My Shadow Ballot, Part 2

Onward we go!

Prop 20 – “Sentencing, Parole, DNA Collection”

In short, this aims to undo certain previous propositions and bills and convert certain misdemeanors into a category that allows for them to be optionally charged as felonies, force DNA collection for some of these types of crimes (including Shoplifting, because… ?), and make it harder to get parole for certain other non-violent offenses.  It also cuts the access to rehabilitative programs.

The upshot?  More punitive, costlier, and less restorative.  Who wins?  Prison guards and prison suppliers, certainly. Guess who is the biggest donor?

This is a step back.  There may be tweaks that need to be made, but this is a serious overreach and step backwards.  I would vote NO.

Prop 23 – “Dialysis Clinics”

I’ll be straight with you – kidney dialysis is a nightmare in the USA.  Two or three private companies essentially own the market, and treat it like a market, squeezing every penny out of people while providing the most minimal service.  Safety, care, and health is not their #1 concern.  Profit is.  The USA’s ranking worldwide for dialysis care is abysmal.  It’s a perfect representation of the profit driven healthcare system in the USA that the GOP loves so much.

This proposition, however, does very little to address the above, adds a costly requirement that will not improve patient care, and may well just be a spiteful thing to get back at an industry that is actively union busting (again, the industry is terrible).

What little in the bill is good ought to be legislated.  I would vote NO.

Prop 21 – “Local Rent Control”

Rent control is a tricky affair.  I do not, however, buy into the argument that it dampens to any great effect new construction.  (Also the same people who argue that rent control is bad and landlords should be able to charge whatever they want also argue that Prop 8 limiting their property tax increases is a good thing).  And this proposition doesn’t impose rent control, it modifies the current law to allow rent control to be enacted by local governments on a greater subset of housing (while also still “protecting” new construction).  So it leaves the choice in the hands of the communities, who can enact it if they think it’s worthwhile, or remove or not do so if they don’t.

I’d prefer this to be a legislative path, but on the whole I would vote YES.

Prop 24 – “Consumer Personal Information”

I am absolutely in favour of greater protections against sharing of our personal and private information, and right now our attention, information, and more is a bonanza for all sorts of companies who monetize it in dozens of ways and, more insidiously, use it to micro-target us for siloed, specialized, and potentially deleterious content and advertising to hook us even further.  It needs to be reigned in.

But this initiative is both opposed by the ACLU, and given a non-committal from the EFF, two organizations I have trust in when it comes to this kind of thing.  It’s also attempting to modify recent legislation which, as I’ve mentioned before, means it would only be amendable in the future by another ballot initiative.

So while I admire the stated aim, it doesn’t appear to be well written and the right path for it.  I would vote NO.

Prop 19 – “Property Tax Transfers”

Hmmm.  On the one hand, this appears to plug a loophole in the current law where an inherited property could have it’s current value (and thus property tax) grandfathered in even if that property isn’t used as the inheritor’s primary residence.  It also seems to allow for more lenient transfer of current property values for those over 55 or disabled moving to a new area of the State.  But it also locks in most of the increased revenue to a wildfire protection fund, which, while seriously needed right now creates inflexibility for where the money could best be used.

I’m not sure this is the right vehicle for this.  I’d need to noodle on it more, but for the moment I’m leaning no.

Prop 16 – “Repeal Affirmative Action Amendment”

This aims to repeal prop 209 from 1996, that prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment in public employment, education, or contracting.  So 209 banned programs that could aid marginalized or disadvantaged people (while also not really preventing discrimination on the other end, since it was and is already prohibited by state and federal law, and the 14th amendment – so really it was only about prohibiting aid).

This doesn’t force creating any programs, only removing the prohibition against them.  Such programs need to be designed well, and need to be tweaked as things move along, and even sunsetted when their time is over.  All things they can do under this, providing the latitude to dismantle the self-perpetuating barriers.  I would vote YES.

Prop 14 – “Stem Cell Research”

Sell bonds to support stem cell research.  This has been done before with prop 71.  But the landscape and options for funding right now are different then back then.  On the whole, while I’m fine with bonds and raising money for research, this doesn’t strike me as a good one right now.  I’m leaning no.

State and Federal Elections

This is an election that is about competence.  This is an election about inclusion.  This is an election against corruption, graft, and profiteering.

My aim is always to stride for a world that works for everyone, with no one left out.  I seek a society where an honest day’s work earns an honest day’s pay.  I stand for a society that is just, equitable, peaceful, and verdant.

For all that, the Democratic party is the one that more closely aligns with those values, and I would totally vote for them all the way downticket.

Local Elections

This one I can’t share much about, for it’s very specific to where you are.  But please do your research (I would use my aims noted above) and vote carefully.  75% of what affects your everyday life is affected by what happens locally.  Don’t just focus on the sexy and skip over these.  Your vote is your power.  Exercise it.

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