The Daily Nexus editorial board has closely scrutinized measures and propositions to provide our readership with voting choices that can begin to heal our ailing economy and lead to social and civic progress.
The Daily Nexus’ official endorsements should be understood as nothing other than educated suggestions; the real power and responsibility lies in the voter.
It is your job as a citizen of California to research and understand the implications of each political candidate and proposition this Nov. 2.
The following are the ballot measures and propositions that we endorse for the upcoming Nov. 2 midterm election.
Santa Barbara Country Measures
Measures Q & R (Funding for Local School Repairs): Yes
Measure Q allows the Santa Barbara High School District to borrow $75 million for repairs and projects at local high schools and junior high schools, while Measure R allows for the borrowing of another $35 million for similar projects at local elementary schools. The funding would go toward fixing dilapidating structures, improving disabled student access and updating electrical equipment. Additionally, independent oversight of all funds will be performed annual and ensure fiscal responsibility. The Daily Nexus endorses this measure because we believe in the investment of youth through education.
Measure S (Build New Jail in North County): No
While the county penal system is suffering from overcrowding and underfunding, instituting a half cent sales tax increase to build a new jail is not the solution.
Measure S proposes a half-cent tax on any purchases within Santa Barbara County in order to build a 304-bed jail in Santa Maria. The measure would increase the tax rate from 7.75% to 8.25% and last for a lengthy 14 years. Other incentives will be provided with half of the raised funding, such as repeat offender programs, fire protection services and law enforcement expansion.
The Daily Nexus rejects this measure because it half-heartedly attempts to solve a larger social issue of crime prevention and punishment at the expense of the taxpayer. Locking away criminals in jails is representative of a collective willingness to hide our problems in secure cells where they won’t bother us, rather than confront the root of the problems.
Measure T (Full Ban on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries): No
Measure T would repeal the existing city ordinance that allows medical marijuana dispensaries to operate out of storefront locations within city limits. If passed, Measure T would shut down dispensaries that currently exist within Santa Barbara city limits and prevent the further operation of dispensaries out of storefront locations.
The Daily Nexus rejects this measure because it prevents individuals who have a medical need for marijuana from seeking relief and would further criminalize a substance that is benign in our eyes.
California State Propositions
Proposition 19 (Legalize, Tax and Regulate Marijuana): Yes
In addition to legalizing the use, cultivation and transportation of marijuana for individuals 21 or older, Prop 19 would would permit local governments to tax and regulate marijuana-related activities. The most outspoken opponents of the proposition—in the absence of conclusive evidence suggesting that marijuana consumption is linked to serious health side effects—complain that the legislation’s wording is vague and apt to be misused. To counter, we believe that the benefits of legalizing marijuana far outweigh the costs.
Economically, assuming that taxes rest at $50 an ounce, the state stands to gain $1.4 billion in tax revenue— not to mention the $1.4 billion being saved in legal fees due to Gov. Schwarzenegger’s recent decision to decriminalize marijuana in California.
Additionally, Prop 19 would allow local governments to pass and enforce their own rules for marijuana-related activities. This would encourage communities to make their own decision on to the extent that marijuana will be available within their own respective regions.
As a kicker, the legalization of marijuana may open up the state to the use of hemp as an agricultural crop and domestic product. A plant of nearly unmatched capability for sustainable production and efficiency, hemp could very well be the most important gain of Prop19.
Proposition 20 (Allows Redistricting Commission to Determine Congressional Districts): No
Proposition 20 would give a 14-member redistricting committee, rather than elected officials, the authority to determine congressional districts. The committee will be comprised of a band of Democrats, Republicans and Independents established in 2008 through Prop 11.
The Daily Nexus does not endorse this proposition because it entrust the duties of elected officials to a bureaucratic body that isn’t constrained by the same accountability placed upon our legislators.
Proposition 21 (State Park Admission through Vehicle Registration): Yes
Proposition 21 calls for an $18 increase in vehicle registration fees in order to secure a guaranteed $500 million a year in funding for state parks. The fee will allow most California vehicles free admission and parking at California parks and beaches. 85 percent of the revenue would be put towards cleaning and maintaining state parks.
The effects of this bill are somewhat questionable. The Daily Nexus endorses this proposition because $18 is worth paying to maintain our natural parks while also securing free admission and parking at most state parks and beaches. However, it should be noted that state parks may lose significant income from day-to-day visitors. Additionally, we believe that an ad-hoc fix such as this is not what is needed to preserve and maintain California’s troubled state park system.
Proposition 22 (Protects Local Government Funds from State Government Appropriation): Yes
Allowing the state to balance it general budget at the cost of local funds for transportation, education services and other local projects is backwards thinking that will only encourage legislators to keep running the deficit. Solutions to the general budget crisis should focus on comprehensive reform and repair, rather than borrowing from communities.
Proposition 23 (Postpone Anti-Global Warming Legislation): No
Proposition 23 would delay the enactment of the AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006, California’s landmark clean air legislation. The proposition would freeze the environmental protection statutes of AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below for four consecutive quarters.
The Daily Nexus rejects this proposition because clean energy and jobs are not mutually exclusive. Critics say AB 32 costs the state hundreds of thousands of job in the short run, but evidence is scarce at best and critics are forced to rely on fear. California has been a pioneer in global warming legislation, and to pass Prop.23 would kill the potential that green jobs have for California’s flailing economy.
Proposition 24 (Repeal Legislation for Business Tax Breaks): Yes
Prop 24 repeals recent legislation that allows businesses to decrease tax liability and share tax credits with other businesses. Essentially, Prop 24 would end a series of 1.7 billion dollar tax breaks for certain businesses, making wealthy corporations more fiscally accountable for profits or losses.
The Daily Nexus endorses this proposition because it would close the tax loophole that allows large corporations to short the state funding it desperately needs.
Proposition 25 (Lessens Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass Budget from Two-Thirds Vote to Simple Majority Vote): No
Basically, it’s a matter of trust. Loosening the electoral requirements to a simple majority in order to pass a state budget would increase the power of the majority party in fiscal decisions and weaken the democratic process. Furthermore, the proposition’s vague wording concerning raising taxes makes it unclear whether budgets passed under its standards would be meaningless and rushed.
Proposition 26 (Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass State and Local Fees to Two-Thirds Vote):
In California, there exists a loose constitutional wording for distinguishing taxes and fees. The Daily Nexus editorial staff has not reached a conclusive decision regarding this proposition. Supporters among our staff liked the idea that Prop.26 will stop the usage of legislative loopholes and excessive fees, which they argue damage business— especially small business— in the state. Those in opposition on our staff stress that the proposition would mainly protect polluters, making it harder for the state to impose fines on them, to pay for environmental cleanup and awareness.
Proposition 27 (Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting): Yes
Proposition 27 would dissolve the 14-member redistricting committee approved by California voters in 2008, returning redistricting authority to the state legislature.
The Daily Nexus endorses this proposition because we believe legislators are more qualified to make political decisions including the redrawing of district lines, and can be held accountable for their decisions.