While the battle for the presidency is being debated all over the media and social networks, easy to overlook are the “other” things to vote on.
Here In California, specifically LA County, we have the ballot propositions, county and city measures, and candidates for the house of representatives, state assemblies, state senate.
Ballot propositions and measures are proposed laws that we vote for or against in California. The laws we pass have an effect on the state taxes we pay, education, health care, and transportation. Unlike most states which have representatives decide through votes, Californians directly choose their laws, for better or worse.
There are 11 propositions on the upcoming November 6, 2012 ballot: Proposition 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40.
For the reader’s convenience, I’ve organized this article into 4 sections:
- Purpose for writing this article
- Disclosures about my positions
- Helpful sites and resources: sites and links that will help you make your decision
- Choices Checklist: a quick and easy reference guide to my choices for the November 6, 2012 ballot. Longer explanations of my choices are available in the following linked article: Who and What to Vote For
Purpose for writing this article: I admit that as a relatively young voter (my first presidential election was John Kerry/George W. Bush), I used to ignore the “smaller” propositions and state and local candidates. I knew the candidates and bigger propositions to vote for, however, I had no clue about selecting judges, local State assembly members or County Ballot measures.
However, having observed the closeness of the races for smaller propositions and local candidates over the years, I’ve come to believe that there is more possibility for change at the state, county, and city level. A lot of that change can come from voting for local officials and measures.
This article is an attempt to do a few things:
- help young voters and/or those who do not sift through the Voter Information Guide understand what else is going on (at least to the extent that I know it!).
- give information on the local candidates and measures. In my case, my registered voting address is in Panorama City, but I spend more of my time in two different areas in LA County (Lakewood and Wilmington). What differs in the ballots between these three areas is that who I will be selecting for US Congress to represent my district, state assembly, or state senate will be different. The statewide propositions, the measures between these three ballots and the rest of LA County remain the same. For specific information on your local representatives, I suggest going to smartvoter.org and typing in the address at which you are registered to vote to see your respective representatives.
Disclosures: I tend to vote Democrat platforms and would identify myself with progressive measures and organizations, but I always remain open to other ideas and the possibility that my analysis might be off.
I am registered to vote in Los Angeles County, with a San Fernando Valley address.
The fact that I am in LA County means that I will be voting on the following County Measures: A, B, and J.
The fact that I am registered with an address in Panorama City in the San Fernando Valley means that I will be voting on the following: 1) US Representative for the 29th District, and 2) a Member of the State Assembly for the 46th District.
However, since I spend most of my time in both the cities of Lakewood and Wilmington, I will provide recommendations for the respective US congressional representatives, state assembly members, and state senators.
Opting to receive an absentee ballot sometime in the past, I received a copy of the Official Voter Information Guide about two weeks ago.
What I found helpful for my analysis in this guide were two things:
- the section on arguments in favor of/rebuttal to and argument against/rebuttal to a proposition
- the full text of the proposed laws.
Why did I find these particular things “helpful”? The arguments I find helpful because it gives you a sense of who is driving a proposition and what they stand to gain/lose. The full text of the proposed laws are simply good reference points.
This article represents just one take on the upcoming elections. I encourage readers to look at this and then look at other sources across the internet to get better context: better knowledge of who else supports or opposes a proposed law, editorials from newspapers. Ballotpedia lists information on your local newspaper or blog of choice’s proposition endorsements. Smartvoter.org makes a great Wikipedia-like reference site for information on lesser-known candidates.
The Choices Checklist:
If you’re in some kind of rush, then you can just take this checklist with you below to your polling place on November 6 or finally fill out your absentee ballot, and vote the following. Otherwise you can read my longer article justifying who and what and why.
As a reminder, only the US Representatives and State Assembly members differ within the three LA County ballots I am writing for.
I have marked the respective areas (Panorama City 29th Congressional District, Lakewood, and Wilmington) where I live, work, and play. Additionally, my would-be Lakewood ballot will be voting on a State Senator.
- President and Vice President: Barack Obama/Joe Biden. I wouldn’t like the direction of the country under a Romney presidency. While both are backed by big money, I think there would be significant differences in immigration attitudes, foreign policy measures, and justice appointments that I wouldn’t want to just “throw” my vote to an uninspiring third party.
- United States Senator: Dianne Feinstein. She is a legend, I don’t know a lot about her opponent, and it’s important to maintain for a Democratic majority in Senate.
- United States Representative: District 29 (Panorama City): Tony Cardenas. District 47 (Lakewood): Alan Lowenthal. District 44 (Wilmington): Janice Hahn. There’s a lot of local experience between Cardenas, Hahn, and Lowenthal. I just would like a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives again.
- State Senator: District 33 (Lakewood): Lee H. Chauser. District 35 (Wilmington): Charlotte Svolos. In the absence of any inspiring candidates, I suggest these two unknown and inexperienced candidates that seem to have concern for poverty and education.
- Member of the State Assembly, District 46 (Panorama City): Adrin Nazarian. District 63 (Lakewood): Anthony Rendon. District 64 (Wilmington): Isadore Hall: A lot of young politicians in the making and with what information was available, I thought they’d be solid picks.
- LA County District Attorney: Jackie Lacey. If the fact that just about most entities support her doesn’t interest you, you can take solace in the fact that she is supporting the reform of three strikes and taking a pragmatic approach to the job.
- Prop 30: Yes. This stops the planned cuts in education, temporarily saving K-12 and community colleges.
- Prop 31: No. Well intentioned, but as written, it is a measure that makes public programs operate slower, and less effective.
- Prop 32: No. A “Yes” vote would disable unions from contributing money to candidates while leaving it open for special interests to contribute unlimited amounts.
- Prop 33: No. Voting “Yes” would mean people who stopped driving for good reason would pay higher costs for driving once again.
- Prop 34: Yes. Repeals the death penalty, a penalty rarely used in California, lowering the costs of prison.
- Prop 35: No. While human trafficking needs to be stopped, the State of California already has a statute for dealing with trafficking. I don’t see the point of longer sentences.
- Prop 36: Yes. In a state overcrowded with prisons and prisons growing in funding, its a very reasonable, pragmatic measure.
- Prop 37: Yes. Mostly because I am simply interested in seeing more of what’s in our food.
- Prop 38: No. I would normally support everything related to the betterment of public education, but only one of Prop 30 or 38 can prevail per the provisions outlined in both propositions.
- Prop 39: Yes. Would make multi-state corporations pay more corporate income taxes. Four big companies who benefit the most from this tax break have not even publicly spoken out about it.
- Prop 40: Yes. This keeps the State boundaries certified by a bi-partisan Citizens Redistricting Commission.
- Los Angeles County Measure A: No. Despite the latest scandal, I would not want to entertain position of County Assessor to be controlled by politicians.
- Los Angeles County Measure B: No. Though adult movie performers should always wear condoms, its difficult to regulate whether or not they are.
- Los Angeles County Measure J: Yes. I think its a good idea to accelerate the construction of Metro rail transit projects, and create jobs for people.