In case you've wondering where I've been these last few weeks, I've been in the process of buying a house.... more on that later, but as most of you already have long since known, it sure takes up a heck of a lot of time. And since you're all wondering, we're moving to Camelot (LA residents who were around in 2002 will get the reference). Anyway, on to the business of endorsements.
President: Barack Obama. For all the hype, there's three reasons I'm voting for Obama: 1) Constitutional/Civil Rights (which includes judges). 2) Iraq and general approach to national security and use of force. 3) Policies on climate change. Yes, there's lots of other things I support, such as expanded health care, better regulation of Wall Street, etc. Also, there are credible arguments about whether or not it's a good idea to raise taxes on business during an economic downturn. But the urgency of these first three items in my opinion outweigh just about everything else.
Proposition 1: No. The last thing we need is a $10 BILLION bond to fund a bullet train across California. We can't afford it.
Proposition 2: Yes. I hate voting yes for propositions. I can't bring myself to recommend a no vote despite my aversion to legislating at the ballot box. Animals deserve at least a minimum amount of humane treatment - space to extend limbs or wings, lie down, stand up and turn around. A legitimate counter argument to this is businesses would leave for less regulated states. But I can't vote against this.
Proposition 3: No. $1 BILLION bond measure for Children's Hospitals sounds great but there's two problems: 1) According to the legislative analyst, it appears close to $350MM from the last bond measure passed on this (Prop 61) is still available for children's hospital projects and 2) more importantly, if we're going to spend scarce resources on health care then we should focus efforts on coverage of children (and everyone else).
Proposition 4: No. I can understand why someone would want to vote for this measure, but the state ultimately cannot force children to talk to their parents about a pregnancy. I could consider supporting a mandatory counseling law for minors but this isn't the way to do it.
Proposition 5: No. This is legislating at the ballot box. It's ridiculous to think the general population has the expertise and/or attention to know how to tinker with the criminal system. Plus, it "allocates" half a billion dollars to specific items. If you wonder why California has such budget problems today, remember that 2/3 of California's budget is pre-determined by propositions already passed.
Proposition 6: No. Same as Prop 5 - this time it "requires" $1 BILLION.
Proposition 7: No. Seriously. Why, you ask, would I vote against renewable energy? Because like most propositions, it is poorly drafted and we probably won't get what we bargained for. The public aren't legislators - consider who is against this measure: Sierra Club, NRDC, League of Conservation Voters. California Green Party. Democrats, Republicans, etc. etc. Propositions are a bad idea.
Proposition 8: No. This is hateful, divisive legislation. Please vote no.
Proposition 9: No. See comments to Propositions 5 and 6.
Proposition 10: NO. SERIOUSLY. This is sponsored by T. Boone Pickens, the energy mogul. See LAT editorial here - very enlightening.
Proposition 11: No. The only thing worse than elected officials monkeying with legislative boundaries is an unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy holding the power over our electoral process. At least we can vote politicians out.
Proposition 12: Maybe. Another bond, another cool $900 million. At least this one theoretically would be paid back to the state. I wouldn't blame you for voting yes, as assisting vets with their housing is the least we can do.
County Measure R: Yes. Wait! What's up with the yes after all these noes? This is a more honest proposal - ask the people of LA County straight up to pony up a half cent sales tax for traffic and congestion infrastructure. I say okay.
Don't forget to vote. God bless you and your families, and may God bless the United States of America and help us find our way.