Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Props

It sure can get confusing out there. So many propositions to vote on!

California Council of Churches is an advocate for peace, justice, human rights, equal rights and economic justice. They do not have recommended positions on ballot measures that fall outside their area of work. They also do not endorse any candidates or any political party. Their work is highly regarded by the legislature as fair and non-partisan.

Below is the recommendations published by the California Council of Churches. Of course, you should never let anyone else tell you how to vote. These recommendations are meant to spark your own personal study so you can learn about the issues and vote your conscience.

1A - High-Speed Rail Bond Act.
This is highly complex with unforeseeable issues. PRO: This would provide high-speed electric rail service between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is projected to divert 117 million passengers annually, will carry light freight, be self-supporting financially, and thus will save millions of pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. CON: This ultimately would cost at least $40 billion. It's unclear whether the projected greenhouse gas reductions are realistic or whether they would be replaced by pollutants from new electric-generating plants, including nuclear plants. Until the budget crisis is fixed, this is too large a debt to incur without impacts on people in need.
No recommendation.

2 - Humane Treatment of Farm Animals
Most livestock producers already follow these humane practices, but poultry producers continue to use inhumane confinement techniques. States with humane standards like this have seen a cost increase to consumers is about 1 cent per egg.

3 - Children's Hospital Construction Subsidies.
With children's eligibility to use these facilities being substantially eroded, taking away still more tax money to expand hospital buildings is irresponsible.

4 - Restrictions on Abortion
This act would require that any pregnant teenager arriving without a parent could trigger an immediate criminal investigation, further imperiling what may already be a dangerous home life. Teens who can talk with their parents already do so. Those who cannot should not be endangered by either criminal investigations or fear of parental notification that could lead them to seeking unsafe abortions.

5 - Rehabilitation of Nonviolent Drug Offenders.
This would divert nonviolent offenders into effective rehabilitation and drug rehab programs.

6 - Increases Criminal Penalties.
This would increase imprisonment for nonviolent drug possession, youth crimes, and anything deemed "gang related." It would dehumanize the poor and lead to more homelessness by requiring background checks for those in public housing. NO

7 - Increases Energy Costs to Consumers.
This is so poorly drafted that it could disrupt the renewable energy progress already being made, especially for smaller producers. It could cause a spurt in energy prices - which would be a boon for large interests controlling resources such as natural gas, who are sponsoring this proposition.

8 - Eliminates the Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry.
Even as many of our churches are struggling with liturgical issues around same-sex marriage, we can be united in supporting civil marriage as a secular right. No church would be forced to conduct a wedding that is contrary to its beliefs, but no church or individuals should be barred from the right to marry if they choose to do so.

9 - Increases Criminal Penalties.
This seeks "remedies" for crime victims that would undermine the rights of prisoners and parolees and reduce or eliminate the possibility of restorative justice.

10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicle Subsidies.
This would give wealthy buyers of alternative fuel vehicles taxpayer-funded rebates up to $55,000 per vehicle.

11 - Fair Legislative Redistricting.
This would allow a panel of citizens without political ties to select their representatives instead of allowing politicians to select their voters. This is crucially important to making legislators accountable.

12 - Veterans Home Loans.
This would continue the Cal-Vet home loan program, helping returning service people to rebuild their lives. In 87 years, this program has never cost the taxpayers a cent.

For much more information, go to http://www.calchurches.org/2-Ballot-Recommendation.htm

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