Endorsements 2012: State ballot measures

End the death penalty -- Yes on 34. No on 35 saves our sexworkers. GMO food gets a label when you vote Yes on 37


State ballot measures




Why are we voting on — and watching the various interests spend about $30 million on — a simple tax increase that in most sane places would be vetted and approved by the state Legislature? Two reasons: California has an archaic and insane rule mandating a two-thirds vote of both houses for a tax hike, which is impossible as long as a few Republicans are still in Sacramento — and our crabby old oddball of a governor, Jerry Brown, insisted in his last campaign that he'd never raise taxes without a vote of the people.

Prop. 30 is an amalgam, a mixture of what Brown first wanted and what the more liberal supporters of a tax on millionaires were proposing. The guv had to come the table when it looked like the millionaire tax might have enough support to compete with his plan; he made a few concessions, and everyone signed off on this plan. It raises taxes on people with incomes of more than $250,000 (good) and hikes the sales tax by a quarter-cent (not so good) and would bring in $6 billion a year until it expires in 2019.

A bit of perspective: When former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger whacked the vehicle license fee his first day in office, he cost the state about $4 billion a year, with the stroke of a pen.

And in a state with more billionaires than any other place in America, a fabulously rich place with the world's eighth-largest economy, the notion that we have to argue about raising $6 billion in taxes is farcical.

Nevertheless, it's crucial to pass Prop. 30. The money will prevent catastrophic cuts to education and social services. Prop. 30 won't move California a single step forward — but it will keep us all a few inches away from the abyss.

Brown has gambled his governorship on this — and if he loses, he'll take a good part of the state's future with him. We live in strange and unpleasant times; vote Yes on 30.




There are no easy solutions to the fiscal and political mess that is California, 2012, and voters should beware of self-proclaimed reformers claiming to wield silver-bullet fixes. Just the fact that this Prop. 31 tries to enshrine so many complex legislative reforms into one measure should give us pause. And it's almost always a bad idea to use the initiative process to micromanage complex relationships between state and local governments and between the legislative and executive branches of state government.

Some of what this measure would do is good, such as requiring the state to do two-year budgets, a reform that San Francisco recently adopted. The idea of giving local governments more money and authority also has merit, although that's a tricky proposition that could undermine environmental and worker safety protections.

We're also disturbed by the idea of giving governors unilateral authority to make cuts during years with big budget deficits, and with a requirement that new state programs must be tied to specific funding sources. Again, many of these ideas sound good at first glance, but placing new restrictions on Legislators will only hinder their ability to respond to problems and popular will. And giving the governor that much power is just dangerous. Vote no on 31.




This is by far the most dangerous and deceptive measure on the ballot, one that threatens to cripple the ability of labor unions to engage meaningfully in the political process, giving big corporations and wealthy individuals even more control over our lives. Yet this insidious measure disingenuously purports to do just opposite, tapping into widespread concerns over corporate power and trying to fool people into voting against their best interests.


All those expensive "no on 37" ads paid for by Monsanto/Syngenta/Bayer are the advertising cud that the Major newspapers profit from.

This is why alternative media like the Guardian and other small papers that have endorsed Prop 37 are becoming more meaningful. Reading the Chronicle is just habit, fewer and fewer meaningful stories, sports, sports, sports, TV stars and acres of tripe.

I urge all readers that want to be informed about this issue to go to Youtube and look up "The Genetic Roulette Movie",
then select the full length version and watch it.

Posted by Guest Dale Kerwin on Oct. 03, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

You had a good analysis of Prop. 38, until the end. You neglected to mention that Prop. 30 was retroactive to the start of this year so that schools get the money they need to avoid more drastic cuts halfway through the school year. Monies from Prop. 38 would not alleviate the problem this year because they would not be available until next year. As a result, we would be using the money to repair the damage caused by the shortened school year, laid-off teachers and slashed programs.

In addition, Prop.38 functions as spoiler that drains support away from Prop. 30 and could cause both to fail, thereby leaving the upper-class residents of this state continuing to escape paying their fair share to keep California the beautiful place it is to live. There are many other problems caused by Prop. 38 that are too numerous to mention in this short space. For these reasons and more, the best vote is NO on Prop. 38 and YES on Prop. 30!

Posted by Guest: Concerned Teacher on Oct. 04, 2012 @ 7:10 pm

Once again ,thank you for publishing your endorsements,it really helps me in deciding which way to vote.I vote against all your recommendations .

Posted by Guest Nicolas on Oct. 12, 2012 @ 2:24 pm

Lucky your vote doesn't actually count for much.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

Nick, alas- What a discerning, open-minded fellow you are!

Posted by Guest: Tim on Nov. 04, 2012 @ 8:06 am

If you vote against the Guardian, you will also be voting against the Chronicle on many measures.

Posted by Nan on Nov. 05, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

If you vote against the Guardian, you will also be voting against the Chronicle on many measures.

Posted by Nan on Nov. 05, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

How very thoughtful of you! The Republican party needs more free thinkers like yourself.

Posted by Guest Steve on Nov. 06, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

If both 30 and 38 pass, only the one that receives more votes goes into effect. So by encouraging people to vote for both, you're actually hurting Prop. 30. If 30 fails, $6 billion in already-earmarked funding disappears from the budget, and everyone suffers. If 38 fails, well, it doesn't affect anything.

I find it hard to believe you didn't know that only one of the two measures could actually win.

Posted by John on Oct. 14, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

I agree, I felt that all your state proposition endorsements were well thought out and correct except this one. And whether you endorsed 38 or not, I was hoping you would draw attention to this relationship with Prop 30.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

Yeah, what on earth. Endorsing both is like ... not reading the ballot.

Posted by LQ on Nov. 01, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

MONSANTO'S 'deceptive' bullshit ads were broadcast during both 49ers and Raiders games yesterday. We just don't have the resources to counter their mega-million dollar disinformation campaign.
You will become what you eat - so will your children.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 11:43 am

I don't know. If I had 2 strikes agains me, I wouldn't even jaywalk

Posted by Guest on Oct. 15, 2012 @ 3:13 pm


Posted by deb on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 12:22 pm

Thank you for taking a stance to say Yes on 37.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2012 @ 4:09 pm

SFBG: SO GLAD you are a good resource in these perilous times of swirling bullshit and venality. Snakes have more ethics. I thank you for sifting thru the dust to cast your best guess as to what each prop means, and your recommendation. I'm about to open my absentee ballot. It helps a bit not to just hold my nose and vote, blindly, but actually get a sense of what's being proposed. All these propositions should be run by the average 5th-grade class, to see if any of it makes sense.

Posted by Guest charlie gee on Oct. 18, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

I agree with the SFBG endorsements except for one and that is the GMO labeling proposition, Number 37.

As a species, we are going to start running out of food, especially as global warming really kicks in. We need to encourage Big Ag to continue to experiment with GMO food to allow us to grow food in drought areas, areas with high saline in the soil, etc. The only alternative is mass starvation.

Now in the Bay Area we will probably see nothing more than a few extra dollars added to our weekly food bill, but the consequences for people already living on the edge are huge.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on Oct. 22, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

I too am concerned with the effect climate change will have on our food supply. However, there are too many risks associated with GM foods that have been found in animals (increased allergies, modifications to liver, digestive issues, reproductive issues) for us to not at least *know when we're eating it*.

The "GMO will end starvation" idea has come up lots of times before. Though Big Ag spins the idea that GMOs will help starvation, there isn't any evidence of that to date. In fact, there's evidence it's actually leading to more food shortages than there were before due to GM seeds not being able to grow in conditions like they had been advertised or nutrient values being lower than expected.

John Robbins sums this up nicely in this article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-robbins/gmo-food_b_914968.html

We have more potential at ending hunger by understanding the root causes of hunger, not by trying to inject more Vitamin A in rice. The world currently has more food than it needs. And we already have methods to grow food in a variety of conditions without GMOs.

And I'm confused about the notion of rising food prices occurring. More than 60 countries are already doing labeling. The technology and infrastructure to label in all levels of the food supply already exists. Even American companies provide this technology. Have there been any models that show that food in California will actually rise? If so, I'd like to see them. If not, I'm not sure how this speculation about rising food prices is helping.

Posted by Stephen on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

food. Is that quote accurate?

An excerpt from the huffpo article quotes George Monbiot on the bogus dynamic behind this GMO crop rationalization:

"The world has a surplus of food, but still people go hungry. They go hungry because they cannot afford to buy it. They cannot afford to buy it because the sources of wealth and the means of production have been captured and in some cases monopolized by landowners and corporations. The purpose of the biotech industry is to capture and monopolize the sources of wealth and the means of production ..."

Damn right. We hear the same arguments every time some law is proposed that will put a crimp in the ability of agribusiness to make a buck off selling us crap to put in our bodies.

Posted by lillipublicans on Oct. 24, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

I think there is an error on the page describing Prop 38. The vote says "Yes" but you clearly mean that the proposition shouldn't be supported.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 25, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

30 and 38 are mutually exclusive! It says so right there in the voter guide issued by the state. Whichever gets more votes goes into effect and the other does not. The whole reason I came to check your endorsements was to try to research more about which one would help schools most.

Shoddy reporting on that one, though I do appreciate your endorsements generally.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 27, 2012 @ 10:04 pm

Some commenters on this chatboard have implied that it's stupid to vote for both 30 and 38 since only the one that gets the most votes (and gets 50%+1 support) will be enacted.

Personally I'd never vote for regressive sales taxes so it was easy to Vote No on 30, but Vote Yes for 38 that raises most of its money from the very wealthy. Plus Prop 38 helps pay down state debt which means less money paid to the 1%ers for interest payments, and more money will be paid for important government programs and services.

But here's a column from someone who voted for both propositions that makes sense too. If you want one of the measures to pass, there's no harm in voting for both.


Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2012 @ 6:30 am

Yes on 37!
The big money food industry is bombarding us with ads against it, but we should be able to know what we are eating!

Posted by Guest Gerda Dinwiddie on Nov. 05, 2012 @ 8:51 pm



FIX IT! (please!)

Posted by JasonfGuest on Nov. 05, 2012 @ 9:54 pm

I'm going to skip Prop. 40. I can't wrap my mind around it. The *proponents* were *against* it, but now they are not against it?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 06, 2012 @ 4:10 am

Here's Prop 40 in a nutshell.

-Republicans sponsored the initiative to change redistricting to a "citizen commission."
-It passed. But the map they got turned out not to their liking.
-So they put an initiative on the ballot to overturn the map that the citizen commission wrote. Within that initiative, it had language saying you could put up the maps for popular vote. A yes vote would approve, a no vote would reject. So that's what the Republicans did.
-But now I think they realize they're not going to get a better map no matter what.

Posted by Greg on Nov. 06, 2012 @ 8:42 am

My son, David Kuzia, was arrested for having 1 "cigarette" of marijuana in his possession. He is in the Santa Barbara County Jail. I found out he was taken out of Prop 36 and will most likely end up in jail or prison, thereby adding to the overcrowding of both.

Posted by Guest Vicki Kuzia on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 2:24 pm

My son was arrested for having 1 "cigarette" of marijuana in his possession. He is now in the Santa Barbara county jail. I just found out he was taken off Prop 36, but never told. He will most likely stay in jail or go to prison, thereby adding to the over population of both. Talk about over kill. Mark Mansfield, his probation officer and the Prop 36 contact, never even bothered to tell him.

Posted by Guest Vicki Kuzia on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

My son was arrested for having 1 "cigarette" of marijuana in his possession. He is now in the Santa Barbara county jail. I just found out he was taken off Prop 36, but never told. He will most likely stay in jail or go to prison, thereby adding to the over population of both. Talk about over kill. Mark Mansfield, his probation officer and the Prop 36 contact, never even bothered to tell him.

Posted by Guest Vicki Kuzia on Sep. 10, 2013 @ 2:29 pm

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