November ballot measures piling up

Cameron Smyth Commentary, Right Here Right Now

Before I start into my column, I first want to add my voice to the chorus of support and thanks to the countless number of firefighters, police officers, USFS officials and other first-responders who once again put their lives on the line to save numerous lives and more than 10,000 homes and structures that fell in the direct path of the Sand fire.

It is also reassuring to see hundreds of Santa Clarita Valley residents once again step into the void and take care of their neighbors who were forced out of their homes for several days.

I realize our nation is struggling with numerous issues, but it’s great to see the Santa Clarita Valley set an example in our support for first-responders and one another.

So now on to politics. Since my last report, the secretary of state has qualified 17 ballot measures to appear on the November ballot.

Why so many? Well, efforts by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Democrat members of the Legislature now prohibit citizen-driven initiatives from appearing on the state primary ballot.

Why did they do that, you may ask? Simple. More Republicans vote in the primary, and this is a way to further silence the voices of those who disagree with many of the policies forced on the people by the Sacramento majority.

As a result (intentional), we now have to add these issues on our already-overcrowded November ballot. Here is the list:

Proposition 51: Issues $9 billion in bonds for school construction;

Proposition 52: Codifies a hospital fee structure that provides funding for Medi-Cal and other programs;

Proposition 53: Requires voter approval for any projects over $2 billion funded by revenue bonds;

Proposition 54: Transparency Act: Requires legislation to be in print and published on the Internet for at least 72 hours prior to any Legislative action. The Democrats have been killing bills like this for years.

Proposition 55: Despite promises of being “temporary,” this extends the personal income tax increases (Prop 30) on anyone making more than $250,000. I guess the current $11 billion budget surplus isn’t enough.

Proposition 56: Increases the cigarette tax, as well as other tobacco product taxes. The tax on a pack of cigarettes would go up to $2 each.

Proposition 57: Increases opportunities for parole for those convicted of non-violent crimes and allows inmates more opportunities to earn credits for good behavior.

Prop 57 also takes away the authority of prosecutors as the deciding agent in questions of whether or not to try juveniles as adults; it puts that decision in the hands of the judge. Well, since Prop 47 has worked out so well … (note the sarcasm).

Proposition 58: Repeals Prop 227, which then allows for bilingual education in public schools.

Proposition 59: This is only to advise the Legislature on whether the voters want their representatives to use their “constitutional authority” in an attempt to repeal the Citizens United decision regarding campaign financing. This is a complete waste of our time; the issue is federal.

Proposition 60: Requires the use of condoms in all adult films produced in California. No comment.

Proposition 61: Caps the cost of some prescription drugs purchased by the state at the best price paid for the same drug by the VA.

Proposition 62: Repeals the death penalty in the state of California. Last execution was in 2006.

Proposition 63: Prohibits possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines and requires passing a background check to purchase ammunition. Second Amendment? What Second Amendment?

Proposition 64: Legalizes recreational use of marijuana. Something new to tax!

Proposition 65: Allocates money collected from the sale of grocery and retail carry-out bags to a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board.

Proposition 66: Changes procedures regarding death penalty convictions and sentences. Could be irrelevant – see Prop 62.

Proposition 67: The California Plastic Bag Referendum: A “yes” vote ratifies legislation banning the use of plastic bags, while a ���no” vote overturns the legislation. Plastics, my boy, plastics.

If that wasn’t enough, we have several other local measures here in Los Angeles County:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has placed on the ballot a permanent countywide half-cent sales tax increase.

The ballot description of the tax increase says it would generate at least $860 million per year for street repairs, highway improvements and new rail construction.

The Board of Supervisors has also added a parcel tax of “one-and-a-half cent per square foot of developed property” to generate $94 million to replace the revenue for parks that was created by the 1992 Prop A, set to expire this year.

November 2016 just keeps getting better and better!

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