The California Primary is almost here.  If you receive a mail-in ballot, you should already have it.  If you care, here’s how I’m voting on the ballot initiatives.  (Even though these are my personal opinions and do not represent those of the church where I am pastor, I’m still not going to write here about the elections of individuals.)

Prop 13:  YES.  It is a societal good for people and corporations to seismically upgrade their buildings and if fear of reassessment (and resulting higher taxes) is keeping them from doing so, we need to take away that reason.  So, a big, old, YES on Prop 13.  (I am amused that this year’s Prop 13 is about real estate taxes.)

Prop 14:  NO.  I’ve gone back and forth on this one.  Stephen Colbert (in his satiric way) suggested that this proposition would force candidates to the middle, but I fear it will actually bring us back to the days of smoke-filled backrooms where decisions get made by a few.  Here’s why.  Suppose the Yellow Party decides (in some smoke-filled backroom) to put forward only one candidate for a position, but the Orange Party decides to let everyone run who wants to run and eight people run.  The Orange Party’s vote will be so diluted that the Yellow Party’s candidate will win.  Suddenly it’s a good idea for the Orange Party, the Yellow Party, the Blue Party, and the Red Party to decide in some smoke-filled backroom who their only candidates will be … and the rest of the members of those parties didn’t get a say.  No I’m voting NO.

Prop 15:  YES.  I once heard President Jimmy Carter say that his Carter Center would not monitor elections in the United States because they do not meet the minimal standards the Center has established for fair and free elections.  I don’t remember exactly what those criteria are (and I couldn’t find them doing a google search just now), but I think Prop 15 would be a step in the right direction.  I think it’s worth doing this experiment, so I’m voting YES.

Prop 16 and 17:  NO!!!!  These propositions are examples of how the initiative process in California is broken!
PG&E (a corporation, not a group of people) put Prop 16 on the ballot in an attempt to protect their monopoly on delivering power in Northern California.  They are funding the “yes on 16” campaign.
Mercury Insurance is one of the major sponsors of Prop 17, a ballot initiative that will allow them to raise premiums (increase their profits), circumventing existing laws.
Both of these measures are corporate attempts to use the initiative process to increase their profits.  This is not democracy in action.  This is the power of money to make more money and to screw the common person in the process.