ALPERN AT LARGE--For those of us not too busy with our families, jobs, hobbies, Trump-hating, Trump-loving, Stormy Daniels, obsessions with North Korea or NFL kneeling protests, and for those of us not too distracted by the new Avengers or Deadpool movies, we've got these state ballot initiatives to vote for.
I won't bother with the gubernatorial mess, because each of the candidates will turn off a big, huge hunk of the voters...I've firmly made up my own opinion on who the best candidate is for governor, but suspect my wife, family, and friends will all choose to vote for different people. Just vote for your favorite-but-flawed candidate and exercise your right to represent.
In person or by absentee ... VOTE!
But there ARE economic issues, and we're not confronting them, to vote on, and they're (at best) touched on peripherally by the five propositions mentioned below.
Pension crisis addressed? No.
Middle- and lower-economic classes losing their ability to afford a reasonable apartment, condo or home addressed? No.
Disparity between upper- and lower-income familiies addressed? No.
Inefficient funding of K-12, and woefully-insufficient funding of uiniversities and colleges addressed? No.
So, here we go with what do ARE able to vote on, and please check out Ballotpedia (LINK: https://ballotpedia.org/California_2018_ballot_propositions) to draw your own conclusions:
1) Proposition 68: NO
I love the state parks, but with a budget surplus and only $1.3 out of the $4 billion of bonds actually and potentially going to the parks, the timing and need and strategy for this proposition is highly suspect. Which is a damned shame. I really LOVE state and national and local parks, and it's a shame that this money is probably just another grab to indirectly fund unrelated pet products.
2) Proposition 69: YES, but this fight AIN'T over!
We just had our Legislature pass a gas tax without voter consent, so why is this even necessary, and is it enough? Yes, dammit, we should pay for our roads, but for decades our "transportation bills" have gone to funding to fix our roads, and then directly or indirectly the money goes somewhere ... ELSE. This proposition potentially helps AND threatens transportation.
So long as we have a Legislature and Governor who will lie their collective tail off about where the budget money will actually go, and who do NOT focus on the roads, this festering problem will just not end. But for now, the message of "have transportation money stay with the roads and transportation" is one we should adhere to at this very moment.
3) Proposition 70: NO
Frankly, this proposition shouldn't be necessary. Requiring a two-thirds vote for spending on cap-and-trade money glosses over the wisdom of the cap-and-trade money, and how it's being spent, in the first place.
Governor Brown and Chad Mayes are for this, and the environmentalists are against it. The ultimate issue is how we cost-effectively spend our money, but for now let's go with the environmentalists
4) Proposition 71: YES
Making it easier for voters and legislators to avoid confusion over the implementation dates for ballot initiatives can only be a good thing.
5) Proposition 72: YES
Eliminating a tax penalty for those who wish to conserve water by installing a new rain-capture system can only be a good thing. Do we want to conserve water or not?
Confused more, or less, now? Maybe there will be a time when adults address and confront our budgetary problems, but it won't be now. But you can vote on what you stand for, and lend your voice to what you actually be allowed to speak out on at this time. So vote!
And then, it's back to your busy lives until November...
(Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Planning and Outreach Committees, and currently is Co-Chair of its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure Committee. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at email@example.com. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)