Usually I have a clear position on propositions I vote for or against, but this year most of the propositions had a balance of good and bad and in many cases they were confusing. I'll try to explain my vote and a sense of my struggle in making my decision.
The first issue is Prop 30 which is a temporary sales tax and a temporary income tax for the rich. Generally I tend to lean against tax increases so Governor Brown had to move me away from my natural position - and he did.
The state actually is in a crisis and I feel like Brown has made sincere and sensible steps with dealing with reality in an attempt to turn California around. The increases were modest and reasonable and I feel like Brown had earned my vote so I went YES on 30.
Prop 31 was easy. The 2 year budget cuts the annual nightmare in half and saves $200 million. YES on 31.
Prop 32 is a lie that helps the Bushies and the Koch Brothers and billionaires to be exempt and gives them unlimited spended while everyone else has restrictions. Anything Carl Rove wants I vote against. I'm somewhat ashamed that the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce supports this bill. Shame on you! NO on 32.
Prop 33 makes it easier to change insurance companies and move my good car karma from company to company. I haven't heard and significant arguments against so I votes YES on 33.
Prop 34 is to eliminate the death penalty. We all know there are plenty of people on death row that deserve to die. I'm just going to concede that. But - only 13 people have actually been executed in California at the expense of billions. Most inmates grow old and die on death row at the expense of billions. And - those on death row get better treatment and facilities than people who get life without parole. So we're giving the worst of the worst a better deal. It's so much better that those on death row oppose Prop 34.
There is also the issue of executing the innocent. And - I think death is an easier punishment than life in prison. So in spite of my inclination for vengeance, I decided to vote YES on 34 to eliminate the death penalty.
Prop 35 doesn't seem to be what it says. Its terms are vague enough to include normal consensual acts. Not all women in the sex industry are the victims of human trafficking. Many women in the industry think it's a great job and like the business they are in. These sex workers also oppose human trafficking and forced prostitution just like everyone else. If we spent more money on early childcare and drug treatment programs we could reduce the bad kinds of prostitution. This measure doesn't address the real issues and is just taking a politically correct stand. So I voted NO on 35.
I voted YES on 36. It helps reverse some of the problems with the three strikes law that over-corrected the reaction to violent offenders. The changes make the law more accurate and it help fix the prison overcrowding problem while still keeping violent offenders in jail.
I voted NO on 37. I have no love for Monsanto and was tempted to stick it to them by voting yes. But the idea of condemning genetic engineering is just plain wrong and bad science. In fact I look forward to what we will be able to do with genetic engineering to feed the planet. It allows foods to be more resistant, reduces the need for pesticides that really are bad for you, and quite frankly I'm looking forward to advances in human genetic engineering to cure diseases and extend life.
Genetics change as a result of normal evolution. For thousands of years, humans have been breeding plants and animals to suit our needs. This is also genetic engineering. Now we can be more specific and do things not possible through breeding processes. Natural evolution, breeding, and genetic engineering are all the same thing. I just can't support the bad science of vilifying technological advancement. It reminds me of the bad science behind "cell phone radiation" and "plastic phobia." So I voted NO on 37.
I also voted NO on 38. It competes with browns Prop 30 and the issues are mutually exclusive. Prop 38 is an income tax on everyone and for a longer period of time. So if any one is going to pass I want it to be Prop 30. If both 30 and 38 pass only the one getting the most votes goes into effect.
Prop 39 is confusing. I voted YES because it looks like free money. But I'm not confident I did the right thing.
And I voted YES on 40 to support the district lines drawn by citizens. We are moving away from politicians choosing voters and I support voters choosing politicians.
That's how I voted on the issues. Hope it helps you decide.
Editor's Note: Marc Perkel blogs on Gilroy Patch and also can be found on www.perkel.com