Tuesday’s upcoming election features a slate of 12 state propositions that address a range of issues, including crime, transportation and the environment. The Campus Times offers its endorsements of the following measures.
Proposition 1A: High speed rail – This proposition would authorize the state to sell $9.95 billion in bonds to help fund a $45 billion safe, reliable high-speed passenger train between Orange County and the San Francisco Bay area. Although this proposition is pricey, the bullet train will reduce highway traffic and air pollution, decrease dependence on foreign oil and alleviate airport congestion. Yes.
Proposition 2: Farm animals – Beginning in 2015, farmers would be required to provide room for egg-laying hens, veal calves and pregnant pigs to fully extend their limbs or wings, stand up, turn around and lie down. Farm animals raised for food purposes deserve to be treated humanely. Yes.
Proposition 5: Drug offenses – Prop. 5 would allocate $460 million annually for the treatment of those convicted of nonviolent drug-related crimes as an alternative to incarceration. If it is passed, dangerous criminals would avoid incarceration, participate in ineffective treatment programs and return to crime. No.
Proposition 7: Renewable energy – Requires public and private utilities to obtain at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 50 percent by 2025. Although we support the fight against global warming, we feel that this is a poorly drafted plan that can lead to a potential energy crisis and will force small companies out of the market. No.
Proposition 9: Victims’ rights – This measure would amend the state Constitution to give new rights to crime victims and their families and restrict early release of inmates. It would strengthen the rights of victims and reduce their pain by lengthening the time period between parole hearings from five to 15 years. Yes.
Proposition 11: Redistricting – Prop. 11 would take away from the Legislature the once-a-decade job of drawing legislative and Board of Equalization districts and give it a 14-member commission with five Democrats, five Republicans and four others. The power to redraw voting district lines has too great of an impact to be overseen by partisan politicians. This proposition will end the conflict of interest from politicians drawing their own election districts. Yes.
Proposition 12: Veterans’ benefits – This measure issues $900 million in bonds to provide low-cost loans to California veterans for the purchase of farms and homes. As a society, we owe a debt to those who have served in the military. One way to repay that debt is to help them build their civilian lives, especially in these precarious economic times. Prop. 12 would result in minimal cost to taxpayers – the bonds would be repaid with loan payments rather than with money from the state’s budget – and it would also help stimulate the economy. Yes.
There are also two Los Angeles County measures on the ballot.
Measure R – This measure would institute a half-cent increase in the county sales tax to fund transportation projects within Los Angeles County. Although much work needs to be done in this area, including extending the Metro Gold Line from Pasadena to Montclair, it will not fully fund all projects. No.
Measure U – This would lower the county’s utility tax in unincorporated areas from 5 percent to 4.5 percent, but would extend the utility tax to cover new technologies such as cell phone calls and text messages. In the end, we would all be paying more with little to show for it in government services. No.
On propositions not listed, the Campus Times editorial board was tied on the issues and, therefore, does not offer endorsements.