My Ballot for November 8, 2016 – Oakland, California

Photo of my ballot

I’m going to share my votes for the 2016 election, and all the local props and measures for Oakland (Alameda county). I will also attempt to briefly go over why I came to my decisions. Heaven help me.

I’m posting this a week before the election, so if you think I’m off-base on a (non-presidential) issue here please let me know before November 8th. I’ve done a fair amount of research on all four pages of this huge ballot, but I’m happy to learn more, especially about the local bits.

The horizontal lines like the one below this sentence separate the 4 pages of the ballot I received.


President: Hillary Clinton

Senate: Kamala Harris & Sandre Swanson

Congress: Barbara Lee

  • I’ve been a big fan of Barbara Lee since I moved here. I follow her closely and have rarely found anything I disagree with her about.

State Assembly: Rob Bonta

  • The Democratic Candidate
  • Endorsed by other people I like

Judicial: Scott Jackson

  • Thomas is on the side of landlords in matters regarding real estate and rentals
  • Judging Alameda County Superior Court candidates on their rhetoric

AC Transit Director: H.E. Christian Peeples

AC Transit District Director: Greg Harper

East Bay Regional Park District Director, Ward 2: Audree Jones-Taylor


California State Propositions

This year’s set of propositions and many of the propaganda pieces mailed to me regularly about them have been extremely misleading. I could rant about it all day, but instead I’m just going to mention that my default answer for any Prop is NO until proven worthy.

California State Prop 51: NO

School Bonds. Funding for K-12 School and Community College Facilities.

California State Prop 52: a shaky NO

Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program.

  • (Con) “This is straight up deceptive. What it actually does is guarantee for hospitals (note, not all medical care providers, and not the most rapidly growing health care providers (clinics, urgent care, etc.)) a large percentage of our Medi-Cal funds, regardless of where the money is needed most. It’s a terrible example of ballot box budgeting.”
  • (Pro) “The main opposition party was a healthcare worker union, which has since changed its position to “neutral” on the measure. The money generated by this is matched by federal dollars, so if this would *not* be extended, my understanding is a lot of people benefiting from Medi-Cal would be basically fucked.”
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 53: NO

Revenue bonds.

  • Setting up a pipeline where the mostly uneducated public has to vote on budget proposals seems like the worst thing ever. It will slow down the already dreadfully slow process, and defeat the whole purpose of us electing officials with expertise in these areas.

California State Prop 54: NO

Legislation and proceedings.

  • “Proposition 54 on your ballot solely because one California billionaire, after spending millions of dollars trying to influence California policy and elections, is now using our citizen initiative process to pursue his own political agenda.What is Prop 54? It is a complicated measure that introduces unnecessary new restrictions on the way laws are crafted by the Legislature. It empowers special interests under the guise of “transparency.”Rather than promoting accountability, Prop 54 will slow down the ability for legislators to develop bipartisan solutions to our state’s most pressing problems.For example, many bipartisan balanced budget agreements, the Fair Housing Act (which ended housing discrimination), and last year’s bond measure to address California’s drought likely never would have happened if this measure had been enacted.Prop 54 will throw a monkey wrench into the ability of our elected officials to get things done. It will give special interests more power to thwart the will of our elected officials. It makes it more difficult to address state emergencies.DON’T GIVE SPECIAL INTERESTS EVEN MORE POWER. VOTE NO ON PROP 54.While it sounds good, requiring the legislature to wait three days before voting on a bill will give powerful lobbyists and well-funded special interests time to launch campaigns to attack bipartisan compromises. Special interests already have too much power in Sacramento. Prop 54 will give them more.PROP. 54 WILL CAUSE UNNECESSARY DELAYSAnytime a comma is changed in a bill, lawmakers will now be forced to wait three days to vote on it. That will mean unnecessary delays.PROP 54 WILL INCREASE POLITICAL ATTACK ADSCurrent law prohibits the use of Legislative proceedings in political campaign ads. Prop 54 eliminates that rule, paving the way for millions of dollars in ugly campaign attacks ads that will flood your screen before each election.DON’T LET A BILLIONAIRE REWRITE CALIFORNIA’S CONSTITUTION FOR POLITICAL GAIN.

    Who’s behind this measure? Charles Munger, Jr. – a billionaire with a long history of contributing millions to candidates that oppose increased education funding, the minimum wage, plans to make higher education more affordable, and other progressive issues — is the only donor to Prop 54. He has spent more than $5.5 million to put this measure on the ballot.

    Don’t let a single wealthy Californian bypass the Legislature to rewrite our state’s constitution to his own liking. Even the California Newspaper Publishers Association, which supports many of the concepts in [sic] this measure, has told the Capitol Weekly newspaper, it “doesn’t feel the initiative process is a good way to deal with public policy.”

    Prop 54 is opposed by the California Democratic Party, dozens of elected officials, environmental, labor, and other groups.”

  • noonproposition54.com
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 55: YES

Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare.

California State Prop 56: YES

Cigarette tax to fund healthcare, tobacco use prevention, research, and law enforcement.

California State Prop 57: NO

Criminal sentences. Parole. Juvenile criminal proceedings and sentencing.

  • “Prop 47 already addressed the nonviolent crimes and this one is more about meeting prison population mandates and less about correcting unjust sentencing. As for the juvenile judge part, it’s a reversion back to a previous precedent, but even today defendants can always file a motion to be tried in juvenile court (though being tried as an adult is reserved for the worst felonies so this point is usually moot)”
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 58: YES

English proficiency. Multilingual education.

California State Prop 59: YES

Corporations. Political spending.

  • This proposition doesn’t really do anything.
  • Except show how popular support is for overturning Citizens United.
  • … OK fine.

California State Prop 60: NO

Adult films. Condoms. Health requirements.

  • At first glance, you might think it’s a good idea to encourage safe sex in porn. I like that idea. When you look at the actual law, it is horrible and not at all worth its costs and exploits.
  • It adds unnecessary burdens and absurd liability to the porn industry, which is important to California’s economy.
  • “If they want more condoms used in porn, they should call for incentives not penalties.”
  • “Prop 60 grants the Executive Director of AHF — and every resident of California – the authority to overrule Cal/OSHA and file lawsuits against everyone involved in the distribution and production of adult films, including performers. AHF keeps a percentage of any fines collected, and also have their attorney fees covered. AHF has wanted this authority since 2009 when AHF and Michael Weinstein began their crusade.”
  • “The proposition has language where the bill’s sponsor (Michael Weinstein) personally becomes an employee of the state government whose job is to monitor porn companies and enforce the law, if the state attorney general fails to do so. If this happens, he cannot be fired except through a majority vote of the state legislature.”
  • “It’s not actually designed to address any problems. It’s designed to hurt the porn industry. It allows anyone, (especially the guy behind it) to sue porn producers and talent. Then, when the lawsuit happens the performers’ personal information becomes available to anyone making a simple civil request for information about the suit. Want to stalk your favorite porn starlet? Find a video of her, sue her and bam you have her address and other information. If she wants to stay safe, she has to get out of the biz.”
  • “Prop 60 requires that a condom is visible in every scene – and if not, anyone can sue the people who made the pornography in question. That is insane! There is no public health benefit to this, it just harms porn producers and talent, and likely drives the industry completely out of the state. It would create a whole ton of meaningless lawsuits.There’s no public health benefit to this. Adult industry people have very low rates of transmission because they’re professionals and know how disease prevention works as a daily fact of life. Even if the goal is to encourage more condoms in porn, the fact is that a lot of pornography is not produced in the US at all and would not be affected by this.Driving the porn industry out of California harms our state economy and the workers who want to live here.”
  • Don’t Harass CA: Learn the Facts
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 61: NO

State prescription drug purchases. Pricing standards.

  • Another pile of shit split from the larger pile of shit that is Michael Weinstein (see Prop 60).
  • “The proponent exempted his billion dollar operation and wrote in provisions giving him a special right to engage in lawsuits regarding this measure. This provision requires California taxpayers to pay his lawyers – a virtual blank check.”
  • The intention of this bill is great, and I hope someday we get a version of it that isn’t corrupt to the core.
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 62: YES

Death Penalty.

California State Prop 63: NO

Firearms. Ammunition sales.

  • I like some level of gun control, but this is a terrible way to go about it.
  • Reporting stolen guns: “If someone is on vacation for 2 weeks, and their house is broken into on the first day and a firearm is stolen, the owner will be charged with a crime when they report the theft! It needs to be written as a time from when the theft is discovered. […] It should allow for some exemption if the owner is actually unable to report the theft within the deadline but reports it within a reasonable time discovery.”
  • “Background checks for purchasing ammunition and banning residents from purchasing ammunition out of state were already passed into CA law in July 2016 to take effect in coming years, making this proposition pretty much a waste of tax payer money no matter how you feel about firearms. We can thank Gavin Newsom for that!”
  • “One of the most ridiculous parts of this is the extreme restriction on the transfer of possession of ammunition. This proposition, and the laws passed in July, require a background check for all transfers of possession of ammunition. So if my wife and I are going to the range to shoot, and I bought ammunition at the store, if I hand her a bullet to fire I am transferring possession and violating the law. There is no clause exempting transfer or loaning even when the owner is physically present with the person receiving the ammunition. Based upon the laws passed in July, the same will be true of firearms. It will no longer be allowed to let someone else shoot one of your firearms, even in your presence.”
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 64: YES

Marijuana legalization.

  • Bad: This bill will make my medicine more expensive, because it consolidates medical marijuana with recreational and taxes the both similarly. This is super shitty for people like me that use it for medicinal purposes.
  • Bad: This bill is likely to make the medicinal marijuana I use less available. If recreational products are more popular than the ones that suppress pain, anxiety, and the other medical uses for it, those medicinal products will have less shelf space. At some point, it may become difficult for me to find the products that are most effective for my usage.
  • Good: This bill will greatly reduce the incarceration rate, especially for non-violent crime. It will remove a tool that racist and corrupt law enforcement officials have used for decades to target minorities and poor people.
  • Good: This bill will simplify California’s transition when the federal government legalizes marijuana nationally. I believe this will happen in the next decade at most, and being well-prepared for it will help our heavily farming-based economy prosper.
  • Good: It’s simply the right thing to do. Marijuana should be legal and available to everyone for any reason.
  • So even though it affects me personally in mostly negative ways, I support this prop.
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 65: NO

Carry out bags. Charges.

  • The purpose of the bag tax was to discourage excessive usage. That result has already been fairly successful.
  • The stores that receive these fees are often small businesses. Forcing them to redirect their fees to specific funds will harm them financially and add excessive complication.
  • “Specified environmental projects” has potential to be all kinds of shady.
  • No by default, because if I’m anywhere beneath 75% sure a prop should be passed, it shouldn’t be.
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

California State Prop 66: NO

Death penalty. Procedures.

California State Prop 67: YES

Ban on single-use plastic bags.

  • I don’t miss them.
  • The ban has been effective in other places.

Alameda County Measure A1: YES

Alameda county affordable housing bond.

  • Yes, please.

Alameda County School Measure G1: YES

  • Improves teacher salary.
  • Increases funding for art, music, and language programs.

City of Oakland Measure HH: YES

Soda tax. (Equivocally NOT a “grocery tax”)

  • Another “vice tax”: Meh.
  • Taxes sugar-filled drinks 1 cent per ounce.
  • Resisted tooth and claw by the soft drink industry, using extremely misleading advertisements and mailers.

City of Oakland Measure II: YES

  • Allows the city to lease land for longer terms, aiding in establishing affordable housing initiatives.

City of Oakland Measure JJ: YES

  • Greatly benefits renters that have lived in Oakland for 20+ years.
  • Makes it slightly harder for landlords to raise rent excessively.

City of Oakland Measure KK: YES

  • Funds infrastructure work like fixing potholes, repairing sidewalks, etc.

City of Oakland Measure LL: YES

  • More police oversight.
  • Independent commission.
  • Campaign Zero

District Ballot Measure C1: NO

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit.

District Ballot Measure RR: shaky YES

BART Safety, Reliability, and Traffic Relief.

  • Con: Reject BART’s Measure RR high-pressure sales pitch
  • Pro: BART needs to continue to be reliable for my own well-being in the Bay Area. Without it, my options for employment and housing are both far more limited.
  • Pro: The primary ways that the opposition faults BART’s handling of money is that they pay their employees too much money. I can’t bring myself to fault a company for paying its employees well, especially as expensive as it is to live in this area.
  • [Facebook Discussion with trusted friends that the public can’t see unless you’re my friend]

 


Oakland City Council – At-Large (3 Choices)

  1. Margaret “Peggy” Moore
    • Good priorities.
    • Support for improving local police.
    • Endorsed by Libby Schaaf
  2. Rebecca Kaplan
    • I support most of her issues and priorities.
    • Her “Dynamic City” campaign seems great.
  3. Bruce Quan
    • Has cogent strategies for every relevant issue.
    • (con) Is a little more supply side than I like economically.

Oakland City Council – District 3 (3 2 Choices)

  1. Noni Session
    • Better priorities.
    • Strong issues.
  2. Lynette Gibson McElhaney
    • Overly focused on fear mongering.
    • Otherwise good issues, even if prioritized poorly.

Oakland City Attorney (3 1 Choices)

  1. Barbara J. Parker
  2. (unopposed)

Oakland School Director (3 Choices)

  1. Kharyshi “Ms. K” Wiginton
  2. Benjamin Lang
    • Long career
    • Well educated
    • (con) Politically focused
  3. Lucky Narain
    • Not the incumbent

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