Mountain View Voice

Opinion - November 2, 2012

Our election recommendations

Mountain View City Council

(See editorial published Oct. 12)

Mike Kasperzak (i)

John Inks (i)

John McAlister

Chris Clark

Mountain View Whisman Board of Education

(See editorial published Oct.12)

Peter Darrah

Bill Lambert

Jim Pollart

El Camino Hospital District Board

(See editorial published Oct. 19)

Wes Alles

John Zoglin

Bill James

El Camino Hospital Measure M

(See editorial published Oct. 19)

Vote no

Santa Clara County Measure A

(See editorial published Oct. 26)

Vote yes

Santa Clara County Measure B

(See editorial published Oct. 26)

Vote yes

Foothill-DeAnza College District Board of Trustees

Joan Barram (i)

Betsy Bechtel (i)

Laura Casas Frier (i)

County Board of Education

Grace Mah (i)

U.S. House of Representatives

Anna Eshoo (D) (i)

State Senate

Jerry Hill (D)

State Assembly

Rich Gordon (D) (i)

State Propositions

Proposition 30: Yes on Brown tax proposal

Prop. 30 would raise income taxes on those earning $250,000 or more for seven years, and raise the sales tax by a quarter-cent for four years. Most of the $6.8 billion raised from the tax hike will go to K-12 schools, and some will go to community and state colleges and universities. Prop. 30 is a critical part of Governor Brown's effort to stabilize the state's financial situation after the Legislature was unable to pass a tax increase measure. Its failure would trigger cuts to education spending at all levels. Even with these tax increases, due to taxes that have expired over the last two years, the actual tax burden will be lower than it was two years ago.

Proposition 31: Yes for political reforms

Prop. 31 packages a number of measures developed by the bipartisan California Forward political reform group. It will establish a two-year state budget, which will at the very least make the current annual state-budget crisis an every-other-year embarrassment. It will also require bills before the Legislature be made public three days prior to a vote — preventing laws from being rushed through before state-elected officials have a chance to digest what's really in them. It would also allow the governor to make "emergency" spending cuts if the Legislature fails to act.

Proposition 32: No on banning payroll deductions for political action

Prop. 32 would change campaign-finance rules in California to prohibit collecting voluntary union dues through payroll deductions for political purposes. It's touted as a political reform measure, but in fact is designed to severely limit union political activity. Both the League of Women Voters and Common Cause oppose it, based on the fact that free-flowing corporate and Super PAC money would continue to be allowed. Even if you don't like unions, this isn't reform and it's undemocratic.

Proposition 33: No on latest auto-insurance scheme

Prop. 33 is a virtual repeat of the attempt by Mercury Insurance in 2010 to overturn current law that prevents auto-insurance companies from discriminating against drivers who have had a lapse in their coverage, even in the absence of any claims or points on their driving record. The campaign for Prop. 33 is being financed almost entirely by Mercury chairman George Joseph.

Proposition 34: Yes to end death penalty

Prop. 34 would replace California's death penalty with life in prison with no chance of parole, and would convert the sentences of the 725 prisoners currently on death row to life in prison with no possibility of parole. It has cost the state a total of $4 billion to put to death 13 inmates, an absurd use of public funds. Whether due to the financial drain of the system or a belief that vengeance shouldn't be a part of our criminal-justice system, it's time to join the 17 other states and 135 nations that have banned the death penalty.

Proposition 35: Yes to increase penalties for human trafficking

Prop. 35 would establish longer prison sentences and larger fines for people convicted in California of human-trafficking crimes, and require them to register as sex offenders. Modeled after a New York law, it would address what law enforcement says is a rapidly growing problem in California, and especially in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Proposition 36: Yes to revise Three Strikes

Prop. 36 would revise California's Three Strikes law to impose a life sentence only when the third felony is "serious or violent." It would also authorize re-sentencing for current Three Strikes lifers whose third conviction was not serious or violent. District attorneys currently have discretion about how to charge third-strike offenses so that minor drug or other offenses won't lead to life sentences, but that has led to inconsistent practices across the state and to many unfair results. Jeff Rosen, our district attorney in Santa Clara County, supports the measure.

Proposition 37: No on genetically engineered food labeling

Prop. 37 would require that genetically engineered foods sold in California be specifically labeled as such. Genetic engineering has been used for some 15 years to make plants grow bigger, stronger, faster and resist spoilage or insect damage. It is estimated that more than 40 percent of food products contain some genetically engineered ingredients. Although no studies have found any health impacts, the industry is too young to know with certainty. Labeling isn't a bad idea, but imposing it by initiative in California prior to further studies and absent any evidence of harmful effects seems premature, and better addressed on a national level by the FDA or Congress.

Proposition 38: Yes on school tax measure

Prop. 38 is presented as a more ambitious alternative to Prop. 30, but unfortunately it has created sufficient controversy to imperil both measures. And it is critical that at least one of these two propositions passes in order to maintain needed funding of schools. Prop. 38 raises income taxes for the next 12 years by increasing the marginal tax rates on a sliding scale up to 2.2 percent for those making over $2.5 million. It would raise about $10 billion a year and would support K-12 schools and early childhood programs. Prop. 38 has a number of flaws. It is overly complicated and proscriptive in how funds get distributed and spent (for example, no money can be spent on teacher salaries) and it moves us further away from needed reform of our entire public education financing system. Flaws and all, we recommend voting for both Prop. 30 and 38.

Proposition 39: Yes to fix tax loophole

Prop. 39 would generate an estimated $1 billion in new tax revenue by simply requiring companies located outside of California to pay income taxes based on their sales within the state. It corrects a loophole passed at the end of the 2009 legislative session, and it eliminates a horrible incentive for companies to not have a physical presence in the state. About half of the new revenues would go toward clean-energy programs for the first five years, after which all funding would go to the general fund, where it would primarily benefit public education.

Proposition 40: Yes to confirm redistricting

Prop. 40 challenges the redistricting of California's Senate districts, completed in 2011 by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. The State Supreme Court has already ruled in favor of the new boundaries, which are the districts in place for this November's election for all state and federal legislative races in California. As a result, opponents have suspended their campaign, but too late for Prop. 40 to be removed from the ballot.

(i) = Incumbent

(D) = Democrat

To read full editorials and our election coverage online, go to MV-Voice.com

Comments

Posted by Chris Bernstien, a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Prop. 34 proponents are perpetuating a huge FRAUD against California voters, knowing that with the millions of out-of-state dollars they can repeat their lies enough times that voters will begin to accept them. A Study by Judicial Watch concludes that Prop. 34 is "both disingenuous and deceptive." Three former CA governors and every major law enforcement group in CA OPPOSE Pro. 34.

Pro. 34 is dangerous, will cost taxpayers more, and was poorly thought through.

Prop. 34 will NOT save money, but instead COST TAXPAYERS BILLIONS of dollars more in additional trials, prison changes, and escalating health care costs.

Claims that Prop. 34 will save money are based upon a paper written by a former judge who has been advocating for abolishing the death penalty for decades (biased and inaccurate). A review of these numbers by the Legislative Analyst's Office concludes that the assumptions supporting these claimed savings "may well be wrong." Michael Genest, former State Of California Finance Director, found that these "savings claims are grossly exaggerated." Also, the loss of the threat of the death penalty will substantially increase the total number of murder trials by taking away a major incentive for murderers to plead guilty.

Prop. 34 ignores the escalating costs of medical care for life-time inmates. Prop. 34 will cost CA taxpayers billions more over the next several years. (It is these huge medical costs that are fueling the attack on life sentences under 3-strikes under Prop. 36.)

Prop. 34 is DANGEROUS. Experts conclude that Pro. 34 will increase the number of murders in California. Criminals will be more brazen in their crimes without the death penalty. Also, there will be no deterrent for the 34,000 inmates already serving life from killing a guard or an inmate. They are already serving the maximum penalty.

One of the key methods for "saving" money under Prop. 34 is to move death row inmates into the general population and house them from single-person cells with other inmates. One strong proponent of Prop. 34 admits this is unworkable– the risk of danger posed by mixing the prison population is too great, and would increase costs associated with such an arrangement.

Life without parole is means they WILL GET OUT. Efforts are already being pursued by the same people supporting anti-punishment ballots and legislation to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving 25 years. Someone who has committed a brutal murder at age 20 could get out by age 45! Governors are also notorious for releasing inmates who should never be released. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.

ARGUMENTS OF INNOCENCE BOGUS. Proponents can't identify one innocent person executed in CA. They can't identify one person on CA's death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. Quite simply, CA's appellate process, designed by the very same people promoting Prop. 34, is 100% effective in weeding out the innocent. Every person Prop. 34 proponents refer to are either non-death-penalty cases or out-of-state cases where defendants do not get the benefit of CA's appellate process.

Don't get fooled by the bombardment of lies. See cadeathpenalty.webs. com and voteno34. org for more facts explaining why you should NOT SUPPORT Prop. 34.


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