Saturday, November 01, 2008

Vote on November 4th

I was going to lay out all the arguments for voting for Obama, but really, just think about waking up November 5th to President McCain. Can you imagine anything more depressing? So instead, here's my endorsements for the local and state initiatives. If it seems obnoxious for a guy with a blog that 5 people read to be making "endorsements," then just consider this a post about how I'm voting.

First, a few qualifiers. I consider a "no" vote pretty much the default position on these initiatives. If I'm not really sure, I usually vote no (or sometimes skip them altogether). A lot of these are bond measures, where the state or city raises money through the sale of bonds, which have to be paid back with interest and end up costing more than it would cost to just put it in the budget. Particularly now, with the looming financial crisis and the state already having budget troubles, it seems to me we should think twice even about perfectly good ideas like funding children's hospitals. On the other hand, if it's funding a long-term investment in infrastructure, it could be well worth the money. It takes wealth to create wealth. Anyway, I'm not giving any endorsement one way or the other on State Measures 3 (Children's Hospital Bond), 9 (some victims' rights thing), or 12 (Veterans' Bond), or L.A. Community College Dirstirct Measure J, LAUSD Measure Q, or L.A. measure B. I'm not even sure how I'm going to vote on those.

The Yes Votes:
Prop 1A invests in a high-speed rail system, a sound, long-term infrastructure investment. The only argument the opponents seem able to come up with is that the state will take the money and the project might never get done. Not an entirely unsubstantiated argument--I'm sure we can all think of government projects that end up being money pits, but the vast majority of public works projects do somehow manage to get completed.

Prop 2 establishes humane standards for confining farm animals. If you know me, you know I'm not a radical on this issue at all. I eat a lot of meat (probably too much). But the standards this law establishes are the bare minimum that a civilized society ought to agree to for the treatment of living creatures, and the timeline is more than reasonable.

Prop 5 moves more nonviolent drug offenders into rehab programs rather than jail, which is always a good thing.

County Measure R increases our sales tax by one half a cent to fund rail and invest in transportation infrastructure. No bonds, long term gain.

City Measure A establishes a $36 annual tax per property parcel to pay for gang and youth violence intervention programs.

The No Votes:

Prop 4 establishes a waiting period and parental notification before a minor gets an abortion. I suppose this is the most reasonable anti-abortion law imaginable, but I don't see any compelling reason for it. And an identical measure has already been voted down.

Prop 6 seems like an unnecessary law that increases mandatory minimum sentences and spends a lot of money.

Prop 8 is a constitutional ammendment to ban gay marriage. If you vote for it, you're stupid.

The Undecided Votes:

Props 7 and 10 sound great. There has, of course, been a great deal of money spent against prop 7, including some coming from respectable environmental groups like the Sierra Club. A lot of people on the left are coming out against these two bills, but the reasons they give seem rather vague to me. If you have any input, please leave it in the comments.

And Prop 11 sounds very contrived, but LA Weekly, Marc Cooper, and the League of Women Voters all like it. Help me out on this one, if you can.


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