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    Our Ballot Views, Your Choice

    (November 5, 2006) -- Statewide and citywide ballot items provide the only real democracy in this election. They're the only items that can't be Gerrymandered. Treat your choices on these measures seriously:

    Statewide Measures

    Prop 1A: Yes. It makes it somewhat harder for Sacramento to divert highway taxes for general fund spending.

    Prop 1B: NO! Prop 1B is one of the two WORST measures on the ballot. It will inflict its most damaging impacts on LB, L.A/OC/Inland Empire residents. Its $20 billion debt (the largest on the ballot) will go in large part to expand port-related "goods movement" infrastructure capacity, effectively inviting more containers to be dumped here without paying for or protecting us from the impacts. That's the wrong message for LB and L.A./OC/Inland Empire voters to send after port-related interests helped kill legislation to protect us against worsened pollution from the expansion they now seek ("no net increase") and opposed making users pay to clean up pollution with a container fee. Prop 1B won't fix gridlock; transportation bureaucrats indicate they plan to use local freeway money mainly for more "carpool lanes" (while building real capacity increases for containers). Prop 1B hands out twice as much money to expand "goods movement" infrastructure as to clean up its impacts. Its so-called "mitigation" is one time funding that will be gone once we're saddled with decades of negative impacts. Prop 1B didn't gather petition signatures; it was put on the ballot by Sacramento politicians who kowtowed to special interests. As we said in August: "No bills ("no net increase" and a container fee), no bonds." Vote NO on Prop 1B.

    Prop 1C: No. We don't need and can't afford more government dictated "affordable housing" which benefits mainly developers who build modern day tenements for cheap labor..

    Prop 1D: No. It's more taxpayer debt without sufficient taxpayer protections.

    Prop 1E: Yes. Levee repairs are a matter of conscience.

    Prop 83: Yes. "Jessica's law" toughens controls over child molesters and sex offenders. It shows some Dems they can't get away with half measures on public safety.

    Prop 84: Yes. This park and water bond was put on the ballot by petition signatures, not politicians; it's better.

    Prop 85: Yes. Parents have a right to know if someone gives their child an for gosh sakes, parents should have the right to know if someone gives your under-age daughter an abortion. The measure includes protections for teens in trouble when they're at risk in dysfunctional households.

    Prop 86: Yes. Increasing the tax on cigarettes will do what taxes do: it will discourage the taxed use. Go to the library and pull out some 1940 era magazines filled with cigarette ads that told people that corporate product "soothes the throat" and other falsehoods. Those lies destroyed lives. We really don't care if hospital corporations get the money from this imperfectly written tax.

    Prop 87: Yes. Although it's not well written. and we vomited when someone used Bill Clinton in commercials for it, the measure sends the right message: the petroleum industry has held us hostage long enough (including $3.00/gallon gas while pocketing record profits). The petroleum industry has benefited from taxpayer subsidies for years. Jump-starting competition to the industry's disproportionate power now is worth it.

    Prop 88: NO! This is an extraordinarily dangerous new property tax -- a statewide parcel tax. Once in place it will balloon and invite others. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n has accurately identified it as a major threat to Prop 13. No on 88.

    Prop 89: No. We don't want to hear about "campaign financing" schemes until the Gerrymandered districts that now steal elections from us are changed. Period.

    Prop 90: Yes. This overdue reform, placed on the ballot with gathered signatures, stops eminent domain and property owner abuse by arrogant government bodies, protects home ownership and makes it harder for City Halls and Redevelopment Agencies to run roughshod over people's rights. The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association supports this measure (so no, it's not a "taxpayer trap" as deceptive opposition ads claim). Vote Yes on 90.

    Statewide offices

    Governor: Withhold Vote We are pleased that Phil Angelides will lose this race. He took LB residents for granted and didn't criticize his own party when its Assembly leadership arrogantly blocked the "no net increase" and port container fee bills (eventually letting the latter out). And we haven't forgotten that then-party aparatchik Angelides helped smear a gentleman and scholar, Bruce Herschensohn, some years ago in a U.S. Senate race. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has provided a check and balance against Gerrymandering Dems when they abuse power they unfairly hold. However, we cannot recommend voting for Schwarzenegger after he vetoed the cargo container fee bill this year and vetoed the "no net increase" bill in 2004. In our view, those actions broke his 2003 campaign pledge about clean air being a "right." From what we can tell, Schwarzenegger has basically given Port interests a license to pollute on terms that suit them, falsely describing legislation to change the status quo as too costly. He has also failed to advocate stronger container security measures than port and shipping interests prefer, breaking another campaign pledge to put public interests, not special interests, first. Yes, on his worst day Arnold Schwarzenegger has been a better Governor than Gray Davis and will be better than Phil Angelides...but because of his veto of the "no net increase" bill and port container fee measures, we advise LB residents to withhold their votes from him. LB shouldn't reward those who hurt us..or it will encourage others to hurt us.

    Lt. Gov: Tom McClintock. State Senator McClintock operates from principles, not expediency. He goes where the truth leads no matter whose toes it steps on. He's not afraid to criticize his own party when he thinks it's wrong on things ranging from legalizing industrial hemp (he supported it) to Prop 1B (he opposes it). He led the fight for eminent domain reform. (We'd welcome about ten minutes with him to show why he should rethink some conclusions about the Ports of LB/LA, but no matter how that discussion turns out, we're sure we'd get a fair hearing from him.) Tom McClintock is the right man to keep a watchful eye on the Governor and legislature as Lt. Governor.

    Insurance Commissioner: Steve Poizner. No sane LB resident should vote for the embarrassing Cruz Bustamante who as Lt. Gov. (on the State Lands Comm'n) helped facilitate LB City Hall's infamous Queensway Bay tidelands trust swap (which a court has since ruled illegal). Mr. Poizner hasn't accepted insurance company money in the campaign while Bustamante has. As Poizner's cleverly run adds put, "If you Cruz, you lose."

    Attorney General: Chuck Poochigian: Sen. Poochigian is a solid, Central Californian and won't do loony things on crime. In contrast, we haven't forgotten opponent Jerry Brown's Gubernatorial appointment of Rose Bird to the CA Supreme Court. After leaving the Governor's office, Mr. Brown was elected Mayor of Oakland...and that city now has one of the highest levels of violent crimes per capita among U.S. cities over 75,000 population (source; FBI 2005 crime data analyzed by Morgan-Quitno press). We acknowledge that Mr. Brown sometimes learns from mistakes; Howard Jarvis credited then Gov-Brown with making Prop 13 work (after Brown opposed it). And we credit Brown for Bill Clinton's traits while running for President in 1992. OK, he's been a maverick at times...but we'd prefer him as pundit rather than an AG.

    Water Replenishment District: Norm Ryan. Mr. Ryan saved taxpayers money before he took office and he has saved taxpayers money after being elected to the Water Replenishment District board. In 2000, Mr. Ryan defied City Hall to give LB residents and businesses the chance to halve our utility tax (passed with nearly 70% support citywide). In contrast, one of his opponents, a non-elected City Hall Water Board appointee, Lillian Kawasaki, recently voted to impose a nearly 5% LB Water Dept. rate on you and your family...which includes a nearly $4 million City Hall "sewer fee" that milks Water Dept. customers and sends the money back to City Hall. Norm Ryan isn't City Hall's collection agent; he's saved taxpayers money. Mr. Ryan has done what he promised and deserves reelection.

    Lakewood Measure D: Yes This would bring an overdue end to the sale of so-called "safe and sane" fireworks in Lakewood. That would benefit residents and taxpayers in Lakewood AND Long Beach. As we previously reported, the campaign against this measure is primarily funded by a major fireworks distributor. Lakewood civic clubs and children's baseball teams are effectively serving as props for propaganda trying to stop Measure D. The civic groups should stop whining and start doing what clubs do in other cities; raise money without selling fireworks.

    Partisan district offices

    54th Assembly District: CA's elections for state legislature and Congress are a Gerrymandered insult to the public, a shameful abuse of power by shameless Sacramento Democrats.

    On November 7, we will again have rigged election outcomes for Congress and the state legislature as a result of CA Democrats drawing "safe district" lines that carve out artificial majorities and beget near automatic victories for the ruling party. As pundit Jill Stewart put it, in CA officials choose their voters instead of voters choosing their officials.

    This is an outrage...and voters can rebel against this by refusing to vote for partisan district officeholders or candidates from the ruling party until its leadership stops blocking changes to the current, rigged Gerrymandered system.

    In LB's 54th Assembly district, we urge a vote for ELB resident Michael A. Jackson, who's challenging incumbent Betty Karnette. Mr. Jackson has run a substantive campaign and is endorsed by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Ass'n...but we don't know if he can oust Karnette who has benefited for years from the current Gerrymandered system.

    On the merits, we are very disturbed by something Assemblywoman Karnette did in August 2006 at a crucial moment.

    Assemblywoman Karnette was part of the Assembly Appropriations Committee when its chair, Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D., Monterey Park) decreed that Sen. Alan Lowenthal's no net increase and container fee bills wouldn't progress from her committee. Both of those bills were important. They were both supported by the City of Long Beach...yet Assemblywoman Karnette didn't publicly oppose what Chair Chu did.

    This is even more stunning since Assemblywoman Karnette had introduced her own cargo container fee measure (so she knows it's the right thing to do). Her cargo container fee bill was nibbled to death and gutted after industry interests objected...but what happened to Sen. Lowenthal's bills in Karnette's committee was worse.

    The Daily Breeze reported that Chair Chu's blockade of the Lowenthal port measures was basically a slap by Assembly Democrat leaders at Sen. Lowenthal for advancing an anti-Gerrymandering bill. We believe this...and thus we view Assemblywoman Karnette's deferential silence while Assembly Dem leaders blocked his bills as complicit in a partisan mugging.

    For this reason, we believe a vote for Mr. Jackson will send an important message to Sacramento: LB voters want lawmakers who will put the interests of their constituents over lockstep party loyalty.

    State Board of Equalization: Glen Forsch. LB, Signal Hill, Lakewood and a number of southeast L.A. County voters should use this opportunity to vote against Assemblywoman Judy Chu (D., Monterey Park)...who hurt LB and surrounding areas by blocking the no net increase and container fee bills in the Assembly committee she chaired. Both of those bills were supported by the City of Long Beach (the text of one got past Chu's committee but was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger). In our view, Assemblywoman Chu's conduct on this was a partisan abuse of power that put party over principle. We think it would be a good thing for Ms. Chu to see votes for her opponent, Mr. Forsch from LB and surrounding areas. (Michelle Steele is a worthy candidate in the PV area). Assemblywoman Chu is a savvy, intelligent lawmaker but she deserves to be held accountable for her action on those port-related bills. Whether that will happen in the Gerrymandered district to which she's now seeking election remains to be seen...but LB and SE area voters can and should send her a message: don't tread on us.

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