LWV tackles ballot issues
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By Jud Snyder  September 28, 2012 12:00 am

The League of Women Voters in Sonoma County sent its advocacy committee to Rohnert Park’s City Hall on Sept. 24. for a public forum. About 15 to 20 people showed up at 7 p.m. to hear the five speakers and then had questions of their own. It was a relatively small turnout, but it was competing with Monday Night Football.

The LWV has always been non-partisan. They endorse issues and not candidates or political parties. At this forum, they focused on five controversial ballot measures on the November ballot – Propositions 30, 31, 32, 34 and 40.

First up was Chip Atkin (yes, the LWV accepts male members), who noted Prop. 30 had competition on the ballot with Prop. 38 also qualified. Atkin pointed out the shortcomings of Prop. 38, recommended a no vote on it, and then explained what Prop. 30 was all about, where a yes vote is LWV’s choice.

It’s labeled as Governor Jerry Brown’s partial answer to California’s staggering multi-billion dollar debt. It raise taxes on upper income taxpayers for seven years and a more modest tax raise for four years on middle family incomes. If it loses, the state faces large cuts in financing for schools.

Shirley Johnson-Foell said Prop. 31, concerning government reform, “Is poorly written and contradictory.” LWV’s stance is there are questions about whether local governments can suspend state environmental requirements with Prop. 31, and there’ll be years of significant legal uncertainty and litigation. They recommend a no vote here.

Lisa Maldonado explained the reasons why the LWV is against Prop. 32.

“Backers for 32 are corporations who are against unions sending money to candidates,” she said.

Her claim is the ballot measure will limit union contribution but won’t touch corporate contributions. It doesn’t fix the problem of money in politics. Super-PACS and expenditure committees will continue to spend without limitations.  They recommend a No vote.

Ana Zamora and the LWV are ardent supporters of Prop. 34. It would wipe out the death penalty and replace it with life in prison with no chance of parole. “There are 729 prisoners on death row now costing the state $100 million a year. Yet, only 32 have been executed in the last 13 years,” she said. “The state could save over $100 million every year because the court and incarceration costs are much higher with prisoners on death row.”  They recommend a Yes vote.

Alice Richardson and the LWV are also in favor of Prop. 40, an attempt to wipe out the current redistricting rules now in force. “A small group, not the Republicans, claim the redistricting rules are illegal. Their case was rejected by the state Supreme Court, but they’re on the ballot.” A Yes vote here is recommended.

Richardson was also moderator at the forum. “There’s been lots of passion here and also a lot of information,” she said when they adjourned shortly before 9 p.m. “I remind people, democracy is not a spectator sport.”

Post Your Comments:
October 1, 2012
First, Prop. 32 only unions collect dues through payroll deductions NOT corporations. There is a system with in every union that governs the tiny percent of the dues that go to politics and every member has the right to opt out. However, The language in Prop. 32 continues to state that even if money is collected through voluntary practices the union cannot use the money for any political purpose or communicate with their members regarding politics. Second the language of prop. 32 states it will stop pay to play. It only stops it during the bidding process, than corporations can go back to giving moneys. It doesn?t stop Corporate Super PAC?s, Wal-Mart, which is not a corporation, Anti union Billionaire CEOs, or 501 4c non profits that don?t even have to report to the FFC who gave them money. Even the Chamber of Commerce can give unlimited amounts of money to their special interests. Let?s talk Chamber of Commerce, their attorneys and members attend every MSHA, OSHA or CAL OSHA hearing I have every attended fighting to stop or repeal health and safety laws that protect workers. Yeah , that?s the folks I want to decide my working conditions and pay.
?According to data compiled by the Center for Investigative Reporting..., the top labor unions spent $284 million on initiatives, candidates and parties from 2001 to 2011.
?But all together, the top contributors among the wealthy and business interests spent $931 million, swamping labor. Eliminating union spending would worsen this disparity, making it nearly impossible for millions of middle-class voters to make their voices heard.
Give me one other organization that fights for worker's rights.

If this was to hurt the big corporate interest why are they the ones putting money into this campaign to pass? The Koch bros., Carl Rove, big oil companies, and insurance companies, wall street bankers and developers. That's because they are all exempt from Prop 32.

Labor rights aren?t etched in stone. They were won through politics and collective bargaining. So if you?re the 99% that have to work for a living say, ?good bye? to, vacation leave, health insurance, 8 hour work day, minimum wage, work place health and safety laws, overtime pay, unemployment, child labor laws, meal breaks, nurse patient ratios just to name a few. Screw 32 vote NO
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