Voter Guide: Candidates, City Measures, State Propositions

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October 30, 2012

Nov. 6 is the United States General Election. As is usual for  “Super Tuesday”, the bid for Presidential office has taken up most of the media’s attention. But, there are state and local votes to consider as well next Tuesday.

This year Californians will choose one of two U.S. Senators to represent the state in Congress, as well as many state and federal legislative representatives. The ballot propositions facing Californians this election cycle cover a wide scope of issues and will have  very real ramifications on the lives and rights of citizens. The death penalty has come up for decision, as well as the three strikes sentencing law.

The voter guide compiled on pages 2 and 3 focuses on candidates and measures applicable to the districts in which Mills campus is situated. Some topics, like City Council Member At Large, will be voted on by the whole of the City of Oakland. Some Oakland districts will be choosing a new City Council Member, others, like Mills’, will not. The Campanil does not officially endorse any candidate or measures, and the order candidates are listed is random. For a complete list of those measures and candidates on which your district is deciding, consult the voter information package sent to you when you registered to vote, or a non-partisan online resource like smartvoter.org or lwv.org


Candidates


Local Measures

Measure A1 – Oakland Zoo

A “yes” on Measure A1 will:

  • Incur a tax of $12 per residential property and $72 per business property each year
  • Provide maintenance for animal enclosures and additional care for zoo animals
  • Provide children with science and nature education that may not be offered in schools.

Measure B1 – Transportation tax

A “yes” on Measure B1 will

  • Increase the transportation sales tax paid in Alameda County from 0.5% to 1.0%.
  • Use proceeds from the increased sales tax for public transit, improvements to local roads, infrastructure for pedestrian and bicycle paths as well as sustainable land use projects through a limited tax bond to not exceed one billion dollars.
  • Create an Independent Watchdog Group to oversee allocation of the tax revenues.

Measure J – School district tax

A “yes” on Measure J will:

  • Allow the Oakland Unified School District to tax property owners up to a total of 475 million dollars over six years.
  • Prohibit proceeds to be used for purposes outside school maintenance, including facilities and safety upgrades.
  • Create an independent citizens’ oversight committee monitoring the expenditures of the bond.

California State Propositions

Proposition 30 – Tax increase

A “yes” on Proposition 30 will:

  • Increase the state sales tax rate by 1/4 of a cent per dollar purchased between 2013 and 2017.
  • Increase personal income tax rate for the top three tax brackets between 2012 and 2018.
  • Funds can be used for programs within the state budget, specifically balancing the 2012-2013 budget.

Fiscal impact:

The 2012-2013 budget plan relies on the passing of proposition 30, otherwise six billion dollars must be cut from this fiscal year’s budget.

  • Relation to Proposition 38:
  • Both propositions include a provision to increase personal income tax rates, but at different amounts and for different lengths of time.
  • Both propositions will use a portion of the revenue from the increased tax rates for public education.
  • Proposition 30 will raise less money for schools, but will be enacted immediately and will also benefit community colleges.
  • Proposition 38 will raise more money for schools, but will not be enacted until next fiscal year. It will not raise money for community colleges.
  • If both propositions pass, only the one with the most “yes” votes will be enacted.

Proposition 31 – Budget transparency

A “yes” on Proposition 31 will:

  • Require a two-year state budget cycle.
  • Prevent state government from spending money it does not have.
  • Require state and local governments to publicly report results before spending more money.
  • Give the Governor the ability to cut the budget in the event of a fiscal emergency.

Fiscal Impacts:

  • Sales tax revenues will decrease by approximately $200 million per year.
  • There will be an increase in funding for certain local governments.

Proposition 32 – Special interests

A “yes” on Proposition 32 will:

  • Prevent corporate and union special interest contributions to politicians.
  • Keep unions, government contractors, and corporations from deducting from employees’ paychecks
  • to fund political purposes.

Fiscal Impact:

  • Increased costs to state and local governments (may exceed $1 million per year).

Proposition 33 – Car insurance

A “yes” on Proposition 33 will:

  • Allow insured drivers to shop for better insurance, regardless of which company they choose.
  • Allow insured drivers to gain insurance discounts.
  • Increase charges for drivers who are not able to maintain continuous coverage.
  • Cover unemployed drivers and those with military families for 90 days regardless of insurance payment.

Fiscal Impact:

  • There is no significant fiscal impact expected to happen to state insurance premium tax revenues.

Proposition 34 – Death penalty

A “yes” on Proposition 34 will:

  • Replace the death penalty as the maximum punishment for homicide with life in prison without parole. This will apply to those already convicted.
  • Make those convicted of murder work in prison and deduct their wages for victim restitution.
  • Fund rape and homicide investigations.

Fiscal Impact:

  • Decreased judicial costs through shortened hearings due to no chance of death penalty sentencing.
  • Decreased county jail costs as those convicted of murder will be sent to state facilities more quickly.
  • Increased funding for law enforcement for investigations (100 million dollars).

Proposition 35 – Human trafficking

A “yes” on Proposition 35 will:

  • Expand the legal term “sex trafficking” to include the distribution and creation of child pornography, regardless of physical contact with the underage victim. Any sex trafficking accusation involving a minor will not have to provide proof of coercion or force to be deemed illegal.
  • Increase the penalties incurred for a sex trafficking conviction. Prison terms and fines will increase under this proposition. The fines collected will be used to fund programs supporting victims of sex trafficking.
  • Change the legal proceedings for sex trafficking cases to disallow using evidence of sexual acts against victims of sex trafficking in a court of law.
  • Provide additional training on sex trafficking complaints for law enforcement personnel.
  • Require sex offenders to provide local police departments with their internet provider and online aliases, such as email addresses and usernames.

Fiscal impact:

  • Increased state and local criminal justice costs due to longer prison terms (should not exceed a couple million dollars annually)
  • Increased local law enforcement training costs (should not exceed a one-time cost of a few million dollars)
  • Increased revenue from additional fines incurred on convicted offenders (to be spent on programs supporting sex trafficking victims)

Proposition 36 – Three strikes sentencing

A “yes” on Proposition 36 will:

  • Revise the current three strikes sentencing law so that offenders with two previous serious or violent felonies and who commit a third nonviolent crime will be twice the usual term for such an offense, instead of a 25 years to life sentence.
  • Allows some offenders who have been convicted under the current three strikes sentencing law to have their sentences reevaluated a court resentencing hearing.

Fiscal impact:

  • Reduce state prison costs through decreased prison sentences.
  • Increase costs involved in the resentencing of current third strike offenders (could be a few million dollars over a few years).
  • Potential increase in costs for probationary programs as some offenders would be supervised by local probation departments instead of state parole.

Proposition 37 – Genetically engineered food

A “yes” on Proposition 37 will:

  • Require genetically engineered foods, specifically raw foods like fruits and vegetables, sold in retail stores to be labeled as such.
  • Require the state Department of Public Health to regulate this labeling.
  • Allows consumers to sue manufacturers who do not adhere to the food labeling laws.

Fiscal impacts:

  • Increased state costs to regulate the labeling through the Department of Public Health (between a few thousand to over a million dollars annually).

Proposition 38 – Tax increase

A “yes” on Proposition 38 will:

  • Increase the personal income tax rate for individuals in all but the lowest tax brackets for 12 years, between 2013 and 2024.
  • Use the funds from the increase in the personal income tax rate for public schools, child care programs, preschools and state debts.

Fiscal impact:

  • Increased state revenue of around 10 billion dollars annually.

Relation to Proposition 30:

  • Both propositions include a provision to increase personal income tax rates, but at different amounts and for different lengths of time.
  • Both propositions will use a portion of the revenue from the increased tax rates for public education.
  • Proposition 30 will raise less money for schools, but will be enacted immediately and will also benefit community colleges.
  • Proposition 38 will raise more money for schools, but will not be enacted until next fiscal year. It will not raise money for community colleges.
  • If both propositions pass, only the one with the most “yes” votes will be enacted.

Proposition 39 – Multistate business taxes

A “yes” on Proposition 39 will:

  • Prohibit multistate businesses from choosing how their taxable income is determined.
  • Provide funds for alternative energy projects (only some of the funds from the multistate business taxation would be used for these projects).

Fiscal impact:

  • Increase state revenue due to multistate businesses paying more taxes to California (around 1 billion
  • dollars annually)
  • Increased funds for alternative energy projects in a five year period between 2013 and 2018 (about half of the mutlistate business tax revenue, 500 million dollars)
  • Increased funds for state schools through the minimum guarantee proposition, which depends on the state’s revenues.

Proposition 40 – Senate district boundaries

A “yes” on Proposition 40 will:

  • Approve the Senate districts (as outlined in the back of the voter information guide or online at smartvoter.org) that were drawn by the Citizen Redistricting Commission and use those boundaries until the 2020 census.

A “no” on Proposition 40 will:

  • Appoint “special masters” to outline new Senate district boundaries

Fiscal impact:

  • Voting “yes” would have no fiscal impact.
  • Voting “no” would incur a one-time cost for the state of 500 thousand dollars for the hiring of “special masters” and a one-time cost for counties of 500 thousand dollars to redraw precinct maps.

Photos courtesy of candidates.

Compiled by Annie O’Hare, Jen Mac Ramos, Fatima Sugapong and Lauren Sliter.

Additional information provided by Mark Henderson, Natasha Middleton and smartvoter.org.


Voter Guide: Candidates, City Measures, State Propositions was published on October 30, 2012 in Headline Story, News

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