Opinion: The propositions, in my humble opinion

November 8, just one month from today, is Election Day, and mail-in ballots will arrive in our mailboxes even sooner. This year, there are eight key propositions on which we can express our preferences. Seven of them qualified because supporters had gathered sufficient signatures, and one was placed on the ballot by the Legislature. Here’s a thumbnail sketch of each, along with my humble opinion.


Prop. 1: Abortion


If passed by voters, this measure, placed on the ballot by the Legislature, would amend the state constitution to guarantee women a right to abortion as well as access to contraceptives.


California’s current law bases women’s right to an abortion on our right to privacy. When the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, it stated that the right to privacy does not guarantee the right to an abortion. Therefore, our law regarding abortion could be vulnerable to lower court rulings.


IMHO: Because passage of this proposition would leave no doubt that abortion is legal in California, I’m voting YES on Proposition 1.


Prop. 26 and 27: Sports Betting


Both Proposition 26 and Proposition 27, if passed, would make it legal in California to bet on sports. The major differences between the two are how bets may be made and how revenue to the state would be used.


Prop. 26 would let people place bets at privately operated horse-racing tracks on land owned by Native American tribes in four counties. A portion of state revenue would be used to pay for enforcement of our gambling laws and treatment of people who suffer from gambling addiction.


If you think it’s somewhat absurd to legalize betting in order to fund gambling addiction, then we’re on the same wave length.

Prop. 27 would let people use their phones to place bets, and there is concern that children could take advantage of the convenience. Opponents of the measure say that it mainly benefits out-of-state gaming companies like DraftKings and FanDuel. Built-in loopholes would minimize actual revenue to the state.


If both propositions pass, the one that gets the most votes will become law.


IMHO: I oppose both propositions for much the same reason that I voted against Proposition 37 in 1984. Prop. 37 created the state lottery, which was sold to the public as a means for increasing funding to education. In fact, only a very small slice of the revenue pie goes to schools. Moreover, betting on sports, like betting on the lottery, preys disproportionately on low-income families. I’m voting “NO” on both.


Prop. 28: The Arts in Public Schools


Prop. 28, if passed, would require the Legislature to apportion 1 percent of the state’s education budget for music and art programs in public schools. According to the Legislative Analyst’s Office, that could be as much as $1 billion per year.


When I became a member of the Board of Directors of the Madera County Arts Council (MCAC) in 1999, we were involved with a three-year “Demonstration Program” at John Adams Elementary School. The purpose of the program was to demonstrate that participation with the arts contributed to improved mastery of other subject matter. Unfortunately, our funding from the state was cut off before the end of the second year. However, hundreds of other programs throughout the United States have shown that students who have arts education as part of their curriculum do better on language, mathematics, and science than do students who lack this opportunity.


IMHO: I no longer serve on the MCAC Board of Directors, but I have always been and remain a supporter of the arts in education. Although we were not able to complete the Demonstration Program, I witnessed greatly increased parent participation at John Adams school. I believe that when students see their parents in attendance at school programs, it motivates them to do better in their studies. Therefore, I’m voting YES on Prop. 28.


Prop. 29: Kidney Dialysis


If passed, Prop. 29 would require a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant to be present during treatment at outpatient kidney dialysis clinics. There are other provisions in the proposal, but this is the key issue. This measure failed in two previous elections.


IMHO: If the passage of this measure causes some clinics to close, as the opposition argument posits, many people who require dialysis will simply die. I’m voting NO on Prop 29.


Prop. 30: Taxes on the Wealthy


This measure would raise taxes on California’s wealthiest people by 1.75 percent on $2 million and more of personal income. The revenue would be used for wildfire prevention, incentives for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles, and programs to reduce greenhouse gases. IMHO: I do not see an increase of less than 2 percent being a burden to those with a seven-figure annual income. So, I’m voting YES on Prop. 30.


Prop. 31: Flavored Tobacco


This measure asks if the 2020 law that outlawed the sale of flavored tobacco should be kept in effect or overturned. This law was passed by the Legislature, not by a vote of the citizenry. The California Constitution provides for the public to overturn a law that is put into effect by their elected representatives.


Tobacco companies used this provision to gather enough signatures to qualify Prop. 31 for the November ballot. Opponents of this measure argue that flavored tobacco products are designed to appeal to children. This is one of those counter-intuitive-vote measures. A YES vote is against allowing the sale of flavored tobacco. A NO vote overturns the current law against the sale of flavored tobacco, whether it is to be smoked, chewed, of vaped.


IMHO: I’m voting YES in support of the law to prohibit the sale of flavored tobacco products and urge all voters to help protect our children from a life-altering habit.


Disclosure


I am not an employee of the Madera Tribune, and my opinions do not reflect the social or political positions of the newspaper or its staff.


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Jim Glynn is Professor Emeritus of Sociology. His publications include California’s Social Problems. He may be contacted at j_glynn@att.net.

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