BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
It’s almost over. All I have left to cover are some local propositions. Everything else has been beaten to death. Make sure you vote. In a matter days, even hours, the November 8, 2016 Presidential Election will be history. Those who are sick and tired of the strangest, though possibly not most acrimonious, election in U.S. history will be thrilled or relieved. Those who don’t care and/or are clueless… will remain so. Those who love and live for the thrill of electoral battle will be going through withdrawal, unless of course a certain thin-skinned candidate pursues fantasies of voter fraud or rigged elections, and instigates violence. Then, the political junkies might get one last fix.
For a quick reference, please see the two attached tables. Explanations for the recommendations on the state propositions appeared in articles over the last month.
If you go to the County of LA’s election website, you’ll find dozens of local ballot measures. I will only address a few of them which affect jurisdictions with heavier Armenian populations or that are similar to one another topically. One general recommendation I have is this – if you live in a city that has a school bond measure, vote YES, since that will generate local money which can be used to match the state funds that will become available if state proposition 51 passes.
The County of LA itself has two ballot measures. One, Measure A, will help pay for parks and such. It is effectively just a “renewal” of a similar measure passed two decades ago that is about to expire. We need this. The other, Measure M, is also an “extension” of an earlier one that pays for transportation infrastructure – bikes, highways, rail, etc. The LA times recently reported that the Bay Area communities are green with envy over the progress LA has made on transportation thanks this approach. Let’s maintain progress. Vote YES on A and M.
There are four measures in as many cities that attempt to address at the ballot box that which is often best addressed through the deliberative process of an elected city council. In these instances, they all fail in my opinion. Measure HH in Beverly Hills is an attempt by a developer to circumvent that city’s process to get what he wants by duping the voters. In Calabasas, Measure F is a similar attempt to circumvent the city’s established zoning. In Los Angeles, Charter Amendment RRR gives away some of the city council’s power over its own water and power utility, thus further distancing it from people’s control while pretending to protect its customers. In Santa Monica, Measure LV is a well-intentioned effort that goes too far in trying to constrain development. Vote NO on HH, F, RRR, LV if you live in any of the relevant cities.
Burbank’s airport will finally get a new, safer (built to modern distance-from-runway standards), terminal if Measure B passes. This vote is a requirement put in place by an earlier ballot measure that allows the city’s residents to have the final say over whether they want a new terminal or not. The project has been extensively vetted and is supported by a majority of the city council and numerous other groups. It makes sense to me. Vote YES on B.
In in the cities of LA (Measures HHH and JJJ) and Santa Monica (Measure GSH), housing issues are being addressed. HHH and GSH will provide housing for the homeless. JJJ addresses affordable housing needs and labor standards. In addition to tackling important societal issues, these will also create well-paying construction jobs. Vote YES on HHH, JJJ, and GSH.
In the City of LA, there are three more measures to discuss. Charter amendment SSS is a pension (for airport and port police) related measure. It seems to be a good idea at its core, but premature and insufficiently prepared. Even the union representing these employees is not supporting SSS. Also, if you live in the Santa Monica Mountains/Hollywood Hills, you may see Measure FF or GG on your ballot. These are small (either $15 or $35) assessments on each parcel of land that help pay for the open space and many parks in the area administered by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation authority. It is some of the best spent money that will ever leave your pocket. Vote YES on FF or GG. Vote NO on SSS.
Finally, in the realm of community college districts, Glendale (Measure GC) and Los Angeles (Measure CC), bond measures are up for approval to upgrade their facilities. Here, my explanation about matching funds for schools comes into play again since community colleges are also covered by state prop 51. It seems superfluous to explain why money is needed to renovate/build college campuses. Vote YES on GC or CC, depending on where you live.
Sorry, but I have no recommendations on the judicial offices.
Next week, we’ll no doubt be having interesting post-election analyses and discussions.
Meanwhile, remember to vote, vote, vote!