Today we conclude a long and winding road leading to the November 2016 election, which, besides the bevy of human candidates, contains a litany of ballot measures.

We wrap up the process with the second of two editorials — and wish you much luck in the struggle to understand the ballot questions. 

Proposition 61 prohibits state agencies from paying more for a prescription drug than the lowest price paid by the Veterans Administration, which makes perfect sense. We recommend a “yes” vote.

Proposition 62 passage would repeal California’s death penalty, and would be retroactive for those already on death row. Analysts reckon it could save taxpayers a minimum of $150 million a year, but this issue transcends fiscal realities, and is instead a matter of personal belief. For strictly moral reasons, we recommend a “yes” vote.

We deviate from numerical sequence here because Proposition 66 is in direct conflict with Proposition 62. Prop. 66 would shorten a convicted killer’s appeals period, thus increasing the probability of executing an innocent person. The lengthy appeals process may be irksome to some, but it is a way to circumvent fatal mistakes. We recommend a “no” vote.

Proposition 63 bans large-capacity ammunition magazines for firearms, requires more thorough background checks, and prohibits gun sales to a wider range of convicted felons. Like all gun-related legislation, this is controversial and will tweak gun-rights claimants, but anything that can help reduce gun violence is welcome. We recommend a “yes” vote.

Proposition 64 would legalize marijuana use, authorize state regulation — including taxation — set standards and could save state and local law enforcement as much as $100 million a year, which could be spent on fighting violent crime. Analysts anticipate $1 billion a year in added revenue, with funds earmarked for specific uses, such as substance-abuse programs. This is another personal belief issue, but on balance seems a much better course than continuing to allow criminals and drug cartels to set public policy. We recommend a “yes” vote.

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Proposition 65 is one of two plastic-bag-related initiatives, and this one only further confuses the issue. But the real tipoff is that Prop. 65’s funding came directly from industries involved in plastic bag manufacturing, so it is essentially an effort to overturn agreements already reached between retailers and environmentalists. We recommend a “no” vote.

On the other hand, Proposition 67 upholds the state’s plastic bag ban, which is important for so many reasons, from pure aesthetics to saving wildlife. We recommend a “yes” vote.

That wraps up our take on the 17 ballot measures facing voters on Nov. 8, or sooner if you opt for a mail-in ballot. As always, our recommendations come with a disclaimer — these are our opinions, and we fully expect many of you will have a different take on the values or problems with certain initiatives.

That is to be expected. So many of these ballot propositions are poorly written — often on purpose, to throw voters an ideological curve ball — and worded in such ways as to make voters believe the measure will do one thing, when in fact it does something quite the opposite.

Sadly, such obfuscation and misdirection have become staples of the American political process, perhaps a by-product of our constitutionally guaranteed right of free speech.

With that firmly in mind, it’s just something voters have to tolerate, and do their best wading through the bog of partisan politics.

We hope these editorials have been of some assistance in this effort of discovery.


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