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October 29, 2008 > Props and Measures

Props and Measures

On Election Day, November 4, not only will people be flooding the polls to vote for local and national officials, there will also be a myriad of measures and propositions waiting for a decision as well. This is a quick review. Voters should refer to more complete information to make an informed decision.

For the State of California, there will be 12 propositions.

Prop 1: High-Speed Rail Bonds (Legislative Initiative Amendment)
Vote yes and it would allow the state to sell nearly $10 billion in general obligation bonds to plan and partially fund a high-speed rail system.
Voting no would prevent the state from selling the $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds to fund for the rail.

Prop 2: Standards for Confining Farm Animals (Initiative Statute)
Voting yes on Prop 2 and beginning in 2015, state law would prohibit the confinement of pregnant pigs, calves raised for veal and egg-laying hens where they are not allowed to turn freely, lie down, stand up and extend their limbs - with certain exceptions.
Vote no and state laws would not contain any prohibitions regarding confinement of farm animals.

Prop 3: Children's Hospital Bond Act (Grant program, Initiative Statute)
A "yes" vote and the state could sell $980 million in bonds for construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing, equipping, financing or refinancing of children's hospitals.
Voting no on Prop 3 and the state would not be permitted the selling of $980 million in general obligation bonds for children's hospitals.

Prop 4: Waiting Period and Parental Notification before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy (Initiative Constitutional Amendment)
Voting yes and the State Constitution would then require a physician to notify a parent or guardian of a pregnant minor before performing an abortion.
Voting no and minors would be able to receive abortions to the same extent of adults.

Prop 5: Nonviolent Drug Offenses, Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation (Initiative Statute)
Vote yes on Prop 5 and people charged or convicted for nonviolent drug possession will have expanded treatment programs - reducing prison overcrowding. In some cases, violators would be diverted from state prisons; others' parole terms would be reduced. There would also be new rehab programs for offenders before and after they leave prison. Some inmates may receive additional credits to reduce their stay time in prison; and possession of less than 28.5 grams of marijuana would have a lesser penalty. This entire program would allocate $460 million annually to improve and expand treatment programs.
Voting no would mean state and local governments determine whether to expand existing drug treatment diversion programs in the future. Correctional officials would remain in charge of discretion to return various categories of parole violators to state prison. Parole terms would remain at least three years. The state would not be obligated to expand programs. All current rules and penalties would remain the same.

Prop 6: Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Law (Initiative Statute)
Vote yes and the state would be required to increase its spending for specific criminal justice programs to a minimum of $965 million in 2009-10, with it growing in the future. In addition, sentences for certain crimes would be longer.
Voting no on this proposition would mean that all the current Legislative and Governor authority remain the same.

Prop 7: Renewable Energy Generation (Initiative Statute)
Vote yes and electricity providers in California would be required to increase their proportion of electricity generated by renewable resources, up to 50 percent by 2025, or they will face penalties (1 cent per kilowatt hour penalty rate set in statute, without a cap).
Voting no means electricity providers in California, except those publicly owned, would continue to be required to increase proportion of electricity by renewable resources to 20 percent by 2010. Penalties would remain what they are currently (five cents per kilowatt-hour, with a cap of $25 million per provider).

Prop 8: Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry (Initiative Constitutional Amendment)
Vote yes and the California Constitution would specify that only marriage between a man and woman is valid.
Vote no and marriage between individuals of the same sex would continue to be valid.

Prop 9: Criminal Justice System, Victims' Rights, Parole. (Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute)
Voting yes on Prop 9 means crime victims would have additional constitutionally guaranteed rights. Payments of restitution to crime victims would be required. Inmates with life sentences who were denied parole would have to wait longer before additional parole hearings. Early release to reduce overcrowding would be restricted.
Voting no means victims will continue to have the statutory right to be notified of certain criminal justice proceedings. Restitution would be subject to the judge's discretion. The current wait for parole hearings would remain the same. Releasing inmates to reduce overcrowding will be allowed.

Prop 10: Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds (Initiative Statute)
Vote yes on Prop 10 and the state could sell $5 million in general obligation bonds for various renewable energy, alternative fuel, energy efficiency and air emissions reduction purposes.
Vote no on Prop 10 and the state would not sell $5 million in general obligation bonds for the aforementioned purposes.

Prop 11: Redistricting (Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute)
Voting yes means boundaries for State Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization districts would be drawn by a new commission made up of California registered voters. Boundaries for the U.S. House of Representatives districts would continue to be drawn by the Legislature.
Voting no means that boundaries will continue to be drawn by the Legislature.

Prop 12: Veterans' Bond Act of 2008
Vote yes on Prop 12 and the state would be able to issue $900 million in general obligation bonds to provide loans for the veterans' farm and home (Cal-Vet) purchase program.
Vote no on Prop 12 and the state would not be able to issue the bonds for the Cal-Vet program.



Locally, there are several measures to consider.

In Fremont, a majority approval is needed to pass Measure MM, the Transient Occupancy Tax - or hotel tax, as it's commonly referred. This will increase the charge for those who occupy hotel or motel rooms for 30 days or less. The 8 percent tax would increase to 10 percent; it would be used to help maintain city services.

Measure UU, Public Safety Services Tax, in Union City will require a two-thirds approval to pass. If that is achieved, the current tax, set to expire on April 23 of next year, will be expanded for an additional eight years. The tax will be used to fund essentials for the police and fire protection services in Union City, as well as youth violence prevention and intervention programs.

Measure VV is a special tax measure for Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District. It will require two-thirds approval to preserve affordable local public transportation that allows seniors and people with disabilities to remain independent, takes students to and from school, provides transportation alternatives given skyrocketing gas prices, helps residents commute to work and reduces traffic and greenhouse gas emissions by getting cars off the road. AC Transit would be allowed to increase its existing parcel tax by $4 per parcel, per month for 10 years with independent oversight and all money staying local.

Measure WW needs a two-thirds approval to extend the existing East Bay Regional Park District bond, with no increase in the tax rate. If the measure receives the votes it needs to pass, EBRP will continue to restore urban creeks; protect wildlife; purchase and save open space, wetlands and shoreline; acquire, develop and improve local and regional parks, trails and recreational facilities. This is all possible if EBRP is allowed to issue up to $500 million in general obligation bonds. The property tax rates will not increase beyond the current $10 per year, per $100,000 of assessed valuation.



In Santa Clara County, the Valley Transportation Authority has three separate measures:

Measure B, which needs a two-thirds vote, plans to reduce dependence on foreign oil, help relieve soaring gas prices and combat climate change, but only should the VTA be allowed to enact a one-eighth cent sales tax limited to 30 years for BART to operate, maintain and improve the 16.1 mile Santa Clara County BART extension, with stations in Milpitas, San Jose and Santa Clara, connecting with Caltrain from Gilroy to San Francisco and an Airport People Mover, to be collected only if sufficient state and federal funds are secured to match local construction dollars;

Measure C, which is an advisory vote only measure, will go through if you think the VTA should continue to plan, design, construct and provide transit services as described in the draft Valley Transportation Plan 2035 to be adopted by December 2008. If this measure goes through, there will be no tax increase;

Measure D, requiring a majority vote, whether the VTA should enact the ordinance adopted by the people of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority on March 2, 1976 (Measure B), and amended by the voters at the November 6, 1990, election, shall be further amended to read as follows: "It shall be the policy of the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority to submit to the 2000 Measure A Citizen's Watchdog Committee every six years a comprehensive transit program for review and comment."

For more information on all-things election, visit Web sites www.smartvoter.org, www.acgov.org or www.sccvote.org.

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