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Gretchen's Personal Opinion California Election Guide 2006

   

Thought for the Day

© Copyright 2006 by Gretchen Passantino

The following resources are recommended by Gretchen Passantino, Director of Answers In Action, as part of a responsible voter’s personal study & preparation to vote carefully & thoughtfully. I do not necessarily agree with any or all of the views, opinions, recommendations, or statements from these resources, but I have found them helpful in my own research & decision making & wanted to share them with others. No one can tell you how to vote, but I can share my personal opinions. This is not officially representative of Answers In Action or Prince of Peace Church.


California Connected

Public Affairs news magazine television show from public broadcasting. It purports to be non-partisan & informational only, but with legal, educational, & PBS foundations, treat its objectivity dubiously. But it is a good resource for in depth background on each measure, its supporters, & its detractors.

California League of Women Voters Organization

Usually fair, non-partisan guide with excellent resources for answering questions about voting in general (where, how late to register, rights to paper ballots, etc.). I say usually fair because it tends to presume that government is better at making decisions for us than we are ourselves.

California Secretary of State

Official description, text, & pro-, anti- arguments for all propositions. This site also answers all of your general questions, like where & how to register, how to find your precinct, what a lot of the election terminology means, etc.

California Voter Foundation

Excellent, thorough, fair non-partisan guide exclusively for California.

Gretchen Passantino’s Humble Opinions

You may e-mail me (Gretchen.Passantino@answers.org) about any particular measure, & I will give you my opinion & a short explanation of why I am planning to vote for or against. If you are in Southern California, you may want to attend our Ballot Discussion Group on Sunday afternoon, November 5 (see the Calendar for the details).

John & Ken’s Guide to the 2005 Election Propositions

John & Ken are proud that they are unquantifiable as either conservatives or liberals, but mostly that means that their independent, arrogant, & often ill-thought views are likely to madden practically anyone except their faithful listeners. Having said that, I do find that frequently I agree with their decision about an issue or candidate, even though their arguments don’t always hold water. They are passionate about restraining open borders & illegal immigration, so on that count alone, I frequently agree with them.

Roger Hedge c ock (Radio Talk Show Host, KOGO San Diego)

Roger is Rush Limbaugh’s #1 guest host, & he is a thoughtful, enthusiastic, principled, but easy to understand conservative. I nearly always agree with not only his views, but his arguments in support of those views. He is an under-appreciated, should-be-known better voice of conservative reason & Christian (Catholic) faithfulness.

Note: You may have trouble using the link above because your computer and/or browser may “censor” the “bad word” in the last part of Roger’s last name. To reach his website, hand enter the following URL, substituting the last syllable (“bad word”) of Roger’s name for the dashes (---): http://www.rogerhedge----.com/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/

Speak Out California!

This organization advertises itself as the voice of “progressives” (trans., liberals). Not only do its own views give me a guide on how I should not vote, but it collects the views of many other liberal organizations as well, so I can be septuptally confirmed in my opposite views. Sarcasm aside, it is truly useful to hold my own views & voting inclinations up to the reflective glare of completely contrary views.

Traditional Values Coalition (Rev. Louis P. Sheldon)

Conservative Christian Organization with special interest in restraining special rights & inclusion for homosexuals.


General Considerations for Any Propositions

• We usually don’t need new laws. We have too many already.

• The initiative protocol should be for very unusual situations in which the normal legislative, representative system just cannot or will not deal with an urgent matter. Such as the California legislature being completely dominated & controlled by diehard liberal Democrats who will sacrifice the good of the state for their own partisan agendas.

• Any measure that includes words like “bond,” “tax,” “assessment,” “funding,” or similar synonyms means we have to pay more money, either directly or indirectly. The government has too much of our money already. It does not need more. It just needs to use what it has better.

• Any measures supported by lots of unions I usually don’t agree with.

• Families, local communities, businesses, & special interest groups are usually far more frugal & efficient in using their own money than are government agencies with somebody else's money. We almost never need to create a government agency to administrate a program that should be private or local to begin with.

• Any measure giving government more power, & individuals/families less, I usually don’t agree with.

• It’s usually better if our money & decision makers are very close to us. That is, if I’m going to give any of my money or my decision making to someone else, I would rather give it to my city than my county, my county before my state, & hardly ever to that city 3,000 miles east of here. Those who are close are more likely to have to deal with me (& my fellow voters) directly, & are more dependent on a small concentration of voter supporters.

• Prices & markets should generally be governed by the law of supply & demand, not by politicians, taxes, & regulations. Unless it is in the very narrow realm of national security & constitutional rights, government should generally stay out of our business & our lives.

• Read each proposition very carefully. It is often very confusing & has so many caveats & double negatives that a vote in favor turns out supporting what you dont want, & a vote against affirms what you do approve of.

• Double check the title of each proposition. It is always the case that the title sounds like something all reasonable, good people would want. That can be completely deceptive. It is the wording of the measure that counts, not its title.

• It is nearly always the case that 10% or fewer of the people decide for us all. For example, in Orange County, approximately 50% of the residents are old enough to vote. Approximately 50% of those old enough are qualified to register. Less than 50% qualified to register, are registered. Of those registered to vote, only between 8% – 60% vote in any given election. That 60% range only happens in hotly contested presidential elections or for extremely urgent public outcries (like the recall of Davis). 8% is typical for a non-candidate/office, non- hotly contested issue special election. If it rains or a crucial sporting event coincides with election day, it could be even less. So, for this election, it will probably be the case that only about 30% of the registered voters will vote. And only 50% + 1 of those who vote will determine the outcome. Look at your odds: If there were 1000 residents, 500 would be old enough, 250 would be qualified, 125 would actually register, 37 will actually vote, & 19 will decide the outcome. So the convictions of 19 will control the futures of 1000. And if you talk your spouse, your adult children, your neighbors on either side, your small group friends, & your co-workers into voting your way, you can end up having an enormous impact in this election. Get working!


How I'm Voting on November 7

These are only for the national, state, & Orange County, California races & issues. For your local issues, please do your own research. These are my own opinions, & you must make your own decisions about the issues & races that are important to you.

State Offices

My reasoningSince I am conservative in my general outlook (less government is usually better, fewer laws are usually better, taxes should be minimal, people should be responsible), I tend to vote more often for Republican candidates than for Democrats. I am often impressed with American Independent & Libertarian candidates. But another of my basic principles comes into operation depending on whether the election is a primary or a general one. If it is a primary, I vote for the candidate I agree with the most, regardless of his/her party affiliation or chance of winning. If that candidate is not the perferred candidate of my party of registration, I always write a letter to my county party telling them why I didn't vote for their endorsed candidate & why I did vote for whomever I chose. This, I believe is the best way I can use my vote to influence my party's platform & choice of endorsements. If it is a general election, however, I always vote for the least objectionable candidate who has an opportunity to win. This is usually a Republican. My reasoning is that if I can't have the candidate I truly want, I should at least use my vote to ensure, first, that the most objectionable front runner doesn't win &, second, that someone who at least shares some of my values & has a chance to win is supported by my vote. I understand the commitment & consistency of my friends who will always vote for the candidate most supportive of their values, no matter how little his/her chance of winning, but my personal conviction is that while my friends are supporting their non-winning candidate, their lack of support for a less objectionable front-runner is contributing to the election of the candidate we both agree has nothing in common with us. Here is how my general principles are affecting my vote this time:

Governor -- Arnold Schwarzenegger; Lt. Governor -- Tom McClintock; Secretary of State -- Bruce McPherson; Controller -- Tony Strickland; Treasurer -- Claude Parrish; Attorney General -- Chuck Poochigian; Insurance Commissioner -- Steve Poizner; State Board of Equalization -- Michelle Steel. For my own district Member of the State Assembly -- Van Tran.

Federal Offices

See my general principles above. Note that the U S Representative is for my own district where I live:

United States Senator -- Richard "Dick" Mountjoy; United States Representative -- Dana Rohrbacher.

Judicial Offices General Principles: Judges are elected to non-partisan court offices. They are not allowed to campaign in any partisan way. There is practically no way that anyone can find out what kind of a judge they will be or have been without professional legal research into their bench record. Consequently, I usually vote for or against a particular judge only on the basis of personal recommendation or warning from personal acquaintances who work in the court(s) or if a particular judge has been extremely high profile in the general press. Otherwise, I skip the judge section of the ballot. You do not have to vote all races, candidates, & issues on your ballot. You may vote for as many or as few as you like. Blank sections do not invalidate those sections where you do vote.

State Measures

1A -- Transportation Funding Protection -- YES This restricts how money is used that has already been allocated for particular purposes. This gives the state less power, not more.

1B -- Highway Safety Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, & Port Security Bond Act of 2006 -- NO Bond means the government gets more money (in fact, borrows it & must pay interest), leaving us less money.

1C -- Housing & Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act -- NO As Christians we have an obligation to help those who are in need, especially women & children. But that is best done by citizens, churches, & charity organizations, not by the government, which always takes a healthy chunk of anything allocated to run any program.

1D -- Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006 -- NO The cost of educating students of any age in California public schools is sky high compared to private institutions, & the quality of the education is abysmal. Public schools do not need more money. They need to spend it better. Do not reward those who waste money by giving them more.

1E -- Disaster Preparedness & Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006 -- NO See 1B above. If you were having financial problems, spending more than you made, would it be smart for you to borrow more money so that you could spend more & be further in debt not only for what you spent, but for the interest payments, too? Or should you examine your budget & learn to live within your means? What works for families works for government, in this regard.

Prop. 83 -- Sex Offenders, Sexually Violent Predators, Punishment, Residence Restrictions, & Monitoring -- YES Although this will cost money to implement, it is exactly the kind of responsibility government should have -- protecting its citizens from threats foreign & domestic. While some opponents say that its features are largely already covered by laws recently passed by the legislature & signed by the governor, it is generally stronger than what was passed. Habitual sexual predators cannot be trusted with the same freedoms of non-destructive citizens.

Prop. 84 -- Water Quality, Safety & Supply, Flood Control, Natural Resource Protection, Park Improvements Bonds -- NO Notice the last word of that proposition -- bonds -- that means "borrow & pay back with interest with inflation-lowered value of tax dollars." In other words, it will cost us more. My general principle is that government doesn't need more money, but better use of the money it has.

Prop. 85 -- Waiting Period & Parental Notification before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy -- YES This removes the special, unjustified, & dangerous exception to the general basic parental right to know & supervise their children's medical care. There are exceptions that will protect minors have reason to fear their parents, for example, a teen who has been impregnated by her abusive stepfather. In my own opinion, it does not go far enough because it still makes abortion the solitary dangerous medical procedure that a parent cannot forbid for his/her child. This only means the minor's parent must be informed, not that the parent can stop the procedure. This is the second proposition advocating similar parental rights. The first was passed by a large margin, but was immediately challenged in the courts, where it died without ever being implemented.

Prop. 86 -- Tax on Cigarettes -- NO If cigarettes are truly so dangerous & costly to the community, then why don't we outlaw them? If we are going to keep them legal, we should not colude with the government to tax by discrimination to pay for programs we don't think we can fund by an upfront, across-the-board tax on everyone. Again, the government has more than enough money. It needs to use what it has better.

Prop. 87 -- Alternative Energy Research, Production, Incentives, Tax on California Oil Producers -- NO Let me understand this -- we're too dependent on foreign oil, especially that from terrorist-linked Middle East countries, so we should make it too expensive to produce oil domestically? This flies in the face of my general princple -- the law of supply & demand should govern the market, not politics, taxes, & regulations (except limited to basic life, safety, & protection from enemies). It is delusional to think that the oil companies, profit-making corporations, are going to altruistically refrain from passing on the cost to the consumer.

Prop. 88 -- Education Funding, Real Property Parcel Tax -- NO See my basic principle about how much money the government needs.

Prop. 89 -- Political Campaigns, Public Financiing, Corporate Tax Increase -- NO Taxes usually means an automoatic "no" to me. Creating yet another government agency to administer a new program with other people's money (yours & my tax money) is usually an automatic "no" to me.

Prop. 90 -- Government Aquisition, Regulation of Private Property -- YES This one is attempting to recitfy the (in my humble opinion) atrocious Supreme Court ruling that redefined the constitutional "eminent domain" principle to include practically anything any government body wanted to do with anyone's private property. While it comes close to providing what I believe is a more constitutionally conservative position on private property rights, it does open government entities (especially cities) to what may be huge financial & legal burdens they did not have before that have little to do with a true "eminent domain" situation. This makes an automatic "YES" vote (less government power is better) difficult. What we truly want is a reversal of the Supreme Court ruling, & local or state remedies in the meantime. This is such a remedy, but it's not the best that could have been written, & it does have some dubious features. I think its protection for property owners outweighs its weaknesses, so I am voting for it, but I respect my friends who are voting against it & holding out for a better worded proposition.

County Measure

Measure M -- Orange County Transportation Improvement Plan -- NO This is extending the life of a "temporary" sales tax increase that has already been renewed, reinvented, & rewritten more than once. Again, they don't need more of our money, they just need to spend it better. I don't care to continue paying higher sales tax just so we can add another HOV lane few people use or a rapid transit upgrade that few people ride. If we truly had a commitment to providing good highways for the majority of typical Caifornia drivers, we could do so with the money we already have for transportation. If we don't have that commitment (& history confirms that resoundingly), then just throwing more money at the wrong commitment won't magically transform it into the right commitment.

Remember, these are my personal opinions. This is the way that I am going to vote. I have many friends who are voting differently & I respect them, their faith, & their principles, although we disagree about certain candidates or propositions. You have to make your own mind up. The Bible commands us to participate in our government in truth, justic, & mercy. It does not tell us how to vote. That is up to each of us individually.




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The Lord's Servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will give them a change of heart leading to a knowledge of the truth
II Timothy 2:24-26