The Graduate Student Association lounge was packed beyond capacity last night as several students came to see congresswoman Lois Capps speak about the propositions in the upcoming statewide special election on Nov. 8.
Capps spoke at the Campus Democrats meeting last night and said that of the eight propositions on the ballot, she only supports Propositions 79 and 80. Proposition 79 seeks to reduce the cost that certain residents of the state would pay for prescription drugs, while Proposition 80 would regulate electric service providers. Capps said she thinks the rest of the propositions are misleading.
Capps said she thinks Prop 79 is in the public’s best interest because it would take the power away from large pharmaceutical companies. Prop 80, despite having several flaws, is beneficial, Capps said, because it would regulate utilities.
Of the propositions, Capps said she thinks Prop 77 is the most misleading. Prop 77 would hand the power to change electorate district boundaries from the state legislature to three retired judges, who would be selected by legislative leaders.
“[Prop] 77 sounds like a good idea, and in fact changing the process for setting the boundaries is not a bad idea,” Capps said. “It’s a power grab … It’s a referendum on our governor. He’s not happy with working with the opposite power and he wants to shift around more Republicans so he can get more power.” Although it is similar to Prop 79, Capps said she does not agree with Proposition 78 — which would allow the Dept. of Health and Human Services to contract with pharmacies to sell prescription drugs at an agreed upon discount rate — because she thinks it would be an industry-based, pharmaceutical drug discount proposal which would benefit the drug companies more than the low-income recipients of the program. She also said she is against Prop 76 because it would limit school funding to $4 billion a year and would put a cap on local government spending.
If passed, Prop 76 would give more power to the governor to limit state spending — in part through a line-item veto — including on school funding.
Capps said she strongly opposes Propositions 73, 74 and 75.
If passed, Proposition 73 would require a waiting period and parental notification for minors having an abortion. Proposition 74 would lengthen the period public school teachers would have to wait in order to receive permanent status at a given school and Proposition 75 would require workers’ unions to ask for member consent before using money from their dues for political campaigns.
“[Prop] 75 has to do with forcing unions to get membership,” Capps said. “This is a deceptive measure. It’s called ‘paycheck protection,’ but it is a wedge between unions and members.” Capps said she is against Prop 74 because she considers teachers to be experts in their subject matter and thinks they should not have to undergo excessive scrutiny to receive permanent status at a school. She also said she is against Prop 73 because it is a step toward reversing Roe v. Wade.
“The reason we don’t want to have notification regulation is there are instances where that would be a threat to a young woman’s life,” Capps said. “The most important thing is safety. … We want to protect teenagers who are in very vulnerable situations.”
Campus Democrats President Ben Sheldon-Tarzynski, a third-year history and classics major, said Capps is open to meeting with people, especially students.
“She represents the people who live here and she wants to know what they have to say,” Sheldon-Tarzynski said.
Capps began her career in 1998, when she ran in a special election to replace her late husband and former UCSB professor Walter Capps for a position in Congress. Sheldon-Tarzynski said students were instrumental in getting Capps into office her first year and that they are still one of Capps’ biggest constituencies.
“She can fallback on having the support of students,” Sheldon-Tarzynski said.