BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
There’s a lot coming our way on the November 2 ballot, so I hope to introduce it over the course of a few articles. Each time, I’ll provide a list of what I’ve already recommended. By Election Day, you’ll have it all.
In California, there are legislative seats up, statewide races, and nine ballot propositions. I’ve already addressed two of the ballot measures (see below listing, including the name of the article). Today two more, plus governor and senator are on the agenda. And, we’ll hop over to a neighboring state too.
The choice for Senator, already fairly obvious, became a no-brainer for me when Sen. Barbara Boxer put a hold on Matt Bryza’s appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Azerbaijan. To my eyes, the guy is virtually an agent of that country’s perfidious government, yet he has the audacity to seek an ambassadorship to it. It’s obscene! Yet only Boxer did this, going against a president from her own party. She’s also been supportive of Armenian issues in the past. Add to this any rational citizen’s needs and views about what her main challenger, Carly Fiorina, portends, and there should be absolutely no doubt as to whom we should support. Remember, Fiorina is a multimillionaire who evidently messed up a huge company, Hewlett-Packard, and got rich doing it by exporting jobs to countries where wages are often barely at subsistence levels. Fiorina has never served a day in elective office. Plus, how can anyone expect someone who’s in Fiorina’s shoes to understand what the average person, middle class or otherwise, is going through in these troubled economic times? Please, vote for Boxer.
The choice for governor is equally obvious, Jerry Brown. He’s had ties to the Armenian community going back decades. He’s competent and a forward thinker. He’s the best hope to find some solution to California’s serious governance problems, from which a lot of its other problems rise. His opponent, billionaire Meg Whitman is someone with no government experience, much like Fiorina. Only in this case, Whitman didn’t even trouble herself to so much as vote in elections, for decades. Is this the kind of person who should be entrusted with leading a state? Why would anyone imagine that Whitman, another ex-CEO, of eBay, (evidently more competent than Fiorina) could be successful as governor? A governorship is very different from being the head of a company who has the authority to take action alone, with no legislative or judicial branches of co-equal government to work with. If you see a doctor for a serious problem, do you want someone with a healthy level of experience or someone fresh out of medical school? What makes people think that someone with no experience in electoral/public life will be good at it? Isn’t Schwarzenegger’s tenure proof enough? Despite his best intentions, he’s succeeded in accomplishing next to none of the things he set out to do when elected seven years ago. Think about this: What does a billionaire’s life have in common with OUR daily grind? Please, vote for Brown.
Moving on to the ballot measures, Proposition 25, if passed, would be a small step towards addressing some of California’s problems. What it does is change the vote requirement for the legislature to adopt a budget from a 2/3 to a simple (50%-plus-one) majority. The point of this is to prevent a minority of either house of the legislature from blocking passage of the budget and putting us in the situation we now face. It also establishes a penalty for legislators if they’re more than 15 days late in adopting a budget. They will permanently forfeit one day’s pay for each day more than 15 that they are late. There are already distortions and misrepresentations about this measure flying about the internet, including false claims that it overturns Prop 13, the 1977 measure that put a stop to endless increases in Californians’ property taxes. The sliver of truth in that is that the 2/3 rule was enacted by Prop13. Please, ignore these lies, read the official ballot description and you’ll see. Please vote yes on Prop 25.
Prop 26 is another one of those “return engagements” that seem to plague the initiative process. Its predecessor, Prop37, was defeated a decade ago. This measure would create conditions under which those who pollute, create public nuisances, or endanger public health would effectively be let off the hook for the damage they cause. The costs would then shift to all taxpayers because the damage would have to be remedied by spending money from California’s General Fund, the very place where the state has billions of dollars in shortages. The sneaky supporters of this measure couch their arguments in appeals to the voters claiming to prevent tax increases. Meanwhile, what they’re really doing is redefining fees paid by those causing the damage as “taxes”, thus requiring a 2/3 vote of the legislature to increase them. Then, all these people would have to do is buy off 1/3 of the legislators in Sacramento and they could get away with whatever they want. A concrete example of what this measure would do is the overturning of a UNANIMOUS California Supreme Court decision finding a paint company could indeed be required by a simple majority vote of the legislature to pay mitigation fees for the damage caused to children by lead in its paints. On the November 2nd ballot, an interesting assemblage of voices is opposed to this measure: League of Women Voters of California, firefighters, police officers, nurses, and Sierra Club. Please vote no on Prop 26.
In Nevada, Senator Harry Reid, leader of the U.S. Senate is facing a tough election fight. His opponent is one of those people from the “Tea Party”, Sharron Angle. She, like many of candidates spawned by that movement, holds some pretty extreme ideas. The sense I get from her is similar to the one I got from a candidate I recently interviewed for a very different office who came from the opposite end of the political spectrum from Angle. They both seem to have incomplete mastery of the facts and a concomitant weak connection to reality. Reid on the other hand has extensive experience, and, most importantly in this context, he has been solid on Armenian issues. He pushed for the State Department to hear the voices of Armenians in the U.S. regarding the infamous Protocols. He is also a cosponsor of the Genocide resolution currently introduced in the Senate. All you Nevadans, please vote for Reid.
Get ready to vote, soon by mail, a bit later at the polls.
Prop 21- yes, in “Go to the Beach Free”
Prop 23- no, in “Go to the Beach Free”