Heavy stuff this election. Literally, the information guide is 223 pages, not quite Restoration Hardware Catalog level but close. Better get started:
I go right to the “Quick Reference Guide” only to discover that of the 17 propositions I am familiar with three: Prop 60 because whenever I see porn or condoms, I pay attention. Props 61 because my man Bernie has been talking about the evils of big drug and I always listen to my man Bernie. And prop 64 because of my love/hate relationship with weed.
I get a pen and paper preparing for notes and diagrams. I wonder about how many people do this. Do people just walk into the polling place and read each proposition? Do they bring recommendations from their favorite publication? Do they listen to political commercials? Being informed takes work.
The election cycle has been overwhelming which I have dealt with by binge-watching all the episodes of Veep and House of Cards and The Circus. I have tried to present all sides of the issues and candidates to students even while working on the Bernie Sanders campaign. I have presented Trump’s stance on the issues and never called him an evil misogynistic bully man-child in the classroom (OK, maybe I did that one time). Election years are usually fun times to be a teacher but this election has given the green light to some very ugly behavior. The death of political civility.
But 17 propositions will require some heavy lifting. I mix a huge Moscow Mule (subbing in coconut water for vodka) and begin.
51: 9 billion bond for schools. Tough start, might help me get the ISchool funded, but schools also waste a ton of money. I want money to go where it is needed most: in the classroom. Increase teacher salaries, support innovation (Kahn Academy, Teach To One, Ischool) and provide alternatives for those who don’t fit in the traditional school box. Revolutionize schools, don’t fund the same ole same ole. NO.
52: Fund Medi-cal, children’s health services and uninsured patients. Big Health Care, like Big Oil and Big Education, is bloated and crazy (my last trip to the Sonoma ER, nail gun to the head-don’t ask, was $1800. For 3 staples and two Tylenol). Reform must come but until it does, take care of people. YES.
53: Require voter approval for projects over 2 billion. I wish this included military projects like going to war, keep dreaming. YES.
54: Must post bills on the internet 72 hours before the vote. Knowledge is power. YES
55: Tax the rich ($250,000 and up) and give to kids and schools. Bernie would be proud. Big YES.
56: $2.00 tax on cigarettes while legalizing marijuana. What the hell is going on in this state?!? Big tobacco loses, fewer kids smoke, lives are saved. YES
57: Parole for nonviolent offenders, youth go in front of juvenile court before adult court. Big Prison has also become big business California spends $64,000. Per inmate per year and has a 61% recidivism rate. Something is not right. YES
58: Public schools get to choose how to teach English learners. All for empowering schools, all for dual emersion but all against using non-English curriculum. I believe it is racist to graduate a student in an American school believing that she can speak Spanish (or any other language) and succeed. Education is the key to the kingdom and if a student only speaks Spanish she is very limited in what she can do. NO.
59: Overturn “Citizen’s United” ruling. Less corporate influence on elections. YES
60: The porn industry must use condoms. Condoms good, porn bad, but regulation of an industry also bad. One doesn’t go into porn to be safe or clean. NO.
61: Stand up to big pharma greed; this should only be the beginning. Not a complete solution but a good start. YES
62: Abolish death penalty. Reform prisons, reform prisoners, make people who kill have to work hard to repay their actions but stop killing people who kill people. YES
63: Tighten gun control laws. How many deaths does it take before we realize this is a solvable problem. Limit non-hunting guns, register all guns and ammo, and study who has guns and why they need them. Responsible gun ownership. YES
64: Even though marijuana is my nemesis (see above story), I hope legalization will lead to more education, or at least some education. Take the dealers out of the picture, teach about what THC does to the brain and body, and sell it like alcohol. Teach people that being stoned all the time is no way to live (like being drunk all the time or being on your phone all the time, or playing Grand Theft Auto all the time). It’s past time to put on our big boy pants and take responsibility for our actions. Big YES.
65: A lie by the plastic industry. Great example of how issues can mean something completely different than the message on TV. All plastic will one day be banned, bags are the beginning. NO.
66: Speed up death penalty. See Prop 62. NO
67: Ban single use plastic bags. See Prop 65 above. YES
Whew, glad that’s the last one; they’re starting to repeat themselves. Oh, and Kamala Harris for senate: smarter, stronger, better. Hillary too, but you already knew that.
Educate, negotiate and vote.