California June 2010 Propositions

Only five statewide propositions this time. Two of them are attempts by large corporations to buy special treatment for themselves.

Election Day is Tuesday, June 8th. You can also vote before then at Early Voting locations. Check your sample ballot, or ask your county's Registrar of Voters to find out where. For instance, in Alameda County you can vote at the Registrar's office in downtown Oakland, among other places.

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YES Prop. 13: Limits on Property Tax Assessment - Seismic Retrofitting of Existing Buildings
This fixes an unanticipated interaction between two previous propositions. If you care about the details...

1984's Prop. 23 gave a 15-year reassessment exemption for seismic retrofitting to unreinforced masonry buildings. 1990's Prop. 127 attempted to generalize that to a permanent reassessment exemption for seismic retrofitting to any kind of building. Unfortunately, the folks who wrote Prop. 127 forgot to have it override Prop. 23, so unreinforced masonry buildings - the most vulnerable kind - now get less favorable treatment for seismic retrofitting than any other kind of building. This proposition fixes that by getting rid of 1984's Prop. 23. You might think, "Why do we need a statewide vote on this trivia? Why can't the legislature just fix it themselves?" Because the legislature can't override a proposition. So.

NO Prop. 14: Elections. Increases Right to Participate in Primary Elections
This is another attempt at open primaries. The previous attempt was November 2004's Prop. 62, which failed. That election also had Prop. 60 - it tried to settle the issue permanently by moving existing election laws into the state constitution, and that one passed. To change them you would have to amend the constitution again - which this proposition does.

So why are open primaries bad? Well, they're not. But this particular open primaries law has some problems. It would let candidates not list their party affiliation, pretending to be independent even when they're not. It would also destroy any chance of minor party candidates getting on the November ballot - and that means minor party candidates would be forced off of future primary ballots, since a good showing in previous general elections is required for that.

DGAS Prop. 15: California Fair Elections Act
An experiment at public financing of election campaigns. Probably harmless, although you could justify voting no to avoid wasting money. There's certainly no reason to think this will actually improve the election process.

A previous attempt at public campaign financing, Prop. 89 in November 2006, failed by a 3 to 1 margin.

NO Prop. 16: Imposes New Two-Thirds Voter Approval Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers
This is the one that PG&E is trying to buy. The ad campaign has been huge - over $40 million. They're trying to call it the "Taxpayers Right to Vote Act". Actually it's PG&E's attempt to get a permanent monopoly on electricity, by making it much more difficult for cities and counties to set up wholesale power buying organizations called Community Choice Aggregations. I don't have a problem with letting people vote on creating local CCAs, but Prop. 16 would require a 2/3rds vote. To put it another way, people who vote no get twice the voting power of people who vote yes. Anyone who doesn't like CCA can opt out of participating - that's already state law. Giving them double voting power to prevent anyone else from participating is unnecessary and unfair.

NO Prop. 17: Allows Auto Insurance Companies to Base Their Prices in Part on a Driver's History of Insurance Coverage
This is the one that Mercury Insurance is trying to buy. I personally don't care one way or the other about it, because I don't drive, but any company trying to buy its own law offends me.

Secretary of State's voter information page.
Another propositions rating page.
My recommendations for the 2008, 2006, 2005, and 2004 propositions.
Back to Jef's page.