Endorsements 2008: State ballot measures - Page 2

Yes, yes, yes on 1a. No, no, no on 4 and 8 ...

If passed, it would require doctors to notify parents of minors seeking abortions, make teenagers wait 48 hours after the notification is made before undergoing the abortion, penalize doctors who don't abide by the rule, and make kids go through a court process to get a waiver to the law. The doctors would have to hand-deliver the notice or send it by certified mail.

Proponents have spun this as a way to "stop child predators," a baseless claim, as teenage victims of predators seeking abortions are still victims of predators whether their parents know or not. Opponents say it's a dangerous law that will drive more kids seeking abortions underground and do nothing to truly improve family relations. This proposal represents another erosion of abortion rights.

The last two attempts to require parental notification were narrowly defeated — but this time, with so much else on the ballot, it's attracting less attention, and polls show it might pass.

Big funders backing the measure are San Diego Reader publisher James Holman and Sonoma-based winery owner Don Sebastiani, who have collectively spent more than $2 million supporting it. A broad coalition of medical, education, and civil rights organizations oppose it. Vote no.

Proposition 5

Treatment instead of jail


In 2000, California voters approved Proposition 36, which sent people convicted of certain drug-related offenses to treatment programs instead of to prison. Proposition 5 would revamp that earlier measure by giving more people a shot at addiction services instead of a jail cell and would provide treatment to youth offenders as well as adults. It would also make possession of less than 28.5 grams (1 ounce) of marijuana an infraction instead of a misdemeanor, something we wholeheartedly support.

Opponents of the plan say it would cost too much and would allow criminals a get-out-of-jail-free card. But punitive approaches to addiction clearly don't work. And while the new programs Prop. 5 calls for will need an initial infusion of cash, taking nonviolent inmates out of jail and keeping them out of the system by helping them overcome their addictions should save the state considerable money in the long run.

Proposition 6

Prison spending


There are 171,000 people in California's 33 prisons. All told, the state shells out $10 billion every year incarcerating people. This prison boom has enriched for-profit corrections companies and made the prison guards' union one of the most powerful interest groups in the state — but it hasn't made the streets any safer.

Nonetheless, backers of Proposition 6 say the state needs to spend $1 billion more per year on new prisons, increased prison time (even for youth offenders), and untested programs that few believe will have any positive impact — without identifying a way to pay for any of it.

Bottom line, Prop. 6 would divert funding from necessary areas like health care and education and waste it on a failed, throw-away-the-key approach to crime. Even the staunchly conservative Orange County Register's editorial board called the measure "criminally bad." Vote no on Prop. 6.

Proposition 7

Renewable-energy generation


We're all for more renewable energy, but this measure and the politics around it smell worse than a coal-burning power plant.

Proposition 7 would require all investor-owned and municipal utilities to procure 50 percent clean energy by 2025. It would allow fast-tracked permitting for the new power plants and suggests they be placed in "solar and clean energy zones" in the desert while still meeting environmental reviews and protections. There's a hazy provision that the solar industry groups argue would discredit any power sources under 30 megawatts from counting toward renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which the Yes on Prop.