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Monday, November 07, 2005

California Special Election : Fight Arnold's Right-Wing Power Grab

Tuesday, November 8th is Election Day. The importance of tomorrow's election cannot be underestimated.

This was not a planned election but rather an election forced upon the public by the Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former star of 'Last Action Hero' decided to take advantage of low voter turnout in a non-election year in order to increase the power of his Republican base. When voter turnout is low, the Republican percentage of the vote increases. And the cost for all this? Somewhere between $52 and $55 million dollars.

Predictably, the same old conservative interests benefit from Arnold's initiatives. Here's a rundown, proposition by proposition, along with the War on Corporate Evil's recommendation:

73 - VOTE NO.
The proposal: A yes vote would prohibit underage girls from obtaining an abortion unless they notify their parents first.
The impact: Abused girls will have to resort to illegal abortions; many will die. The Christian Right will have successfully chipped away at Roe v. Wade. This is one for the fundamentalist croud. Also, there will be millions of dollars spent on litigation because this law will be challenged relentlessly.

74 - VOTE NO.
The proposal: Decrease poor teachers' benefits even further than now by extending their probationary period from 2 to 5 years. Allow the state to save money by firing permanent teachers who receive 2 "unsatisfactory performance evaluations using a modified dismissal process." What exactly this entails is largely unknown at this point.
The impact: More smart people will decide that being a teacher isn't worth the expense. Blaming the teachers is another example of Republican sleight of hand. The real problem is the lack of funding for schools and the problems of recruiting and maintaining highly competent teachers. Blaming the teachers we do have without spending any money to improve the pool of teachers is completely irresponsible.

75. VOTE NO.
The proposal: Require unions to get annual, written consent from government employee union members before any political contributions can be made.
The impact: Add huge costs and disincentives to union political contributions in order to defund the Democratic Party. People don't have to join unions, so if they don't like a union's politics, they can drop out. Requring annual votes would take away millions of dollars from Democratic coffers in order to conduct largely pointless votes.

76. VOTE NO.
The proposal: This would allow the Governor to unilaterally cut spending on the programs of his choice when he declares a budget crisis. In addition, the formula for computing school and community college spending would be changed to allow them to be cut more than the California Constitution currently allows. Finally, it would restrict spending to be based on an average of recent revenue growth.
The impact: There's nothing wrong with the idea of a spending limit, but it's inclusion in this proposition is a red herring. The real problem with this initiative is that the Governor would be allowed to cut any programs he likes with accountability to no one. Predictably, you can expect massive cuts to social programs and education while those of corporate evil will be left intact. As if this proposition were some kind of sick joke, Arnold also attempts to sneak in a CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT that would cut funding for schools by about $4 billion. This is the ugliest proposition on the ballot.

77 - VOTE NO.
The proposal: Allow 3 judges to redistrict California's legislative districts instead of allowing the legislative to redistrict.
The impact: Sounds great, right? Why should the politicians get to gerrymander their districts to ensure re-election? Well, I agree. But on the other hand, what's the alternative? This plan is far worse. Using "judges" sounds great until you remember that a lot of judges are just cronies of politicans. And these 3 judges are guaranteed to be political cronies -- they will be chosen by legislative leaders. It's more fair to allow the legislative -- who we get to vote for and can vote out if we don't like what they do -- to redraw our districts than 3 unaccountable political appointees.

78 - VOTE NO.
The proposal: Allow government subsidies for drug manufactuers to provide rebates to some low income Californians.
The impact: Corporate welfare disguised as benefit for the poor. Truly sick. Vote for Prop 79 instead to help poor people. The drug companies have paid millions in propaganda because they stand to earn millions more.

79 - VOTE YES.
The proposal: Provide more drug discounts to a wider group of people than Prop 78. Instead of corporate welfare to drug companies, this proposition works by refusing to contract with manufacturers who will not provide the Medicaid best price for Medi-Cal.
The impact: Huge savings on drugs for the poor, slightly less profits for mega-rich corporations. It's a win-win.

80 - VOTE YES.
The proposal: Requires 20% of energy sources to be renewable by 2010. Re-regulates the electricity market.
The impact: After deregulation, electrical bills soared and energy companies scored record profits. Then Enron and rolling blackouts hit. Still, some conservatives still claim deregulation was great because 1) deregulation is a buzzword successfully framed by the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and 2) corporations made out like bandits. In favor of this are unions and labor groups; opposed are energy companies who have funneled their contributions through 2 political action groups to cover their tracks.


Comments on ""


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (4:32 PM) : 

73 - I'm undecided on this one, but let me point out a few things. It does not require parental consent, only requires 48 hours time, and a letter to be sent to notify the parents, it's still quite possible the parents will not be notified (who knows who gets the letter). The teenager can still go through with it regardless of what her parents think, just provides the parents the opportunity to give their advice. Wouldn't you want a parent to give advice to their teenage son before he enlists in the military - I believe you would, or would go so far as to require consent.

75 - I'm voting Yes on this one. What you said about the option of joining a union is plain wrong in many cases. I used to work for the East Bay Regional Parks District, we were unionized and the dues (quite substantial by the way) came straight out of my paycheck, I had no choice in the matter. The dues can then be spent on political campaigns (we both know they will go to the democrats) It's unfair for the non-democrats in the union to be forced to support candidates they don't want to. It's the tyranny of the majority over the minority - surely you can sympathize with the unfairness in that. Those who still want to support the union's candidates will just consent to it.

77 - I'm also voting yes on this one. I believe all or almost all the incumbants won re-election last time, they re-draw the districts to ensure that they are re-elected. Judges may not be a perfect or even near perfect alternative, but I believe the current set up is even more flawed.

Although we disagree on certain issues, I share your enthusiasm and encourage everyone to get out their and vote, regardless of how you vote.


Blogger Michael Alexander said ... (6:03 PM) : 

73 - You have made a key error regarding this proposition. The issue is notification, not consent.

It is a two prong test. You need 1) parental notification and then 2) 48 hours time after the notice has been received. Here's the link to the law: http://www.ss.ca.gov/elections/bp_nov05/voter_info_pdf/text73.pdf

A girl who does not want their parents to know she is having an abortion won't take the risk that her parents won't find out even though a doctor has to make diligent efforts under the law to contact her parents.

The fact that requiring a girl to notify her parents will result in many girls deciding not to get legal abortions and going for back-alley illegal abortions instead.

Would I want a parent to give advice to their teenage son before he enlists in the military? Of course I do. But do I think we should make a law requiring him to do so? That's a different story altogether. Of course in an ideal world, girls will always tell their parents before having an abortion. But many girls, especially poor ones, grow up in households where such a revelation could result in severe injury or death.


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