Alex Ramos Editor-in-Chief
Let’s talk about the election, guys. In a couple of weeks, we’ll be going out and casting our votes to elect the next President of the United States. Now, getting to this point was something of a struggle for us. We were treated to sensationalized coverage of everything Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did and said as they scrambled to gain our votes. It was a non-stop barrage of insults and retorts with little to no discussion of the actual issues. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my fill of this political drama.
That’s why we’re turning our attention to something that has been overlooked: the local and state elections. There’s a lot at stake in these elections and it’d be better if we were all at least somewhat informed.
So, we took it upon ourselves to read up on the 17 propositions that are up for vote and condensed a few of them with the hope that we’ll get you up to speed. Go forth and get caught up!
It’s no secret that schools are in disrepair. A number of problems—from building stability, ventilation, electrical, and plumbing—plague our places of learning and make it difficult to maintain a high quality of education. Fixes need to happen soon. In order to make them happen, money is needed.That’s where Prop 51 comes in.
Prop 51 would give $9 billion to schools in bonds from the state, with $7 billion going to K-12 schools and the other $2 billion going to community colleges. This money would go towards fixing and building school facilities. Sounds good, right?
Well, it’s a little too good. The bonds promised by the proposition would have to be paid back with interest by the taxpayers, which would amount to $500 million a year over 35 years.
Essentially, the matter boils down to if we want the money for schools now despite negative consequences or if we want to take a step back and figure out a way to get it done without any setbacks.
In 1998, Prop 227 passed and made English-only teaching the standard statewide. Bilingual programs were still available, but there was an application that needed to be filled out and approved. They were also only available in a few school districts.
Learning English is hard, but it can be even more difficult to process if it is not your first language. The contradctions in grammar and pronunciation rules can be confusing to pick up, especially if you don’t have your native tongue to fall back on.
Proposition 58 seeks to remedy this problem by giving school districts control over how non-English speakers are taught English. It would allow educators to implement dual language programs tailored to fit their students.
Fiscally, the proposition would not cost voters much. Instead, much of the debate is over whether or not dual language is worth the effort, especially since it will be undoing the effects of a previous proposition.
Prop 58 would essentially repeal Prop 227 and open up a number of options to educators at the local level.
Opponents are quick to bring up the success of English-only programs, as test scores and English fluency increased after Prop 227 went into effect. It’s undeniable that having students fully immersed in the language will help them pick it up faster.
Proponents, however, cite studies that show dual language instruction can be just as effective if done properly. They state that you can teach students English without sacrificing their knowledge of their native language.
By Karrie Comfort Staff Writer
Prop 56 might hit a little close to home for most college students, especially here at CSULB. A $2 increase on cigarettes by the pack, with an equivalent tax raise on other tobacco products. Recently on campus we have implemented the “Breathe” campaign, with the goal of making our campus, eventually, completely smoke-free.
No one debates the health benefits of smoking; it’s not good for you. Cancer is real, and the science is all there, so the real question is whether or not we have the right to play the policeman and limit the use of cigarettes, whether it be on college campuses or via a cigarette tax.
Something interesting about this proposition is that it includes not only tobacco products, but also e-cigarettes. These might be even more detrimental to a young market that tends to consume this niche market product.
The current tax is $0.87 cents on the dollar for one pack of cigarettes. With California being well below the average state tax on cigarettes, that would put our new rate well above the average at $2.87- a dollar over the average state tax.
Where would the money go? Most of it would go to Medi-Cal., physician training, and school programs that prevent tobacco-use.
Should nonviolent felons be given more opportunities for parole? Another aspect to this proposition is that it allows judges to decide if certain juveniles should or should not be tried as adults, instead of prosecutors who currently make the call.
Prisons in California are overcrowded, and of course building new ones is extremely expensive. A similar proposition was passed in 2011, Proposition 47, which reduced certain non-violent felonies to misdemeanors and also allowed prisoners more opportunities for parole reduced prison numbers.
The Republican party opposes the proposition and the Democratic party supports it: Governor Jerry Brown is a strong supporter of the proposition as well.
The main idea for the proposition is to allow “incentive credits”, earned via good behavior or educational achievements to reduce the time spent in prison by non-violent felons. Around 35,000 inmates would be able to seek an early release. Less inmates would, of course, save the state some money.
By Zach Phelps Food Editor
Though decidedly less sexy than some of the other propositions on this year’s election ballot, Prop 52 addresses an important gap in the way funds are diverted from California’s Medicaid program.
For all states, including California, to receive federal funding for medical programs for low-income residents, they must create their own revenue stream to match incoming federal funds.
As the law currently stands, the California State Legislature is allowed to divert funds from the state’s Medicaid program, known as Medi-Cal, without voter approval.
If Prop 52 is enacted into law, changes to dedicated hospital funds would have to first be passed by voters. This legislation is primarily intended to prevent the diversion of funds from programs that would benefit children from low-income families, as these programs are often the target of such diversions.
Prop 52 is supported by both the California Democratic Party and the California Republican Party, as well as by the majority of Legislature members.
Among the most sensational of all the propositions on the 2016 ballot is the California Marijuana Legalization Initiative. If passed, Prop 64 would amend California state law to allow adults 21 years or older to use marijuana recreationally, either in the privacy of their own homes or at specially licensed businesses.
Similarly, adults would also be permitted to possess up to 28.5 grams of marijuana and 8 grams of concentrated marijuana, known as wax or oil. Individual adults would further be permitted to own and maintain up to six cannabis plants, given that they are kept within a private, secure enclosure.
While Prop 64 would legalize marijuana at the state level in California, it would continue to remain illegal at the federal level.
While the California Bureau of Marijuana Control would be given responsibility for regulating dispensaries, local governments would have the option to ban the sale of marijuana within their given municipality.
City and county governments would not, however, be able to establish regulations that extend beyond state mandates on how and where marijuana could be consumed.
After covering administrative costs, taxes collected from the sale of marijuana would be allocated for a variety of programs, including but not limited to studies on the short and long-term effects of marijuana consumption, youth-focused drug education, and job placement for mentally handicapped individuals.
By Matthew Gozzip Athletics Editor
The aftermath of the Great Recession continued to plague the California economy several years after it ended. To help recover from diminished funds and broken consumerism, voters passed Proposition 30 in 2012 to increase taxes. The increases were applied in increments from 1-3% each year to parties making over $263,000 annually, including small businesses that paid personal income tax. The legislation was promoted as a temporary rainy day fund that would end in 2018, but a new extension of the proposition has made it onto this year’s ballot: Proposition 55.
By voting “yes” on 55, the personal income tax increases on incomes over $250,000 approved in 2012 will be continued until 2030 in order to fund education and healthcare.
The revenue collected will be directed to education and healthcare at a near equal rate. Nearly 89% of the designated educations funds from the increased tax rates would go to K-12 schools while the remaining 11% revenue goes to state colleges. The healthcare funds directly support Medi-Cal and the remaining is set as budget reserves.
If you are in the tax bracket above $250,000, do not linger too much on the increased tax rate. The rate is marginal, applied to money in excess of the bracket minimum. If the proposition were denied, the tax rate would not be lowered to pre-2012 rates. Taxes for people in the higher brackets would still remain high.
The taxes may go to meaninful programs but there are still problems associated with the prop. Education supported by income tax rather than sales tax is already a risky move. Revenue from income tax is dependent on the economy and the economy is still volatile (ex: the original reason why the original Proposition 30 was passed was because of a housing crisis).
Besides the hypotheticals of economic collapse, there is still displeasure with already mismanaged tax funds. According to an editorial from the Sacramento Bee on Proposition 55, more than half of the state budget already goes to education. This prop may just be another stopgap tax for 12 more years instead of reforming the system as a whole.
It is important to see both sides of Proposition 55, even if most of us are on the side of the most immediate positive effects, from education and health care funds.
From Al Gore to Ken Bone, environmental awareness has become a hot button topic nationally for the past decade. The issue of ecological preservation runs through California, one of the largest consumer markets in the world. To offset negative environmental impacts, two propositions were included on the ballot that would ban the distribution of a common non-recyclable item: plastic bags.
Most plastic bags are made with non-biodegradable materials and are not durable. California would become the first state to ban the use of plastic single-use bags under Propositions 65 and 67. Both propositions suggest a limiting of the plastic bags but offer different opinions on how new recyclable paper bag fees would be allocated.
For Proposition 65, a “yes” vote is a vote in favor of redirecting money collected from the sale of carryout bags by grocery or other retail stores to a special fund administered by the Wildlife Conservation Board.
The vote for Proposition 67 is more complicated. A “yes” vote approves, and a “no” vote rejects, a statute that: a) prohibits grocery and certain other retail stores from providing single-use plastic or paper carryout bags at point of sale b) permits sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags to customers, at a minimum price of 10 cents per bag.
Each proposition is independent and can hypothetically both pass. That being said, Proposition 65 holds more power than Proposition 67. If 67 receives more “yes” votes than 65, revenue from bags are kept in stores. If 65 get more “yes” votes, a clause can be used to negate 67 and revenue from the new bags would be still transferred to state environmental funds.
Proposition 67 is designed to expedite the banning process for plastic bags. Los Angeles has seen a 90% drop in single-use bags in the past year but there are still around 15 billion bags distributed in California every year. With Proposition 65, taxing the revenue (10 cents/bag) and directing it to environmental programs is misleading to some.
According to an editorial on the propositions in the LA Times, directing the aforementioned fees to environmental programs doesn’t complement the conservation goals since the lobbyists backing Proposition 65 don’t support the bag ban in the first place and want to punish grocery stores for supporting the ban.