Sunday, June 3, 2012

Jeff's June 2012 Recommendations

State Propositions: see writeup for details
28: Yes for more sensible Term Limits
29: YES YES YES to reduce smoking and fund research

Local Measures
Alameda County
B: Yes for community college improvements (see below the jump for details)

Elected Officials:
First, the contested races:
- County Committee, 15th Assembly District: Arreguin, Ball, Barnett, Cohen, Echols, Kelley, Wheatley, Neal (see after the jump for details)
- Superior Court Judge, Office #20: Flanagan (see after the jump for details)

And then I'm voting pretty much the straight Democratic Party ticket, in races where the outcome is pretty certain anyway:
President: Barack Obama
U.S. Senator: Dianne Feinstein
U.S. Congress, 13th Congressional District: Barbara Lee
California Senate, 9th District: Loni Hancock
California Assembly, 15th District: Nancy Skinner
County Supervisor, 5th District: Keith Carson 

Follow to the jump for writeups on the county committee, judge, and education parcel tax ...

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 2012 State: YES on 28 & 29

Summary of positions on State Measures:
28: Yes for more sensible Term Limits
29: YES YES YES to reduce smoking and fund research

Yes on 28: for more sensible Term Limits
Prop 28 would change how term limits are applied to State Senate and Assembly offices in California. The current rules allow someone to serve for up to 6 years in the Assembly and up to 8 years in the State Senate. Prop 28 would impose a limit of 12 total years in the state legislature.

This seems like a sensible reform to me. I'm not a big fan of term limits, although I'm kinda starting to get used to them, so I'm less upset by them than I used to be. But this would do two good things: it would reduce the amount of time elected officials spend figuring out how to run (and fundraise for) their next position by allowing them to stay in one position for 12 years. And it would allow people to settle into their positions for long enough to figure out how to get things done in Sacramento. And it is politically astute that it only applies to people who are newly voted into the Legislature, so no one can claim that it will extend anyone's term in office.

Supporters include the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, lots of newspapers. Main opposition seems to come from the Republican Party and a guy named "Howie Rich" who runs an organization called "Americans for Limited Government."

YES YES YES on 29 to reduce smoking and fund research
A couple weeks ago, I got a call from a pollster asking lots of questions about Prop 29. I realized in that phone call that I am every enthusiastic about this measure. Prop 29 would raise the tax on all kinds of tobacco (by 5 cents/cigarettes, and equivalent amounts for other types of tobacco). It would use the funds for research on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cures for cancer and tobacco-related diseases.

This is good in every way. First off, raising the tobacco tax is proven to be the most effective way to prevent teens from starting to smoke in the first place. I know, it isn't supposed to say anything good about taxes, but let's be honest here. We should tax things when we want less of them to happen. It is good to tax tobacco.

Second, the money will be put to good use: research on prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cures; public health programs to help people quit or never start in the first place.

Third, passing Prop 29 would be a sharp stick in the eye to the tobacco companies, who are spending millions on misleading ad campaigns to oppose the measure.