By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
With the sheriff's death, a vote for Block has now been transformed into a vote to let the Board of Supervisors appoint his successor. Though our misgivings about Baca remain, we think the option of voting to empower the Supes to pick some unknown candidate is tantamount to negating the logic of elections. It's the kind of step we would recommend only if we thought Baca was an unredeemably dreadful option, and we were sure the Supes would do better. In fact, there's no reason to think that Baca is quite that bad, or, more to the point, the Supes quite that good. We're sticking with Baca.
Santa Monica City General Municipal Election
1A - Yes
This long-overdue bond measure constitutes the state's first real attempt in decades to build the new schools and classrooms that California so plainly needs. It authorizes $9.2 billion in state funding to build new K-12 public schools, to repair existing ones, and to build new and upgrade existing facilities at the University of California, Cal State University and the community-college systems. An oversight committee is created to monitor the expenditure of funds, and localities must match the state contributions that go to build K-12 schools. 1A is an essential part of any serious plan to restore California's educational system, and we strongly support it.
1 - Yes
This measure offers property owners the tax relief required to buy a replacement home if their original home is rendered unusable by toxic- or hazardous-waste contamination. We'd prefer a broader measure covering renters as well, but Proposition 1 still merits our support.
2 - Yes
Under current law, the state may borrow from specially designated state transportation funds for short periods - or, actually, for any period if times are tough and the state needs general-purpose funding it can't otherwise lay its hands on. Proposition 2 requires the state to repay any borrowing from the transportation kitty within the same fiscal year, or longer if the governor declares a state of emergency. With transportation needs chronically underfunded (have you ridden a bus lately?), this is a measure we clearly endorse.
3 - Yes
In 1996, California voters passed an initiative creating an "open primary" - the first of which was held this June - in which voters of any party can vote for candidates of any party in the partisan primaries. What the geniuses who thought up this measure failed to realize was that the party rules of the national Democratic and Republican parties specifically prohibit open primaries for the selection of presidential delegates to their national conventions, and that numerous court decisions have affirmed the parties' right to do so. Accordingly, unless the open-primary law is amended to restrict presidential-primary voting to the members of the respective political parties, then California's presidential primaries will become pointless beauty shows. The real contest for convention delegates will be shifted to caucuses within each congressional district, where a far smaller number of party activists will cast the votes that decide which presidential candidates will get California's support at the national conventions. Proposition 3 restores the closed primary for presidential elections, and that, like it or not, is the only way to maintain mass popular a participation in the process. We strongly support it.
4 - Yes
This measure restricts the use of traps (specifically steel-jawed leg-hold traps) and poisons to capture and kill bobcats, foxes, beavers, family pets who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, and other unfortunate mammals. It outlaws the sale of furs obtained through using these traps. We're for it.
5 - No
This is the Indian gaming initiative, on which $60 million has been spent by proponents and $30 million by opponents. Basically, it requires the state to permit certain kinds of casino games and accouterments that the state, through its existing compacts with certain Native American tribes, currently does not sanction. The chief point of contention is Vegas-like slot machines, which the current compacts disallow in favor of a new generation of video machines that are said to be like slots but not slots themselves.
Proposition 5 raises three key issues: the economic effect on the tribes, the economic effect on casino employees and the economic effect on the rest of working-class California. Clearly, the effect of reservation gambling on the reservations and their residents has been positive, though it's not at all clear how great the negative impact would be if the reservations were constrained to use these "Class B" slots. The effect on casino employees is something else again: The existing compact that the state has entered into with tribes, the Pala compact, includes some remarkably democratic and pro-employee provisions - notably, that if a majority of casino employees present cards affiliating themselves with a union, their union achieves immediate recognition as their bargaining agent (common practice throughout the advanced industrial world, but unheard of in the management-friendly U.S.). Proposition 5 unceremoniously wads up the Pala compact and throws it away, along with the rights it accords to casino employees.
As to the effect on working-class California, the coming of the kind of large-scale in-state casino industry that Proposition 5 augurs ensures the creation of a kind of regressive recreation industry that disproportionately soaks Californians of modest incomes.