Some key ballot measures

Gordon Clanton

The November ballot gives voters 11 opportunities to make law. The initiative process was created a century ago to counter the power of giant corporations and other special interests. Nowadays, many ballot measures are sponsored by giant corporations and other special interests. Let the voter, like the buyer, beware.

Caveat voter!

Yes on 30.

I support Governor Brown’s bold plan for temporary taxes to fund schools and colleges and reduce the state’s debt. After years of draconian cuts, this measure would increase personal income taxes on high-income taxpayers (above $250,000) for seven years and sales taxes (by one-quarter of 1 percent) for four years. The alternative is to close schools, increase class sizes, and raise tuition at UC, CSU, and community colleges. My SDSU students have seen their fees double every four years.

No on 38.

This alternative strategy for school funding would raise personal income taxes through 2024 on most California taxpayers on a sliding scale. If both measures pass, the one with more votes becomes law. If you are not sure which measure is best, vote for both.

No on 32.

Although presented as a “reform” that will reduce the power of “special interests,” this fraudulent anti-union measure, by prohibiting payroll deductions, would silence union members while allowing right-leaning super-PACs to spend as much as they like on political campaigns. As unions constitute the major progressive voice in state and local politics, Prop 32 would tilt the playing field substantially to the right for decades to come. Business interests already outspend organized labor by 15 to 1. Two previous similar attempts to silence unions were defeated in 1998 and 2005.

Yes on 34.

In the July 26 column, I endorsed this measure that abolishes the death penalty but assures that those who commit the most horrible crimes be imprisoned for life without parole — and be required to make restitution. Capital punishment is expensive, costing the state about $300 million per execution.

Yes on 36.

This measure would revise the three-strikes law to impose a life sentence only when the new felony conviction is serious or violent, while maintaining the life sentence if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation. As with Prop 34, the fiscal impact is huge, saving California $70 to 90 million annually in prison and parole costs. That’s why, for the first time I can remember, I am on the same side of an issue as anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist.

Gordon Clanton teaches Sociology at San Diego State University.

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