Professors Discuss Propositions
By Sharyne Merritt
The propositions are even more confusing this year than usual (hard to believe but perhaps another sign of how bad 2020 is). With a PhD in Political Science and 15 years as a professor of marketing (selling presidents or propositions is the same as selling soap), I take elections seriously. I spent several hours researching each prop (recommend https://ballotpedia.org/California_2020_ballot_propositions) and discussing them with two other retired professors.
(Full disclosure two of us are life long Democrats and one calls himself a “Rockefeller Republican”; all three of us are voting for Biden/Harris.) We found some very tricky elements and didn’t agree on everything, so I’d like to share our findings in the hopes that readers will give them serious thought.
14 Issues $5.5 billion in bonds for state stem cell research
2 yes – cutting edge medical research is more needed than ever; federal funding is limited; the proposition has a very impressive list of supporters including American Association for Cancer Research, American Diabetes Association, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, ALS Association, Alzheimer’s Los Angeles, Arthritis Foundation, Sickle Cell Disease Foundation of California, and San Francisco AIDS Foundation
1 no: taxpayers don’t need more state debt
15 Requires commercial and industrial properties to be taxed based on market value not prop 13 and dedicates revenue to state government, schools, and local government. Residential stays the same. Farms won’t have increased tax on land but will on buildings
2 yes: industrial properties are currently grossly under-taxed; a fair assessment will generate money for local governments and schools. While it is unfortunate that the taxes will harm small and minority owned businesses that will have the tax passed along, local services and education of many children creates more positive impacts for more people.
1 no: increase in taxes will be passed along to renters including small and minority owned businesses that don’t own property.
16 Permits consideration of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in public employment, education, or contracting consider
3 yes: This is not about quotas; it just lets race, sex, etc be one factor of many if desired by government or universities. A study out of UC Berkeley found minorities were hurt by the previous elimination of affirmative action. Also, local governments might want to consider bringing in people of different backgrounds when hiring to get different perspectives
17 Felons on parole get the right to vote
3 yes – no brainer - they were good enough to rejoin society.
18 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by Election Day can vote in primaries
3 yes: most 17-year-olds probably won’t pay enough attention to differences among primary candidates, but hell, most 40 year olds don’t either.
19 Changes tax assessment transfers and inheritance rules: lets people over 55 (not 65) move 3 times to more expensive properties and take their old prop 13 tax assessment with them
3 no - passes burden too much to younger people; why give people over 55 3 slices of the cake
20 Makes changes to policies related to criminal sentencing charges, prison release, and DNA collection
3 no –moves several misdemeanors to felonies; opposed by ACLU
21 Expands local governments' power to use rent control
3 no –doesn’t create affordable housing; will hold rents down but discourage building; opposed by Governor Newsom
22 Considers app-based drivers to be independent contractors, not subject to benefits of employees
3 no – gig workers should have health insurance and unemployment compensation; superior court already held they were employees; this would make them a separate category where they would be exempt from benefits; it is funded by companies that stand to gain – Uber, Lyft, DoorDash
23 Requires physician on-site at dialysis clinics
3 no – why is this on the ballot – it’s a legislative issue thrown in our laps. Opposed by American Medical Association and American Nurses Association/California; would take doctors out of places they are needed. Also, if something goes wrong with dialysis you need a specially trained nurse or technician, not a doctor.
24 Expands the provisions of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
3 no – While this ostensibly adds protections, the ACLU opposes it and we are betting that the ACLU lawyers are more capable of analyzing this than we are
25 Replaces cash bail with risk assessments for suspects awaiting trial
3 no – while this seems like a no brainer – rich people tend to stay out of jail while awaiting trial while poor people who cannot come up with bail often languish in jail, the ACLU opposes it because replacing bail with a non-transparent algorithm can be equally or more biased.
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