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President Barack Obama

Paul Wellman (file)

President Barack Obama


Endorsements for 2012

Remember to Vote by November 6


Thursday, October 11, 2012
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President: Barack Obama

No, he doesn’t walk on water. Now get over it.

Despite the Republican Party’s relentless agenda to deny President Barack Obama any accomplishments during his first four years in office, he has managed to achieve a record that is nothing less than historic. He promised to pass a major health-care bill, and he did ​— ​an act of political genius denied American presidents since 1948. He promised to get U.S. troops out of Iraq ​— ​and he did. And, if given a second term, he promises to get troops out of Afghanistan by 2014. We believe him. When he promised to end the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, he did. And for the first time in history, a sitting U.S. President has publicly supported gay marriage.

But just as historic an event was the Great Recession that greeted President Obama on his first day in office. Facing the worst economic collapse since 1929, the new president acted swiftly. He moved mountains to resurrect the American auto industry, which today not only has paid back its government loans but is cranking out new automobiles and selling them. Obama even managed to pass new fuel-economy standards. Of course, we would have enjoyed watching greedy, reckless Wall Street executives being perp-marched down Pennsylvania Avenue, but we remain impressed and relieved that the world economy didn’t blow up on Obama’s watch. It easily could have. Instead, we’re seeing definite signs of our economy on the mend— ​and job recovery slowly on the rise.

By contrast, it’s hard to know who Mitt Romney really is or to trust anything he says. For one thing, he says so little about specifics. What is clear is that a Romney presidency would be a return to the good old days of social intolerance, government intrusion in reproductive choice, and the unfettered financial system that gave rise to the economic disaster in the first place. He has vowed to repeal the exceedingly modest banking reform measure enacted by the Obama administration. He says he will cut $5 trillion in taxes from the wealthiest Americans while insisting ​— ​straight-faced ​— ​that it won’t make the deficit worse. In foreign policy, Romney poses a significant threat. Where Obama ​— ​by his presence and his cool-headed policies ​— ​has proved invaluable repairing strained relations around the globe, Romney has behaved like a thoughtless, saber-rattling crank.

This is not an election to sit out. Vote for Obama.

U.S. Senator: Dianne Feinstein

Dianne Feinstein is California’s most powerful, influential, and effective senator. She remains one of the few figures in American political life with the capacity and credibility to work both sides of the aisle. Enough said.

By Paul Wellman (file)

Lois Capps

U.S. Representative, 24th District: Lois Capps

We’re not endorsing Lois Capps just because she happens to have a “D” next to her name. But given the meltdown that’s seized Washington since the Tea Party Republicans arrived, it’s urgent that Capps ​— ​a strong vote in support of the environment, education, health care, and equal rights ​— ​be reelected.

During seven terms in office, Capps has proved that public service and politics need not be mutually exclusive. She has maintained her civility during Congress’s most ugly battles. She works exceedingly hard on behalf of her district, coming home every weekend. Most importantly, she gets things done. Just ask the 10,000 Santa Maria residents who won’t have to pay higher flood insurance, because she secured $47 million in federal dollars for much-needed improvements to the Santa Maria River Levee. Or ask the scholars at UCSB’s Palm Center about the key behind-the-scenes role she played getting the Pentagon’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy repealed. And while Capps didn’t act alone, she played a major role getting the Forest Service to reestablish its Santa Maria air tanker base as a full-service operation.

We’ll be forever grateful that Capps was among the few who courageously voted against giving President George W. Bush unlimited powers to wage war in the wake of 9/11. More recently, she voted for Obama’s health-care reform bill, but only after fighting to make sure women would have full access to reproductive choice. On environmental issues, Capps fought to require big utility companies to curb mercury emissions and has been a consistent voice against Big Oil. Likewise, she’s pushed to reduce interest rates for college loans to keep the American Dream of a college education within reach. On reproductive choice and gender equity issues, Capps has been as solid as they come.

Her opponent, Abel Maldonado, by contrast, has been equivocal in the extreme. We respect the fact that he also has taken genuine risks to pursue a more moderate path while serving in the California Legislature. But as extreme as Sacramento Republicans can be, they pale in comparison to the cutthroat brinkmanship practiced by Republicans in the nation’s capital. Even with his best efforts, we don’t believe he can withstand the intense pressure his party leaders will bring to bear. Remember, it was House Republicans who passed a budget by cutting food stamps, day care, and senior programs serving 23 million individuals while leaving the Pentagon untouched. The Republican Party platform calls only for more of the same.

Lois Capps is facing the fight of her life. Her district boundaries were drastically redrawn; PACs and Super PACs associated with the Republican Party are throwing their money behind Maldonado hand over fist. Capps has earned another term in Congress. Do yourselves a favor, and send Capps back to Congress.

State Senator, 19th District: Hannah-Beth Jackson

Hannah-Beth Jackson
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman (file)

Hannah-Beth Jackson

Given the vast challenges confronting state government, experience counts. Hannah-Beth Jackson, a seasoned liberal dedicated to environmental protection, gender equity, and educational opportunity, has served two terms in the Assembly between 1998 and 2004, making her the compelling choice. Jackson managed to get things done when last in Sacramento, despite her reputation as a crusader. For example, she brokered a deal between South Coast environmental activists and the Farm Bureau ​— ​at that time mortal enemies ​— ​to pass a bill limiting the spraying of pesticides near schools, day-care centers, and nursing homes. Based on past experience, we’re confident Jackson will be an independent agent in Sacramento, not just a tool for her party bosses. Jackson paid a steep price for such independence last time around, but she is a tough, savvy legislator, with the wisdom and maturity to be an effective, yet principled, representative.

Member of the State Assembly, 37th District: Das Williams

Few Santa Barbara politicians are as suited for the rough-and-tumble politics of Sacramento as Das Williams. A political animal by nature, Williams is smart and courageous. He is also calculating and ambitious. A social-justice progressive, committed to preserving and expanding educational opportunities, he now holds a key leadership position on the Assembly Higher Education Committee, which gives him an opportunity to shape policy. Williams is also a dyed-in-the-wool environmentalist, wonky and passionate, who can champion such causes with intelligence and facts. Facing only nominal opposition from Republican Rob Walter, an inexperienced right-wing extremist, Williams will no doubt win reelection. And he deserves it.

But in the spirit of full disclosure, we need to voice a concern. We had hoped Williams would be more the party maverick he promised when he first went to Sacramento and not so much the party footsoldier. We are troubled that Williams chose to abstain from a measure that would have expanded school districts’ ability to discipline teachers accused of sexual misconduct ​— ​a bill bitterly opposed by the teachers union. His abstention had the practical effect of killing the bill in committee, but without leaving any telltale fingerprints. Williams, we know, can do better. He was at the top of his game when he speedily prevented the City of Santa Barbara from having to auction off its parking lots in the wake of shutting down its redevelopment agency. Williams is a good, effective legislator, but to be a great one, he needs to stay true to his ideals.

Santa Barbara Unified School Board: H. Edward “Ed” Heron, Gayle Eidelson, and Pedro Paz

Of all elected positions, few are as challenging as that of a school boardmember. Typically, the only candidates truly qualified to serve are those that already have. In this regard, incumbent Ed Heron has enough experience under his belt to make a real contribution, and he still asks the most probing questions, always cordially posed, when it comes to the dismal arithmetic of school-district finances. Heron shows up to board meetings ready to work and rarely misses major school events. We are especially impressed how Heron, a registered Republican, twisted the arms of fellow Red Party activists not to oppose the two parcel-tax measures this year. Like Heron, Pedro Paz ​— ​an activist wonk ​— ​is a product of local schools and is running to narrow the district’s stubborn gap in achievement separating Latino and Anglo students. Paz, who has a PhD in education, works with the First 5 Commission, funneling money extracted from tobacco companies to pedagogically crucial pre-kindergarten education programs. Gayle Eidelson weighs in as the über-mom candidate. With five kids having graduated and two more still enrolled, Eidelson can boast an up-close and personal knowledge of how district policies translate into actual action. She knows what questions to ask and whom to call. Together, this team is best suited to help the district weather the challenges ahead.

Carpinteria City Council: Fred Shaw

Since moving to Carpinteria with his wife nearly 15 years ago, Fred Shaw has immersed himself in the civic life of the South Coast with vigor, volunteering for every nonprofit and community-minded organization within a 20-mile radius. But Shaw, in his first bid for public office, is far more than just an affable worker bee. When it comes to the issues confronting Carpinteria ​— ​the new freeway overpasses, a resort hotel proposed for the bluffs, and future offshore oil development ​— ​we’ve been impressed by the depth and detail of Shaw’s knowledge, the intensity of his commitment, and the evenness of his approach. Shaw, a left-of-center environmentalist who lives in one of Carpinteria’s many mobile-home parks, will clearly be in sync with the council’s dominant slow-growth tilt. But his commitment to preserving Carpinteria’s small-town character is balanced by a sense of social equity. While we’ve been impressed with the intelligence and creativity of incumbent Councilmember Kathleen Reddington, by far the greenest candidate in the race, her passions frequently burn away the support needed to get her ideas passed on this City Council.

Carpinteria Valley Water District Board of Directors: Alexandra Van Antwerp, Shirley Johnson, and Polly Holcombe

Times change, but water districts usually resist. As a result, the Carpinteria Valley Water District once again is the scene of the second takeover effort in the past two years. Community activists, upset that their water district has some of the highest water bills in the state, have fielded a slate of three challengers ​— ​Alexandra Van Antwerp, Polly Holcombe, and Shirley Johnson. Fueling this insurrectionary spirit ​— ​and causing the high water bills in the first place ​— ​is the fact that the district obligated itself to pay $3 million a year for 2,000 acre feet of State Water it neither needs nor can afford. It will take all the challengers’ creativity and focus to do what they claim they’re going to do. We wish them well.

Measure A2012: Yes

Measure B2012: Yes

Parcel-Tax Increases to Fund Local Schools

Measures A and B were written for people who want to support their local schools but don’t want their money sent to Sacramento first. These measures would increase the property taxes levied against parcels in the district and spend the $2.9 million a year generated to maintain math, art, music, career tech, and foreign language programs at elementary and secondary schools within the Santa Barbara Unified School District. The boundaries for the elementary and secondary school districts vary; most people will wind up paying $45 more a year in property taxes, or about the price of one double latte a month. For those residents who live in both districts, the bump will be $93. Written into the measures is an opt-out provision for senior citizens. Normally, when education is concerned, we say every little bit helps. But given that the local school district has enacted $20 million in cuts since 2008, it’s absolutely crucial. Vote yes, please.

Measure E2012: Yes

Measure H2012: Yes

Increase in Bed Taxes (Transient Occupancy Taxes) for Carpinteria and Goleta

These two measures qualify as bona fide no-brainers. Measures E and H would bring the transient occupancy tax charged to visitors staying in the hotels and motels of Carpinteria and Goleta, respectively, up from 10 percent to 12 percent. For Carpinteria, that translates to $250,000 a year in additional revenues; for Goleta, it’s $900,000. For tourists enjoying a $100-a-night stay, that’s only a $2 bump in their bill. Both Carpinteria and Goleta have had to make painful choices in recent months, reducing their public safety services in the face of rising costs and diminishing revenues. It goes without saying that the bed tax is the most painless revenue booster, at least for local residents.

Measure G2012: Yes

Goleta’s Agricultural Preservation Ordinance

If approved, Measure G, a farmland protection initiative for the Goleta Valley, would require voter approval for the development of agriculturally zoned land of 10 acres or more. This vote would take place only if and after the development in question had already gone through Goleta’s environmental review and approval process. As such, Measure G would give Goleta voters the final word. Although many of Measure G’s protections are currently codified in the city’s General Plan, recent proposals to build up to 1,200 new housing units on the 240 acres that make up Bishop Ranch convinced Measure G’s backers that an extra layer of protection was necessary. In the case of Bishop Ranch, the Goleta City Council did the right thing. Council majorities change, but the pressure to convert ag land into urban space will never go away. There’s no serious opposition to Measure G for good reason; it makes good sense.

By Paul Wellman (file)

Governor Jerry Brown

Proposition 30: Yes

Governor Jerry Brown’s Temporary Tax to Fund Education

This one is for all the marbles. If Proposition 30 fails in November, the sky will fall. And yes, Governor Jerry Brown ​— ​the measure’s chief sponsor ​— ​is holding a gun to voters’ heads. Our serious advice is: Give him the money. Prop. 30 will generate roughly $6 billion a year in additional revenues, about 85 percent of which is committed to education. One technical but critical point: This money can be used to backfill the state’s Prop. 98 requirement to spend half its general fund revenues on education. By so doing, the infusion of new cash can help address other pressing state needs. (By contrast, Prop. 38 ​— ​the other education-funding initiative ​— ​lacks this necessary flexibility.) Voters need to understand that the budget approved by the governor and State Legislature this summer assumed Prop. 30 would pass. If it doesn’t, the school year for K-12 students in state public schools will be cut by as many as 15 days compared to the past two years. And that’s just for starters.

Prop. 30 works by increasing the sales tax by one-quarter cent charged on every dollar of goods and services sold in California over the next four years. In addition, state income taxes will be raised over the next seven years on people earning $250,000 a year or more. In California, that group just happens to comprise the top one percent. California has already made $20 billion in budget cuts over the past few years, forcing the Santa Barbara Unified School District to cut $20 million. Should Prop. 30 fail ​— ​and polls show it’s exceedingly tight ​— ​UCSB, which has already lost $155 million, will lose $40 million more. Santa Barbara City College, the last surviving ember of the California Dream, would face $4.6 million in additional cuts; 200 course sections will disappear overnight.

Proposition 31: No

Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute

This mind-boggling mish-mash of ostensible good-government reforms ​— ​designed to improve the often dysfunctional interaction between the State Legislature and local governments ​— ​defies comprehension. For that reason alone, it should be rejected. And it is not just our reading. Four panels of professional city administrators could not figure out what would be the consequences should this proposition pass. We don’t need any more confusion than we are already dealing with in California.

Proposition 32: No

Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction

Only if you believe corporations need even more power than they already wield should anyone vote for this cynical and misleading measure. Currently, unions derive their fundraising clout by using portions of their members’ union dues to pursue their political agendas. Prop. 32 would prohibit unions from doing so without the written consent of its members. Were this an honest effort to limit all special interests, it would have included a provision requiring stockholder approval of corporate political donations. But honesty was never a consideration. Little wonder the Koch brothers and all the major corporate Super PACs of Sacramento have donated so generously to Prop. 32. First and foremost, this is an initiative of, by, and for the top 0.01 percent.

Proposition 33: No

Auto Insurance Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage

Another self-serving Trojan Horse bankrolled almost entirely by the owner of a private auto insurance company hoping to expand his marketing opportunities, Prop. 33 would change state law to allow insurance companies to offer discounts to other companies’ customers based on length of continuous insurance coverage they’ve carried. Current state law sensibly requires that rates be linked in some fashion to driving records and risk. A raft of consumer advocate organizations have come out strongly against Prop. 33, pointing out that whatever discounts it bestows on those with longstanding policies will be offset by increased rates imposed on those just entering the insurance market.

This measure has been proposed via initiative before, and voters were wise enough to see through it; we’re confident they’ll do so again.

Proposition 34: Yes

Replaces Death Penalty with Life without Possibility of Parole

This newspaper opposes the death penalty for reasons both moral and practical. It remains capricious and arbitrary in its application, with people of color receiving the ultimate sentence far more frequently than whites found guilty of committing similarly heinous crimes. With the advent of DNA testing, even the most ardent death penalty advocates have been forced to acknowledge innocent people have been sentenced to death; at least a few have been executed. To date, about 140 people have been released from death rows throughout the country, either because they were found to be factually innocent or their convictions were overturned. Thankfully, no such cases originated in Santa Barbara.

Last year, a retired appellate judge ​— ​and a longtime death penalty advocate ​— ​conducted an exhaustive study of California’s experience with the death penalty. He found that the state has spent $4 billion since 1978 to maintain its death penalty while only 14 inmates were executed. Any way you do the math, it doesn’t add up. Certainly not for victims’ families seeking a sense of closure. And certainly not for taxpayers. The same study found the state could save up to $130 million a year by abolishing the death penalty and replacing it with life without the possibility of parole. Prop. 34 would do exactly that. It’s been backed by a former prosecutor who helped write the 1978 ballot initiative that restored California’s death penalty, not to mention a former San Quentin warden who presided over four executions. Please vote yes on Prop. 34.

Proposition 35: Yes

Human Trafficking Penalties

Prop. 35 will broaden the definition of human trafficking for sexual purposes and significantly increase the sentences ​— ​in some instances by as much as 400 percent ​— ​of those found guilty. For the first time, the law would cover those found in possession of obscene materials involving minors but not actually engaged in the trafficking itself. The scourge of sexual trafficking is growing worse, not better. To get the attention of those engaged, state prosecutors need a bigger stick. Prop. 35 gives them that.

Proposition 36: Yes

Three Strikes Reform

Prop. 36 rewrites California’s 1994 Three Strikes law the way it should have been written in the first place. To put someone away for 25 years to life, under the provisions of Prop. 36, the third strike has to be a violent or serious felony. Under current law, only the first two strikes have to be violent or serious, and the third strike need only be a felony. Santa Barbara’s first Three Strikes case involved a man caught shoplifting from Home Improvement Center. He had numerous previous felonies, but the serious ones took place many years prior. Yet he was sentenced to 25 years to life. So, too, have 9,000 others. The status quo offends our fundamental notion that punishment should somehow fit the crime. At a time when California’s prisons are bursting at the seams, it also violates economic common sense. Under Prop. 36, third strikers don’t get off scot free. Instead, they will be sentenced twice the length of the sentence required by their third offense. If Prop. 36 passes, some prisoners will have already served their maximum time and will be eligible for release. That will impose new burdens on the local communities to which they’ll be released. But the state will save $70 million to $90 million a year.

Proposition 37: Yes

Genetically Engineered Foods Labeling

This would require supermarkets and grocery stores to make sure that genetically engineered produce is labeled as such so that consumers know what they’re buying. While the scientific jury is out about the potential dangers and benefits of such produce, it seems reasonable that consumers should be able to know whether or not they are buying a tomato with engineered genes.

Proposition 38: No

Tax to Fund Early Childhood Education

Of the dueling tax initiatives designed to save public education, Prop. 38 promises the most and delivers the least. It would generate nearly $10 billion a year for about 12 years by increasing income taxes on individuals making $7,300 a year or more. Larger tax increases would go for those earning bigger incomes. The vast majority of these funds would be earmarked for K-12, though 10-15 percent would be allocated for desperately needed day-care and preschool programs. None of the money, however, would go to higher education, and none of it would lie within the Legislature’s discretionary grasp. It’s both possible and likely that state public education could find itself drowning in cash, while other state programs would bite the dust. That will not help anyone in California.

Editor’s Note: The print version of today’s paper inadvertently gives a yes vote for Proposition 38. The Independent recommends voting No on Prop. 38.

Proposition 39: Yes

Tax Treatment for Multistate Business and Clean Energy

Proposition 39 would plug a billion-dollar-a-year corporate tax loophole created in 2009 as part of one of the late-night, last-minute, backroom political deals for which Sacramento is so infamous. Legislative efforts to reverse this decision have ended in failure, hence the pressing need for this initiative. The loophole allowed corporations doing business both in and out of California a choice of two methods of calculating how much they owe the state in corporate taxes. Not surprisingly, they reliably have chosen the calculus that costs them the least. This has cost the state about $1 billion a year in lost revenues. In addition, the fine print of this loophole gives companies a profound incentive to do as little business as possible within California’s borders and as much as possible elsewhere. In no parallel universe does this make sense. Yet that’s exactly what the Legislature voted to do three years ago. That’s why voters need to come to the state’s rescue and pass Prop. 39.

Proposition 40: Yes

Redistricting State Senate Seats

This is a legally required housekeeping measure needed to ratify the work done by the independent Citizens Redistricting Committee when redrawing the state’s Senate district boundaries last year. No one is opposing the newly drawn Senate district map.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Unfair to Kathleen Reddington. She's smart and good at what she does, protecting Carpinteria's environment, looking out for the people. Yeah, I like Fred Shaw too.

BongHit (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

No major surprises here, but with the nuance of these endorsements the Indy clearly has a pulse on the layered politics of the area.
I can print this out and use it as a guide when filling out my ballot. I am looking forward to see how the the dynamic duo (HBJ and Das) operate once they are both in Sacramento.

Collectiveconcious1 (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 9:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yuck!

Botany (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 9:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

A statement from Das on abstention re: teacher discipline:

The safety of our children is of the utmost importance to me and I think it is important for us to take the legislative process seriously and thoughtfully to ensure that legislation does what it intends to do. Because of this, I spent considerable time reviewing the language and intent of SB 1530 and worked with the author extensively to perfect the language to ensure that it will do what we intend it to do. In fact, I spent as much or more time on the bill as I have on many of my own bills. It is unfortunate that the vote on the bill is being portrayed as union versus the welfare of children or as one in which a Yes vote means keeping sex offenders out of the classroom and a No vote means allowing them to continue to teach. Neither is true.

As you read, SB 1530 would have made changes to the procedures used for dismissal and suspension proceedings for permanent certificated employees that are dismissed for serious or egregious unprofessional conduct, such as sex offenses; controlled substance offenses; and; child abuse and neglect offenses.

Currently, the process for dismissal of a certified school employee authorizes a school board to suspend the accused and to conduct a hearing by a three-person panel, consisting of: a teacher appointed by the accused; a teacher appointed by the school board; and an administrative law judge.

The bill would have altered that process by requiring the teacher to have a hearing conducted solely by an administrative law judge who would make a recommendation to the school board, which would be ultimately responsible for the dismissal of the accused.

(Please see next post for rest of statement...)

JJ37AD (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 9:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

(Continued statement from above)

... In reviewing this bill, I felt that the addition of the decision by the school board actually adds an extra step to the dismissal process, making it more timely and costly. However, I did agree with the intention of the bill and many aspects that were included in the original language, such as permitting evidence more than 4 years old to be considered in the dismissal proceedings and allowing dismissal to take place at any time of the year, including summer.

To save the intention of the bill, I began working with the author immediately to have the final decision made by a non-elected administrative law judge, as opposed to a body of elected officials that are vulnerable to any number of pressures. I also believed that a school employee, to be selected by the school board, should be included in the process to bring that level of classroom experience into the process. Finally, I thought this bill should be focused on sex crimes. Something so egregious is too important to not be the sole focus of a piece of legislation, and that is what I meant by "over reaching." These details have not been part of news coverage of this issue. The bill covered a number of serious crimes that each deserves careful consideration, particularly sexual crimes.

You should know that I did vote in support for a bill, AB 2028, which shortened the process for the dismissal or suspension of teachers for unprofessional conduct or unsatisfactory performance. That bill also would have given school boards more flexibility in such situations. That bill, which was also opposed by the California Teachers Association and California Federation of Teachers, passed the Education Committee, but failed later in the legislative process.

The claims that I would allow where my support comes from dictate how I cast my vote could not be more false. I receive support from a number of educational groups; such as school administrators, teachers, classified school employees, and charter schools. These groups are often at odds on various issues but support me because of the one thing we all agree is our main priority: the students and ensuring California again has a world-class education system.

That is what I was elected to do and that is what I will continue to do. This means that I will continue to work to pass legislation that will appropriately address the dismissal of school employees that commit horrendous crimes against our students and expect to see new legislation that will appropriately address that issue within the next few months.

JJ37AD (anonymous profile)
October 11, 2012 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

CORRECTION: In the print version of today's paper, we endorsed Proposition 38 with a yes vote, which is incorrect. The Independent recommends voting no on Proposition 38.

mike (web content manager)
October 11, 2012 at 10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Disagree with BongHit on Reddington in Carp. Observation in the article is actually right on, and THE big reason why she is likely to go down in flames against Nomura and Shaw. With her, too often the messenger overshadows the message. I don't think she ever "gets" that.

Scooter (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2012 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Obama: "Ok, there's Air Force One coming in to pick me up".

Capps: "Pleased to meet you".

Jackson: "Those bright lights are REALLY irritating"

Brown: "Yeah, I told you three times already".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 12, 2012 at 11:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I also did a double-take when I saw the mistaken endoresement of Molly Munger's Prop 38 in the print edition. That was unfortunate.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
October 13, 2012 at 11:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates.

The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.

No “savings.” Alleged savings ignore increased life-time medical costs for aging inmates and require decreased security levels and housing 2-3 inmates per cell rather than one. Rather than spending 23 hours/day in their cell, inmates will be required to work. These changes will lead to increased violence for other inmates and guards and prove unworkable for these killers. Also, without the death penalty, the lack of incentive to plead the case to avoid the death penalty will lead to more trial and related costs and appeals.

No “accountability.” Max earnings for any inmate would amount to $383/year (assuming 100% of earnings went to victims), divided by number of qualifying victims. Hardly accounts for murdering a loved one.

No “full enforcement” as 729 inmates do not receive penalty given them by jurors. Also, for the 34,000 inmates serving life sentences, there will be NO increased penalty for killing a guard or another inmate. They’re already serving a life sentence.

Efforts are also being made to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) This would lead to possible paroles for not only the 729 on death row, but the 34,000 others serving life sentences. On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving as little as 15 years. Life without parole is meaningless. Remember Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.

Arguments of innocence bogus. Can’t identify one innocent person executed in CA. Can’t identify one person on CA’s death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. See http://cadeathpenalty.webs.com/

CBernstien (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2012 at 4:17 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As much as I still feel that having the death penalty means innocent people can get executed, (and as such--and for that reason only, I still oppose it) CBernstein makes excellent points.

I remember the nightmare of Malcom Joseph Robbins, who admitted to kidnapping, raping, and killing Christopher Finney after abducting the boy on father's day 1980. Robbins' lawyer, Jake Stoddard, managed to get the death sentence, (no doubt Robbins committed the crime, so I had/have no problem with the sentence) down to life without parole, but it didn't stop there. Eventually he got the court to bring it down to 25 years to life which meant Robbins could have gotten out by the time he was 43 years old. (Under those circumstances, he could have served as little as 16 years)

Two more similar convictions followed and George Dukemajian was elected governor and the tide was turning against the reign of Rose Bird--who was then the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California. (Bird and two others were eventually recalled by popular vote in 1986 by a margin of 67 to 33 percent. In addition to Bird, Reynoso and Grodin were also voted off the seven-justice California state supreme court bench.) I don't remember the year, but shortly after Dukemajian was sworn in Robbins' death sentence was reinstated and he sits on death row to this day.

It should be noted that this happened in arguably the most liberal state in California.

So here I sit, still opposed to the death penalty because of my fear of innocent people getting killed, yet thanks to unscrupulous defense attorneys and ideologues who are convinced that people such as Malcom Joseph Robbins and other like him are fit to walk the streets, there is still much support of this institution.

Perhaps if those opposed to the death penalty also made sure that psychopaths were kept off the street their efforts to oppose the death penalty would be successful.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2012 at 3:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I meant to say "most liberal state in the country".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 14, 2012 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While prop 37 (the GMO initiative) on the outside looks good, when you read the inside you get a different story on what this initiative is about. See page 112, section 4, "Enforcement" in the voter information guide. This is the crux of the initiative which is to allow lawyers another venue to launch frivolous legal action. If I were a food distributor/producer, I would be forced to label my product "may contain GMO products" just to stave off frivolous law suits, even if I sold/produced non-GMO products. The enforcement provision alone dilutes this initiative.

A better way is to do this is per the definition of organic products. Have a definition of GMO and allow those who meet the definition be able to advertise as such. Hey, give them a special label which is eye-catching! This is a much better marketing approach for a niche business.

qmc (anonymous profile)
October 15, 2012 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"I meant to say "most liberal state in the country." @BillClausen

No need to argue when there is data. California is number eight behind D.C., Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Illinois and Delaware according to a 10/15/12 article in the NYT's.

Kingprawn (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2012 at 4:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am pretty much in agreement with these endorsements. I hope a lot of people read what was said about Capps because she has been one of the most solid and dedicated advocates for the central coast since being in office. She gets a bad name simply because of the shape of her old district.

I am unsure on 37. When I first saw it I was a firm "yes" but I share some of the same concerns that qmc does. I like the idea - yes consumers should have more informationabout their food - but enforcement and effect are everything and I'm not sure they are aimed in the right place as the prop is written.

Num1UofAn (anonymous profile)
October 23, 2012 at 5:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

>>"We’re not endorsing Lois Capps just because she happens to have a “D” next to her name."<<

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

eightdolphins (anonymous profile)
November 1, 2012 at 12:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Haven't y'all noticed??? People in Santa Barbara are coming out in droves in support of some conservative candidates, especially Romney and Maldanado. I think there are going to be some very disappointed liberals next Tuesday!!

CamB (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2012 at 7:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow talk about deluded, where are all these droves of people?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 2, 2012 at 11:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm just wondering where all of you are going to be or saying when this state collapses. It amazes me how ignorant most people are when it comes to finances and how people have no problem spending other peoples money. Calif. is overwhelming liberal, has unemployment well over 10%, is in debt well over $20 Billion, welfare roles up 10 fold, over run with illegals getting billions in taxpayer funds and people still want the same old democratic retreads in office?? Amazing, just amazing. There is nothing working in Calif. politics but liberals standing in line and voting party lines regardless of the ship sinking. Priceless.

Priceless (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2012 at 9:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Clueless.
Vote Obama.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 3, 2012 at 12:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I am an appellate defense attorney. While I do not do death penalty cases, I am very familiar with sentencing statutes and am all for repeal of the death penalty. Death will be replaced with what we attorneys called LWOP, life WITHOUT the possibility of parole. There is NO possibility of parole with this sentence. It is very different from a sentence of "25 years to life in prison" -- where the defendant can be paroled (and really never is) at the 25 year mark. LWOP has no such parole possibility and is another, more painful and extended (in my opinion) form of death. While I might expound on the nature of prison life here, I won't, other than to say it is cheaper in the long run. There is no room for wishful thinking that the death penalty can be implemented without very extended appeals under our constitutional structure. Get over that fantasy.

mtnflower (anonymous profile)
November 4, 2012 at 8:50 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Priceless....
Yeah, us Liberal Californians also pay approx 18% more in Fed Tax than we receive in Fed funding, so perhaps it is time to stop subsidizing the overwhelmingly Conservative Republican States that traditionally take far more from the Feds than they pay and keep a little more of it here in CA.
Funny how that goes, the Red states, who so desperately hate the Fed, consistently take take the most from it. Welfare states.

elauder2000 (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 9:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Gotta get rid of prop. 13 in this state. before Prop. 13 we were not only the envy of the other states in terms of quality of life, we were envied by other countries specifically. We had a high-service government and an educational system that was again an envy of the world- all under destruction by the Right Wing. The Nazis didn't lose the war, they just moved here.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 10:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Liberal controlled CA has some of the highest taxes in the nation and still can't put a decent amount of money into public services like education. Their only solution is to keep raising your taxes in order that some of that money will actually be spent providing essential public services rather than paying for their special interests.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 10:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Republicans" have sabotaged public services, purposefully destroyed and now claim they can't be fixed so must be privatized. That was always the plan (i.e."drown government in a bathtub.")
Don't elect people to office who want to destroy your country like Romney and Maldonado do. These people have wreaked havoc on California, it's time they be stopped.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 10:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We sure can't blame Republicans for California's problems as California has had mostly democratic control for a long time. We can get a window into what the country will be like under long-term liberal control though just by looking at the problems California is currently suffering.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 5, 2012 at 10:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Prop 13 definitely has created problems for CA. It's taken away local control of locally generated tax revenue. And it's allowed the minority party (usually Republicans) to control the legislature through the supermajority rule.

Jerry Roberts has been covering these issues in his columns for the past few years. He touched on the negative impacts of Prop 13 (among other things) again just recently:

http://www.independent.com/news/2012/...

Roberts pointed to a broader look at CA's problems here:

http://www.californiacrackup.com/page...

I also agree that CA's inflexible initiative process (the same process that spawned Prop 13) has itself created loads of problems. And of course, campaign finance (Molly Munger's Prop 38, SuperPac money coming from outside the state, etc.) is as bad a problem nationally as it is for our state. Lots of villains here.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 12:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Yes, we are only the 15th highest taxed state in terms of property taxes. We are in the top five in every other category. Yet we still can't find the money to educate our children.

http://taxfoundation.org/state-tax-cl...

Their only solution is just to tax more, more and more.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 5:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

California has 1/8 of the nation's population but 1/3 of the nation's welfare recipients. We are truly the welfare state.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 5:31 a.m. (Suggest removal)

How do you figure? Because the Texas Republicans targeted our economy when they were in power? Better the Welfare State than the Lone Star State or any of those other backwater redneck bastions of ignorance and hate.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 10:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In case you haven't noticed Ken, California has lost many jobs to Texas over the last few years. They are very conducive to business and have no state income tax and an unemployment rate of 6.8%. That compares to our unemployment rate of 9.7%. You don't need to ask me which state is doing a better job.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The W. Bush Administration and cronies targeted California's economy in every way: through the courts, Congress and selective regulation enforcement. Knowing they could never win a healthy California in future elections, it is well documented their war on the California economy.
I was heavily involved in interstate commerce at the time and saw with my own eyes.
In addition workers in Texas have far less protections and rights than workers in California do.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 11:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

" ... we are only the 15th highest taxed state in terms of property taxes ..."
-- Botany

While the Tax Foundation is a great source of data, that particular link you provided doesn't say much when it comes to the damage Prop 13 has done to CA.

As related by Jerry Roberts and others, Prop 13 made deep structural changes to the way public services are funded (including education). It also introduced super-majority voting. And Prop 13 was born of the initiative process which means despite it's flaws (as we can see 34 years later) Prop 13 is almost impossible to change for the better.

Now, on to that link:

http://taxfoundation.org/state-tax-cl...

First, that link is per capita. That means states with high/low rates of home ownership will skew one way or the other in the rankings (CA has one of the lowest ownership rates in the nation):

http://www.census.gov/compendia/stata...

Second, that link is based on tax *amounts*. That means states with high/low home values will skew one way or another (CA has historically had one of the highest median home values in the nation):

http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housin...

But even if you ignore those two important factors, the link's numbers are so closely grouped together, there's hardly any difference between CA and the US average. In fact, that link says:

"California ranks in the middle of the pack when the states are ranked on combined state/local property tax collections"

A more objective way to look at property taxes is just to examine the tax rate itself. Moody's Analytics has the data for a fee, but NYT has published it:

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/10/bus...

Average property tax rates ...

TX = 2.57 (rank = 1)
CA = 0.68 (rank = 44)
HI = 0.40 (rank = 51)
National = 1.38%

In summary, there are many ways to look at property tax data, and you have to use the right filter. But my main point still is that Prop 13 has created a set of chain reactions that have done more harm than good for CA.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 4:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Botany, yawn, stuffed again. Give it up, dude.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 5:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm sorry if the facts bore you DD, but they never made much of an impact in your decision making anyway.

Botany (anonymous profile)
November 6, 2012 at 5:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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