Endorsements 2008: State ballot measures - Page 3

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

The measure is confusing. The California Energy Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission would play somewhat unclear roles in the state's energy future. Overall, the CEC would site power plants and the CPUC would set rates. Penalties levied to utilities that don't meet the new RPS would be controlled by the CEC and used to build transmission lines connecting the desert-sourced solar power with cities.

The coalition supporting Prop. 7 is an interesting mix of retired public officials, including former San Francisco supervisor Jim Gonzalez, former state senator John Burton, former mayor Art Agnos, and utility expert S. David Freeman. Interestingly, Gonzalez was a staunch ally of Pacific Gas and Electric Co. when he was a local politician, and Burton has done legal work for PG&E. The bankroll for the campaign comes from Arizona billionaire Peter Sperling, son of medical marijuana proponent John Sperling.

A number of solar and wind companies, which would presumably profit by its passing, are lined up against it, but the No on 7 money comes entirely from PG&E, SoCal Edison, and Sempra, which have dumped $28 million into the campaign. That, of course, makes us nervous.

But other opponents include all the major green groups — Environmental Defense, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists — none of which were consulted before it was put on the ballot.

We're obviously uncomfortable coming down on the side of PG&E, but renewable energy is a major policy issue, and this measure was written with little input from the experts in the field. Gonzalez told us it's mostly aimed at pushing giant solar arrays in the desert; that's fine, but we're also interested in small local projects that might be more efficient and environmentally sound.

Vote no.

Proposition 8

Ban on same-sex marriage

NO, NO, NO

Same-sex couples have been able to marry legally in California since June. Their weddings — often between couples who have spent decades together, raised children, fought hard for civil rights, and been pillars of their communities — have been historic, joy-filled moments. San Francisco City Hall has witnessed thousands of these weddings — and to date, there has not been a single confirmed report that gay weddings have caused damage to straight marriages.

But now comes Proposition 8, a statewide measure that seeks to take this fundamental right away from same-sex couples.

Using the exact same argument that was used in 2000, Prop. 8 contends that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

Back then, the measure passed. This time, the landscape has shifted radically and is full of same-sex brides and grooms who have already legally tied the knot. This time around, the stale "man and woman only" argument is being used to attempt to deny individuals their existing rights based on their sexual orientation. Polls suggest that a majority of Californians are unwilling to support this measure, but it would only take a simple majority to deny gays and lesbians their marriage rights. Vote no on Prop. 8 and protect hard-won marriage equality.

Proposition 9

Restrictions on parole

NO, NO, NO

It's tempting simply to repeat our reasons for voting no on Proposition 6 in our discussion of Proposition 9. While the details of the two measures are different — Prop. 6 would send more people to jail; Prop. 9 would keep them there longer — the two would have a similar unfortunate result: more people crowding our already overflowing and outrageously expensive prison system. Prop. 9 would accomplish this by making it much more difficult for prisoners to gain parole. But California already releases very few inmates serving long sentences for crimes like murder and manslaughter.

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