Jonathan Kraut | Indecent Propositions, Part 2 of 2

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In my last Signal article on July 28 I reviewed some ballot initiatives up for a vote in November. Not only will I be reviewing Propositions 21-25 today, but also I want to emphasize that I am urging a strong NO vote on Props. 15 and 20, which I reviewed last time.

Proposition 21 seeks voter approval for statewide rent control over properties over 15 years old. While the People’s Republic of Santa Monica and La-La L.A. have been trying to artificially keep rental prices low, this often creates more havoc than it cures.

It is almost like government expects landlords to absorb ever higher expenses and new assessments without passing these along to renters. What often happens is that landlords evict long-term clients, remodel and upgrade, and bring in more affluent renters. This proposition would not only lead to gentrification and booting out traditional populations, but also would actually backfire by creating higher rents for incoming renters having been displaced by this policy and who were now looking for a new place to live.

I say leave rents alone and let the market determine value. I am voting NO on Prop. 21.  

I am voting YES on Prop. 22.

Our Legislature seems to always be looking to make everyone an “employee.” Employees generate taxes, increase employer contribution to workers compensation premiums, and create labor restrictions. This proposition would allow “ride share drivers,” like for Lyft and Uber, to revert to “contractor” status.

To make some extra money part-time, the newly passed current law says rather than work at will and on your own schedule, you would have to become an employee and receive an hourly wage. The patrons of Lyft and Uber therefore would ultimately pay higher fares, negating the benefits created by the rideshare concept.

While I like rescinding a forced classification of gig workers back to being contractors, I wish it would also include folks like writers, photographers and performers, etc. Trying to cram everyone who earns pay into employee status costs us all more and simply is another stupid way to force the collection of more taxes and workers comp fees.

Prop. 23 leaves me admitting I do not know enough about the medical practice of kidney dialysis to weigh in. This submission asks that it be enacted that a licensed physician be on site while dialysis takes place. 

Of course, this will cost more, and finding doctors right now might be tough, but maybe this adds a needed measure of safety for patients? There are other parts of the measure, like reporting infections to a national database, that seem logical, but neither of these issues seem like something for the ballot. I am suspicious there is more to this in some surreptitious way.

I invite someone who knows about this to submit comments to The Signal to help all of us out. 

Proposition 24 is another YES. Not only does this expand privacy protection for consumers, but also it would require getting parental permission for collecting data on those 16 and younger. 

One of our greatest threats to our economic health, outside of pandemics, recession and natural disasters, is from online scams and theft via electronic means. There are entire economies in parts of the world reliant on the benefits of hacking, misuse of personal data and identity theft. The more protection we are offered, the better.

Prop. 25 is a tough one. Working in the criminal justice system in four states over 30 years, I can see both sides. This request is for voters to approve a no-bail system.

Right now, those accused of a crime generally post bail, according to a predetermined scale based on the severity of the offense and frequency of past criminal conduct. Prop. 25 requires the court to choose between holding and not holding a defendant for trial with bail not being a condition for release. 

If you agree that a person should be set free and promise to make hearings regardless of his or her personal wealth and assets, then vote yes.   

If you believe requiring bail money as a hostage, albeit it may be from family and friends, for a person to return for a hearing, then vote no.

I am voting YES because a bail system favors the wealthy and punishes the less fortunate, if for no other reason than because they have lesser resources. My only hope, if passed, is that the court will require all charged with serious felonies and repeat offenders to be held until trial if bail is eliminated. 

Jonathan Kraut directs a private investigations firm, is the CEO of a private security firm, is the COO of an acting conservatory, is a published author, and Democratic Party activist. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal or of other organizations. “Democratic Voice” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.

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