Archive for the ‘billion’ Tag

California Voter Guide

Polls open in 24 hours.  

The most important right as a citizen is to vote. 

No matter how you vote, if you are over 18 and an American citizen, you OWE it to yourself to vote.  This is your land and your government.  Whether we like the results or not, you should not ignore your fundamental duty!  flag-21

These are my recommendations for the California initiatives.  You will either agree or disagree, or change your mind from one to the other based on what I write or make you seek out additional information – which is the best.  If you cannot have a level-headed discussion with friends and family, write it here.

Prop 1A:  High Speed Rail Bonds.  YES.  We have already outgrown our infrastructure.  We will continue to grow sooner or later.  It’s time to work on alternative transportation. $9.95 billion in bonds.

Prop 2:  Standards For Confining Farm Animals.  YES.  This is a simple initiative to treat farm animals like pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal, and egg-laying hens, humanely.  It is SICK that anyone finds it acceptable to not allow these animals to fully extend their limbs/wings or be able to lie down, stand up, and turn around all of their lives.   Even sicker is the fact that people find food from these confined animals acceptable as well!  Opponents allege increased salmonella and bird flu from eggs coming from Mexico and out-of-state and increased costs to farmers.  Here’s a simple recommendation:  Only buy California eggs.  As simple as the theory of supply and demand.  The farmers have until 2015 to comply, which is plenty of time to spend the money in upgrades.  If it puts them out of business, then I question their ethics in the first place.  Abuse is unacceptable in any form and certainly has no place on my dinner table.

Prop 3:  Children’s Hospital Bond Act.  NO.  Another $750 million in bonds.  Go back and look at 2004’s Prop 61 that authorized the sale of $1 billion in bonds that apparently remain unspent today.  What happened there?  Time to organize the existing funds accordingly.  Then if there isn’t enough, come back and ask for more.  

Prop 4:  Waiting Period For Parental Notification Before Termination Of A Minor’s Pregnancy.  NO.  This will only force illegal or out-of-state abortions and a likely increase in abandoned infants.  This isn’t the right measure to involve parents. 

Prop. 5:  Nonviolent Drug Offenses.  Sentencing.  Parole and Rehabilitation.  YES.  Keyword:  nonviolent.   It provides for rehab before and after prison time.  Opponents allege there is a loophole for violent criminals to escape prosecution.   I haven’t seen that but if there is, I don’t doubt the law would go through the courts to close any loopholes.   Opponents also allege sentencing for meth dealers would be reduced.  Prop 6 should take care of that.

Prop 6:   Police And Law Enforcement Funding.  Criminal Penalties and Laws.  YES.   There it is:  Sentencing increased for such things as meth sales (see Prop 5).  Opponents allege $1 billion will  be taken from schools, health care, fire protection, and proven public safety programs, empty argument.  Funding will actually come from the General Fund but any budgets or existing bonds for the schools would not be affected.

Prop 7:  Renewable Energy Generation.  YES.  Requires government-owned utilities to generate 20% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 50% by 2025.  Currently the standard of 20% applies only to private corporations (way to stick it to them – totally unfair).  Opponents allege this would lead to higher electricity costs and potential for another energy crisis.  We have to start somewhere.  Like anything, costs may increase, but eventually will decrease as clean energy becomes the norm.  It’s rather convenient for opponents to say this isn’t the time because of the economy.  It’s highly suspect that gas prices are falling as we head into our election, which may give people a false sense that we don’t need to start changing our habits after all.  If not now, when is the time?

Prop 8:  Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples To Marry.  NO.  If you’ve seen my first blog, or the blog before this, you will know where I stand.  More “it’s about the children” ads popping up.  This is a pure and simple discriminatory initiative to amend the California constitution.  It’s only about equal rights.  Hell,  if they stop gays from marrying, what’s next, repealing the rights of blacks and women to vote?  FYI – apparently ProtectMarriage.com does not allow anyone to comment or blog on it’s blog:  http://www.protectmarriage.com/blog/  Guess they don’t want to hear how they are for inequality and discrimination. 

Prop 9:  Criminal Justice System.  Victims Rights.  Parole.  YES.  Requires notification to victims and opportunity for input during processes such as bail, pleas, sentencing, and parole.  Considers victim safety for bail and parole.  Opponents allege current statutes already protect victim rights.  If that’s true, why do we need this one? 

Prop 10: Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy.  NO.  This title comes off like Prop 7 in the use of the term “renewable energy” but is not that at all.  It call for rebates to consumers to purchase clean, alternative fuel vehicles, increases grants to universities to develop cheaper alternatives to gasoline.  Leave it up to the private corporations already researching and developing alternative fuels and save the $5 billion in bonds.  

Prop 11:  Redistricting.  NO.  Takes it out of hands of our elected legislators and puts it into a 14 person commission made up of California voters.  These voters are not elected, nor will there be any audit for their processes.  So where do they come from and where’s the accountability.  Not sure this is worth amending our California constitution, but rather, revisit the process.  Seems opportunistic for corruption.

Prop 12:  Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008.  YES.   Replenishes Cal-Vet home loan program.  Veterans are doing a job for our country whether I agree with war or not.  They volunteer to defend our country.  They deserve some type of benefit whether they ever see combat or not.  Fact is, many get benefits and perks through their employers, so why shouldn’t a veteran – who unselfishly works for our country – not be entitled to benefits for doing that job as well.  Opponents suggest citizens insist this program be limited to the most needy and deserving veterans such as those injured in combat.  I disagree.

Prop A:  City of Los Angeles Special Gang and Youth Violence Prevention, After-School and Job Training Programs Tax.   YES.  Seems like a no-brainer.  Annual $36 special tax on each real property parcel and allows for Low Income and Lifeline Rate reductions.   Good for Los Angeles.  No skin off my back.

Prop B:  Update of Low Rent Housing Authorization.  NO.  Enables the City to receive State funds for the development of previously approved affordable housing units within the City’s zoning and land-use laws.  Does not tax residents or increase the number of allowable units in any area.  Will not change land-use or zoning laws.  Does allow access to previously provided funds of $2.8 billion under Prop 1C.  Opponents say current aging and neglected infrastructure cannot support this.  This needs to be addressed as part of the package to get my vote.

And that concludes my recommendations.

PLEASE VOTE!

Shamerica

Forgetting Sarah Palin

The Bridge to Nowhere was built in 1936.  It reaches across the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and was supposed to connect a road between San Gabriel Valley and Wrightwood in Southern California.  Plans to complete the road on either side were abandoned after the great flood of March 1938 washed it all away, except for the bridge.  It still stands today timelessly unaffected.  I’ve hiked to this bridge twice in my life.  Once in 1989, I went with friends to spend a night in the wilderness.  And again last summer, stupidly in 100 degree weather, and with the incorrect recollection that this was an easy task (when I was 19). 

Bridge to Nowhere -East Fork, San Gabriel - Southern California

The Bridge to Nowhere is not unlike Sarah Palin’s Gravina Bridge that was budgeted to receive $398 million to build.  She apparently supported this idea until it was ridiculed as the bridge to nowhere – nowhere being the island of Ketchikan with about 50 residents.  Sorry Ketchikan, you already have an airport.  This $398 million was part of a larger $750 million in special funds she has requested as governor, the largest per-capita request in the nation.

This in 2 years as governor of our nation’s largest state – so calls McCain of Alaska.  As of 2000, it ranked 48th in terms of population (Rhode Island has about 400,000 more people.)   But if it’s size that matters, well then Sarah has the biggest.

Speaking of size, Palin claims that her big state produces nearly 20 percent of the nation’s energy.   According to Factcheck.org, Alaska produced 14 percent of all oil from U.S. wells in 2007, but that is far from all the “energy” produced.  In reality, Alaska’s share of domestic energy production was 3.5 percent.

Which gives rise to this: Palin criticized Obama’s plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increases the tax burden on people by hundreds of billions of dollars.  Raise, raise, raise.  There is just SO much to work with on this penis metaphor!   The Tax Policy Center found that Obama’s plan would provide $80 million in tax breaks, mainly for the poor and the elderly, triples the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.  The plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent, or about $2,200 annually by 2012, and raise income, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest (or incomes over $250,000).  McCain’s plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise the after –tax income for middle-income families by 3 percent.   Not much of a difference.  Maybe an inch?

McCain brags about Palin’s authority as commander of the Alaska National Guard with national security as one of her primary responsibilities (because it’s the largest state, don’t you know).   But, there are only about 4,200 personnel which are among the smallest in state guard organizations.   Besides, that authority ends when those units are called into military service.

On to the Bush Doctrine, whatever that is.  Yah, I’m sure that’s what she was thinking when ABC’s Charlie Gibson asked her if she agreed with it.  Look it up, including the interview, and decide for yourself.  From my angle, though she appeared cool, her body language suggested otherwise.  When Gibson explained, she got it, but it doesn’t seem to be consistent with McCain.  Time to sit down and make sure this team is on the same page.

Why do we care?  The swingers:  those voters that may affiliate with one party, but can be swayed either way.  Clinton lead in many swing states over McCain during the primaries.  Some polls today show McCain now leading in those same states.  Obama missed an opportunity for a strong ticket with Clinton. Palin is not the equal to Clinton by any stretch of the imagination just because she is a woman.  But if all it took was a woman to grab those swing votes, well it doesn’t say much for the voters.

And one last item, a myth buster, the teleprompter rumor.  It was rumored that Palin’s teleprompter malfunctioned during the convention causing her to speak at length from memory.  She was praised highly, but briefly, for being rock steady. For one thing, she had extensive notes at her fingers tips, it was on TV, anyone can see it.  For another, it was dispelled that it did not break, it wasn’t down for the entire speech, and that it had only sped up at one spot which was quickly fixed.  If it was true, it doesn’t take much to impress the American people and if this is how they are judging candidates, we are in trouble.

 

LOOKING FORWARD:  CONFESSIONS OF A WATER SNOB

 

http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/energetically_wrong.html

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080904/ap_on_el_pr/cvn_fact_check

http://thinkprogress.org/2008/09/11/palin-gibson-bushdoctrine/