No endorsement is issued if a majority vote is not obtained, or if the staff feels there is not enough information to make an informed decision. The Nexus endorsements are intended to serve as a guide for the readership. Individuals are strongly encouraged to seek further information and come to a decision on their own.
Prop 40: No
Clean Water, Clean Air, Neighborhood Parks and Coastal Protection Act
General, all-purpose bills seem like a good idea. They’re convenient, packed with positive-sounding goodies and don’t have to be all too specific on what they do.
This is exactly why Proposition 40 is a bad idea.
Prop 40 asks for too much money, promises too many projects and has too long of a name – The California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks and Coastal Protection Act of 2002. If passed, it would allow the state to sell bonds worth about $2.6 billion, with interest ($1.7 billion). This would eventually cost $4.1 billion, which frankly, is a lot more money than California has at the moment.
The bill is obviously trying to please a lot of people at once. It outlines amounts for numerous preservation and improvement projects, and sets up committees to ensure these monies are properly dispensed. But there are just too many things crammed into this one bond request. The wording of the bill is vague and so is the committee oversight plan.
The Daily Nexus opposes Prop 40.
Prop 41: Yes
Voting Modernization Bond Act
It’s high time for Californians to propel elections into the 21st century by voting yes on Proposition 41.
Prop 41 would provide bonds in the amount of $200 million to fund a modernization of California’s voting systems. It also creates a five-person Voting Modernization Board to review requests from, and give money to, counties that need to purchase new voting equipment.
Voting accuracy has never been a problem for California – even with most of the state using the “butterfly ballot” system – and the state has never had a close election that would call for an especially precise method of counting votes. But the last presidential election is proof that efficiency at the polls can save time and heartache, and improve accuracy.
In the grand scheme of things, this probably isn’t a big deal. But California would be able to claim a more accurate tallying system and the cost for the state ($255 million, including interest) is not extreme.
The Daily Nexus endorses Prop 41.
Prop 42: Yes
Transportation Congestion Improvement Act
There are currently two types of state tax on gasoline. First, an excise tax of 18 cents per gallon that is intended specifically for transportation purposes, such as road repair and public transportation costs. Then there is a 5.75 percent sales tax that traditionally has gone to fund other state projects, including local schools, and health and social services.
A Traffic Congestion Relief Package signed by Governor Grey Davis, effective 2000-2006, reserves the sales tax for transportation purposes as well, supplementing funds from the excise tax. Prop 42 proposes to make the arrangement a permanent part of the state constitution.
Prop 42 gives California the chance to improve the quality of its roads, and reduce traffic with better and more available public transportation services. It makes sense to use transportation-generated funds for these purposes. In addition, Prop 42 allows the state legislature a vote to use these funds elsewhere in cases of emergency.
The Daily Nexus endorses Prop 42.
Prop 43: No
Right to Have Vote Counted Constitutional amendment
Proposition 43 is a waste of voters’ time and ballot space.
Feeding fears that pimpled the face of the United States after the Florida vote-counting fiasco in 2000, Prop 43 recommends an amendment to the state constitution reading, “A voter who casts a vote in an election in accordance with the laws of this state shall have that vote counted.”
Proponents claim this eliminates doubt about the accuracy of any electoral outcome – that every person’s vote be included in the final count, now matter how long it takes.
Prop 43 would let local election officials request a time extension for counting ballots and allow the court to approve such a request.
Every individual already has a right to vote and have that vote count, and time limits are put in place to get results out efficiently and quickly. Prop 43 could lead to drawn-out litigation because it sets no guidelines dealing with lost or damaged ballots. Procedure and technology reform must be enacted before we consider a time extension.
The Daily Nexus does not endorse Prop 43.
Prop 44: Yes
Chiropractors Unprofessional Conduct Amendment
There are those who say that one’s skill as a medical practitioner has nothing to do with financial dishonesty. These people probably wouldn’t know a quack if it came up and sold them snake oil.
Proposition 44, if approved, would amend the Chiropractic Act to revoke, for 10 years, the license of any chiropractor convicted of a second count of insurance fraud, or multiple counts in a single case. It would also require the Board of Chiropractic Examiners to investigate any licensee who has been charged with committing insurance fraud.
Medical coverage is expensive to begin with; we don’t need embezzling practitioners making it any worse. No, fraud does not make someone a bad doctor, but a liar should not be trusted to provide sensitive medical care. A chiropractor that robs patients destroys confidence in the medical profession and should not be allowed to practice.
Get rid of these white-collar thieves and perhaps insurance rates will go down … or at least stop rising.
The Daily Nexus strongly endorses Prop 44.
Prop 45: Yes
Legislative Term Limits Local Voter Petitions Amendment
State senators are allowed to serve in office for only two four-year terms and assemblymembers for three two-year terms. Proposition 45 would allow voters to reelect legislators to an additional four years in office, extending term limits to 12 years for senators and 10 years for assemblymembers.
Opponents of Prop 45 say term limits keep officials out of the pockets of lobbyists. But term limits discourage experience, not corruption.
Dealing with questions such as energy, the environment, technology and even taxes, requires knowledge and know-how. The longer legislators are in office, the more they know about their position and committee, where they generally spend most of their time in office.
The failing of quick turnover in the legislature was made especially obvious in the case of deregulation of California energy companies. Enron had more to say than any senator about this because the only people with any institutional memory in Sacramento are lobbyists.
Fresh blood is good, but competent legislators – experts in the subject matter of their committees – are a must for good governance.
The Daily Nexus strongly endorses Prop 45.