Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Election Recc's, and Phone-banking to End the Death Penalty

Hi, all.  Marty Hittleman is (or was as of two years ago,) president of the California Federation of Teachers. 
I've tacked on the phone campaign to end the death penalty in California.  It's about time.
Tonight's presidential debate is between candidates of the major parties only, with the candidates not allowed
to question the other, and other restrictions.  Until Carter Vs Reagan, in 1980, the debates were sponsored by 
The League of Women Voters, with many parties, points of view and with far fewer restrictions. We've gotten
used to this encroachment of our democracy, to our disadvantage.  Today's Democracy Now not only goes
deeply into the history and current sponsorship, which may surprise you as it did me, but will have Jill Stein
and Gary Johnson speaking with equal time, throughout the debates.  I urge you tp check out DN today and
tonight.  BTW, I will be voting Green or P&f on the ballot, as has long been my practice, here in California
and my district.  I repeat for the umpteenth time, that I'd vote for Obama if I lived in Ohio or Florida. Please
think about it.  Our democracy really is being whittled away, and more quickly if we don't protest.

From: Martin Hittelman []
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 1:26 PM
Subject: Election

Election Advice

It is election time again so here are my picks. I will begin with the Propositions on the state-wide ballot since so much depends on them. I have included information on what the propositions actually say since the commercials on both sides of the various propositions do not speak to the actual wording but rather focus on what will result in their preferences highest vote return with little information on the actual content of the propositions. I personally am upset that the NO on Proposition 32 ads say nothing about the great work that unions do in working for the common good. They only speak of the horrors that will result when the corporations completely rule the airwaves if Proposition 32 passes.

Proposition 30 : A Yes vote is critical to education in California. Without its passage, schools and colleges will continue to reduce services to students. Governor Brown and the California Federation of Teachers compromised their two tax proposals into one combined tax increase. Tax the rich plus a small increase in the sales tax. 

Proposition 30: 
Raises California’s sales tax to 7.5% from 7.25% for four years.
Creates four high-income tax brackets for taxpayers with taxable incomes exceeding $250,000, $300,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000. This increased tax will be in effect for 7 years. Each rate starts when income reaches that level. So a very wealthy person pays at 9.3% income tax on their first $250,000. From $250,000 to $300,000 they will pay at the 11.3% tax rate. From $300,000 to $1 million at 12.3%, and after $1 million at the 13.3% rate.  
If this proposition is passed in November, 2012, the income tax will apply retroactively to all income earned or received since the first of the year (1 January, 2012).

Estimated revenue from Proposition 30 vary from Jerry Brown's $9 billion estimate to the $6.8 billion estimated by the non-partisan Legislative Analysts Office (LAO). The difference stems from the volatility caused by capital gains income from high-income earners.

If Proposition 30 fails to receive fifty percent of the vote, the California state revenue will be reduced by at least $6 billion and state revenues will be lower through 2018-19. As an example of the size of cuts, the  California Community Colleges will lose $50 million in growth money to serve more students and $338.6 million in base reduction half way through the college academic year. 
Proposition 31. I will be voting NO. Proposition 31 was submitted by a group of moderate business groups to create a two-year budget cycle, provisions for by-passing the state legislative process, and other proposals designed to cut back on government’s ability to address state problems. It will lock California into permanent underfunding of education, health, & other vital services. 

The California Budget Project (CBP) believes that Proposition 31 is a very complex proposal and needs to be studied carefully. It would establish a two-year state budget cycle. According to the CBP, “that’s just one of numerous provisions – which run the gamut from the modest to the sweeping – that would affect government at the state and local levels.” “For example, Proposition 31 generally would require bills being considered in the Legislature to be in print and publicly available for three days prior to passage.” This allows for more transparency but holds up possible last minute compromises from being voted on. The measure also includes “allowing local governments to preempt state laws and regulations with locally developed alternatives, giving the Governor unilateral authority to cut state spending during a fiscal emergency, and establishing new pay-as-you-go, or “paygo,” rules that generally would require the Legislature to pay for some spending increases or tax cuts – those that exceed $25 million per year – with offsetting spending cuts and/or revenue increases.”

“Allowing local governments to substitute locally designed rules for state laws and regulations could result in widely varying local approaches across a range of policy areas in which uniform statewide standards may be more appropriate. Moreover, Proposition 31 could also result in significant local policy changes that might not otherwise receive approval through the state’s ordinary – and longstanding – legislative and regulatory review processes. The measure’s paygo provisions also raise concerns. While properly designed paygo rules can be a valuable component of public budgeting practices, spending cuts and tax increases do not operate on a level playing field in California. Tax increases require a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, whereas spending cuts can be adopted by majority vote. Consequently, Proposition 31’s paygo rules likely would result in the costs of new or expanded programs being paid for with cuts to existing services, rather than with tax increases. Our analysis also shows that the measure’s most far-reaching changes would be placed in the state Constitution, making them difficult to alter in the future if they prove to be ill-advised or unworkable.”

Proposition 32. I will be voting NO.  Proposition 32 represents a one-sided attack on labor’s ability to participate in elections - leaving the political funding scene to corporate and billionaire contributions. It is the greatest fraud on this year’s ballot.

Specifically, if approved, Proposition 32 will:
Ban both corporate and union contributions to state and local candidates. The problem is that corporations do not operate by making such contributions while unions do. The very rich donate individually to campaigns and political candidates. This leaves campaign financing primarily to the very rich.
Ban contributions by government contractors to the politicians who control contracts awarded to them. If interpreted in one possible way, it could call unions with negotiated contracts “government contractors.”
Ban automatic deductions by corporations, unions, and government of employees’ wages to be used for politics. Again corporations do not raise money through payroll deduction but unions have found that this the most effective way to combine the voice of the many. If Proposition 32 passes, the union must each year get a check directly from each member that they can reach. The design is to effectively take the unions out of the electoral process. The unions are currently the strongest advocate for the poor and middle class in the United States. 
A similar proposition, Proposition 75, was on the 2005 ballot. Proposition 226, on the 1998 ballot, also sought to enact paycheck protection. Both were defeated and yet a band of Orange County conservative billionaires are bringing it back again for a third try.

Proposition 33. I will be voting NO. This is a Mercy Insurance sponsored proposal to allow rate hikes on low-income drivers disguised under the label of insurance companies ability to set car insurance rates based on a person’s history of insurance coverage. 

Proposition 34 I will be voting YES. Proposition 34 repeals California’s death penalty and replaces it with life without parole. I have fought against the death penalty since as a young college student I protested the killing of Chessman. The application of the death penalty racially discriminates in its application, is very costly, and does not deter murders. It is simply a policy of revenge. People are murdered by the state that are actually not guilty of the crime that they were said to have committed. California should join almost every country in the world in banning the death penalty. 

Proposition 35. I am voting YES on Proposition 35. Increases penalties for human trafficking and sexual slavery. 

Proposition 36 . I will be voting Yes on Proposition 36 which progressively changes California’s Three Strikes Law.  Proposition 36, specifically, will if enacted:
Revise the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is "serious or violent".
Authorize re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was not serious or violent and if the judge determines that the re-sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.
Continue to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for "certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession".
Maintain the life sentence penalty for felons with "non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation."

If Proposition 36 is approved by voters, approximately 3,000 convicted felons who are currently serving life terms under the Three Strikes law, whose third strike conviction was for a nonviolent crime, will be able to petition the court for a new, reduced, sentence. Reducing the sentences of these current prisoners could result in saving the state somewhere between $150 to $200 million a year.  

Proposition 37 I will be voting Yes on Proposition 37. Proposition 37 deals with the mandated labeling of genetically engineered foods. It will allow us to know what we are eating. The opposition does not want us to know since we may stop buying their genetically engineered foods. Specifically, if Proposition 37 is approved by voters, it will:
Require labeling on raw or processed food offered for sale to consumers if the food is made from plants or animals with genetic material changed in specified ways.
Prohibit labeling or advertising such food as "natural."
Exempt from this requirement foods that are "certified organic; unintentionally produced with genetically engineered material; made from animals fed or injected with genetically engineered material but not genetically engineered themselves; processed with or containing only small amounts of genetically engineered ingredients; administered for treatment of medical conditions; sold for immediate consumption such as in a restaurant; or alcoholic beverages."

Proposition 38 I will be voting YES on Proposition 38 since it is so far behind that it will not pass but I would like to give an indication that we are not all opposed to higher taxes for the common good. Proposition 38 was put on the ballot and the campaign paid for with tens of millions of dollars from progressive billionaire attorney Molly Munger. If it passes and gets more votes than Proposition 30 (which it will not by all current indications), none of the provisions of Proposition 30 will go into law. 

If enacted, Proposition 38 will:
Increase state income tax rates for most Californians, resulting in increased revenues to the state of about $10 billion a year.
The state income tax increase would end after 12 years, unless voters reauthorize it.
Earmark virtually all of the new revenue of $10 billion for public school districts and early childhood development programs. It does nothing to help balance the state budget or reduce the cuts to other state programs.

Proposition 39 . I will be voting YES on Proposition 39. Proposition 39 closes a $1 billion loophole for multi-state corporations and fund clean energy programs with the increased revenue.

Currently, out-of-state businesses can reduce their California income taxes by not locating facilities or employees within the state even while providing goods and services within the state. It encourages companies to move their facilities and employees out of state. In addition to the $1 billion in revenue, Proposition 39 is likely to create approximately 40,000 construction and clean energy jobs, according to the non-partisan California Legislative Analyst's Office. Initially, this extra revenue would fund green energy projects, construction projects, public schools, and boost the state’s general fund.

Proposition 40 I will be voting YES on Proposition 40. A Yes vote upholds the process used to redraw State Senate district boundaries. The change has been made. The new lines helped Democrats to the displeasure of those that sponsored the process change for drawing boundary lines. We should just move on.

U.S. Congress: Most congressional contests are easy to address as only one Democrat faces only one Republican. But in others there are contests between people in the same party. The most difficult decision is in the 30th Congressional District where both candidates are worthy liberals.  I would vote for Howard Berman. His opponent, Brad Sherman is also a progressive incumbent and would deserve a vote except that Berman is a little better on most issues. In addition Howard was once the lawyer for the California Federation of Teachers and as a cousin of Jackie Goldberg was helpful in getting her elected to various offices. This would be my personal pay back.

In the 29th District,  I would have a  problem voting for Tony Cardenas but in the new setting there is no third party candidate to vote for instead of Cardenas. If I lived in this district I probably would not vote in this race. In any case, Cardenas will win.

I would vote for the Democrat in other congressional races.

California State Senate: I would vote for the Democrat except in District 35 where Rod Wright is running. I guess I wouldn’t vote for Congress if I lived in that district.

State Assembly: Several Democrats in head to head races in the Los Angeles area. These include:

District 39       Richard Alarcon (D) or Raul Bocanegra (D)? I would probably vote for Richard Alarcon. He is very pro labor but has some problems with honesty and integrity especially related to whether he actually has been living in the district..
District 50 Betsy Butler (D) or Richard Bloom (D). I would vote for Betsy Butler even though there are a few issues that I have had with her.
District 51 Jimmy Gomez (D) or Luis Lopez (D). Both candidates are very good candidates but I would vote for Luis Lopez since he is a strong progressive and a personal friend of mine. Gomez is supported by the California Federation of Teachers and most unions. Lopez is more of a grass roots candidate but the race is very close due to Lopez’s strong ties in the community.

In these districts I would not vote for either candidate. The races will not be close so it won’t matter that the Democrat receives a few less votes.

District 42 Mark Anthony Orozco (D) nor Brian Nestande (R)
District 44 Eileen Macenery (D) nor Jeff Gorell (R)
District 57 Charles Calderon (D) nor Noel James (R)
District 68 Christina Avalos (D) nor Donald Wagner (R)
District 69 Tom Daly (D) nor Jose Moreno (R)

Local Government
Los Angeles County District Attorney   Jackie Lacey
Los Angeles County Supervisor #2   Mark Ridley-Thomas
Los Angeles Superior Court #3   Laurence Kaldor

That’s it, 

Marty Hittelman 
* * *
From: Genise Schnitman []

It's here: Opportunities to phone bank in the Greater Los Angeles Area to end the death penalty in California with Prop 34, the SAFE CA Act!

There are phone banks across Greater Los Angeles, and we're starting up our operation at the Westside Democratic Headquarters in Santa Monica this THURSDAY evening, October 4th, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at 1408 Third Street Promenade, on the third floor. (Enter from the Promenade; the entrance is two doors south of Santa Monica Boulevard, between the Anthropologie store and Yankee Doodles.)

People who vote by mail are receiving their ballots this week, so Thursday night is crucially important to reach those voters. We need each and every one of our supporters to move Yes on 34 to victory.

Questions? Contact Daniel Tamm, Southern California Field Operations Coordinator,YES on 34--SAFE California Campaign
o: 213-977-5246; c: 818-795-1455


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