Tomorrow is the big day. I’m all ready and got my mind made up.

I thought about doing early voting, but in the time I have lived in West Adams, I have yet to wait in a line at my own polling location—so I thought I’d wait until the 4th to see if that all changes this year. I figure if there is a line, it can’t be worse than the five hour wait for early voting in Norwalk at the County Registrar’s office. At any rate, my agenda includes getting my coffee and being at my polling site by 7 a.m. in the morning.

To the extent that my opinion matters on any of the candidates, state, and local measures, I’ve listed my picks for all below—including races I am following up north in Oakland and Berkeley for all of my Northern California peeps.

Happy voting!

CANDIDATES

PRESIDENT

Barack Obama, for President
Joe Biden, for Vice President

UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Rep. Maxine Waters, 35th District (Los Angeles)
Rep. Barbara Lee, 9th District (Oakland)

STATE SENATOR

Roderick “Rod” Wright, 25th District (Compton, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Watts, Los Angeles)

STATE ASSEMBLY

Sandre Swanson, 16th District (Oakland)
Karen Bass, 47th District (Los Angeles)
Mike Davis, 48th District (Los Angeles)
Curren D. Price, 51st District (Inglewood, Gardena)
Isadore Hall III, 52nd District (Compton, Watts)

LOS ANGELES COUNTY SUPERVISOR

Bernard Parks, 2nd District

BERKELEY CITY COUNCIL

Darryl Moore, 2nd District

CENTRAL BASIN MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT, DIVISION 4

Carson, Compton Cudahy Florence-Graham, South Los Angeles, Watts and Willowbrook

Leticia Vasquez

JUDGE OF THE SUPERIOR COURT

Cynthia Loo – Office No. 82
Lori-Ann C. Jones – Office No. 84
C. Edward Mack – Office No. 94

STATE MEASURES

PROP. 1A
SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT.

To provide Californians a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high gas prices; to provide good-paying jobs and improve California’s economy while reducing air pollution, global warming greenhouse gases, and our dependence on foreign oil, shall $9.95 billion in bonds be issued to establish a clean, efficient high-speed train service linking Southern California, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area, with at least 90 percent of bond funds spent for specific projects, with private and public matching funds required, including, but not limited to, federal funds, funds from revenue bonds, and local funds, and all bond funds subject to independent audits? Fiscal Impact: State costs of $19.4 billion, assuming 30 years to pay both principal and interest costs of the bonds. Payments would average about $647 million per year. When constructed, unknown operation and maintenance costs, probably over $1 billion annually; at least partially, and potentially fully, offset by passenger fares.

How about providing Californians with safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to driving and high, just to get to work? Can we start with our local streets and freeways first?

Recommendation: No

PROP. 2
STANDARDS FOR CONFINING FARM ANIMALS.

INITIATIVE STATUTE.

Requires that calves raised for veal, egg-laying hens and pregnant pigs be confined only in ways that allow these animals to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.

Exceptions made for transportation, rodeos, fairs, 4-H programs, lawful slaughter, research and veterinary purposes.

Provides misdemeanor penalties, including a fine not to exceed $1,000 and/or imprisonment in jail for up to 180 days.

It seems to me that we care more about animals on their way into our digestive system who cannot talk or express how they feel than we do about actual people who can talk and do tell you how they are feeling. I don’t care if it’s raised here or over there, none of it is good for us. No matter we do. I say just stop eating it all together.

Recommendation: No

PROP. 3
CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL BOND ACT. GRANT PROGRAM.
INITIATIVE STATUTE.

Authorizes $980,000,000 in bonds, to be repaid from state’s General Fund, to fund the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing and equipping of children’s hospitals.

Designates that 80 percent of bond proceeds go to hospitals that focus on children with illnesses such as leukemia, cancer, heart defects, diabetes, sickle cell anemia and cystic fibrosis.

Requires that qualifying children’s hospitals provide comprehensive services to a high volume of children eligible for governmental programs and meet other requirements.

Designates that 20 percent of bond proceeds go to University of California general acute care hospitals.

Recommendation: I Guess

PROP. 4
WAITING PERIOD AND PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BEFORE TERMINATION OF MINOR’S PREGNANCY.

INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Changes California Constitution to prohibit abortion for unemancipated minor until 48 hours after physician notifies minor’s parent or legal guardian.

Permits notification to certain adult relatives if doctor reports parent to law enforcement or Child Protective Services.

Provides notification exceptions for medical emergency or parental waiver.

Permits courts to waive notice based on clear and convincing evidence of minor’s maturity or best interests.

Mandates reporting requirements, including reports from physicians regarding abortions on minors.

Authorizes damages against physicians for violation.

Requires minor’s consent to abortion, with exceptions.

Recommendation: Hell to the No

PROP. 5
NONVIOLENT DRUG OFFENSES. SENTENCING, PAROLE AND REHABILITATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

Allocates $460,000,000 annually to improve and expand treatment programs for persons convicted of drug and other offenses.

Limits court authority to incarcerate offenders who commit certain drug crimes, break drug treatment rules or violate parole.

Substantially shortens parole for certain drug offenses; increases parole for serious and violent felonies.

Divides Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation authority between two Secretaries, one with six year fixed term and one serving at pleasure of Governor. Provides five year fixed terms for deputy secretaries.

Creates 19 member board to direct parole and rehabilitation policy.

Recommendation: Yes

PROP. 6
POLICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT FUNDING.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES AND LAWS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

Requires minimum of $965,000,000 each year to be allocated from state General Fund for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, jails and juvenile probation facilities. Some of this funding will increase in following years according to California Consumer Price Index.

Makes approximately 30 revisions to California criminal law, many of which cover gang-related offenses. Revisions create multiple new crimes and additional penalties, some with the potential for new life sentences.

Increases penalties for violating a gang-related injunction and for felons carrying guns under certain conditions.

Recommendation: Hell to the No

PROP. 7
RENEWABLE ENERGY GENERATION. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

Requires utilities, including government-owned utilities, to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy by 2010, a standard currently applicable only to private electrical corporations.

Raises requirement for utilities to 40% by 2020 and 50% by 2025.

Imposes penalties, subject to waiver, for noncompliance.

Transfers some jurisdiction of regulatory matters from Public Utilities Commission to Energy Commission.

Fast-tracks approval for new renewable energy plants.

Requires utilities to sign longer contracts (20 year minimum) to procure renewable energy.

Creates account to purchase rights-of-way and facilities for the transmission of renewable energy.

Recommendation: Hell to the No

PROP. 8
ELIMINATES RIGHT OF SAME–SEX COUPLES TO MARRY. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

Changes the California Constitution to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry in California.

Provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

Recommendation: Hell to the No

PROP. 9
CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. VICTIMS’ RIGHTS. PAROLE.
INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

Requires notification to victim and opportunity for input during phases of criminal justice process, including bail, pleas, sentencing and parole.

Establishes victim safety as consideration in determining bail or release on parole.

Increases the number of people permitted to attend and testify on behalf of victims at parole hearings.

Reduces the number of parole hearings to which prisoners are entitled.

Requires that victims receive written notification of their constitutional rights.

Establishes timelines and procedures concerning parole revocation hearings.

Recommendation: No

PROP. 10
ALTERNATIVE FUEL VEHICLES AND RENEWABLE ENERGY.
BONDS. INITIATIVE STATUTE.

Provides $3.425 billion to help consumers and others purchase certain high fuel economy or alternative fuel vehicles, including natural gas vehicles, and to fund research into alternative fuel technology.

Provides $1.25 billion for research, development and production of renewable energy technology, primarily solar energy with additional funding for other forms of renewable energy; incentives for purchasing solar and renewable energy technology.

Provides grants to cities for renewable energy projects and to colleges for training in renewable and energy efficiency technologies.

Total funding provided is $5 billion from general obligation bonds.

Recommendation: Yes

PROP. 11
REDISTRICTING.
INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.

Changes authority for establishing Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization district boundaries from elected representatives to 14 member commission.

Requires government auditors to select 60 registered voters from applicant pool. Permits legislative leaders to reduce pool, then the auditors pick eight commission members by lottery, and those commissioners pick six additional members for 14 total.

Requires commission of five Democrats, five Republicans and four of neither party. Commission shall hire lawyers and consultants as needed.

For approval, district boundaries need votes from three Democratic commissioners, three Republican commissioners and three commissioners from neither party.

Recommendation: Hell to the No

PROP. 12
VETERANS’ BOND ACT OF 2008.

This act provides for a bond issue of nine hundred million dollars ($900,000,000) to provide loans to California veterans to purchase farms and homes.

Appropriates money from the state General Fund to pay off the bonds, if loan payments from participating veterans are insufficient for that purpose.

Recommendation: Yes

LOCAL MEASURES

MEASURE A
GANG & YOUTH VIOLENCE PREVENTION, AFTER-SCHOOL & JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS — CITY OF LOS ANGELES (Parcel Tax – Two-Thirds Majority Approval Required)

To address gang violence through prevention and job training programs; preventing students from dropping out of school; funding supervised after-school programs, tutoring/mentoring, vocational/apprenticeship programs, expanded graffiti removal; requiring Controller audits, citizen oversight; funding proven programs; shall the City of Los Angeles levy an annual $36 gang prevention tax, with discounts for low-income seniors, on each real property parcel?

Recommendation: Yes

MEASURE B
UPDATE OF LOW RENT HOUSING AUTHORIZATION — CITY OF
LOS ANGELES (Ordinance – Majority Approval Required)

Shall existing voter-approved authorization for low rent housing be revised to remove impediments to federal and state funding and requirements not compatible with current housing needs, and authorize the development, construction or acquisition of low rent housing by public entities in the City of Los Angeles, maintaining the previously authorized voter-approved level of 3,500 units per Council District, subject to availability of funding and all City development requirements?

Recommendation: Yes

MEASURE J
COMMUNITY COLLEGE CLASSROOM REPAIR, PUBLIC SAFETY, NURSING & JOB TRAINING — LOS ANGELES COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT (School Bond – 55% Approval Required)

To prepare students for jobs by improving classrooms, laboratories, equipment; train nurses, police, firefighters, paramedics; increase apprenticeship training opportunities; repair electrical wiring, plumbing, fire alarms; improve earthquake safety, energy efficiency to reduce costs; acquire/improve real property; shall Los Angeles Community College District issue $3.5 billion in bonds at legal interest rates, requiring public review, oversight, audits, no money for administrators’ salaries and no tax rate increase?

Recommendation: Yes

MEASURE Q
SAFE, HEALTHY NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOLS — LOS ANGELES UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT (School Bond – 55% Approval Required)

To improve student health, safety and educational quality, shall the Los Angeles Unified School District: continue repair/upgrade of aging/deteriorating classrooms, restrooms; upgrade fire/earthquake safety; reduce asbestos, lead paint, air pollution, water quality hazards; build/upgrade specialized classrooms students need to meet job/college requirements; improve classroom Internet access by issuing $7 billion in bonds, at legal interest rates; with guaranteed annual audits, citizens’ oversight, no increase in maximum tax rate?

I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way…when we stop having children, thus creating the need to find more and more money to upgrade and repair our schools, then I’ll consider looking the other way at measures like this one. And one final note, can we please start the repairs at Dorsey High School? Have you seen their restrooms and classrooms lately?

Recommendation: Yes

MEASURE R
TRAFFIC RELIEF – RAIL EXTENSIONS – REDUCE FOREIGN OIL DEPENDENCE — LOS ANGELES COUNTY METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY (Sales Tax Increase – Two-Thirds Majority Approval Required)

To:

  • Synchronize traffic signals;
  • Repair potholes;
  • Extend light rail with airport connections;
  • Improve freeway traffic flow (5, 10, 14, 60, 101, 110, 138, 210, 405, 605, 710);
  • Keep senior / student / disabled fares low;
  • Provide clean-fuel buses;
  • Expand subway / Metrolink / bus service;
  • Dedicate millions for community traffic relief;

Look—Assuming the sales tax increase goes for what this measure calls for, I’m all for anything that will make driving in Los Angeles an enjoyable experience, because currently it’s not. A little suggestion—start on Wilshire Blvd. where one trip in either direction will send you into the repair shop needing a wheel alignment.

Recommendation: Yes