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For your reading edification or distain, the following will be my votes on the 17 propositions on this year’s California ballot.

Prop 51 – Yes: Authorizes $9 billion in bonds for construction and modernization of K-12 schools, charter schools and community colleges. Education is the base on which we build our future; it deserves our funding.

Prop 52 – Yes: The Medi-Cal Hospital fee is a current, successful program that saves California money and funds hospitals. It expires in 2018 and this extends it indefinitely. Hospitals are also worth our funding.

Prop 53 – No: Passage of this proposition changes the California Constitution and would require voter approval of any revenue bonds. Voters often have a difficult time researching and understanding complex financial propositions and the current system is working just fine.

Prop 54 – No: Passage of this would require all audio and video of governmental proceedings be posted on the Internet. Good. Passage would also require bills be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before a vote, including any minor changes to original bills. This is ripe for misuse by legislators for stalling and killing bills. Bad. And the bad outweighs the good in this case.

Prop 55 – Yes: Extends by 12 years a previous tax hike on incomes over $250,000 with all proceeds going to K-12 schools and health care programs. A “no” vote is a vote for a tax cut for the rich and a loss of a source of funding for schools and health care.

Prop 56 – Yes: Approval would raise taxes on a pack of cigarettes by $2 each. This is a 200 percent increase and is a bit problematic, but tobacco kills and costs us bullions in long-term health care costs, so any deterrent is a good thing. Bonus: revenue raised goes to tobacco-related disease research and prevention and control programs.

Prop 57 – Yes: Part one of this proposition allows persons convicted of non-violent crimes a parole hearing. Not parole, just the right to a hearing. Part two would allow judges to determine if minors are to be tried as adults. This would put the decision in the hands of juvenile court judges, a far better option than prosecutors, whose decisions are susceptible to public opinion and workplace politics.

Prop 58 – Yes: This relaxes a “teach in English only” law passed in1998. English immersion would still be the program of choice for most students, but schools would have more flexibility using other languages in transitioning students to English language courses.

Prop 59 – Yes: A referendum on whether or not California should support an amendment to the federal Constitution to overturn the Citizens United decision, which allows unlimited, anonymous money to be used to support political campaigns. Corporations and billionaires now have outsized influence upending our democracy – and that is just wrong.

Prop 60 – No: Forces adult film performers to wear condoms during filming of sex scenes. Allows any state resident to instigate an investigation. This is ripe for abuse and is the epitome of the nanny state shrinking government until it fits in our bedrooms.

Prop 61 – No: This is a poorly written law that attempts to lower the prices the state pays for drugs. But it ties the prices to the Department of Veteran Affairs and makes no demands on pharmaceutical companies. They could just raise the prices on veterans’ drugs to get around this.

Prop 62 – Yes: Repeals the death penalty. Murder is wrong, no matter who is doing the killing. Pro-life Christians should provide enough votes to pass this measure.

Prop 63 – Yes: Regulates some types of ammunition the same way the guns that fire them are regulated. Also bans high-capacity magazines. These are common-sense reforms that will reduce gun violence and not affect law-abiding gun owners.

Prop 64 – Yes: Legalizes recreational marijuana. Finally.

Prop 65 – No: Redirects a 10-cent fee for buying plastic bags in grocery stores from the stores to a state environmental fund. Competes with Prop 67, which is a more straightforward ban on single-use plastic bags.

Prop 66: No: Changes the judicial venues for death penalty appeals and mandates they take no longer than five years. This proposition is moot if Prop 62 passes.

Prop 67 – Yes: A cleaner, more direct ban on single-use plastic bags that allows revenue from the sale of recycled paper bags to remain with the retailer.

Kevin Buck is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” runs Tuesdays in The Signal and rotates among several Santa Clarita Valley Democrats.

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  • tech

    “For your reading edification or distain (sic)…”

    Thanks for the validation for “Independent Voices” that votes opposite yours are correct, Mr. Buck.

  • Nishka

    “Recommended vote on 17 props” YIPPEE, YIPPEE, YIPPEE !!!!!!

  • noonan

    Not that I need your help Kevin, but I’m proud to announce we only agreed on three propositions. Funny how you vote no on one because of nanny state implications, the porno law naturally, but just about everything you do vote for has nanny state implications. You’re stunningly consistent on your inconsistency.

    • tech

      Note that Mr. Buck supports reintroduction of bilingual education, every tax increase and reduction in freedom for law-abiding citizens except the condom law, Noonan.

  • dukie

    Based on who wrote this article, I will vote opposite of what Buck recommends on every proposition. Thank you.

  • noonan

    The left doesn’t like a nanny state when it comes to porn and condoms but they sure like it when it comes to forcing 53 year old men to have maternity coverage.

  • James de Bree

    This is a rather simplistic analysis of the propositions. Perhaps another view is in order here.

    Kevin stated: “Prop 51 – Yes: Authorizes $9 billion in bonds for construction and modernization of K-12 schools, charter schools and community colleges. Education is the base on which we build our future; it deserves our funding.”

    Well Kevin disagrees with our governor, Jerry Brown, who opposes this measure. Brown says this is spending money on programs that don’t need to be built. Passing this measure will allow poorly managed projects to be funded at a waste of taxpayer funds. These are not my words, but rather are the words of that ultra-conservative governor in Sacramento. The Measure is also opposed by Kamala Harris because there are absolutely no spending safeguards in connection with this measure.

    Kevin stated: “Prop 53 – No: Passage of this proposition changes the California Constitution and would require voter approval of any revenue bonds. Voters often have a difficult time researching and understanding complex financial propositions and the current system is working just fine.”

    I have no idea what basis Kevin has for saying that the current system is working just fine. Special interests get the legislature to rubber stamp approval of revenue bonds without taxpayer approval. The rate of issuance of revenue bonds is simply not sustainable. The opposition to this measure is funded primarily by public works contractors and unions who work on public works projects. There is virtually no transparency to the public, who are the ones left picking up the tab. This proposition is a reasonable attempt to curb abuses. Our system is not working just fine; vote yes.

    Kevin said: “Prop 54 – No: Passage of this would require all audio and video of governmental proceedings be posted on the Internet. Good. Passage would also require bills be posted on the Internet for 72 hours before a vote, including any minor changes to original bills. This is ripe for misuse by legislators for stalling and killing bills. Bad. And the bad outweighs the good in this case.”

    Kevin obviously favors less transparency in our legislative process. The minor changes are usually pork. Many legislators say this is needed to fully understand what they are voting on as many last minute changes are slipped into bills and legislators do not have the opportunity to read the latest version of the bill before the vote.

    Kevin said “Prop 55 – Yes: Extends by 12 years a previous tax hike on incomes over $250,000 with all proceeds going to K-12 schools and health care programs. A “no” vote is a vote for a tax cut for the rich and a loss of a source of funding for schools and health care.”

    Wow-this is the most misinformed post in the column. First of all, there is no tax cut here. At one point Kevin refers to it as a tax hike, which it is. Technically, it is an extension of a temporary tax. The mechanics of this tax are dreadful for the state budget as the revenue source is extremely volatile. Furthermore, the existing tax does not expire until the end of 2018, so there is no emergency to deal with. The State legislature is considering an overhaul of the tax base to create a more stable revenue source for the state. If this proposition passes, the overhaul will be tabled. So a yes vote on this proposition is likely NOT to be in schools’ best interest. Jerry Brown has not endorsed this measure and I can’t think of too many times he saw a tax he didn’t like.

    Kevin said: “Prop 61 – No: This is a poorly written law that attempts to lower the prices the state pays for drugs. But it ties the prices to the Department of Veteran Affairs and makes no demands on pharmaceutical companies. They could just raise the prices on veterans’ drugs to get around this.”

    Wow, Kevin fell for the ads paid for by Pfizer and Merck. Tying the prices paid to what the VA pays is a good thing for California. California taxpayers fund drug costs for patients covered by numerous state programs, none of which individually or collectively, has the clout to negotiate favorable pricing. The VA pricing will not be affected. It is one of the largest purchasers of drugs and it exercises its clout to negotiate extremely low prices. Think about it for a minute—if the pharmaceutical companies could recoup their lost revenue by raising the prices charged to veterans, they would be indifferent to this proposition. Instead they have spent over $100 million fighting the proposition with tear jerking ads about veterans who ostensibly will pay more. That means that what taxpayers will save in funding Medi-Cal and other state programs will likely dwarf the $100 million spent by the phamaceutical industry trying to defeat this measure.

  • noonan

    Jim, you just committed editorial assault on Kevin’s “logic”. Good job.

  • nohatejustdebate

    This is a valuable service Democratic Voices has provided. Thank you. Without having to read through all of the Propositions, I will just vote the opposite of your recommendation and know that I made the best choice for our state.