Our View: Part II: A skeptical look at ballot measures

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Editor’s note: Today The Signal wraps up its reviews and recommendations for votes on statewide ballot measures.

No on Prop 60

Proposition 60 would require adult film performers to use condoms during filming of sexual intercourse, along with imposing other requirements on the seedier but nonetheless legal side of the industry we value for the jobs it brings to California.

Los Angeles County has a ban on sex scenes filmed without condoms, but in February the porn industry convinced the state’s Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board that statewide standards weren’t necessary. About 100 porn stars testified against the ban.

So now it’s on the statewide ballot.

Private industry safety concerns don’t belong on the statewide ballot. This is an industry squabble and should remain so.

Vote no on Proposition 60.

No on Prop 61

This price-setting measure dubbed “State Prescription Drug Purchases” would lock state agencies into paying no more for any prescription drug than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

However well-intentioned this measure may be, we believe price-fixing is not the best way to approach any issue; it usually has a dismaying and opposite effect.

There’s no doubt the rising cost of medications – sometimes out-and-out gouging – is part of the problem with skyrocketing health care costs. So this remedy is tempting.

But it’s also clear that supporters of this measure are expecting a court battle over its constitutionality and calling for the state attorney general to defend it. What would that cost?

Rising health care costs need a more sweeping solution than this Band-Aid measure. Vote no on Proposition 61.

Yes on Prop 62

Proposition 62 is the first of two ballot measures that deal with the death penalty. It would repeal it, changing the sentences of those currently on death row to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

We believe capital punishment is out of date – a holdover from a more brutal era of justice. And we believe it’s also immoral – the state shouldn’t be in the business of killing its own citizens, however heinous may be their acts and however undeserving we believe they are of life.

On a more practical level, we believe the death penalty has become unenforceable – not a single murderer has been put to death in California since 2006 – and too costly – between 1978 – when the death penalty was reinstated in California – and 2011, taxpayers spent more than $4 billion on capital punishment in California, or about $308 million for each of the 13 executions carried out during that time.

Vote yes on Prop 62 and no on Prop 66.

No on Prop 63

Once again, a large constituent of well-intended citizens – mostly from Northern California and financially supported by the California Democratic Party, believes the answer to gun violence is to ask our law-abiding neighbors to do more circus tricks to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

They are under the sorry misconception that criminals and terrorists will somehow be deterred from securing ammunition or large-capacity magazines.

They will not be; especially with a law that does nothing more than make the possession “an infraction.”

This proposition is flawed at its core and should be soundly defeated for its misguided solution. If we wanted true impacts, supporters of this measure would proffer an initiative that increased penalties for violence with a gun and halt their efforts against the very individuals who support law and order.

Vote no on Prop 63.

No on Prop 64

As much as Proposition 64 claims it would legalize recreational marijuana use in California, it would do no such thing.

What it would do is authorize a huge new industry and a tasty source of tax revenue for California, both of which would come crashing down when the federal government decides to enforce its own laws.

Currently, the administration is turning a blind eye as state after state “legalizes” recreational use of marijuana, violating the federal Controlled Substances Act. But a change of administration could change all that in a flash.

There are also troubling indications that driving under the influence laws could prove unenforceable when applied to driving after smoking pot, and that fatal crashes could skyrocket, as one study indicates was the case after recreational cannabis use was “legalized” in Washington.

Rather than promoting the legalization of an illegal act, we believe advocates for recreational marijuana use should press Congress to take up the issue.

Vote no on Proposition 64 to avoid putting an illegal law on the books.

No on Prop 65

This measure would squelch any financial benefit that retailers may gain in exchange for the customer disgruntlement, expense and inconvenience of being forced by the state to halt use of disposable plastic bags.

While those in unincorporated Los Angeles County and some cities have been forced to make the adjustment to reusable bags, statewide retail customers are in for a surprise if Proposition 67 passes.

This measure would take away retailers’ opportunity to make some money in reusable bag sales by funneling all income from those sales into an environmental-projects fund managed by the state.

It’s government micromanaging private industry by adding insult to injury. Vote no on Proposition 65.

No on Prop 66

Proposition 66 would negate a “yes” vote to repeal the death penalty, so if you’re in favor of Proposition 62 then be sure to vote “no” on this measure.

Proposition 66 tries to take a middle ground on the issue of the death penalty. Rather than recognizing capital punishment is an outdated idea in today’s society – rendered obsolete by interpretation of law even if it’s deemed a good theoretical penalty – this measure attempts to shorten the appeal time and otherwise tinker with the death penalty to put it back into motion.

It seems likely the same forces that blocked executions in the past would eventually block them under this law, even if it makes it onto the books.

Vote no on Proposition 66.

No on Prop 67

This referendum would extend statewide regional bans, like that of Los Angeles County, on use of plastic grocery bags. Those shoppers who fled supermarkets in the county for those in Santa Clarita to gain the convenience of disposable bags would see that option blocked.

We support the use of recycled products as much as possible and believe using recycled bags to make purchases is a wise move.

But there are some sound arguments against mandating their use. The household that regularly purchases fresh meat might be rightly concerned about being forced to use bags over and over again.

The commuter heading home sick from work who wants to stop at the drug store for relief might find the requirement to bring his own bag onerous.

One should also consider that bring-your-own-bag ordinances have been successful mostly or entirely in urban areas. A vast amount of California is not urban, and urban remedies won’t necessarily be successful there.

We prefer Target’s method of encouraging bag recycling: five cents off the purchase for each recycled bag used. Let’s not be so draconian and find instead ways to encourage shoppers to bring their own bags, not force them to do so.

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