BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
This week I’ll wrap up discussion of the California propositions and hit a few other elections happening on November 2.
You might remember that there were originally ten measures planned for the ballot this election, but Proposition 18, the massive water bond, was removed by the legislature to be voted on at a later election. So let’s move on to Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure. For me this is an easy one to support. Personally, I don’t understand messing with my body for non-medically necessary reasons. I don’t understand tattoos, the use of tobacco or illicit drugs, or overconsumption of alcohol (an occasional drink because of the pleasant taste or wine for its medical benefits is different). But since people like to do this, and marijuana is no more harmful than tobacco or alcohol, there’s no reason to treat it differently from the latter two. Legalize, tax, and reap the societal benefits therefrom. So please, vote yes on Prop 19.
Two propositions, 20 and 27, really should be spoken of together as they go in opposite directions. They both deal with the decennial, post-U.S. Census-redistricting of legislative districts. First, some background is needed. Californians passed Prop 11 in November of 2008 (I had supported it) which changed how redistricting would be done for STATE legislative districts, i.e. State Assembly and State Senate. Instead of the legislature and Governor doing this, a citizen commission is to do it from now on. (Full disclosure, I applied for this commission, but ultimately was not appointed- details in a future article). The new process is just barely in place and will be implemented in the coming months. I suggest opposing Prop 27 which eliminates this new process. This is just plain dumb. Regardless of whether you think the legislature should or should not draw the district lines, it’s silly to change something passed by the voters so recently, that’s had money and thousands of people’s time invested in its implementation, and that is potentially (though arguably) a better system without even trying it. Prop 20, on the other hand, ADDS the redrawing of CONGRESSIONAL districts to the job of the new citizen commission, subject to approval by a nine-commissioner panel. I’m voting against this one because I want to see the results on the state level, then it will be easier to expand to the federal if it proves to be a good system. So please vote no on both Prop 20 and Prop 27.
Proposition 22 is a tough one. Because of California’s budget mess, the state has taken back some money that used to go to local governments (this arrangement itself being substantially a product of 1978’s Prop 13 which severely limited cities’ and counties abilities to raise money through local levies). Prop 22 bans this, but also addresses transportation money issues. It’s messy. I’ll be voting against it because of its complexity, the greater constraints it places on the legislature’s ability to deliberate and adopt annual budgets, and because it does not fundamentally address the state’s ridiculous 2/3 majority vote for budget passage. Please vote no on Prop 22.
Finally, Proposition 24 is an easy one to oppose. In these tight fiscal times, the legislature had been forced by some members in the pockets of corporate interests to enact tax give-backs just to be able to adopt budgets in 2008 and 2009. These tax breaks will cost the rest of us $1.3 billion in the first year. That seems far from fair, and much less sensible. Please vote yes on Prop 24.
Other elections to watch are the races for Santa Monica City Council. Obviously, not too many Armenians live there, but that council could have a big impact on many of our community members. You’ll probably remember the AYF’s joint organizing of a protest a few weeks ago with taxi drivers concerned about a new taxi regulation regime being considered. Unfortunately, this whole issue is moving through the pipeline and won’t even be substantively addressed until after the election. Nevertheless, scrutinizing elected officials actions and comments is always useful, particularly when there’s an issue of importance at play. Please, be watchful.
On a lighter note, there’s some delicious irony at play in Nevada. You might remember that Danny Tarkanian ran for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that’s currently occupied by Harry Reid. He lost that race to Sharron Angle, a pretty extreme right-wing, Tea Party-type candidate. This Senate race is very tight. The formal candidate of the Tea Party of Nevada for this Senate seat is Scott Ashjian. So a recently exposed meeting between Angle and Ashjian is scrumptious. The meeting was recorded, and we learn that Angle is trying to talk Ashjian into pulling out of the race. She’s afraid he might draw enough votes away from her to enable Reid to win. So she made an Armenian lose, but might be made to lose by another Armenian. What are the chances of this happening in a state with precious few Armenians? Harry Reid has been good on Armenian issues, and I’ve recommended voting for him, so I’ll just say, “Run, Scott, run”. There’s also a lesson here to be remembered. It’s a lesson that was applicable in the April 13 Special Primary Election for California’s 43rd Assembly District in which Naiyiri Nahabedian lost because of Chahe Keuroghelian. The same lesson was applicable to previous Glendale City Council elections. It is a lesson that will be acutely applicable in the upcoming, 2011, Glendale City Council elections.
I’ll cover California statewide and other elections in a final piece in two weeks.
- U.S. Senator- Barbara Boxer, in “Preparing for November”
- Governor- Jerry Brown, in “Preparing for November”
- Prop 21- yes, in “Go to the Beach Free”
- Prop 23- no, in “Go to the Beach Free”
- Prop 25- yes, in “Preparing for November”
- Prop 26- no, in “Preparing for November”
- Nevada- U.S. Senator- Harry Reid