After some stimulating conversations over the past month, I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of people (I’m looking at you millennials) have not, and will not, take the time to thoroughly research the 17 propositions on the California ballot this year. Admit it, unless it’s on Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter… you have no clue what’s going on in the world. While yes, you are inundated with information, facts, theories, rumors, etc.; your sources are either the DJ you met at Coachella, your classmates older sister, or (God save us all) Chrissy Teigan. If you’ve met me you know I avoid serious topics like the plaque but, call it old age or call it boredom, this year I care. That said, after hours and weeks of research I’ve decided to dumb it down for all of you. Why? Because I want people to vote based on THEIR OWN OPINION. What a novel idea! This may be risky business and my 241 Facebook friends may dwindle down after today but to be blunt, I don’t care. I’m not going to make the decision for you, I simply want you to educate yourself so you vote with YOUR OWN BRAIN. And, if you don’t have the time to research or you’re too lazy to make a smart decision; just don’t vote stupid. Also, some of the props are a huge snooze fest or (IMO) totally obvious so I don’t spend much time on them. Disclaimer: take this with a grain of salt… I’m an English major, not a politician. Alright, we all good? Let’s get started…
Prop. 51 — Bonds for School Facilities
Huh? A YES vote would authorize $9 billion (with a B) in borrowed money to tell public schools to #treatyoself.
Pros: Think swanky computers for 5th graders, tech-savvy science labs in public/charter high schools, money for asbestos removal and handicap accessibility in community colleges, modernized trade schools lead to more mechanics, chefs, graphic designers, etc. Ooh la la!
Cons: Key word here, BORROWED money, means it’s a loan… with interest. After 35 years the $9bil turns into about $18bil that our grand state of CA would owe to papa (i.e. the government). Side note, CA is currently in debt of about $400bil and school districts would have to apply for this money honey. Think, first come first served.
Prop. 52 — Private Hospital Fees for Medi-Cal
Huh? A YES vote would make sure private hospitals (think waiting rooms without folding chairs) continue to help fund the $95bill program known as Medi-Cal (public health insurance for low-income peeps).
Pros: Since the feds match what private hospitals put in the pot, it frees up money in the STATE pot for other things… Basically, the feds and fancy hospitals fund Medi-Cal, not California…
Cons: There’s no real guarantee that the $3bil or so will actually go to help patients as much as it may help the hospitals themselves. There’s also a possibility that some of the money could end up in the state’s general fund. Side note, this one is kind of boring unless you have Medi-Cal and care who pays for it. Moving on…
Prop. 53 — Public Vote on Revenue Bonds
Huh? A YES vote would change the current law to say, “Hey toll road builder, guess what? The CA kids said you get all the toll booth money!” Seriously though, if a project is over $2bil then we the people get to say yah or nah if Joe Schmo Construction Co. gets to build fo’ free and then pocket the profit later.
Pros: For big construction projects like new freeways, bridges, etc., we the peeps get to play “The Price Is Right” with Bob the Builder before expensive projects are given the green light. Another thought is our state gets shiny new streets and stuff for real cheap (for a little while). Why? Because we’re not using tax dollars to fund the new La Jolla off-ramp.
Cons: We the peeps don’t always agree on what we want so necessary things like a toll road may never get built. Also, all that cash money from toll roads would go to Bob the Builder, rather than the state or county pocket. Something to think about…
Prop. 54 — Changes to the Legislative Process
Huh? A YES vote says people that work in the state Capitol building would be have to publish bills on the Internet and in print for at least 72 hours before they take action. I’m not going into detail on this one because I think it’s a waste of time but you’re more than welcome to research it yourself. Go ahead, I dare you!
Pros: We the peeps have the opportunity to see stuff online and in a newspaper.. a NEWSPAPER is this thing high school kids would throw on your parents lawn around 4am every day. Don’t worry, you probably won’t see this stuff because I bet my life it won’t be posted on Snapchat.
Cons: Um… this means our hard working politicians can say, “Hey boo, I’ve got 72 hours before I have to do anything, wanna go to Vegas?”
Prop. 55 — Extend Tax on High Income
Huh? A YES vote extends the current tax on rich people for 12 more years. What’s the definition of “rich people” you ask? That’s party of one Bachelor Ben Higgins making $250K/year or post-Bachelor Ben Higgins (and Lauren) making $500K/year would continue to pay 1-3% higher taxes on their dolla’ dolla’ bills.
Pros: Ben and Lauren (high income peeps) will continue giving a piece of their rather large pie to fund things like schools, low income programs, and other stuff.
Cons: If the rug is pulled out from under the high-income tax, the flow of this kind of money will end. Worry warts say it will cut $4bil a year to schools and we won’t be able to hire any teachers. Sad panda. It’s basically a funding cut which means this bucket is suddenly empty and the money will need to come from somewhere else. Side note, these rich people are often those local business owners which provide jobs and stuff so we actually do need them to stay rich, I mean in business…
Prop. 56 — Tobacco Tax
Huh? A YES vote says heck yeah! to charging $2 more per pack of cancer sticks (cigarettes). If I need to convince you that charging more for a disgusting habit is a good idea then de-friend me now and delete my phone number. BTW, smoking is so 1992. Ick.
Pros: Uh, less smokers = less death? Win win right?
Cons: Yeah… I got nothin’.
Prop. 57 — Parole, Sentencing and Court Procedures
Huh? A YES vote would do two things, 1) Adults who commit eye-roll felonies (caught smoking a joint, “standing on the corner”, etc.) would be eligible for parole or reduced sentences for sharing their bologna sandwich at lunch time, i.e. good behavior. 2) Kiddos age 14-17 could NOT be tried in adult courts unless a juvenile-judge is running the court.
Pros: Reduce overcrowding in prisons because people who do dumb things but not horrific things could go back to their apartments and hang out and pay for their own bologna sandwich. Get it? They use their mom’s paycheck for food rather than tax dollars.
Cons: After Steve Stoner and Paula Prostitute receive a slap on the wrist they are back at it again. In regards to that second part, moving kiddos 14-17 out of big-boy court has the potential to cost counties millions of dollars a year.
Prop. 58 — English Language Education
Huh? A YES vote means adios to English-only programs and hola to bilingual classes.
Pros: California is a pretty diverse state. Kids that don’t speak English can go to school and understand what’s going on by learning stuff in their native language. Also, parents won’t need to sign a waiver for their kiddos to take non-English-only classes. Whatever that means.
Cons: It’s a proven fact that being fully immersed in a language is the best way to learn the language. So teach them in their native language so they can learn a new language? Uh, what? Also, there’s a shortage in teachers as it is, teachers get paid peanuts to teach kids that are allergic to gluten and now they need to be bilingual to be really marketable.
Prop. 59 — Political Spending Advisory Question
Huh? Sorry, this one is such a waste of time that I’m leaving you with this blurb I found that pretty much sums it up, “Voting “yes” or “no” does not guarantee that the U.S. Congress or state lawmakers will move to amend the U.S. Constitution.” In other words, no matter what you vote on this it does nothing. Moving on…
Prop. 60 — Condoms in Adult Films
Huh? Huh is right! What in the world is this doing on the ballot? Sheesh this world is a mess but I digress… A YES vote means sleaze-balls have to wrap it up unless they want to be fined for “benching the goalie.”
Pros: Uh…. Less opportunity for strong swimmers to impregnate women and/or spread their dirty diseases?
Cons: I can just hear every 16-year-old boy saying, “But babe, it’s not the same!”… Ew. Ick. Moving on…
Prop. 61 — Prescription Drug Costs
Huh? This is a tough one so I encourage you to do your own research. But I’m pretty sure a YES vote says state agencies would not be allowed to pay more than the Department of Veterans Affairs pays for some meds.
Pros: There’s a ridiculous amount of info on this prop so I’ll just tell you the tidbit I found most interesting… The top ten donors AGAINST this one are all pharmaceutical companies or companies with interests in the pharmaceutical drug industry. Meaning, sketchy pharm companies know they will lose big bucks if this passes. Think, the Epi-Pen ordeal a month or so ago…
Cons: This wouldn’t apply to the majority of CA residents, specifically many of those on Medi-Cal.
Prop. 62 — Repealing the Death Penalty (This is a big one)
Huh? A YES vote presses the delete button on the death penalty. For future bad guys/girls and those currently on death row, they would all get life in prison with no chance of getting out. Let me give you a quick rundown on the death penalty… Since 1978, over 900 people have been “sentenced to death” in our state but less than 20 have actually been “given the boot” and no one has walked the plank since 2006. It costs millions of dollars annually to keep someone on death row and millions of dollars to keep them in prison for life so that’s that.
Pros: Repealing the death penalty saves the state $150million/year. Innocent people convicted on accident won’t be killed. It costs less to keep people in general population than in death row facilities. Inmates-for-life would also have to make license plates and stuff in prison and give 60% of their cash money to pay their debts (i.e. victim’s families)
Cons: Lawmakers know the death penalty is a hot mess so if they just get it erased it will all sunshine and roses right? Um… not exactly. It’s expensive to keep criminals in prison forever (about $47K/yr per person) and at any given time there’s about $180K in the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehab system. You do the math. The Pauly Pervert’s of the world get a lifetime healthcare, a free roof over their head, cable TV, three meals a day, and a gym membership.
** Hint hint… If you vote Yes for this one you can Vote NO for Prop 66 or vice versa… they are basically the Yin-Yang of each other. You’re welcome.
Prop. 63 — Gun and Ammunition Sales (Another big one)
Huh? A YES vote prohibits people from owning seriously powerful guns (more than 10 rounds) and require background checks to purchase ammo. Oh yeah, felons and violent criminals… no soup fo’ you!
Pros: Rumor has it, this will save lives by preventing dangerous people (murderers, abusers, mentally unstable) from obtaining and using deadly weapons.
Cons: This would make it harder for people who follow the law to buy ammo. For example, your ammo is YOUR ammo, because you passed your background check and now YOU can use it. So let’s say you and your buddies go out hunting and Billy Bob runs out of ammo. His hunting trip is over because it’s illegal for you to let him borrow some of your ammo.
I have to put my two-cents in on this one… This prop is being sold as the “guns kill people” prop so I highly suggest you read up on this one and make your own decision. If you’re not sure what to do, then leave it blank. Fact is, many of the mass murders that have stirred up this gun debate have been acted out by terrorist-types and those with mental problems. Sad to say, this is a tough one and I personally don’t think regulating guns is the answer; mostly because bad guys and crazy people will kill no matter what the law says they can and cannot do. But, you decide what you want to vote on this one.
Prop. 64 — Making Recreational Marijuana Legal
Huh? I debated avoiding this one altogether but what the heck, here it goes… A YES vote makes it A-okay for people 21+ to grow, possess (a certain amount) and/or use marijuana. Businesses can do all this too but it would be regulated. All this would be taxed, obviously. Kids under 21 who get caught would have to go to Drug-Ed 101 or do stuff like community service and people selling it illegally would get slapped with a $500 fine. Side note, if you need help with this one, Google, “legal marijuana problems in Colorado” and you may be surprised at what you find.
Pros: The end of the weed prohibition era. Stoners and hippies unite! Money from these taxes would pay for things like for youth programs, environmental protection and drug research/treatment efforts. Because it’s legal now, law enforcement and court costs would go down because they would be spending time on real issues and not those little pot-heads.
Cons: Rumor has it, this would increase illegal drug trade and make weed super convenient for anyone under the age of 21 too. Also, anyone who has cable would be able to see commercials for Mary Jane brownies and stuff. Lastly, “regulations” is somewhat of a loose term when you consider how many households would need to be “regulated” to make sure the law is being abide by. States that have legalized it are having problems.
Prop. 65 — Money from Carry-Out Bags
Huh? A YES vote says that the 10 cents you pay when you forget your own grocery bag now goes to Cali rather than Albertsons.
Pros: The money would be used for environmental stuff like recycling, clean drinking water, beach clean-up, and parks. Also, people will probably bring their own bags so that means less plastic in the world.
Cons: People will just start bringing their own bags so it won’t make much difference for the state.
Prop. 66 — Death Penalty Court Procedures
Huh? A YES vote keeps the death penalty in place and speeds up the decision process; so rather than decades of appeals, time, and money, attorneys have a five year deadline to get their you know what together before it’s buh-bye inmate. This is a 1-2-3-Go process. It forces decisions to be made. Either way I think it’s safe to say no one dies in prison unless other inmates kill them. Sorry to be so blunt but it’s true. No Pros and Cons on this one… just make your decision on Prop 62 and vote the opposite for Prop 66.
Prop. 67 — Plastic Bag Ban
Huh? A YES vote says bring your dimes and nickels because no more plastic bags!
Pros: Hello? No more plastic bags! Isn’t that pretty simple? I know that’s annoying but so are you if you hoard plastic bags and thinks it’s cool. Yah planet earth!
Cons: Grocery stores get to keep the 10 cents per bag rather than giving it to environmental efforts. Eh…
Phew! We did it, that’s all of them! This is just the tip of the iceberg so please remember to do your own research and make (your own) good choices!