warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

California Propositions: How I'm Voting And Why

Hillel Aron |
October 29, 2010 | 12:28 p.m. PDT



Prop 20 would end gerrymandering in California
Prop 20 would end gerrymandering in California
Prop 19: legalize marijuana

How I’m voting: undecided

Here I find myself in a dilemma, caught between two things I dislike: stoners and laws. 

On the one hand, there’s the principle that once a particlular law is disobeyed by a certain amount of people, it’s time to rethink the law. On the other hand, I don’t particularly fancy the notion of having more people stoned. People that are stoned are annoying!

I’m also not really moved by the argument that this will raise revenues– promises of billions  of dollars seem greatly exaggerated, especially when you consider that counties will be competing with each other for lower tax rates. 

I’d be much more amenable to this if it was written by a politician. It seems like legalizing drugs is kind of a big step for a state to make, and maybe we ought to leave it to the trained professionals, such as they are.

I might have to flip a coin to decide on this one.


Prop 20: take the job of drawing congressional districts out of the legislature

How I’m voting: Yes

Prop 20 would take redistricting powers away from politicians and give it to the same commission that was created two years ago by Prop 11. This would end the process known as gerrymandering, where politicians handpick their own voters so that incumbents are never challenge (I've written more about all of this here). It’s an awful practice, and it needs to end now.


Prop 21: increase vehicle registration fee to pay for state parks

How I’m voting: No

I know, I know. Parks, wah wah.

Hey, I got an idea. If state parks need money, increase the fee for using state parks. Don’t raise some other fee that’s barely related to state parks. If you want to raise my registration fee, that’s fine too, but have it go to the general fund, or schools– two things that are in huge trouble. If some Styrofoam cups got left on some trail somewhere, well, that breaks my heart but we’ve got bigger problems right now.


Prop 22: bans the state from borrowing from local governments

How I’m voting: No

You see this a lot in propositions, where certain people want to make sure a certain portion of money is only spent in a certain way. Guess what? Our budget is a complete mess, and even though our legislators are fairly incompetent, they’re gonna have to sort it out sooner or later, and they’re gonna need all the wiggle room they can get. If any part of the budget is set in stone, it should be the school budget.


Prop 23: suspend AB 32, the global warming solutions act

How I’m voting: Hell to the No

Do I even need to explain this one? Suffice it to say that if you care even a little about global warming, vote no.


Prop 24: repeal corporate tax breaks

How I’m voting: Leaning toward yes

There are a lot of reasons to vote against this one, which would repeal some corporate tax breaks that were passed less than two years ago and are scheduled to go into effect soon. One argument is that certain businesses have been counting on these tax breaks. Another argument is that this isn’t the sort of thing we should be using ballot measures for. Both points are well taken, but sometimes you just have to say “gimme gimme gimme.” With a $20 billion deficit, that time might be now. 


Prop 25: state budget can be passed with a simple majority vote

How I’m voting: Yes

This is one of the more over-hyped propositions this year. It doesn’t actually give the legislature the power to raise taxes without a 2/3 supermajority, or else it wouldn’t have a shot in hell of passing. Instead, what prop 25 does is allow the legislature to pass spending cuts and / or increases with a simple majority. Without Republicans as scapegoats, this should make the Democrats fairly unpopular fairly soon. 

Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction toward making our state governable. Vote yes, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t change a thing.


Prop 26: require a 2/3 supermajority vote to pass new fees

How I’m voting: No

Hey, great idea guys. Let’s make it harder to close the budget deficit. Seriously, this one is just stupid. California is not the federal government, we can’t keep running deficits forever. Sooner or later, we’re gonna have to raise revenue.


Prop 27: give the job of drawing legislative districts back to the legislature

How I’m voting: NO

This awful measure failed to get the endorsement of a single major newspaper. It would overturn Prop 11 and let lawmakers draw their own districts, in a cynical and self-serving attempt to never face a substantial challenger.

By the way, in the unlikely event that 20 and 27 both pass, whichever gets more votes will become law. There goes your last excuse for not voting. 

Reach Hillel Aron here.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.