By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Here’s how I’m voting and why:
Let’s get rid of the easiest of the propositions first. These are literal no-brainers. I’m voting yes on Prop. 1A, Prop. 2, Prop. 3, Prop. 5 and Prop. 12. That’s because we all should be absolutely for, respectively, construction of high-speed rail, more humane treatment of livestock, more funding for children’s hospitals, more drug rehab and treatment instead of more prisons, and more funding for veteran home loans. Anybody who opposes these will be sent for a week of isolation on Grumpy McCain’s Sedona ranch.
Likewise, I’m voting no on Prop. 4, Prop. 6, Prop. 8, Prop. 9 and Prop. 10 because I oppose more government restrictions on the right to choose an abortion, because we, indeed, don’t need more prison construction or longer prison sentences, because we don’t want the government overturning the right to gay marriage, and because we oppose a $5 billion taxpayer boondoggle for Swift Boat financier and all-around billionaire huckster T. Boone Pickens.
That leaves two more problematic propositions, around which there is a lot of confusion. So let’s settle those once and for all. Prop. 7 sounds great. It promises aggressive steps toward more solar and wind energy. But I stand with the opponents of this bill, including the League of Conservation Voters, in arguing that the measure is fundamentally flawed and full of loopholes, and in the end will cause more harm than good. Yes, we need to aggressively fight global warming. But this is not the way. No on Prop. 7.
Last, but not least, is the contested Prop. 11, a measure that would reshape the ways legislative districts are drawn in California. Now, be careful, as your mailbox is filling up with heated pleas from California liberals and Democrats demanding you oppose this measure. They also point out that it’s led by the Governator himself. But check out the fine print and you’ll see that on this one, Arnold is joined by the League of Women Voters, Common Cause, the ACLU and other serious reform groups. The politicians — of both parties — are going bonkers over this proposal because it would strip their power to draw the very districts from which they are elected; i.e., it would end the blatant gerrymandering that has rendered the entirety of California’s legislative districts noncompetitive. That means that the status quo effectively nullifies the need for any election for the state Assembly or Senate. The reform plan envisioned by Prop. 11, which would transfer redistricting power from the legislature to an independent and multipartisan panel, isn’t perfect by any means. But it beats the hell out of our current system and is a big step down the right road to reform. Yes on Prop. 11.
As for that heated county-supervisor race between former LAPD Chief Bernard Parks and state Senator Mark Ridley-Thomas, I’m going with the latter. In case you’ve recently returned from living on Mars, note that the five county supes are among the most powerful pols in the entire state. So, please, take this one seriously. They preside over a basketful of crucial matters ranging from the county jails and hospitals to local welfare systems, fire operations and a gazillion other things that affect our daily lives. And once they get elected — forget about it. They’re there forever.
I don’t know how he did it, but Parks has put together a fairly impressive list of endorsers ranging from the weasly Herb Wesson to local power broker Representative Maxine Waters and a smattering of public-employee unions. It’s sort of a miracle given Parks’ record. He was simply a disgrace as LAPD police chief, an obsessive Captain Queeg–like tyrant who busted out street cops for not shining their shoes while he closed his eyes to the corruption and mayhem as Rampart Division imploded. Many of the root problems at Rampart were incubated when Parks ran Internal Affairs, apparently while blindfolded. As a City Council member, he has consistently represented the interests of big business and landlords (at least when he’s found the time to stop his petty feud with his LAPD successor, Bill Bratton).
I’ve never been gaga about his opponent Ridley-Thomas. His strongest suit is that he’s not Bernie Parks! Ridley-Thomas is a liberal machine Democrat who has skillfully lined up the party apparatus and funding behind him. But he’s made generally good and reasoned decisions and has demonstrated an earnest investment in his responsibilities. He’s running an impressive ground campaign with the help of the massive L.A. County Federation of Labor, with whom he has forged close ties. In this case, that’s something I’m comfortable with. It’s a better group of friends than Parks has rallied and represented. Ridley-Thomas has shown serious commitment to the economic redevelopment of South Los Angeles and he has distinguished himself as someone fully able and willing to cross racial lines, adding a measure of harmony to some of the more rough-edged shifts of power among L.A. blacks and Latinos. Mark Ridley-Thomas for county supervisor.
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