California never has a shortage of initiatives. We have another 12 propositions on the Nov. 4 ballot, some we feel as if we've seen before (parental notification under Proposition 4). Thankfully, there are no Indian gaming measures on the 2008 ballot.
Here are our takes on some of these propositions:
No on Propositions 1A, 3, 5, 6, 10 and 12. By our math, these propositions, if passed, amount to more than $20 billion in additional costs to taxpayers. Prop. 1A alone, proposing high-speed trains linking the state's major population centers, is asking for nearly $10 billion.
We allow that there is some merit to each of these initiatives. We want to improve children's hospitals (Proposition 3), get treatment for drug users (Proposition 5), help law enforcement (Proposition 6), push for vehicles using alternative fuel sources (Proposition 10) and help our veterans (Proposition 12).
Still, we're reminded of that 1992 presidential campaign phrase, "It's the economy, stupid," as the primary reason we have to pass on all of these.
With so many residents struggling to make ends meet in these bad economic times, it makes no sense to commit billions of dollars Nov. 4. Last week, we managed a "yes" endorsement on one spending item, the one-eighth-cent sales tax increase to bring BART to San Jose and Santa Clara (Measure B). We're not going beyond that.
No on Proposition 7. On the surface, this proposal for "renewable energy generation (calling for government-owned utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity by 2010, for starters) sounds like the environmentally friendly thing to do. It may be well intended, but it is economically irresponsible in the final analysis. Opponents, including the League of Women Voters, note that Proposition 7's passage would trigger rising electricity costs, creating market conditions that could lead to another energy crisis. It could also shut out small, competing companies specializing in solar and wind power.
Yes on Proposition 8. We think it is time to stop the courts from making our laws. That's why we elect a representative government. The ripple effect of letting the current court ruling legalizing gay marriage stand will be endless lawsuits, especially regarding tax-exempt status for churches and educational institutions.
Yes on Proposition 11. This proposal would shift state office redistricting responsibilities onto a nonelected commission comprising a balance of Democrats, Republicans and other parties. We agree with supporters' arguments that a yes vote ends the conflict of interest possible when politicians draw their own election districts. In addition, the impartial legislative analyst refutes opponents' claims of a costly bureaucracy by declaring, "any increase in costs probably would not be significant." Proposition 11 establishes a fair and balanced approach to redistricting.