The Unsinkable Molly Munger

Might Molly Munger's quest to better fund schools in California end up dooming Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30? Patrick Range McDonald and Jill Stewart report that the answer is yes — but Munger doesn't care (“Molly-fied,” Oct. 26).

Zack Webber of Sherman Oaks weighs in. “While the article was interesting, it neglected to mention one of the most important differences between the two ballot measures. Proposition 38, the Munger initiative, only provides funding for early-childhood education and K-12, while leaving community colleges and universities facing extreme budget cuts and tuition increases. The crisis of higher education in California is at least as bad as that of the elementary and high schools, but Molly doesn't seem to think it is important. Proposition 30 would provide funding for higher education as well as public schools.

“Unfortunately, it looks like Molly will succeed in her goal of defeating Proposition 30. It is clear that the people of California will also tell her to go fuck herself, since there is no chance that 38 will get more votes than 30. She will be out $35 million or so after the election, with the state no closer to a resolution to its education funding problems. What a shame!”

Dgabbard is not a fan, either. “Why no scrutiny of her crusade when, almost from the get-go, the polling showed it wouldn't pass? And how about all the folks advising her and making a fortune off this thing? Having Riordan and Rice as your bona fides given their dubious backgrounds is all I need to know. This lady is out to lunch. Thanks, Molly, for proving the rich can be real obtuse!

Readers rightactions also is annoyed. “Steve English and Molly Munger have much, much, much higher incomes and wealth than 99.999 percent of Californians already being squeezed by the likes of them for taxes. If they want to 'give back,' they can unload a couple billion out of their own pockets first. Set an example. But nooooo … they want California's schooled but ignorant to slit their own wrists.

But Rocklobster is a fan. “I don't agree with either proposition, but I commend Munger's decision to take some action — any action — to try and make things better, and to bypass Sacramento. She could be soaking herself in alcohol at a beach resort, or holding tea parties. Her involvement is what California is all about.”

No, No to GMOs!

We heard from the managers of the Proposition 37 iniative, who were not happy with Tessa Stuart's story (“Genetically Mod Food Fight,” Oct. 26). They requested a correction, which we declined. We instead offered to print their letter to the editor; here's what they provided:

“Who gets to decide what is in the food we're eating and feeding our families? A yes vote on Proposition 37 is a vote for our right to know if our food comes from nature, or whether it was genetically engineered in a laboratory by companies like Monsanto and Dow Chemical. Also called GMOs, these foods are created by forcing the genetic material from one species into the DNA of another species in ways that don't occur in nature.

“Concerned about possible health risks, huge increases in pesticide use, the genetic contamination of organic farms and other problems associated with GMOs, the huge majority of Americans want these foods to be labeled — as 61 other countries already require. But we haven't been able to get these simple labels because of the enormous lobby power of Monsanto and the special interests that are now spending $40 million on a desperate bid to convince voters that a simple label will be too confusing or scary. They want to distract from the central issue: We have the right to know and to decide for ourselves whether we want to eat genetically engineered foods. Proposition 37 will not raise costs for consumers. Does anyone really believe the pesticide companies are spending tens of millions to save consumers money? Proposition 37 will not increase bureaucracy, it will not invite lawsuits, and it is a simple law for businesses to follow. That's why leading food companies in California are working with the California Nurses Association, Consumers Union, Center for Food Safety, thousands of California farmers and the largest health, faith and labor groups in the state to pass Proposition 37. We urge you to look into the facts at Proposition 37 is a vote for our right to choose for ourselves what we're eating and feeding our families.”

Eyceage is not a believer. “Proposition 37 has good intentions, but I believe it will end up doing more harm than good,” he writes. “I firmly believe in better labeling of GM food products. However: This should be managed at the national level.

“A nationwide database should be set up for public access to information about particular strains, potentially covering both GM and non-GM, commercially available biological products. Whenever a product from the database is used, it should be labeled, so as to allow look-up in this database. Finally, the transition to labeling must be managed so as to not put undue burden on ag-industry, and avoid frivolous lawsuits.

A simple yes/no labeling scheme stigmatizes GM and precludes the possibility that some genetic engineering may actually benefit human health and the environment. One example of beneficial engineering is to insert particular genes from heirloom strains into their commercial counterparts in order to regain some of the flavor and anti-cancer flavonols previously lost through selective breeding. Proposition 37 foments fear among consumers, and I fear it will prevent innovation that could save lives.”

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