Gary Horton | Common Progressive Sense on Props

Gary Horton
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Election season is now active and it’s time to share the progressive, thoughtful view on some of our most important choices before us, regardless of party affiliation.  

This election, we may find all parties have more in common than not, because so many of our choices revolve around basic, common-sense reasoning. Let’s get right to it, starting with our California-unique, too-often special-interest-group-funded ballot initiatives. 

This year is no different than years past: We’ve got special money interest groups attempting to sell us on laws to line their own pockets. All, except for State Measure 1… So, off to the races: 

Measure 1: The initiative to enshrine women’s reproductive choice rights into our California state constitution: Here, your choice is plain. California already has all these rights in practice and in laws. Whether you are pro-women’s rights or not, such is our reality today. However, with a potential for strange actions by a future hard right-wing president backed up by a hard-right Supreme Court – these rights might be someday challenged. Hence, Measure 1 seeks to beef up and create bulwark protections of women’s health and reproductive rights. If you like the idea of more personal freedom than less, you vote YES. Right now, you get to make your own personal choices. But if your personal values direct you limit someone else’s personal freedoms, vote NO. Pretty simple.  

Measure 26: Allows for increased in-person gambling games on tribal lands and horseracing tracks: Here, as in Measure 1, we could argue for increased personal choice, so why not let absolutely anything happen on tribal lands and horseracing tracks. The problem is that gambling, like alcohol and drugs, is highly addictive. And we already have more social problems with addictions leading to broken families and homelessness than we can handle. Now’s not the time to make it even easier for gambling-prone folks to get their heads and families into deep financial trouble. “No, no, no!” is the easy choice. 

Measure 27: What, are you freaking kidding me? This measure allows increased online and mobile sports betting. We’ve already got a generation of young kids addicted to gaming that tricks them into buying avatars and weapons to win the games that have sucked them in. And now we want to entice youngsters who figure out ways around “protections” and young adults to toss even more money away in even more gambling? Are we hell-bent on ruining our upcoming generations? This too, is an obvious, no-brainer, “No, no, no!” 

Measure 28: More funding for music and arts: Sorry Charlie, we’ve already been here, done that. We’ve already voted in more school bonds, more gambling school money. What we have isn’t a financial shortage, we have a financial management failure. Let’s fix the problem with better management, not just throwing more tax dollars around. We all pay too much in taxes already. “No!” And let parents march, protest and demand the services they need in their public schools. Vote out the yahoos who mismanage the money. 

Measure 29: Kidney dialysis: Look, let’s accept that neither you nor I understand enough about kidney dialysis to make any kind of an informed decision. Forget the heart-wrenching ads you’ve been buried with. This initiative comes around every two years, like a bad recurring dream. Let’s punt and give this a “NO,” just like we have for as long as we collectively remember. Good grief! Call it quits on this! 

Measure 30: Oh my God! Another “tax-the-rich” scheme – only this time funded by the ride-hailing industry moguls like Lyft and Uber. The goal is to increase state subsidies for electric cars (nice for ride hailing companies buying electric cars) – but the state already pays out subsidies. And the great thing we’re sold is that this is free to 99.8% of Californians! Free, except to the folks already paying most of our state’s income taxes.  

What looks free isn’t free. This measure raises the top state income tax bracket to 15%-plus, to the very highest in the nation. If we’re already worried that high taxes are killing the rich gooses that lay the state’s golden eggs, paying most of California’s taxes, then we’re all collectively insane if we think raising top-level taxes higher isn’t going to harm California by driving even more high taxpayers to flee to low-tax states. Nothing is “free,” and this measure will further kill the California dream. This is a Robin Hood for Lyft/Uber, no-brainer “NO WAY!!!” 

Measure 31: Prohibit retail sale of flavored tobacco products: Also, a no-brainer. If you want California kids to be tobacco addicts seduced by candy-flavored tobacco products, vote NO. On the other hand, if you’re a thinking parent or caring grandparent, for heaven’s sake, please vote, “YES.” A million times, yes! Can you imagine, hawking candy-flavored tobacco, essentially flaunted to kids? 

This wraps up the common-sense assessment of California’s wacky, generally special-interest-funded initiatives. 

Next week, let’s move on to the laudable and vilifiable personalities vying for political sway in our crowded state and local ballots. 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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