What’s on the Ballot and How I’m Voting This November

voting guide

THERE ARE SEVENTEEN state propositions on the November 8 ballot; here are my descriptions and recommendations.

First, though, let’s tackle Measure A: A Strong Start for All Marin Kids. This will provide $12 million annually (replacing an expiring tax) for nine years for underfunded preschool, childcare, and medical programs. Backing it are Congressman Jared Huffman and the county’s district attorney, sheriff, board of supervisors and superintendent of schools. Vote yes, definitely.

Prop 51: K-12 and Community College Funding Authorizes $9 billion for constructing K-12 schools; charter and vocational schools; and community colleges. Yes, definitely.

Prop 52: Medi-Cal Hospital Funding Program Way too complicated, but faces no opposition and has no tax implications. Yes, or abstain.

Prop 53: Revenue Bond Approvals Would negatively impact high-speed rail and Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta tunnels. Democrats and unions oppose it. Republicans favor. No, or abstain.

Prop 54: Legislature Proceedings Prohibits passing legislation that has not been in print or on the Internet for at least 72 hours. Yes.

Prop 55: Extend Education and Health Care Taxes Extends for 12 years tax increases on high incomes; money goes to K-12 education and health care programs. Yes, definitely.

Prop 56: Cigarette Tax Would add $2 tax per pack, but is murky regarding where the money goes. No, or abstain.

Prop 57: Criminal Sentencing Allows parole consideration for nonviolent crimes once term of primary offense is served. Will save millions of dollars. Yes, definitely.

Prop 58: English Proficiency Complex effort to bring back bilingual education in California, should be handled by Legislature. Democrats favor; Republicans oppose. No, or abstain.

Prop 59: Corporate Political Spending Instructing our politicians to propose ratifying one or more amendments to the U.S. Constitution is useless and unenforceable. The U.S. Constitution shouldn’t be amended to overturn Citizens United. No, definitely.

Prop 60: Condoms for Adult Films Would cost millions to administer; would incur loss of millions in local/state taxes. No.

Prop 61: Prescription Drug Pricing Complex, should be handled by Legislature. Abstain.

Prop 62: Death Penalty Repeal Replaces death penalty with life without possible parole. Is retroactive for those on death row. Will save $150 million per year. Yes, definitely.

Prop 63: Ammunition Sales Prohibits possession of ammunition magazines and makes it harder to purchase any ammunition. Yes.

Prop 64: Legalize Marijuana Legalizes marijuana and hemp; imposes a 15 percent tax on sales; heavier taxes on buds than leaves. Yes.

Prop 65: Carryout Bag Sales Requires stores to send proceeds from the sale of paper bags to the Wildlife Conservation Fund Initiative. Yes.

Prop 66: Death Penalty Procedures Changes (possibly limits) procedures regarding death sentence appeals. No, definitely not.

Prop 67: Ban on Plastic Bags Upholds legislation banning plastic bags. Yes.

Regarding U.S. president: we are blessed to have Hillary Clinton as a presidential candidate; she is eminently qualified. As for U.S. Senator, Kamala Harris is smart and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is best in her current role — Harris is an easy call. I strongly recommend returning Jared Huffman to the U.S. Congress and Marc Levine to the California State Assembly.

I like Dominic Grossi over Dennis Rodini to replace Steve Kinsey as Marin’s 4th District supervisor. He’s considerably younger (can potentially serve longer) and doesn’t hold extreme positions (he’s willing to listen). In the equally close race for Superior Court judge, I’ll take public defender Michael Coffino over county counsel Sheila Lightblau. He has more courtroom experience and is less politically connected.

That’s my point of view. What’s yours?

This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition with the headline: “Big Ballot”.