Back in the dark ages of American politics, newspaper editorial writers could wait until a few days before an election to make endorsements of specific candidates and ballot measures. Technology and the mail-in ballot scuttled that working model.
These days, just about anyone who wants to avoid a trek to their voting precinct on election day can do so, by filling out the ballot weeks beforehand, and putting it in the mail.
So, editorial writers, in an effort to stay ahead of the curve, have needed to do their due diligence earlier in the process — which is the core reason we are making recommendations today on the two initiatives on the June 5 primary ballot.
And besides, we got so pumped up with campaign excitement at last week’s League of Women Voters candidate forum, it became evident that the time to dive into election-year politics is upon us.
This is going to be a heck of a year for voters. The June primary will answer a lot of questions — or maybe not. This will be the first of the top-two primaries, in which candidates of all parties will be on the ballot, and the two top voter getters move on to the general election in November. Could be a Republican vs. a Democrat. Could be a Republican vs. a Republican. Could be ... well, you get the picture.
This is also the year California voters get to decide whether to impose higher taxes on themselves. Recent polls show a majority favor Gov. Jerry Brown’s initiative, which navigates around the state Legislature, whose members can’t seem to summon the courage to make such decisions.
We’re not big fans of voters becoming de-facto budget policy makers, but foot-dragging lawmakers leave them little choice. And one such opportunity comes in June, in Proposition 29. Below are our recommendations on the two ballot measures on the primary ballot:
This initiative would tweak the state’s term limits, reducing the total number of years a member of the Legislature can serve.
The current rule is a limit of six years in the Assembly, and eight years in the Senate. That adds up to 14 years total, which is not exactly in the spirit of limiting terms of elected officials.
Prop. 28, if approved by voters, would eliminate the bridge between Assembly and Senate, and restrict the electee to either 12 years in the Assembly, or 12 years in the Senate, but no jumping from one house to another when termed out.
Our position over the years is that California’s version of term limits is a disaster, but Prop. 28’s tweaking takes a step in the right direction.
We recommend a “yes” vote on Proposition 28.
This is a hot topic, but to less than 20 percent of Californians — the smokers. It would add $1 to the price of a pack of cigarettes, with the extra money going to cancer research.
The tobacco industry is putting up the customary battle against Prop. 29, but the simple truth is, if passed, it could add millions to cancer research, while providing the incentive for more Californians to kick the habit.
As we mentioned earlier, we aren’t big fans of budget decisions being made at the ballot box, but the potential to have fewer smokers — and therefore healthier citizens — in California easily trumps our concern about citizens possibly usurping the responsibilities of our elected leaders.
We recommend a “yes” vote on Proposition 29.
And here is today’s final recommendation — make sure you register to vote.