In talking to local residents and businesses, it has become apparent that while all generally agree that the decisions to be made in the upcoming election are of critical importance, many, if not most people do not believe that the choice they mark on their ballot will make any real difference at either the state or national level, or locally for that matter.
There is a sense of hopelessness that seems to be permeating nearly every sector of society, from homeowners to commercial property owners, from teachers to parents, from business owners to the unemployed. Looming all around is the question, “will things ever get better?”
Recent salary scandals and stories of unethical and possible criminal wrongdoing by officials in the cities of Bell and Vernon have only added to the distrust many have in their elected officials. The temptation to not vote hangs heavy in the air.
But not voting, as one group has suggested, is not the solution.
There is no doubt that our economy is still in bad shape. California has been hard pressed to get things rolling again. We’ve yet to make any real dent in unemployment. The financial industry’s growing foreclosure scandal, cuts to safety net programs, increases in business and personal bankruptcies are all worrying.
But not voting will not solve any of these problems.
While we recognize that Californians, like people all over the country, are being bombarded from all sides by polarizing, single-issue rhetoric, the reality is that most issues are complex, especially in these uncertain times.
And so it is with political candidates and ballot measures. Rarely do we find a candidate who agrees with everything we believe to be important, or whom we agree with on every issue. And the same holds true for ballot initiatives. Few are written to represent the middle ground of where most voters stand. So we are often left to choose between something we sort-of-like and something we do not completely hate.
But not voting is not the solution.
So as we head into the November 2, 2010 General Election, we encourage all registered voters to go to the polls to exercise their right to have a say in the governing process going forward.
Eastern Group Publications, EGP News, makes the following Ballot Recommendations:
United States Senator —Barbara Boxer
Our endorsement goes to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. The senator has always been supportive of our veterans’ needs and has worked diligently to provide services to them.
Her support of educational funding for California schools has been consistent, as has been her efforts to bring much needed funds for infrastructure improvements back to the state.
In addition, her defense of keeping Social Security from being privatized, and her fight to keep Medicare costs to seniors down, are only a few of the reasons she continues to be reelected to the US Senate. Lets keep her there.
California Attorney General — Steve Cooley
Los Angeles County’s District Attorney, Steve Cooley, has earned our respect for his support of the Public Integrity Unit in his department. Not only has he gone after the rotten apples in elected office in the county’s cities, he has also been there for citizens who have asked his department to look into the questionable dealings of local city officials.
Cooley has also refused to back down to prosecutors who would have continued to prosecute many defendants under three strikes law, which he believes should only be used for criminal felons who need to be kept out of society and in prison for life.
Cooley has also been an advocate for “regular people” who have been swindled out of their hard-earned money by unscrupulous business owners, ponzi schemes and other con artists.
We think Steve Cooley should be our next Attorney General.
State Controller — John Chiang
Few State Controllers have had to hold the fort on a state’s dysfunctional fiscal affairs as Controller John Chiang has had to do when the state’s budget is delayed for months on end.
While some of his decisions during the budget impasse weren’t always popular to some groups, we admire the way he stood his ground in paying the state’s employees.
His quick decision to audit the city of Bell’s finances has helped give residents in the city, city officials (what is left of them), and other investigating units, a clear picture of the city’s real financial state and how the city’s revenue was misappropriated and spent.
We believe John Chiang has earned another term as state controller.
Secretary of State and State Treasurer
There are times when we endorse elected officials for reelection not because of some special project or action they have taken, but because they have carried out their official duties in the competent and professional manner we expected of them when they were first voted into office. In the cases of Secretary of State Debra Bowen and State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, we believe they each deserve another term.
Prop 25—Changes Legislative Vote Requirement To Pass Budget And Budget-Related Legislation From Two-Thirds To A Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement For Taxes. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
The two-thirds vote requirement to pass a state budget in the state constitution is not to blame for the state’s budget being late or the state’s inability to raise taxes. The legislature is to blame.
For 40 years, the two-thirds requirement never stopped timely budget passage. And, Californians have been taxing themselves for what they believe to be necessary expenditures.
We believe it’s the legislature’s responsibility to arrive at a timely budget, not look for scapegoats. For too long they have allowed budget negotiations to deteriorate into a game of chicken, or “it’s my way, or no way.”
As for punishing legislators for not passing a timely budget by canceling daily pay and expenses, that is but a drop in the bucket when compared to the amount of the money lost by failing to pass the budget on time. There is no guarantee that legislators will not find some other way to make up lost income should this proposition pass, but it is likely they will find new ways and shortcuts to pass the budget, whether it makes sense or not. Besides these people aren’t kids that need to be punished, so grow up and stop holding the state’s residents hostage. Voters should remember, passing a budget does not guarantee the budget is any good.
Prop 26—Requires That Certain State And Local Fees Be Approved By Two-Thirds Vote. Fees Include Those That Address Adverse Impacts On Society Or The Environment Caused By The Fee-Payer’s Business. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.
We dislike constitutional amendments—especially since they become a tool for many special interest groups, and not the common good.
What’s wrong with the present requirements for defining what is a tax—namely that it is a cost that is for a general expenditure that is for the common good. Or the definition of a fee, which states that it is a regulatory or related cost for a particular group or single entity?
Trying to confuse the voters into approving an amendment that would label a fee as a tax thereby saddling everyone with a cost that should be borne by a particular group, is an underhanded trick by special interests who don’t believe they should mitigate the costs of their impact on others.
Prop 27—Eliminates State Commission On Redistricting. Consolidates Authority For Redistricting With Elected Representatives. Initiative Constitutional Amendment And Statute.
Californian has embarked on a new way to carry out its political redistricting by turning over the job to an independent commission, taking it out of the hands of the State Legislature.
The commission has not handled a single redistricting effort, so why do away with it?
Many believe the commission will allow for greater citizen participation and less backroom negotiating. Voters expressed the same when first approving the change.
Now the legislature wants the job returned to them through the enactment of Prop. 27.
We just do not believe that the experiment with a commission has been given an opportunity to show if it can work, so why cut it short.
EGP Ballot Recommendations
Prop 19—Legalizes Marijuana under California but not federal law and allows local governments to regulate and tax the commercial production, sale and distribution. As written, the Initiative doe not provide sufficient regulation and safeguards. —Vote No
Prop 20—Takes redistricting process away from legislators and places it in the hands of a Citizens’ Commission. —Vote Yes
Prop 21—Adds another $18 to the Vehicle License to pay for State Parks and Wildlife Programs. —Vote No
Prop 22—State legislators should be prohibited from taking funds from local governments to balance its budget. —Vote Yes
Prop 24—Repealing recently approved business tax breaks will hurt many small businesses already struggling with the bad economy and burdensome regulations. —Vote NoPosted - Copyright © 2022 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.