In this week’s issue, we are endorsing on all of the ballot propositions and races except for the Malibu City Council race, which will come next week. There are 17 propositions on this year’s ballot, four judge races, and several local and school issues, along with the national and statewide contests.
For President: Hillary Clinton. As for Trump, words fail me. I can only hope we end up with two healthy political parties committed to our form of government.
For U.S. Senator: Well, Kamala Harris is a bit of a prima donna and Loretta Sanchez is a bit of a loose canon so, take your pick.
For State Senator: Henry Stern. We are truly fortunate that we have Henry Stern running for this seat, to follow in the footsteps of one of the most effective senators, Fran Pavley. It’s not just that he’s a hometown boy. He is enormously skilled and capable and will immediately be a significant presence in the State Senate and in its leadership.
For State Assembly: Re-elect Richard Bloom, who has served us well and with distinction.
I generally look to the LA County Bar Association ratings of judicial candidates first, then the LA Times endorsements. LA County Bar Asso. rates candidates “well qualified,” “qualified” or “not qualified,” after interviews and other checks.
Office #11. Endorse Steven Schreiner, rated well qualified and also endorsed by the LA Times.
Office #42. Endorse Efrain Matthew Aceves rated well qualified and also endorsed by the LA Times.
Office #84. Endorse Susan Jung Townsend rated qualified and also endorsed by the LA Times.
Office #158. Endorse Kim L. Nguyen, a Deputy Attorney General rated well qualified
Proposition 51 Vote ‘No’
Normally, I support all school bonds, but this one is a building industry proposal that caps developer fees transferring project costs to the state bonds. The governor is against it also, although normally he’s very pro-school bonds, and even the California Teachers Association (CTA) balked at supporting it, so I conclude this one is a bit of a stinker.
Proposition 52 Vote ‘Yes’
The fees from this program, which is about to run out, generate almost $3 billion in matching federal funds for Medi-Cal, uninsured and children’s health, and dollars must be spent for those purposes. If this fails, it necessitates major cutbacks in those programs.
Proposition 53 Vote ‘No’
This is kind of a Trojan Horse — really an attempt by a couple of very wealthy individuals to block the water tunnel and high speed rail and also erodes local control over some large local infrastructure projects.
Proposition 54 Vote ‘Yes’
Requires bills be in print and online at least 72 hours before the legislature can act. An attempt to make government more open and more transparent but it also gives lobbyists more time to mobilize all their forces. If it works great, so probably worth a try.
Proposition 55 Vote ‘Yes’
Tax extension to fund education and healthcare via high-income taxpayers
Estimates are if this doesn’t pass, we will be back in a $5 billion deficit in 2018 and require major education and healthcare cuts.
Proposition 56 Vote ‘Yes’
Cigarette tax to fund healthcare, research, law enforcement — essentially, to cover the cost the public bears flowing from tobacco use in our state, which amounts to roughly $3.5 billion per year. Major opposition is the Big Tobacco companies Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds, who have already spent now up to $66.3 million and rising in a very disingenuous campaign to defeat the measure. They claim it doesn’t do anything for education — nor, I would add, does it do anything to cure the common cold — nor were either ever the intention of the measure. It’s just a plain old tax that will raise the price of cigarettes and Big Tobacco is afraid they’ll sell fewer cigarettes in California.
Proposition 57 Vote ‘Yes’
This is the governor’s proposition to try and get nonviolent offenders out of the prison system, which now costs us $51,000 per year per prisoner, and even more as the prisoner gets older. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, there was practically a bidding war to see who could be the toughest on crime and all sorts of enhancements were added to the sentences. The proposition wants to give the parole boards more flexibility in who to parole and when to parole prisoners.
Proposition 58 Vote ‘Yes’
Some years ago, we passed some very restrictive, sort of English-only laws, to speed up, we thought, the learning of the English language by immigrants. They haven’t worked very well, nor have they been very effective, and this is an attempt to build more flexibility into the system. Sometimes, after some experience, you can identify and then correct past mistakes.
Proposition 59 Vote ‘No’
This is a proposition to send an advisory opinion that California, a very blue state, thinks the “Citizen’s United” case was a very bad U.S. Supreme Court decision because it opened up the flood gates to all sorts of money, both clean and dirty. I agree that it was a terrible and very naive decision, but I don’t think we should waste our energy and money to send messages to people who couldn’t care less. Instead, we should spend our energies electing a president who will send people to the Supreme Court who see the world as many of us do.
Proposition 60 Vote ‘No’
Requires porno actors to use condoms. What next, if this passes? We’ll probably have to decide in the next election cycle what color or brand they should be. If this is a good idea, then let them take it to the legislature and convince them this is a health hazard and they should take appropriate action. To my mind, certain things just shouldn’t be ballot propositions.
Proposition 61 Vote ‘Yes’
This proposition says California can’t spend any more on the drugs they buy than the price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which apparently gets the best prices in the government. The drug companies are going bonkers and have now spent $87 million so far to defeat this proposition. From that, we can conclude that they make a lot of extra money selling drugs to California, which buys drugs for Medi-Cal patients. California is either not very good at negotiating prices, or something nasty is going on. Considering that we are about 13 percent of America, you would think we had enough clout to negotiate effectively. Apparently not, so I’d suggest a “Yes” vote.
Proposition 62 No recommendation
Repeals the death penalty and substitutes instead a life sentence without possibility of parole.
There are currently on death row some very nasty vicious characters. There are also probably some innocent people, as some recent cases have shown. Courts move very slowly and carefully on death penalty cases. Few on death row are executed and most simply die of old age or disease. I personally feel that the state should not take life, but I can well understand how the family and friends of victims want justice, which to many means the death of the perpetrator. I think this is purely a personal choice about what you feel the role of the state should be.
Proposition 63 Vote ‘Yes’
I have no problem with people owning firearms, but if the state can license drivers and alcohol sellers, there is absolutely no reason we can’ t license firearms, and particular certain types of ammunition and ammunition magazines. We’re permitting weapons and ammunition developed for war to be sold on the streets and the consequences are obvious and deadly.
Proposition 64 Vote ‘Yes’
I’m for it. Since medical marijuana is already easily obtained, it seems sensible to allow commercial cultivation and sales with limitations on quality of the marijuana, the age of the buyers, and regulating and taxing the sale. It’s happening anyway. Are there some downsides? Sure, but there are also downsides to alcohol and abuses of prescription drugs. Different generations use different recreational substances and always have. It’s time to decriminalize it.
Proposition 65 Vote ‘No’
First, we said they can’t sell plastic bags, and there were good reasons for it. But we allowed them to sell carryout bags, for which they really didn’t need our permission. Now, we want to mandate they give the money received for carryout bags backs to a special government fund. C’mon guys, get real. It’s enough to make you vote Libertarian.
Proposition 66 Vote ‘No’
This is the prosecution’s side of the death penalty argument. It’s sort of the poison pill against the abolition people. We have a judicial system of courts and none of them are going to abrogate their responsibilities to a ballot proposition like this. One of the problems with the death penalty is that it’s final, so no one wants to make a mistake, which slows down the process.
Proposition 67 Vote ‘No’
Many jurisdictions have already mandated no plastic bags and I see no reason to keep cutting back on local authority, particularly since we have to look to the local authority for enforcement.
Measure A Yes
Measure to replace expiring local funding to allow money for safe, clean neighborhood parks, open space, beaches, etc.
Measure M Absolutely Yes
Measure to authorize an LA County Traffic Improvement Plan and fund it with a one-cent raise in taxes until we say, “Stop.” There is no question that we absolutely have to do something to improve traffic in this county to avoid total gridlock, but, sadly, solutions don’ t come cheap.
Santa Monica Community College District Trustees election
Santa Monica College is one of the outstanding community colleges in California and the three incumbents, all professors running for re-election, are part of the reason for that success.
Rob Greenstein Rader
Santa Monica Community College Measure V
Authorizing bonds to modernize, upgrade and expand the facilities. As the costs of higher education have risen dramatically, this is one of the more economic ways to get a higher education for those of more modest means. Many of their students move on to the four years colleges and degrees. There is also a Malibu campus coming soon.
We enthusiastically endorse a “Yes” vote.