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MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924

October, 2006

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November Election Like A Freight Train
By Karen Nakamura

The much-hyped November 7 mid-term elections are here. Nationally, the congressional elections could end George W's attempts to shape the world, including the US, in the neo-cons image. Or, horrifyingly, it could solidify his march towards world domination. There are more people than Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez who think Bush acts like he owns the world. This vote counts and the integrity of the vote process is imperative.
There are also important statewide contests. Besides the obvious California Governor's race, there are 53 California US Congressional seats in the balance, 1 US Senator, 20 State Senators and 80 State Assembly seats, the Lt. Governor's seat, the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Supt. of Public Instruction, Insurance Commissioner and four Board of Equalization positions.

The state propositions are many and significant. They range from changing the California Constitution to require a 48-hour waiting period and notification of the parent/guardian of an "un-emancipated pregnant minor" before performing an abortion (Prop 85) to creating new funding for alternative energy (Prop 87).

In all, there are 13 propositions. Props 1-A to 1-E are bond measures dubbed "The Rebuild California Plan." 1-A and B propose raising funds for creating a lockbox for transportation funding and transportation improvements.


Prop 1-C, called the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006 seeks to raise $2.9 billion "to fund housing for lower-income residents and development in urban areas near public transportation."


Prop 1-D asks for $10.4 billion for the repair and upgrade of public schools from kindergarten through universities.


Prop 1-E deals with disaster preparedness, flood prevention and levees and at the state and local levels.

The respected League for Women Voters recommends a yes on 1-B, transportation improvements, 1-D, repairing schools and 1-E, disaster preparedness and flood control.

Democrats endorse 1A -E. The Green Party had no list of endorsements available as of the CP's deadline. Then there are 8 propositions dealing with changes in legal codes.


Prop 83 allows increased penalties and monitoring of child molesters and sex offenders. This proposition will probably fly, as voters want to punish violent and habitual violators. There's one problem here that has nothing to do with heinous criminal acts. It has to do with California's incarceration sentencing rates, among the highest, if not the highest, in the world. Violent child molesters are not anyone's favorite people, but isn't the stiffest sentencing in the world enough revenge? The League is neutral. The Democrats recommend a yes vote.


Prop 84 deals with the quality, safety and supply of our water system. Along with some flood control and levee repairs, it includes natural resources protection such as watersheds, rivers, beaches, parks and forest improvements. The League recommends it as does the Democrat Party.


Prop 85 is an attempt, once again, by the conservatives to slice away at abortion rights by creating a 48-hour waiting period and parental notification of a minor before performing an abortion. The League of Women Voters and the Democrats say no.


Prop 86, a constitutional amendment, imposes an additional tax of $2.60 per package of cigarettes. Not only is this an attempt to stop people from smoking; it will fund new and expanded health services and insurance for children. Again this may border on overkill and illegal, punitive taxation. Hysteria is not the way to govern. The opposition says very little, less than 10% goes into stop smoking programs. The rest goes to medical facilities like Sutter. A time bomb is planted by giving hospitals immunity from prosecution, a favorite tactic of the New World Order. Why would they need immunity? Another simple logistical point: if everyone stops smoking, who will pay for the insurance coverage set up in the proposition? The League endorses 86, as do the Democrats.


Prop 87 creates a $4 billion Clean Alternative Energy Program "to reduce California's oil and gasoline consumption by 25 percent through incentives for alternative energy, education, and training." It gets funds for these projects by taxing California's oil producers. Other states do this. It would be a nice "gotcha" at the oil companies for ripping off California plus California better get in there if it's going to stay competitive in the rapidly developing world-wide green market. The League took no position. Democrats endorse.


Prop 88, another Constitutional amendment, relates to funding education by adding a $50 tax on most real property parcels. This modest cost per year would help pay some of the funds lost in Prop 13. However, the state PTA, Fed of Teachers, Democrat and Republican Party, Gov. Schwarzenegger AFL-CIO, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers, School Boards Assoc., among others say no. The No on 88 website tells why: "All Californians want better schools, but Prop 88 is the wrong approach. Supporters say 'funds raised will go directly to the classroom where it is needed most.' How credible is this when 99% of schools don't qualify for facility grants. ╔While Prop 88 promises education facility grants, the independent State Legislative Analyst's Office says only 1% of the schools qualify."


Prop 89 proposes a corporate and financial institutions tax increase to pay for public financing of the State's political campaigns. It establishes limits on campaign expenditures including on candidates who don't receive public funding. The League says yes, as do the Democrats.


Prop 90, another constitutional amendment, applies to elements of eminent domain. It requires the government to pay property owners for economic losses resulting from government claims. No on 90 says it undermines authority of local communities and local voters to make decisions on growth and development. "Under Prop. 90 if a development is limited to 100 houses, and the developer claims it could hold 200, the developer could force taxpayers to pay for those extra houses." The League says No as do the Democrats, the Cal. Professional Firefighters, Peace Officer's Association, Teacher's Assoc., AFL-CIO, Chamber of Commerce, Assoc. of Realtors, Business Roundtable, NAACP and Cal. Nurses Assoc. and the Farm Bureau among many others opposed.

Next month, we'll look at candidates and local issues.


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