Wednesday, October 20, 2010

California Ballot Endorsements November 2010

State of California
November Election, 2010

Governor: Jerry Brown Discussion: The state is a mess; it needs Jerry Brown to come fix it. Meg Whitman's a rich idiot, and the other alternatives are jokes.
Lt. Governor: James "Jimi" Castillo Discussion: This is pretty much a joke job with a good salary anyways. Let's just be honest about that fact, and use this opportunity to elect a Green Party member to statewide office. The other candidates are former politicians just looking for a good way to continue collecting a salary for doing nothing. Let's elect somebody who might actually shake things up a little.
U.S. Senator: Barbara Boxer: This is not the time to replace Boxer. She's not perfect, but she'll do for now.
Attorney General: Kamala Harris Discussion: Yeah, as AG of SF she's been a little soft on crime, and the streets of SF are still the streets of SF. For this statewide office, she seems like a thinking, open-minded human being who may at least give some serious thought to the important policy issues of the day. You can't say the same for the other candidates.
Treasurer: Bill Lockyer

Statewide Measures:
Measure 19: Legalizes Marijuana. Discussion: I probably don't need to say much, but I will. This needs to be done for two very good reasons: One, it will undercut the funding for foreign mafias that currently profit by trafficking marijuana into our country, and thus have definite foreign policy benefits; and Two, it will undercut the funding for domestic drug gangs that currently profit by trafficking marijuana within our cities and within the country, and thus have definite domestic policy benefits. Estimated Financial Impact: The state's going to bring in a ton of cash from this. Recommended Vote: Yes

Measure 20: Redistricting. Discussion: Takes the carving of the pork out of the wolf's hands. Recommended Vote: Yes

Measure 21: VLF for State Parks. Discussion: Seems like a rather poor use of funds collected from vehicle license fees, and if the state parks were to all "close" tomorrow, as long as they didn't begin actually clear-cutting them, at least they would be preserved for future generations. Recommended Vote: No

Measure 22: Prevents State from Stealing Money from Other Jurisdictions. Discussion: I was horrified when I heard that the State of California could do this to begin with. F*ing fix it already. Recommended Vote: Yes

Measure 23: Suspend AB 32 until hell freezes over. Discussion: Funded by oil companies to protect profits and advance the Conservative cause. Go tell them where to stick it. Recommended Vote: No

Measure 24: Remove some business tax exemptions. Discussion: There's probably a good reason for some of these exemptions, if you ask the right lobbyist. But, the state is really, really, really broke. It needs cash, and it shouldn't have to steal it to get it. This is a logical way to raise revenue without raising taxes. Recommended Vote: Yes

Measure 25: Allows the Legislature to pass a budget with a simple majority vote (currently, 2/3 is needed). Discussion: This is a democracy, which is majority rule, not minority rule. Requiring a super-majority vote on an issue is effectively creating minority rule. That strikes me as wrong. This measure will go a long way to fixing politics in this broken state. Recommended Vote: Yes

Measure 26: Requires 2/3 vote to enact or raise fees. Discussion: See above, about minority rule = bad. Recommended Vote: No

Measure 27: Opposite of Measure 20, Redistricting. Unlock the coop, leave a trail of blood to the forest, and put up a god-damn neon sign saying "The chickens are sleeping, come and eat them Mr. Fox". Recommended Vote: No

Alameda County

Measure F: Vehicle License Fee for Bicycles, Transit & Urban Greening. F*ing yeah! Right on. This is a great use of VLF moneys. Appropriate use of funds, given the revenue source. Recommended Vote: Yes

BART Director, District 4: Robert Raburn

Mayor, Oakland:
1) Rebecca Kaplan
2) Joe Tuman
Discussion: Rebecca gets it, and would hopefully be a good mayor. Joe at least supports the Oakland Streetcar proposal, which is better than nothing. Stop voting after two, your first two votes will still be counted under the ranked-choice system (You may rank UP TO three choices).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Oregon Ballot Endorsements 2010

State of Oregon


United States Senator: Ron Wyden

Representatives in Congress:
1st District: David Wu
2nd District: Joyce Segers
3rd District: Earl Blumenauer

4th District: Peter DeFazio

5th District: 

Kurt Schrader

6th District: Just kidding, Oregon only has 5 districts.

Governor: John Kitzhaber
Treasurer: Ted Wheeler

Oregon Metro Council President: Bob Stacey Discussion: Bob will show decisive leadership on important policy issues, and that's still what metro (and Oregon) need.
Measure 70 through 72 were referred to the people by the Legislature, and thus already represent the result of a well-reasoned consensus that has been reached by our elected body of citizen representatives in Oregon.

Measure 70:
Amends Constitution: Expands availability of home ownership loans for Oregon veterans through Oregon War Veterans' Fund. Estimated Financial Impact: None. Discussion: This seems to be mostly a clean-up bill to rationalize what seems to be a slightly irrational set of rules governing this program. Recommended Vote: Yes.

Measure 71: Amends Constitution: Requires legislature to meet annually; limits length of legislative sessions; provides exceptions. Estimated Financial Impact: Not estimated to exceed $100,000. Discussion: You know, this sounds like an interesting experiment, and I'm all for interesting experiments taking place in Oregon, if there's not pre-known to be a predictable adverse impact. Know what I'm sayin'? Recommended Vote: Yes.

Measure 72: Amends Constitution: Authorizes exception to $50,000 state borrowing limit for state's real and personal property projects. Estimated Financial Impact: This should provide for lower financing costs to the state to acquire debt. Discussion: The state says it needs more tools in its financial toolchest. It's going through hard times. This seems like a really good idea. Recommended Vote: Yes.


Measures 73 through 76 were referred to the ballot through citizen initiative petition.

Measure 73: Requires increased minimum sentences for certain repeated sex crimes, incarceration for repeated driving under influence. Estimated Financial Impact: $18.1 million to $29.1 million per year after it fully takes effect after its fourth year of impact, lesser until then. Discussion: While this seems like a good law-and-order measure, in these hard financial times, I'd like to see it come with some financing attached to help pay for itself. I don't see that. Without more evidence that this is the best solution available for the problem at hand, I don't see the compelling cost-benefit analysis that says this is the best use of the state's limited funding. Recommended Vote: No.

Measure 74: Establishes medical marijuana supply system and assistance and research programs; allows limited selling of marijuana. Estimated Financial Impact: Up to $20 million in revenue to the state in the first year alone. Discussion: Some time has passed since Oregon legalized medical marijuana, and in that time, experience has shown that additional regulation could improve the situation. This measure is therefore an evolutionary step forward from the present situation in Oregon. Recommended Vote: Yes.

Measure 75: Authorizes Multnomah County casino; casino to contribute monthly revenue percentage to state for specified purposes. Estimated Financial Impact: Yeah, allows for opening a casino. I think it might bring in some cash. Maybe a few dozen million per year or so in taxes, something along those lines, once a casino begins operations... Discussion: I think there are much better-thought-out options to raise cash for the state, including some of the other measures on this ballot. We don't need to stoop this low yet. Recommended Vote: No.

Measure 76: Amends Constitution: continues lottery funding for parks, beaches, wildlife habitat, watershed protection beyond 2014; modifies funding process. Estimated Financial Impact: None,  unless you happen to be another state program competing annual for lottery funding since this is a renewal measure, these funds are already currently obligated to this purposes. Discussion: This is micro-managing the Legislature. As good-intentioned as this sounds, I believe the Legislature actually might already have a process to work this out, which is what we did elect them to do. Since this is a renewal measure, this is just a matter of reinforcing our already-good judgement to use some lottery funds to help support the parks. Recommended Vote: Yes.

People's Republic of Multnomah County:
Measures 26-109, 26-110, 26-111, 26-112, 26-113, 26-114, 26-118: Yes

City of Portland:
Measure 26-108: Yes
Measure 26-117: No

Measure 26-119: Yes Discussion: begrudgingly, since this is effectively the renewal of the bond funding that was used to construct Westside Light Rail, and I don't see this current expenditure as rising to that level of vision-achievement.