California Propositions 2010— How I’m Voting and Why

Update: I have added the election results for each measure. The voting public agreed with my picks on 6 out of 9 measures.

I’m a registered Libertarian. Libertarians are neither conservative nor liberal. Broadly, Libertarians believe that you have the sovereign right to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the sovereign rights of others to do what they want. If you haven’t ever considered Libertarianism, then take this short quiz to find out whether you might be a Libertarian and not even know it!

Nonetheless, Libertarians vary in how much government should be allowed to interfere in our lives ranging from “All governments are criminal,” to “Governments should exist only to provide a few necessary services that provably cannot be provided by the free market.” I fall at different places in that range depending on the issue at hand. And in the 2010 California elections there are a number of issues at hand that really put my Libertarian leanings to the test.

Below are the ballot propositions, along with how the Democratic (Dems), Republican (GOP) and Libertarian (LP) parties advise you vote. I also add how I’m going to vote and a brief note as to why. You’re welcome to add your own thoughts to the comments below— perhaps you’ll sway me to your way of thinking!

And if you’re in California and not registered to vote, what are you waiting for?

Resources

Measures

Proposition 19: Changes California Law to Legalize Marijuana and Allow It to Be Regulated and Taxed.

Dems: no position / GOP: NO / LP: YES

Me: YES

Voters: NO

The Drug War has failed and is a huge social and economic drag. Cannabis must be legalized, taxed, and regulated. I just blogged about this yesterday. This is a case where Libertarian principals fall along the same lines as traditional Democratic social liberalism. (Update: …At least for the Los Angeles Democratic Party. The California Democratic Party takes no position on 19.) Unfortunately, the GOP is still stuck in the Culture Wars, even though many prominent Republicans now also agree that the Drug War needs to end.

Proposition 20: Redistricting of Congressional Districts.

Dems: NO / GOP: YES / LP: no position

Me: YES

Voters: YES

This proposition will reduce the likelihood of gerrymandering by self-serving elected politicians.

Proposition 21: Establishes $18 Annual Vehicle License Surcharge to Help Fund State Parks and Wildlife Programs and Grants Free Admission to All State Parks to Surcharged Vehicles.

Dems: YES / GOP: NO / LP: NO

Me: NO

Voters: NO

The parks should (ideally) be self-sustaining or (at least) paid for by all taxpayers, not only taxpayers with cars.

Proposition 22: Prohibits the State from Taking Funds Used for Transportation or Local Government Projects and Services.

Dems: NO / GOP: no position / LP: YES

Me: YES

Voters: YES

Local control of funding is preferable to state control.

Proposition 23: Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year.

Dems: NO / GOP: YES / LP: YES

Me: NO

Voters: NO

This is the only one where I’m actually voting against my party, this time with the more environmentally-conscious Dems. The science of human-caused climate change is solid, I doubt we can avert lasting damage without collective action, and I think it’s wrong that this proposition basically says, “Go ahead and pollute more until the economy improves.” Perversely, this actually provides an incentive for polluting business interests to keep the economy weak and unemployment high.

Proposition 24: Repeals Recent Legislation That Would Allow Businesses to Carry Back Losses, Share Tax Credits, and Use a Sales-Based Income Calculation to Lower Taxable Income.

Dems: YES / GOP: NO / LP: no position

Me: YES

Voters: NO

Individuals and businesses that pay taxes have to do their fair share to get the state ouf debt and have a balanced budget. We’re kidding ourselves if we think we can tax-cut our way out of this. Higher taxes (for now) and greater fiscal responsibility (forever) is the only way out. And let this be a lesson to us.

Proposition 25: Changes Legislative Vote Requirement to Pass a Budget from Two-Thirds to a Simple Majority. Retains Two-Thirds Vote Requirement for Taxes.

Dems: YES / GOP: NO / LP: NO

Me: NO

Voters: YES

Budgets should require as much consensus as possible.

Proposition 26: Increases Legislative Vote Requirement to Two-Thirds for State Levies and Charges. Imposes Additional Requirement for Voters to Approve Local Levies and Charges with Limited Exceptions.

Dems: NO / GOP: YES / LP: YES

Me: YES

Voters: YES

New taxes and fees should require as much consensus as possible.

Proposition 27: Eliminates State Commission on Redistricting. Consolidates Authority for Redistricting with Elected Representatives.

Dems: YES / GOP: NO / LP: no position

Me: NO

Voters: NO

This measure is sort of the opposite of Proposition 20, and if passed would put more control over redistricting into the hands of the people who have the most reason to gerrymander for their own benefit: the elected politicians.

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