One of the most historic elections of this country's existence is upon us. Senator Barack Obama's popularity has blown him past rock star status. He has captured the nations attention. As much as we are getting caught up in this historic moment, we have to remember that this election is not only about electing the next President. There are a number of other issues that are on the table.
Proposition 1A- Would authorize the state to sell $9.95 billion in general obligation bonds to partially fund the construction of a high-speed railroad that would link Southern California, the Sacramento/San Joaquin Valley, and the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Sentinel is in support of this proposition. It will provide a safe, convenient, affordable, and reliable alternative to high gas prices, freeway congestion, rising airfares, and fewer available flights. Many existing high-speed trains run on electricity and thereby reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming. It would generate enough revenue to pay for its cost in the long run.
Proposition 2- Would mandate that by 2015 certain types of animals, veal, egg-laying hens, and pregnant pigs- be kept for the majority of the day in an area that allows them to fully extend their limbs or wings, lie down, stand up, and turn around.
The Sentinel is in support of this proposition. Cramming animals into tiny cages allows for diseases to spread that may affect people later. Would support family farmers who are driven out of business when factory farms cut corners by using cheap and often cruel methods for keeping animals. Would alleviate animal suffering.
Proposition 3- Would authorize the state to sell $980 million in general obligation bonds to be repaid from the state's General Fund to pay for the construction, expansion, remodeling, renovation, furnishing, and equipping of children's hospitals in California.
The Sentinel is in support of this proposition. Children's hospitals save hundreds of children's lives every day. Proposition 3 would allow these hospitals to keep serving severely ill children without raising taxes. Children's hospitals do not have enough room to handle the growing number of seriously ill and injured children. Proposition 3 would allow hospitals to build more bed capacity and buy essential equipment and the latest medical technology.
Proposition 4- Would amend the California constitution to require a doctor to notify a parent or legal guardian, or other adult family member if abuse within the family is reported, 48 hours before performing an abortion on a girl who is under 18 years old.
The Sentinel is does not support this proposition. Not all teens live in homes where communication is possible- especially regarding sex and pregnancy. If teens can't go to their parents, they must still be kept safe. If Proposition 4 passes, instead of seeking counseling and the safe medical care she needs, a pregnant minor may seek illegal, unsafe abortions, or even consider suicide. Similar proposals were rejected by voters in 2005 and 2006.
Proposition 5- Would allocate $460 million annually to expand individualized treatment and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees. Would limit courts' authority to incarcerate offenders who commit certain non-violent drug crimes.
The Sentinel is in support of this proposition. Too many nonviolent adults with addictions crowd prisons when they should be in rehabilitation and treatment programs. Could lead to savings for the state of up to $2.5 billion due to reduced prison and parole operating costs. Giving nonviolent offenders treatment and rehabilitation instead of incarceration, and giving prisoners rehabilitation and treatment while they are in prison, will reduce the recidivism rate.
Proposition 6- Would require a minimum of $695 million from the state's General Fund be spent each year on police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, jails, and juvenile probation facilities.
The Sentinel does not support this proposition. Money should go to proven and effective gang prevention programs. Would give adult incarceration to any youth older than 14 who is convicted of a gang-related felony.
Proposition 7- Would require all utilities- private and government owned- to generate 20% of their power from renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 50% by 2025.
The Sentinel does support this proposition. Renewable power from plants under 30 megawatts won't count toward meeting the proposed law. Therefore, small renewable energy companies would be pushed out of California's market, thereby eliminating competition and thousands of jobs.
Proposition 8- Would amend the California constitution to state that only a marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.
The Sentinel does not support this proposition. Courts have established that marriage is a right for all couples. The California constitution should guarantee the same freedoms and rights to everyone; no group should be treated differently. California statutes identify nine real differences between marriage and domestic partnerships. Only marriage provides the security that spouses provide one another.
Proposition 9- Would increase rights guaranteed by the California constriction for victims of crime, including the right to participate in any public criminal proceeding. Would require payments of restitution to all crime victims. Would reduce the number of parole hearings prisoners are allowed. Would limit early release of inmates to reduce prison or jail overcrowding.
The Sentinel does not support this proposition. The "Three Strikes Law" and the "Victims Bill of Rights" already give victims the right to be notified if their offender is released, to receive advance notice of criminal proceedings, and to participate in parole hearings and sentencing. Proposition 9 is a drain on taxpayers during the height of a budget crisis. What limited money the state has should go to education, healthcare, and other state services.
Proposition 10- Would allow the state to sell $5 billion in general obligation bonds to be paid off from the state's General Fund for various renewable energy, alternative energy efficiency, and air emissions reduction purposes.
The Sentinel is in support of this proposition. It would help reduce California's dependence on foreign oil. Would reduce air pollution that causes asthma and cancer. Would create new green technology jobs thereby helping California's economy.
Proposition 11- Would create a 14-member citizen commission to redraw the state's district lines for the state Assembly, Senate, and Board of Equalization after each census.
The Sentinel is undecided on this proposition.
Proposition 12- Would allow the state to issue $900 million in general obligation bonds to provide loans for veterans to buy farms and/or homes through the Cal-Vet program.
The Sentinel is in support of this proposition. It would allow more veterans to obtain low-interest rate loans to buy homes without costing taxpayers as all costs of the program, including all administration costs, are paid for by veterans holding loans. Would improve the economy by increasing the amount of homes being bought and thus creating thousands of housing industry-related jobs.