Part 2: EGP Ballot Recommendations Nov. 8 General Election

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In EGP’s Oct. 13 edition, we issued our first round of endorsements for the upcoming General Election on November 8. Today, we weigh in on a number of other measures before voters.

First, however, we want to again remind voters that there’s a lot at stake in this election.

Yet, we’re hearing from a growing number of people that they’re dislike and distrust of the presidential nominees for both major political parties — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — is so strong, they may not vote. They tell us that the toxic nature of the presidential campaign has led them to conclude that no matter who wins, the American people will lose.

With races for President, U.S. Senator and as many as 24 initiatives on some ballots, this is not the time to sit out.

Nor is it time to buy into the Trump’s claim that the election is “rigged” against him and we can expect widespread fraud at the ballot box. Election officials across the country dispute his claim, and contend that because state and municipal election systems operate independently, widespread fraud is impossible.

At stake on Nov. 8 are billions of dollars in new taxes, extensions of current taxes or the issuance of bonds to pay for housing for the homeless, upgrades to parks, K-12 schools and community colleges, as well as major shifts in crime, drug and legislative policies.

If you’re eligible to vote but not yet registered, the deadline is Monday, Oct. 24.

It’s your future; you should have a vote in it.

Statewide Ballot Measures  (Read full endorsements at  www.EGPNews.com/2016 )

Prop 55 – Vote No

Like voters all over the country, Californians are angry and disillusioned with the veracity of the people they elect. They’ve grown tired of the promises made to them by lawmakers who will say just about anything to get them to vote to increase revenues to state coffers, whether needed or not.

When Californians passed Prop. 30 in 2012, during a time of deep economic strain that caused painful cuts to education, health and social services, Gov. Brown and state legislators promised voters the tax increases would be temporary. They said the tax levies would give legislators time to make changes to the state’s tax code to stave off future volatility, but they have failed to live up to those promises.

And now that those taxes are close to sun setting, they want voters to extend the taxes another 12 yeas – when they’ll all be out of office – promising once again to make changes to the state’s deeply troubled tax structure.

Granted, it’s scary to think that we could be faced with the types of cuts made during and after the Great Recession, but the answer is not another temporary fix.

When they say something is temporary, is should be just that, because once trust is lost it’s very hard to get back.

 

Prop 57 – Vote Yes

Prop. 57 — the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 – would change when and how some nonviolent felons can be paroled, and would put the decision for when juveniles 14- to 18-years of age can be prosecuted as adults in the hands of a juvenile court judge rather than in the hands of prosecutors. It would allow convicted felons to get sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education, allowing them to be released after their base prison time sentence, but before they completed the prison time added on for enhanced charges, such as past convictions.

While some of the language in the measure is vague, EGP recognizes that most inmates are already being released early, serving only part of their sentence due to court ordered mandates on prison overcrowding and state laws that allow early release under certain conditions. We believe that this measure, if implemented as intended, will allow for a more thoughtful and thorough review that will allow prosecutors, crime victims and their families to make their cases before parole is approved.

Many Prop. 57 opponents have no objection to allowing a judge rather than prosecutors to decide if a juvenile should be tried as an adult, and say they could support the measure if this was all it was about. EGP believes that in the name of law and order, too many overzealous prosecutors, and the public for that matter, have been to quick to charge young offenders as adults, and this must change.

 

Prop 58 — Vote Yes

According to the state, 1.3 million students are identified as English Learners; outside estimates put the number closer to 2 million, meaning that one in every three students speaks a language other than English at home. The majority speak Spanish, but a growing number of students speak Vietnamese or Tagalog.

Prop 58 — the Multilingual Education Act — would allow school districts, with input from the community, to decide on the best approach for helping English Learners become proficient in English. Passage would allow students to be taught in bilingual or dual-language immersion programs, repealing the English-Only mandate approved by voters under Prop. 227.

It’s a change that make sense to us.

The most important aspect of this measure is that it will require school districts to get community and parental input into their programs, and require that they continue to ensure that English Learners master the English language.

 

Prop 61 – Vote No

This measure seems like a good idea on its face, since it bars all state programs that purchase prescription drugs from paying a price higher than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

While this proposal may help reduce the cost of many drugs for state agencies, it will not help the majority of consumers who don’t get their medications through state sponsored programs.

Prop 61 would just complicate the effort to keep drug makers from gauging consumers and reaping outlandish profits because their products are medically necessary.

EGP is convinced that Americans need to take matters in their own hands and demand that legislators, both at the state and federal levels, decide which they value more: contributions from pharmaceutical companies, or the votes of their constituents that keep them in office.

 

Prop 63 – Vote Yes

California has made great progress in gun control and Prop 63 will add new restrictions that will serve to improve out existing laws. Prop. 63 would require anyone who loses their right to own a gun, due to a felony conviction, restraining order rising out of a domestic violence case, or some other matter, to actually give up guns in their possession.

Probation officers will be required to report to the court whether the prohibited gun owner has sold, given away, or stored the weapon with a firearms dealer or turned it over to a law enforcement agency.

EGP believes these restrictions are a positive step toward ensuring guns are taken out of the hands of those who lost their right to have one in their possession.

 

Prop 64 –Vote Yes

EGP urges a Yes Vote on Prop. 64 ,which will legalize and tax marijuana sales to adult users in the state.

We have come to the conclusion that marijuana is in many ways already legal in California, since law enforcement agencies for the most part don’t even attempt to enforce the laws already on the books, and access under the ruse of medical necessity has made it widely available.

Licensing, regulating and taxing marijuana sales makes sense. The added revenue will be a boon to state coffers.

We don’t know what effect the legal use of pot will cause in California or how employers in the state will be able to handle consumption on their premises, or regulate employee use, but we believe there is room in the legislation to come up with sensible solutions and penalties for those who abuse the privilege.

 

County Measures

Prop A – Vote Yes

The litany of park programs Measure is supposed to fund are necessary to County residents’ quality of life, but we should not deny that it could pose a potential financial burden to some property owners.

We want to ensure that County properties owners understand that the funding will hit their property tax bill with 1.5 cents per square foot of improved property they own, so they’d be wise to keep their eyes on how raised revenue is utilized.

 

Prop M – Vote Yes

EGP was initially very concerned about the fact that transportation projects east of the Los Angeles River would be delayed for decades, and the idea that a tax initially approved as temporary would become permanent.

The reality is we need an ongoing source of revenue to pay for improvements to our transportation system, backlog of street repairs and the dire need for traffic congestion relief.

We are very pleased that planners at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are moving toward finding strategies to speed up major transportation in all areas of the County, since all residents are now impacted by traffic congestions, infrastructure deterioration and a need for mass transportation.

 

Measure CC – Vote Yes

The need for continued education during our technology revolution, the need to provide classes to students to better prepare for college and state-of-the-art facilities for students is why we support the Los Angeles Community College District’s request for $3.5 billion in construction bond revenue.

 

Los Angeles City Measures

HHH – Vote Yes

It’s time to stop discussing the need to provide housing and services to our homeless population and to just do it.

It will take money to pay for the housing needed to get the homeless housed, and approving $1.2 billion in General Obligation bonds will make a substantial investment to meet those costs.

There are 28,000 homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles, and the $1,2 billion in bond money will help build 10,000 housing units over the next decade. HHH deserves a yes vote: it’s the right thing to do.

 

JJJ –Vote No

While we understand there is great need for affordable housing and good paying jobs, Measure JJJ is the wrong way to tackle the problem.

JJJ’s mandates on wages, among the highest prevailing wage requirements anywhere, could have an adverse effect on the building of the housing the measure purports to support.

We believe developers will be reluctant to invest in affordable housing under this measure.

 

RRR –Vote Yes

We need to amend the city charter to modernize the governance of the city-owned utility and approving Measure RRR will help bring that about.

RRR will clarify the lines of authority, management and oversight at the DWP, but will not overhaul the utility.

The DWP’s very powerful Union also needs a management that can negotiate with it at a level that carries some weight.

 

SSS –Vote No

The cost of adding Airport Police to the same pension plan as LAPD officers and LA Firefighters is too costly a venture for the city, even if initially at their own expense.

 

Previous Ballot Recommendations

United States President — Hillary Clinton

United States Senator   — Loretta Sanchez

Proposition 51 — School Bond Funding: Vote No

Prop 52 — State Fees on Hospitals: Vote Yes

Prop 53 — Voter Approval of Revenue Bonds: Vote No

Prop 54 — Legislation/Legislature Transparency Act: Vote Yes

Prop 56 — $2 a Pack Cigarette Tax: Vote Yes

 

Updated Oct. 21, 2106: Under Prop 56, new added tax would be $2. per pack of cigarettes, not $2.50.

 

Read full endorsements at  www.EGPNews.com/2016

 

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