From Pot to Parks: A Latino Voters Guide to CA Ballot Measures

From Pot to Parks: A Latino Voters Guide to CA Ballot Measures

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EDITOR'S NOTE: One-third of Californians are Latino, but only one-fifth of the state’s voters are.
That't because many Latinos are either too young to vote or can’t do so because of their citizenship status. As a result, those who can vote have a great responsibility to represent the entire Latino community.

To help Latino voters determine which ballot measures would be most responsive to Latino needs, students from the Department of Raza Studies at San Francisco State University researched the nine voter initiatives on the November 2 ballot and their impact on the Latino community.

Here is what they found.

Proposition 19—YES

We recommend a Yes vote on Prop. 19 to legalize and tax marijuana.

Marijuana use will persist regardless of its legal status. We can harness an estimated $ 1.6 billion in taxes each year that the state can use to restore our crumbling public education system.

Legalizing marijuana will also lead to less crime and fewer resources wasted in the criminal justice system.

Also, this proposition will create hundreds of legitimate jobs. California’s legalization of medical marijuana has already generated millions of dollars, boosted our economy and created jobs. It is time to take a commonsense approach to marijuana by approving this measure.

“Far too many of our brothers and sisters are getting caught in the cross-fire of gang wars here in California and the cartel wars south of our border. It’s time to end prohibition, put violent, organized criminals out of business and bring marijuana under the control of the law.” —Argentina Dávila-Luévano, League of United Latin American Citizens of California

Proposition 20 — YES

We recommend a Yes on Prop. 20. The measure would remove elected representatives from the congressional redistricting process and transfer that authority to citizens on a 14-member redistricting commission consisting of five Democrats, five Republicans, and four Independents.

This new way of redistricting would not increase the cost of state redistricting, but would give citizens a greater voice in the process. Yes on Prop. 20 and No on Prop. 27 could increase Latino political representation through redistricting.

“When voters can finally hold politicians accountable, politicians will have to quit playing games and work to address the serious challenges Californians face.” —Ruben Guerra, Latin Business Association

Proposition 21 —YES

We recommend a Yes vote on Prop. 21, which would create a State Parks and Wildlife Conservations Trust. The trust would provide a stable, reliable and adequate source of funding for the California state park system by adding $18 to vehicle registration fees.

Prop. 21 would keep state parks open, properly maintained and safe. Once drivers—including many Latinos—pay a vehicle registration fee, they could enter and use state parks for free. This would provide free access to safe, clean parks and beaches for families.

Proposition 22—NO

We encourage a No vote on Proposition 22. It would amend California’s constitution to remove the state government’s control over local gas-tax money, funds that are usually allocated to local redevelopment.

Without access to these funds, money for local development would have to come from the general fund, leaving even less money for education and health care in this time of economic struggle.

Proposition 23—NO

Prop. 23 would suspend California’s landmark law AB 32, which aims to promote a clean and healthy environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and setting more stringent air-pollution standards.

Prop. 23 supporters argue that the state can have either a clean environment or jobs—not both. But Latinos must insist on both, while promoting policies that improve peoples’ health. We oppose suspension of California’s clean-environment law and believe it is in Latinos’ long-term political and economic interests to vote against Prop. 23.

Proposition 24—YES

We support a yes vote on Proposition 24, which would repeal recent changes to tax laws for businesses.

The 2009 change gave tax breaks for large corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent of Californians, while simultaneously removing support-service funds for the remaining 99 percent.

Big business is funding the propaganda against Prop. 24, which claims that these tax breaks are necessary to create more jobs. But the trickle-down theory of Reagonomics has long proven ineffective.

A vote against Proposition 24 would mean less money for schools, hospitals and public safety programs, which have already suffered drastic cuts. A Yes vote would force big businesses to pay a larger share of taxes and put money back into the hands of Californians.

Proposition 25—YES

We recommend voting Yes on Prop. 25, 25 which would allow a simple majority vote of the Legislature to pass a state budget, instead of the two-thirds majority vote that is now required.

The measure would help end the Legislature’s budget games and gridlock, and hold lawmakers accountable when they fail to do their jobs. It would reform California’s badly broken budget process, so taxpayers, schools and services would have more protections.

Proposition 26—NO

Proposition 26 would require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to raise fees on industries that pollute our air and water and endanger our health. It would help corporations in California but hurt the Latino population, so we recommend a No vote.

Right now, California imposes mitigation fees, which make companies pay for the damages their products cause. In turn, these fees help fund schools, health care and other social-service programs that have been subject to severe budget cuts.

Passage of Prop. 26 would make it much harder to impose these fees on companies, while increasing the need to raise taxes in order to replace the lost fees. To defend Latino political interests, vote No on Prop. 26.

Proposition 27—NO

Prop. 27 would allow politicians to retain the power to determine the boundaries of legislative districts and Board of Equalization jurisdictions.

The politicians behind Prop. 27 want to repeal the Citizens Redistricting Commission that voters approved in 2008. They want the power to draw district lines in ways that will ensure their re-election. A No vote on Prop. 27 would make politicians more accountable to Latino taxpayers and citizens.

“By pushing Proposition 27, politicians want to silence voters so they don’t have to address the tough problems our state faces.”
—Maria Luisa Vela, Los Angeles Hispanic Chamber of Commerce