

This week I’m just going to deal with the state ballot propositions. But first I have a word of advice for all of you. When the ads for the ballot propositions come up on your television, immediately hit the mute button on your channel clicker. The ads have gotten so slick and deceptive that there is no way in the world you could tell anything about a proposition from the TV ads.

Here are my picks:

Proposition 59-Opening government for the people

Great proposition. Government can never be too open. If they’re hiding it, you can bet it’s because they don’t want you to know what they’re doing.

A definite Yes.

Proposition 60-Preserves the current primary system

The current primary system is badly broken. There is no reason to preserve it.

A definite No (see Proposition 62, which fixes the current system).

Proposition 62-The open primary system.

You can’t go wrong when both Arnold’s agree (moi and the big guy up north who just endorsed 62 today). If you consider yourself a moderate Democrat or a moderate Republican, this is your proposition. If you’re a very conservative Republican or a very liberal Democrat, you don’t want this proposition because it will loosen the grip that the extremes of both parties have held on the legislature. Occasionally you’ll get a primary when two Republicans-a conservative and a moderate-run against each other, ditto for the Democrats, but so what. I believe with an open primary we’ll end up with a much better legislature.

Definite Yes.

Proposition 64-Weakening unfair business competition laws

This is a move by some industries, including the insurance industry, to weaken the current, unfair competition laws. This should more honestly be called a “business immunity statute,” but only for certain very select and heavy-hitting industries.

Unquestionably there have been some abuses in the past and the state bar just kicked out a bunch of lawyers in connection with some practices that weren’t much more than a scam, but this proposition is gross overkill.

A definite No.

Proposition 66-Modifications of the Three Strikes Law

The three strikes law is long overdue for modification. Three strikes should be reserved for serious violent felons or serious career criminals, not a misdemeanant whose third strike could be shoplifting a piece of pizza. It costs us all $30,000 to $50,000 per year to keep someone in state prison and even more as they get older. It’s foolish to spend it on minor screw-ups, which, unfortunately, covers a great deal of the current prison population.

A definite Yes.

Proposition 68-Racetrack gambling initiative

The racetracks and others want to get into the gambling act, but the proposition was going nowhere so they even pulled out their own money.

A definite No.

Proposition 69-Collecting DNA samples

A very broad proposition to allow for the collection of DNA samples initially primarily from criminals, but you can be certain that it would quickly expand once it’s in operation. Few privacy protections and information could easily be abused, particularly when you combine it with the Patriot Act. Makes me very uneasy.

No.

Proposition 70-Tribal gaming, exclusive gaming rights.

Watch out for this one. It’s being pushed as requiring the tribes to pay their fair share. The truth is, it’s just the opposite and ties the governor’s hands, and enshrines a monopoly into our constitution for a few select tribes. It’s a bad law.

A definite No.

P.S. Watch the TV commercials on this one. They’re very deceptive.

Proposition 71-Stem cell research bonds

This would pour $3 billion of state bonds into stem cell research in California. I believe this is a justifiable gamble. We’re priming the pump for California in what will be, within a few years, a gigantic industry and hold out all sorts of medical promise. Besides, I want them to get this all going while I’m still young enough to enjoy some of the results.

A definite Yes.

If you are over 50, a definite, definite, Yes, Yes.

P.S. Big Arnold also agrees with me on this one and has just endorsed Proposition 71. He’s certainly gotten a lot smarter since coming into office.

Proposition 72-Overturn mandatory health care coverage

I bounce back and forth on this one. There is a great deal of good and a great deal of bad in it, so I’m afraid you’re on your own.

A definite uncertain.

Proposition 1A-Leave our local money alone proposition

Whenever economic times get tough, the state takes some dollars away from the local governments and they’re tired of it. On the other hand, everyone is trying to do the same thing, so what happens when there isn’t enough money to go around. There is no easy answer on this one and I haven’t yet made up my mind, and frankly I’m not even sure if I could.

Another definite uncertain.