Our View: State ballot a vexing proposition
Proposition 1A – No
High-speed passenger train bond
This proposition would authorize issuing $9.95 billion in general-obligation bonds as a small down payment for a high-speed passenger train between Los Angeles and San Francisco. To call this project a boondoggle would be an understatement.
Proposition 2 – No
Standards for confining farm animals
This initiative promises to relieve suffering in factory farms by mandating that veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens be confined in cages large enough so they can move around. We sympathize as most people would with concerns about animal cruelty, but Proposition 2 would have unintended consequences. These regulations are likely to result in higher food prices and farms leaving California for lower-cost states and Mexico. Vote “no.”
Proposition 3 – No
Children’s hospital bond
Only four years ago, voters passed an almost identical $750 million measure. Bonded debt already stands at $45 billion for general-obligation bonds alone. We urge a “no” vote.
Proposition 4 – Yes
Waiting period, parental notification
Prop. 4 would require a physician’s office to provide parents or guardians with a 48-hour notice before a minor has an abortion, giving parents a chance to counsel their daughter any way they choose. No notification would be necessary in the case of a medical emergency. Prop. 4 is not really an abortion measure. It is about parental rights.
Proposition 5 – Yes
Nonviolent drug offenses sentencing
Opponents of this modest reform of California’s drug laws and parole practices tell scary stories of methamphetamine dealers’ parole being shortened from three years to six months. But the measure is designed partly to help alleviate the woeful crowding of the state prison system, while reducing parole for a wide range of nonviolent crimes from three years to six months.
Proposition 6 – No
Police funding. Criminal penalties
The initiative is little more than a power grab by law enforcement agencies, engaging in fear-mongering to expand government, increase government spending and toughen up sentencing to unjust levels. Prop. 6 is an overly punitive, “throw money at the problem,” big government initiative.
Proposition 7 – No
Renewable energy generation
The certainty of growing reliance on fossil fuels by developing nations alone would far outweigh whatever relatively meager emission reductions California might accomplish through Prop. 7.
Proposition 8 – No
Eliminates right of same-sex couples to marry
In an ideal world, the state would have little or no role in defining or regulating so intimate a relationship as marriage. However, the state has inserted itself into all too many aspects of our private lives. Given that it has done so, it is only fair that it afford equal protection to all. Vote “no.”
Proposition 9 – No
Criminal justice. Victims’ rights.
California’s prisons are overcrowded and under federal court supervision as a result. The state Legislature and courts are considering steps to relieve crowding with early release of least-dangerous inmates. Prop. 9 could prevent those releases.
Proposition 10 – No
Alternative fuel vehicles, renewable energy bonds.
A variety of groups oppose this measure for good reason. Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens, who put up most of $3.75 million to get the initiative on the ballot, stands to profit nicely. We urge a “no” vote.
Proposition 11 – Yes
We support redistricting to make political races more open and competitive, as this initiative aims to do. Elected officials too often behave as if they hold lifetime appointments, rather than two- and four-year terms. We recommend a “yes” vote.
Proposition 12 – No
Veterans’ Bond Act
The subprime mortgage crisis is rooted in lax lending standards created partly to make mortgages more affordable to more people. Now California voters are asked to float nearly $1 billion in bonds backed by the state’s beleaguered general fund to provide yet more subsidized loans for one group of Californians. We recommend a “no” vote.