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Introduction (Guide Below)

The Lighthouse’s Complete Nov 6 2012 Ballot US Voter Guide. Anyone who is interested in voting well, is welcome to consult. Additional States will be added as they become available. We will focus on statewide candidate and issues, so you will not find many district specific endorsements, though some that warrant mention will be covered. If there is an issue, ballot measure, or race that you would like to see covered, just let me know.

Propositions and other Ballot Measures are very tricky. People tend to like them because they seem to be very democratic, and make people feel important, as partners in the legislative process. Unfortunately, more often than not they are used to “fool” the public into voting for measures they would not otherwise vote for.

Even though one may agree or disagree with legislators who vote for or against any measure, they almost always at least know what they are voting for. The language of bills meant for legislatures only is far more straightforward, with far less “PR” language then propositions to be voted on by the population. Ballot measures on the contrary, are craftily worded to appeal to the greatest number of voters while hiding their true intentions. Not only does that make a mockery of the democratic process, since people are not voting for what they think they are voting for, but is also leads to legal and legislative messes, since laws, statutes, and constitutional amendments should not be full of euphemisms and deceptive language. They are supposed to be clear, elegant and easily understood (at least by the courts).

The founding fathers understood this all too well, and this is why the US (as most “democracies”) is a representative Republic as opposed to a true democracy. While the farmer, the carpenter, and even the doctor can be very knowledgeable in their respective fields, most citizens are not well versed enough in the intricacies of politics to attempt the job of a legislator. The republic works by entrusting the citizens, not to rule themselves, but to be able to elect from among their best and brightest, representatives who not only represent their constituents’ interests but also their values and can make their business to be well versed in the intricacies of politics, economics, foreign relations and the like.

By voting for leaders they believe are above average in capacity, the people can ensure that they are much better governed than if they attempted to do so themselves. Furthermore, the representative should be superior in judgment not only because of attributes that he was elected for (intelligence, integrity, etc), but also because it becomes his “occupation” and primary responsibility. The citizen has his own life to lead and cannot be expected master local, state and federal government issues as well as a representative whose profession it is to do so.

Therefore, though ballot measures are “fun”, and create the feeling of an empowered population, they most often simply trick it. Having said that, it must be noted that not all ballot measures are the same. Some issues are of such great importance (like constitutional amendments) that the people should directly vote on them. Others are measures that the legislature FIRST had to pass, but in addition also require a popular vote to be enacted. Obviously it makes more sense in these situations that the measures are on the ballot. In any event, as they are on the ballot, it is important that a citizenry prove the above observation incorrect and become an informed and good voter. It is important that he not become a pawn of the wordsmiths that write the ballot measures and the special interests that fund them.

To this end, a good start is our Voter Guide. Meant for US voters, from the perspective of an American citizen, resident of the respective state, if you love liberty, if you are a Patriot, if you wish to restrict the power of governments to intrude in all aspects of daily life, if you would like to impose fiscal responsibility on government, reduce bureaucracy and lower the tax burden on your fellow citizens, if you support justice, the rule of law and free markets, if you wish to protect your nation and state from foreign and domestic threats, if you wish be tough on crime but big on freedom, if you support long term thinking that protects your nation’s heritage, wealth and natural resources for the future, then this Voter Guide is for you.

If this is not you and you oppose most of the above, then this guide will prove also incredibly helpful; simply vote contrary to all its recommendations.

A final note on ballot measures. Unfortunately, the state of affairs currently in the US is far from ideal, and so propositions very often end up in a strategic dilemma. Sometimes, much of a proposition is beneficial where a smaller part is detrimental; here a choice has to be made on whether to oppose it or support it. More importantly, sometimes a proposition is wrong on principal, and in a more ideal state of affairs it should be clearly be opposed. However, given the current state of affairs, often only a less than ideal law can stop many more bad ones and so in pragmatism should be supported. Some would say, this is the crucial aspect of a democracy where compromise is necessary.

We will call these measures “Oh well” measures where we would like to oppose them, but support them in the current state of affairs.

 

Here is a simple example of an Oh well law. A law which flat out forbids a budget deficit should in theory not be supported. The people elect governors and state representatives to lead and run the government. While limiting their power over individual liberty is important, limiting their power to do their job is not. Things happen, wars, financial crisis, drought, environmental disasters, etc. If the people want a government that spends little, they should vote for the candidates that will spend little, but blocking the ability for the government to spend at the constitutional level endangers the state. Having said that, in California, such a proposition would have to be supported as it is the only way to reign in the ever left leaning State assembly that believes its daily job is to come up with more ways to spend California’s overburdened taxpayers’ money before they all flee to Texas.


Alaska

Arizona


California


Colorado


Florida


Georgia

Hawaii

Illinois

Maine

Michigan

New York

Pennsylvania

Washington

  • Alaska

  • Supreme Court Justice

    • Shall Daniel E. Winfree be retained as a Supreme Court Justice for another 10 years?[break][break]
      • YES.[break][break]Justice Winfree is a native Alaskan (Fairbanks) who has shown a great work ethic and respect for the traditional Constitutional heritage of the US and Alaska. Without previous court experience (as a Judge), but plenty in law and the private sector, he has worked hard to broaden his knowledge and work well with his colleagues. He already has made important contributions to court opinions, including making important (and I believe) correct dissenting opinions. His absence would be a detriment liberty in Alaska.
  • Court of Appeals

    • Shall Joel H. Bolger be retained as judge of the court of appeals for eight years?[break][break]
      • YES
  • Ballot Measures

    • Bonding Proposition A – State General Obligation Transportation Project Bonds – $453.5 million US.

  • Arizona

  • Supreme Court

    • Retention of Justice Pelander John[break][break]
      • YES
  • Ballot Measures

    • Proposition 114–  Arizona Crime Victims Protection Act Amendment[break][break]
      • YES (not thrilling that this is a constitutional amendment, but unfortunately under the current system it is the only way to stop runaway judges).[break][break]
    • Proposition 115– Judicial Selection Amendment[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Proposition 116– Arizona Property Tax Break For Business Equipment Amendment[break][break]
      • Yes[break][break]
    • Proposition 117– Arizona Property Tax Assessed Valuation Amendment[break][break]
      • NO– This one is a tricky one. It is likely that prop 117 is an improvement over the current state of affairs in Arizona. However, it does not truly reform the broken property tax system in the state, but only further complicates it. Arizona with prop 117 would likely be slightly better off than without one, but passing prop 117 will derail true reform tax efforts underway for the next ballot. Prop 117 is a bit of a legislative trick. While it limits VALUATIONS on your property, it does not limit in any way the tax rates and tax districts that local jurisdictions can come up with to tax you in a myriad ways.Many states have a “purchase-price” valuation that seems to work much better, as well as total property tax caps,  something to the effect of California’s California’s 1978 Proposition 13.Residents are willing to accept a valuation on land that they themselves paid for it, and it reduces the need for expensive, arbitrary and complex valuation schemes. Of course, all taxes have negative consequences and Proposition 13 type laws might tend to discourage liquidity in a real estate market (property taxes tend to go up after each sale).Prop 117 would, especially in a time of real estate boom (seems a bit off right now), limit local government’s ability to take windfall tax increases without even claiming to raise taxes. So a “Yes” vote for it is not especially bad, but it does seem to be a quite imperfect (that is why it had wide bipartisan support) solution that will likely delay a much better one for many years.
    • Proposition 118–  Arizona Permanent Amendment[break][break]
      • NO – This proposition is trying to fly low over the radar, but it endangers Arizona’s wealth in the form of its formidable Land Trust at the hands of teachers unions and other state workers. It is an attempt to cover budget shortfalls without raising taxes by raiding Arizona’s permanent land fund. It is also not a worthy precedent to be in the State Constitution. Though primarily sponsored by a Republican legislature, it is not being opposed by the Democrats (who would love more revenues), and everyone is simply hoping it slips by.[break][break]
    • Proposition 119– Arizona State Trust Land Amendment[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Proposition 120– Arizona Declaration of State Sovereignty Amendment[break][break]
      • I leave this one for Arizonans. It is definitely understandable given the Federal encroachment on state rights, the federal government’s unwillingness to protect Arizona from demographic invasion from the south, and the Federal erosion of private liberties which the Western state upholds so highly. The frustration and abuse citizens and business can endure at the hands of Federal agencies like the EPA are well known.However, as a state in the union, Arizona accepted federal supremacy and federal control of much of its land. This proposition is of doubtful constitutionality and of doubtful impact, probably simply destined to gridlock in the courts. It is a symbolic gesture of a defiant state legislature to a hostile, overbearing, and often unconstitutional federal government; I can appreciate that, but I leave such proclamations of self determination to those parties involved. It would be nice to see a US president busy fighting America’s enemies instead of the liberty of its states so that propositions like these would have not be relevant.[break][break]
    • Proposition 204– Arizona Sales Tax Renewal Amendment[break][break]
      • NO

  • California

  • US Senate

    • Elizabeth Emken (Elizabeth is energetic and perfectly qualified, but be satisfied that no one can be worse than her opponent Dianne Feinstein)
  • US House of Representatives

    • Interestingly, after voters stripped the legislature of the powers to draw congressional districts for their (Democrats) benefit, this will be the first general election with the new districts. Most districts have an election across regular party lines, a Democrat and a Republican candidate.[break][break]I would highlight the importance of electing John Dennis over Nancy Pelosi in the new 12th congressional district (used to be the 8th). Although Dennis is far from a typical Conservative Republican (who could never win in San Francisco), he would in some way continue to carry many of the principles of outgoing Ron Paul, the self proclaimed (and I must tend to agree) “Champion of Liberty”.[break][break]Ironically, these very libertarian ideas resonate well in liberal San Francisco because they include legalization of everything (like drugs, gay marriage, etc) and ending foreign military interventions. Any candidate from San Francisco will support very liberal social views, but the choice here is whether they come together with totalitarian socialism (Nancy Pelosi) or with consistent, coherent, free market, and Constitutional American principles (John Dennis).[break]break]Most of the others are along party lines, though some districts do not have a Republican candidate, and some feature two Democrats on the ballot only. Let me know if you want an endorsement or opinion on any specific race not listed. The same holds true to State Senate and Assembly races.[break][break]
    • District 25 – Howard Philip “Buck” McKeon[break][break]
    • District 30
      • Howard Berman – An unusual race for The Lighthouse to have to call. Both candidates, Howard Berman, and Brad Sherman, are quite similar, though they reportedly despise each other. They are both Jews (both of Ashekanazi and hailing from Russian immigrants), Democrats and quite liberal. They also are in disagreement with just about everything the Lighthouse Keeper stands for. However, this unusual situation was caused by California’s new redistricting (after the 2010 Census) and new election laws. These two Democrats must face each other, and neither has the endorsement of the Democratic Parry.[break][break]Though Californians in District 30 have a poor choice, they obviously do not know that since they voted for these two gentleman. At this point, the least bad choice must be elected.[break][break]To be honest, despite their outward similarities, these two gentlemen are actually markedly different, in personality, motivation and core values. The choice is actually fairly easy. Brad Sherman is a disaster. He has done little outside of working in government where he has pushed his tax and spend policies. He is simply a far leftist, detached from reality and American values, though he can be vindictive and unpredictable.[break][break]Howard Berman on the other hand, is a more typical mainstream Democrat although with a better than typical innovative mind. He shuns the limelight, but is active in backroom discussions to get things done in the House. He is able to work with both parties, and understands the dangerous world we live in, the necessity of a strong military and a strong economy with free trade. We wish him well.
  • State Senate

    • District 27[break][break]
      • Todd Zink – Todd is a decorated War Veteran and Marine Corps officer (who rose to Battalion Commander). He is an experienced attorney and is a praised prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office where he is assigned cases of violent offenders in the San Fernando Valley. Todd has experience in the private sector, in government,  in law, in leadership positions and in complex administrative, economic, cultural, tactical and military matters that go along with being a battalion commander in counterinsurgency operations. Todd Zink’s values, and experience set him far apart from the usual do-nothing career bureaucrats that commonly fill California’s Senate and Assembly.
  • State Assembly

    • District 45[break][break]
      • Chris Kolski – A real lover of liberty and free markets. Mr. Kolski is an immigrant and long time resident of the San Fernando Valley who lived the American Dream. He will champion small business and liberty, and help lower taxes, red tape, regulations and government burden. His opponent, Bob Blumenfeld is useless. Bob voted for 35 tax increases in 2009 alone. He has a near perfect 94% (out of 100) Liberal rating by Capitol Weekly.[break][break]Blumenfeld represents more of the same in California, an ever increasing burden on those who continue to try to succeed, in order to support an ever increasing group who gives up; more businesses leaving the state, more unemployment, more annoying laws, more state deficits and bankruptcies, more taxes, traffic, high gas prices and an unaffordable cost of living.
  • Los Angeles County District Attorney

      • Alan Jackson – This is another tough call. Would Jackie Lacey be facing many other potential candidates, we would be happy to endorse her. Jackie’s story is an impressive and even inspirational. She came from humble beginnings  her father a city cleaner and growing up in what in her own words was a gang plagued neighborhood. Jackie, encouraged by her parents, focused on education and attended UCI and USC Law School. She joined the DA’s office, rising through the ranks and eventually rose to become Deputy District Attorney under the well known and highly praised Steve Cooley. By all accounts she was a good administrator (of the largest county DA office in the country), and earned Mr. Cooley’s endorsement.[break][break]What is the problem? There is someone better. Alan Jackson is a star attorney and prosecutor. Born in Texas, he moved to Los Angeles after his time in the Air Force and graduated from Pepperdine Law School. As a seventeen year veteran of the same DA office, he is currently Assistant Head Deputy of the Major Crimes Division. He is responsible for managing the elite trial teams, in addition to prosecuting his own cases. Twice named Prosecutor of the year, he has tackled the most complex cases, and the most violent felons; from wanted gang members to Hollywood Celebrities. He is well known for his respect for justice, and his ability to not be intimidated, easy enough in the legal and political world of the District Attorney’s Office.[break][break] Jackie Lacey has not tried a case in 13 years, and has been an administrator for most of her career. Though she points to that as a great plus, liking it to the boss’ job… it is not. A deputy is not the same as the commander, and an administrator is not the executive. So while she has never been the head of the office who must take a “the buck stops here” attitude  she has been away from actual prosecuting for a long time. Jackson on the other hand, also has leadership, administrative and management experience in his own right by virtue of his present and past positions, but is a undisputed power in the courtroom. The District Attorney must be foremost an active attorney and a prosecutor. He must have clear goals and ideology. He must also know how to lead and manage a complex office, but he must not simply be an able administrator. Though Jackie efficiently carried out instructions under Steve Cooley, it was he that chose the path. An office under Jackie may have looked completely different and had completely different goals.[break][break]Jackie herself complained that some of her opponents were good prosecutors but wanted to skip the managerial or administrative positions in the middle by going straight to the top. This is poor logic and a poorer complaint. It  show that large part of why she believes she should be the next DA is because she is next in line… she did the years, and the steps. It is of no doubt part of the reason why she got her ex-boss’s loyal endorsement, as she was loyal.  But this is how bad teachers in a public school system get seniority or tenure, by doing the years, not how voters should elect the next District Attorney.[break][break]In addition, Jackie is haunted by a bit of controversy and scandal. She and her boss were in hot water for alleged Union busting. Though the mere implication of that in my book actually earns them both points, her reaction does not. Without getting into gory details, nor unproven accusations, it is sufficed to say that Jackie’s own words were less than impressive. At one point, she admitted that previous sworn testimony on the matter was wrong, changed it and blamed it on eating habits and sugar levels. Of course perjury from the DA cannot be accepted, though IF it was so in this case it was to protect her boss which is admirable in its own right. However, giving Jackie Lacey the full benefit of the doubt, and believing her own words, she loses quite a few points. A Deputy District Attorney who under oath, in such an important matter can give completely false statements because of her blood sugar levels at the time does not inspire much confidence. Her office decides millions of dollars and sends men and women to jail based on their testimony, and it is unlikely they can later claim their sugar level was off. Before any sworn testimony, especially important ones, a witness is asked thoroughly how they are felling and if there is any medical, emotional or other reason why they cannot give accurate testimony at the time.[break][break]Given all this, Cooley’s endorsement has to be suspect, as he himself must feel pressure to return loyalty so well given (which is fine, but we must consider it). Finally, other than Cooley’s endorsement, much of the rabble that endorses her does her know favor. LA County Federation of Labor and a host of Unions, Antonio Villaraigosa, Dianne Feinstein, Maxine Waters and worse; they cannot possibly want the same things that Steve Cooley wanted. Either these and others endorse her simply because she is a woman and black (in which case it does not reflect badly on Jackie at all but rather on them), or there is something that they know about her goals and ideology that we do not. These questions together, and Mr. Jackson’s stellar record put him over the top. He is our choice for Los Angeles District Attorney, and we wish the equally impressive Jackie Lacey all the best in the future. The Lighthouse hopes to find she proves that some of her more radical leftist fans had no reason to support her at all, and to be able to endorse her in a future race.
  • Ballot Measures

    • Proposition 30– Jerry Brown’s Sales and Income Tax Hike[break][break]
      • NO[break][break]
    • Proposition 31– Two Year State Budget Cycle –  STATE BUDGET. STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE[break][break]
      • NO[break][break]At first glance, Prop 31 was a shoe-in for a “YES” endorsement. So far, the parties publicly opposing it are mostly unions (teachers and other state worker unions) and the California Democratic Party. Likewise, the California GOP, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. At worse, it seems like one of those propositions very common in California; an Oh well proposition. In that contest, Prop 31 certainly would deserve support.[break][break]It is not a perfect plan, and seems to add more bureaucracy in attempting to relieve California’s fiscal problems when they require a true top-to bottom overhaul. However, the proposition has some real benefits. It would actually finally give a Governor some power in the face of the spending crazed Assembly (Arnold Schwarzenegger would have surely loved this).[break][break]A President has an Army, a CIA, the State Department, Defense Department, and can rule over foreign relations, diplomacy, and war (though Congress has to declare wars, the President as Commander-in-Chief commands the army the declaration of war has not recently ever been used) . Additionally, his internal control of a country is augmented by powerful Federal Agencies, and even his ability to spend money is not completely controlled by Congress as it is the independent Federal Reserve (whose Chairman is appointed by the President), and the Treasury Department directly under the President that CREATE money.[break][break]On the other hand, what is a Governor? California’s Governor cannot invade Nevada; he cannot conduct diplomacy nor control an Army or Navy. The State government (thankfully) also has no power in creating money. So a State government is little more than the budget. It is able to tax, borrow and spend. The only thing in addition to this fiscal factor is of course legislation. A state government is a budget, and a collection of laws making many things illegal. That is basically it, and all of that is controlled by the legislature. The Governor, especially in a state like California, is completely powerless and though he tends to draw the ire for all the state’s failings, he has little real power to change anything.[break][break]Furthermore, whatever powers are left for the governor as the internal Executive are drastically reduced by being under the Legislative, Judicial and Executive power of the Federal government. Schwarzenegger for example, could not even “turn on the water” in the famed Salinas agricultural belt after morons from (federal) Fish and Wildlife decided to turn it off and ruin a massive amount of California’s agriculture and economy. So prop 31 partly fixes this problem. Additionally, it forces the State legislature to strive for a balanced budget, curtails their ability to spend,  creates a more efficient process by enacting a two year budget cycle, and passes a great deal of power and funds from the state level down to the local level.  Still, something about the language and some of the major donors were bothersome. The answer lies in the text:[break][break]

        …the people declare that the purpose of state and local governments is to promote a prosperous economy, a quality environment, and community equity. These purposes are advanced by achieving at least the following goals: increasing employment, improving education, decreasing poverty, decreasing crime, and improving health.

        [break]This paragraph radically alters the stated mission of government in California and the US. We tend to think it is to secure our “inalienable rights… life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The litigation nightmare that prop’s 31 statements can create is hard to imagine, and their precedent could be the last straw in any semblance of freedom left in California. When the goals of government are “AT LEAST” to improve education, increase employment, decrease poverty, decrease crime and improve health (not to mention making a “quality environment” and “community equity”), there is little that the government cannot do, and a great deal that it must be FORCED to do. These statements, though perhaps nice sounding, are extremely un-American, socialist and dangerous.[break][break]After finding the real hidden “gems” in the fine print o the document, it is easy to see why the “homeless billionaire” Nicolas Berggruen and his institute are the main supporters and donors. Berggruen, who lives only in hotels and has no private home, is a dual German-US citizen whose institute sponsors global governance movements. He astutely shies away from words that could label him as either left or right wing (always claiming to be bi-partisan), but he clearly has an overarching agenda of global jurisdiction. His language recalls language of Agenda 21. Wonderful sounding terminology that really means nothing but intrusive government, loss of liberty, and loss of national sovereignty. Nicolas I assume, dreams of a world as unpatriotic as he is.[break][break]One would hope Californians, unlike him, are not homeless. The GOP has made a mistake in backing this proposition; and they would do well to support a true constitutional reform of California’s government or at the very least similar reforms as suggested by Proposition 31 without the “New Age” globalist mumbo jumbo. As much as I’d hate to be in agreement with the state worker’s unions who oppose this proposition solely based on the loss of power and revenue they would suffer in the short term, the dangerous fine print within the proposition requires a firm “NO” vote, lest the same hapless unions suddenly find themselves in control of every aspect of Californians’ lives. Berggruen and his crew, are more sophisticated and intelligent than that tired old group, though they share much more that initially meets the eye.

    • Proposition 32– The “Paycheck Protection” Initiative – POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS BY PAYROLL DEDUCTION. CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANDIDATES. INITIATIVE STATUTE.[break][break]
      • YES  – A major step in breaking the stranglehold Unions have on California government.[break][break]
    • Proposition 33– Automobile Insurance Persistency Discounts Initiative – AUTO INSURANCE COMPANIES. PRICES BASED ON DRIVER’S HISTORY OF INSURANCE COVERAGE. INITIATIVE STATUTE.[break][break]
      • YES –  A small step for freedom, and will lower the great majority of driver’s car insurance premium.[break]
    • Proposition 34– The “Death Sentence” Initiative.[break][break]
      • NO– The use of fiscal arguments by the left (in times of economic hardship) in order to end the death sentence is incredibly hypocritical. Firstly, the death sentence is so expensive due to leftist opposition to it. It is very rarely carried out and so ends up costing as much as life sentences combined with prosecution for the death penalty. Secondly, any cost attributed to the death sentence is insignificant compared to the massive budgets the same left refuses to decrease even by a penny.[break][break]California is not going to fix its fiscal issues by ending the death penalty. However, it could slightly improve the situation by actually carrying it out; if cost cutting is the goal, nothing would save more money (in this issue) than actually carrying out the death penalty. Obviously, there is more here than just economic factors. Certain grievous crimes deserve capital punishment. There is no doubt that the system requires an overhaul, but Proposition 34 is not it.[break][break]
    • Proposition 35– “Ban on Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery”[break][break]
      • NO – This Proposition is typical of the trickery legislatures use to fool voters to do their bidding. Who would vote against banning human trafficking right? Obviously, Human Trafficking and Sex Slavery are already illegal, both at the Federal and State levels. If all this proposition wanted to do is ban these activities, it would not exist in the first place since they are already banned.[break][break]What this proposition actually does is enlarge the power of the police state, further limit freedom, enrich the law enforcement agencies that are supporting it (essentially bribes), and further some extreme feminist ideologies. The proposition broadens the definition of human trafficking to an absurd extent (for example, those caught with pornographic photos of minors, who were never in any contact with the victims or necessarily had any knowledge about them can be charged with human trafficking). It also increased fines and penalties and directs them to victims (who are now financially encouraged to bring on accusations) and law enforcement agencies directly (also a dangerous incentive to deviate from justice).[break][break]Real human traffickers are scum who should be punished and already are under a host of laws. If a proposition simply wanted to stiffen those penalties, I could be all for it, but using that horrible crime as an excuse to charge an ever increasing number of people with it and other sex crimes not only “cheapens” the gravity of real human trafficking but potentially submits lesser offenders to extreme and disproportionate punishment.[break][break]California sex offender law is ALREADY far too broad, where both an 18 year old boy who had consenting relations with a 17-year-old girl, and a 40-year-old man who rapes young boys are both considered “sex offenders” and subject to the same regulations and restrictions in daily life (outside of prison that is).[break][break]A terrifying glimpse into the true intentions of the authors of prop 35 is that it would prohibit the entering of certain evidence in sex related crimes. Evidence of the alleged victim’s sexual activity and past would be banned from ever seeing the inside of a courtroom or being heard by a jury of an accused’s peers. Very often, the entire evidence of a sexual crime is the testimony of the alleged victim. It is a great injustice if the accused does not even have the right to question his accuser’s credibility.[break][break]Proposition 35 is California politics at its worse, a title that no one could possibly disagree with, and a completely different set of goals in fine print. Human trafficking and many other related crimes are already illegal, as they very well should be. Sadly, the California GOP jumped on the bandwagon on this one, and did not have the stomach to oppose such a “nice sounding” proposition. They also were not able to stand against their usual allies in law enforcement who stand to benefit financially from this proposition.[break][break]It may very well be true that law enforcement needs to do a much better job in enforcing these laws, but none of that has anything to do with this grotesque proposition. It will simply put many legitimate and “gray area” individual and businesses that engage in some sort of consenting pornography or adult entertainment across the table from 15 year + prison sentences and massive fines to enrich their accusers and the agencies that prosecuted them. Almost all of them will of course, when facing such odds, plea bargain and pay the fees that enrich everyone involved. Justice will not benefit, and neither will the true victims of human traffickers who are real underworld criminals and do not readily have assets for courts, victims and police to seize.[break][break]In fact, a great portion of people affected might be (mostly Hispanic) divorced parents who neither understand nor exactly follow the custody orders of state courts, and end up taking their children somewhere when not formally in right of custody. Proposition 35 targets these and many other situations, and not the human trafficking one imagines from movies, which already is and should remain, clearly illegal.[break][break]
    • Proposition 36– Amending the “Three-Strikes Law” -[break][break]
      • Will leave this one a “?” for now. Input appreciated. There is no question that the US and California have incarceration rates unheard of in the civilized world. There is an obvious over-incarceration rate for more minor crimes, but the same is not true for major crimes, and not even true for repeat offenses. That is why there is also no question that the “Three-strikes” law has helped reduce crime in California (along with other factors) which was out of control in the 90’s.[break][break]The exact effects of this new proposition are still unclear. Those on the left continuously trying to repeal the three-strikes law teamed up with more fair-headed factions and came up with a more reasonable bill. At first sight, it seems to correct a flaw in the three-strikes bill when it comes to non-serious and non-violent felonies. Respectable people such as Steve Cooley support it. However, as usual, the devil is in the details. The cost savings as advertised seem to be far overblown. There is only 8-9 thousand people total serving under the third strike provision for felonies.[break][break]Even releasing all of them would not be very significant in California’s overpopulated prison system, but it would surely endanger society. The authors emphasize how it would do far from that since it only applies to non-serious and non-violent felonies. The vast majority of three strikers were convicted of serious and/or violent felonies. The touted cost savings would be further reduced by the necessity to re-apprehend, retry, and re-incarcerate released offenders who will commit further crime (not to mention the economic and moral impact of their crimes themselves), and by the jump in litigation that will occur when many of these inmates file motions for early release. There is no question that the three-strike rule can in some cases be excessive.[break][break]However, the interesting thing is as it stands, the courts and prosecutors already have a large leeway in how to implement it. It is not true, as is often cited by the left, that a 19 year old boy automatically receives a life sentence for stealing a slice of pizza when it is his “third strike”. You have a long chain of events required: the DA electing to prosecute the crime as a three-strike offence, a jury of peers who agree and find the accused guilty, a court which also agrees and chooses to sentence the suspect as a third-strike offender, and finally an unsuccessful appeal by the convicted felon to a different court.[break][break]Of note is that there isn’t any law enforcement agency (so far) supporting the proposition and many opposing it. In addition, most District attorneys also oppose it (with notable exceptions like Steve Cooley). Perhaps most disturbing of all, is that George Soros is a major funder of the proposition. Where there is Soros, there is almost unquestionably evil…. So though proposition 36 looks reasonable at first glance, there remain some disturbing factors about it. There may be hidden agendas in the fine print that perhaps is mostly targeted to drug crime. It is still unclear to me if it will change the definition of what are “serious” and/or “violent” felonies which is at the heart of the issue. It also will definitely not fix California’s overpopulated prison system, and might just delay a better and truer reform. The Lighthouse jury on this one, is still out…
    • Proposition 37– Mandatory Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods. – GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOODS.  LABELING. INITIATIVE STATUTE.[break][break]
      • NO – Yet another burdensome bureaucratic requirement on agriculture, small businesses and food grocers of all sizes. It will lead to more litigation and lawsuits, and puts small food retailers in danger of massive liabilities. “Genetically Engineered” sounds like a simple enough term, but it is not. Virtually everything we eat is “genetically engineered” in some way or other as man has domesticated, plants and animals for millennia.[break][break]Through selection, cross breeding, and interbreeding we have developed subspecies, strains and varieties of plants and animals that are different from their wild counterparts. In large part, these are responsible for the massive increase in agricultural productivity which allow the world’s population to be fed. For example, traits that man has always searched for in agricultural plants are higher yields per acre, lower water consumption, bigger tastier fruit, and pest and disease resistance.[break][break]These improvements tended to be slower and more gradual than they are sometimes today due to technological advances in genetic engineering, but the principle remains the same, we continue to look for traits (in effect genes) that are beneficial. Without it, not only could we not feed the world population, but cats, dogs, chickens, donkeys, cows, the countless breeds of dogs that we love and even goldfish and Koi would not exist.[break][break]All genes are made up of the same deoxyribonucleic acid bases (DNA) bases (4 of them), and all are perfectly edible. There is no “gene” regardless of its source that can potentially be harmful when eaten. Digestive systems care not what genes encode for but treat them all as the same DNA matter that is quickly broken down in the digestive system. Any altered or added genes are insignificant compared to the massive amount of DNA our food contains. Each cell contains DNA and most of our food, be it from plant, animal (fungi, bacteria or anything else) is made up of cells. We ingest DNA of all types continuously and have done so for our entire existence.[break][break]In any event, over 90% of the US’ corn and soybean crop are considered Genetically Engineered. Corn and soybean are ingredients in the great majority of our food products, making almost everything liable to be labeled “Genetically Engineered”. Again, it would not even be clear what would actually NOT be Genetically Engineered under this proposition. So what interest do the sponsors have in labeling everything as GE? Well, simple, the proposition calls for such an incredibly large and illegitimate exception to the rule, that even if you supported mandatory labeling of GE products, you should not support this proposition. The text exempts:[break][break]

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.

[break][break]Firstly, the exemptions are so broad and unclear that anyone supporting the mandatory labeling should oppose this proposition. More importantly, the major exemption of course is “certified organic”. This of course is simply absurd. As long as you did not use pesticides on your crops, they can be as Genetically Engineered as you like, and do not have to be labeled as such. What is the possible logic in that?[break][break]First of all, it deceives the consumer who now thinking mandatory GE labeling exists, will naturally assume products NOT labeled GE are not, when in fact most of them will be. Organic crops are very often genetically engineered since this is one of the very BENEFITS of genetic engineering, increasing disease and pest resistance so that pesticides are not required. This is a special interest proposition by people who wish to control the food market by legal barriers and monopolies.[break][break]Already they increasingly control who and what can be labeled as “organic” and now this will simply increase their power exponentially. With all the non “certified organic” products being labeled as Genetically Engineered, (scary sounding stuff), the certified organic monopoly will be able to increase prices on their products that will be DECEITFULLY not marked as Genetically Engineered even they are. This proposition is extremely hurtful to your average farmer, to the food industry as a whole, the small businesses all along the chain from farm to your table (wholesalers, distributors etc) and especially your small retail grocers.[break][break]What is wrong with freedom? If people want to buy non GE foods, let companies who wish to provide such products do so and label them. They will undoubtedly require much more land and resources to yield less of a poorer quality stock, and in turn would be much more expensive. If that has a market, so be it. This is the way “organic” started in the first place, free from government control.[break][break]Jews for example, though a small minority of the US population, have no problem only purchasing “Kosher” products without any government mandate to label foods as either Kosher or not Kosher. We need a lot less laws, not more, voting “YES” on proposition 37 is a disaster for California and a further bonanza for certain government backed special interests. See further discussion.

    • Proposition 38– State Income Tax Increase to Support Public Education[break][break]
      • NO – Simple enough, it’s a State Income Tax INCREASE.[break][break]
    • Proposition 39– Income Tax Increase for Multistate businesses[break][break]
      • NO – Despite its nice sounding title: Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute. – This one is a definite “NO”.
    • Proposition 40– REDISTRICTING. STATE SENATE DISTRICTS. REFERENDUM.[break][break]
      • NO – In 2008 and 2010 voters took away the redistricting powers from the legislature which was a very good move. For too long, the Democratic controlled State legislature had retained at or near two-thirds majority by manipulating their districts. Some of the districts were absurd in their geographic shapes.[break][break]The Citizen’s committee that was supposed to make the new maps, and put an end to this, for some reason or another failed miserably. The new maps, are even more highly geared towards the Democrats and will be in place for 10 years. The voters were clear in the previous elections; they wanted fair, simple district maps that would represent the people of California proportionally and equitably. The commission failed, and destroyed some of the last few districts where Republicans could count on for seats.[break][break]Basically, it leaves California as one of the US states with the most Republicans in the nation (if not the most), with almost non existing Republican representation. Voting “NO” will not help very much, but neither will voting “YES”. “NO” will at least be a bit more interesting.[break][break]

  • Colorado

  • Supreme Court

    • Shall Justice Nathan “Ben” Coats be retained as Supreme Court Justice for another 10 years?[break][break]
      • YES
  • Court of Appeals

    • Retain Judge Laurie Ann Booras?[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Retain Judge James S Casebolt?[break][break]
      • NO[break][break]
    • Retain Judge Dennis A. Graham?[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Retain Judge Gale T. Miller?[break][break]
      • NO[break][break]
    • Retain Judge Arthur Putnam Roy?[break][break]
      • YES (is retiring shortly and a replacement will be appointed by Governor John Hickenlooper)
    • Retain Judge Daniel Marc Taubman[break][break]
      • NO[break][break]
    • Retain Judge John R. Webb?[break][break]
      • YES
  • Ballot Measures

    • Amedment 64 (2012) – Colorado Marijuana Legalization Initiative

      • NO – Regardless of one’s position on the legalization of Marijuana, this is a bad deal. A Constitution should not have the word “marijuana” in it. It is absurd and unnecessary as a Constitutional Amendment. It also raises taxes (hidden brine for legislators there), imposes an entirely new regulatory system on Marijuana and taxing mechanisms. Furthermore, it ironically makes it difficult for the State to tax the sales, since a voter referendum would be needed to pass any tax..[break][break]So despite the propaganda that it would create an immediate large revenue for the state, a State analysis has shown that it would not, as further referendums would be needed to impose any taxes (that may not pass). Imposing onerous new regulations and state supervision of an industry is not the same as legalization. Furthermore  it is of course completely illegal as it violates Federal Law..[break][break]Though today we are unfortunately used to the fact that “legalizing” something means passing new 3,000 page bills, in truth, legalizing something only requires that you remove the law banning it (thus making it illegal). If a State did that, well fine, no citizen in the state would be prosecuted for the activity, though in this case he may still be arrested and prosecuted by Federal law enforcement agencies. This is a legitimate situation as a state has no requirement to “mirror” every Federal law..[break][break]However, these type of measures where the illegal activity is actually set-up to be regulated by the state and taxed is illegal on the face of it and is open defiance if not a type of rebellion..[break][break]For example, if murder is legalized under state law, it remains illegal under Federal law. If a citizen within the state commits the act, a federal law enforcement agency can arrest and prosecute the perpetrator. Pretty straightforward. BUT if the state sets up a regulatory, tax and permit regime for murder, then it is not just the individual that is breaking the law, but the entire state government. A state would not be allowed to sell “murder permits” if they meet certain state requirements. In such a situation, a US President (obviously not Obama but a better one) can order the arrest of state officials..[break][break]In any event, the comparison by no means attempts to equate marijuana use and murder, but only to illustrate the blatant defiance to the Union this amendment proposes. Finally, the law is as oppressive to local rights and authority as it is defiant to national ones..[break][break]Under this amendment marijuana is considered a “state issue” and local authorities, (cities, towns, neighborhoods  counties, school districts, etc) are not allowed to issue any law or regulation differing from it. Thus, certain communities that do not want marijuana within their jurisdiction due to their resident’s values are forced to accept it. If Colorado citizens wish to legalize Marijuana  they should together with their fellow US citizens across the other 49 states work to repeal the Federal ban first. Once that is the law of the land, each state would have the right to establish whatever ban or regulatory regime they prefer. On the other hand, amending the constitution to include a citizen’s “right” to possess and use marijuana under complex state restrictions, taxes and regulations, in open defiance of federal law seems to be beneath the Great State of Colorado. As a Western state that embraces freedom, the outdoors and the country’s healthiest state, Amendment 64 is an embarrassment..[break][break]
    • Amedment 65 – Colorado Congressional Delegation to Support Campaign Finance Limits.[break][break]
    • Amedment S – Colorado State Personnel System Amedment.[break][break]
      • YES

  • Florida

  • US Senate

    • Connie Mack IV[break][break]
  • Florida Supreme Court Justice Retention

    • Retain Justice R. Fred Lewis?
      • NO
    • Retain Justice Barbara J. Pariente?
      • NO – From the cold blooded killing of Terri Schiavo and the destruction of school vouchers and parent rights in education, to the attempted judicial election of Al Gore as President of the USA despite the popular ballot, she represents the worse of far left judicial activism and legislating from the bench.
    • Retain Justice Peggy A. Quince?
      • NO
  • Ballot Measures

    • Amendment 1– “Health Care Services” – Florida Health Care Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Prohibits Obamacare-like laws at any level of government. It is meant to allow Floridians to opt out of the Federal mandates, but it will be interesting to see how the clash with Federal law will turn out. In either case, it sends a strong message, and prohibits local governments from adding to the Obamacare disaster. [break][break]
    • Amendment 2– “Veterans Disabled Due to Combat Injury; Homestead Property Tax Discount” – Florida Veterans Property Tax[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]Though it is not thrilling that this is done in the form of a Constitutional Amendment  the goal is a good one. It simply extends tax benefits given to Florida veterans who were residing in Florida before their service to all combat-disabled veterans currently in Florida. The usual bunch of parasites and lunatics in certain unions are opposing this measure since it would deprive their corrupt spending by a few million dollars state-wide. It seems to me that such a fine point of taxation should not be done via Constitutional Amendment, but here it is. A “NO” Vote is reasonable due to this fact. [break][break]
    • Amendment 3– “Florida State Revenue Limitation” – State Government Revenue Limitation[break][break]
      • YESOh Well law. Also known as “Smart Cap”. Not ideal, but necessary in states such as Florida and California.[break][break]
    • Amendment 4– “Property Tax Limitation; Property Value Decline; Reduction for Non-Homestead Assessment Increases; Delay of Scheduled Repeal” – Florida Property Tax[break][break]
      • YES – Limits local government’s ability to overtax property taxes. Lowers taxes in many cases, and gives certain exemptions and deductions such as for first-time home buyers. The usual tax and spend crowd is opposed.[break][break]
    • Amendment 5– “State Courts” – Florida Supreme Court Amendment[break][break]
      • NO – Though I am reluctant to go against the GOP, and join the likes of The League of Women Voters of Florida in opposing this amendment, it is simply too much.[break][break]The GOP’s adoption of this amendment is understandable, as the Florida Supreme Court is one of the most rampant examples of judicial activism and misconduct. The court allows its far left bias to influence all its decisions and is in a constant battle with the Republican-led Congress and Governor’s office. It is of no doubt, that Floridians are worse off due to the court’s behavior. It is also of little doubt, that some reform and limitation of their power is in order.[break][break]However, this amendment is not quite it. Though some of its reforms are positive, it is simply too much and too politically expedient. It is true that the court today is highly liberal, and that the Florida Senate has a Republican majority; but that not may not be true tomorrow. Giving this much power for a Democrat-led Congress to limit liberty without a judicial branch able to stop it is scary to contemplate indeed.[break][break]The amendment basically weakens the Supreme Court AND the Governor in favor of the Legislative branch, and throws the balance of powers out of whack. Three provisions are especially of concern:[break][break]Firstly, the Governor may no longer appoint Supreme Court Judges without Senate approval.[break][break] Secondly, a court ruling may be repealed by a simple majority rather than with the two-thirds current requirement.[break][break]Finally, the Supreme Court must turn in certain private notes and files over to the state House of Representatives.[break][break]Though in the short term, the amendment would probably cause a great deal of positive developments in Florida, since the Republican-led administration and Congress could continue reforms without the constant opposition of the court, it is not a correct formula on principle for the long term.[break][break]The Republicans missed a chance to offer a well thought out, sound and long term reform of State Courts with vision and moral clarity. Strengthening BOTH the legislative and executive branches at the expense of the courts in a more limited fashion, allowing for a greater ability for the people (and/or government) to remove unfit judges, and limiting the court’s ability to stray from the narrow application of the law and Constitution would have been  excellent goals indeed, but Amendment 5 both falls short of this in many ways, and goes far beyond it in others.[break][break]
    • Amendment 6– “Prohibition on Public Funding of Abortions; Construction of Abortion Rights” – Florida Abortion Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Happily standing once again opposed to the League of Women Voters, this one is fairly straight forward. The amendment will firstly prohibit taxpayer money to fund abortions (as is mostly already prohibited by Federal law). The amendment allows for appropriate exceptions such as in cases where federal law contradicts it, rape, or when a mother’s life is endanger.[break][break]In addition, the amendment will stop (Florida’s notoriously liberal) State Courts from interpreting the “privacy clause” and other irrelevant parts of the Constitution to defend all sorts of abortion “rights”.[break][break]The positions opposed to this common sense amendment are rather absurd. For example, Judith Selzer of the Vote no on 6 campaign has said that the amendment allows politicians to interfere in a woman’s private decisions of her own reproductive health. : “Every woman deserves to make her own personal decisions based on her values and her doctor’s advice without politicians interfering”[break][break]First of all, the point is irrelevant as nothing in the amendment enables politicians to “interfere” in anything, but rather stops the taxpayer from paying for the woman’s “personal decision”. She is still free to make it. Typical of political scare tactics of the left on this issue that distort the real issue. The attempt is to portray the amendment as one banning abortions, when all it does is ban taxpayer paid abortions. Floridians should not have their hard-earned money taken without choice, in order to pay for abortions that they may be morally opposed to.[break][break]Furthermore, it is ironic that the people who support Obama’s massive government  intrusion into real questions of individuals’ health, are so opposed to an imagined one which does not qualify as a personal issue of any kind. Despite the obvious fact that a baby typically grows inside a a mother’s body, she is called a “mother” for the very reason that she is so to a separate human being. Moral and legal questions of that baby’s rights life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are and should be completely separate from any rights a mother has over her own body. The arguments the left proposes on this issue, would be relevant to the right a woman has to chopping her arm off, not the killing of her unborn child; ironically a woman in just about any state who cuts her own arm off would be breaking quite a few laws and one does not find the “pro-choice” crowd calling for their abolition. It appears their zealousness over a woman’s right over her entire body extends only to cases where it applies to someone else’s body.[break][break]
    • Amendment 8 – “Religious Freedom” – Florida Religious Freedom Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – There is in fact, some issue with state funding of religious organizations and schools. However, that same issue exists with funding secular ones (such as the highly left-leaning public school system). Ideally, the state should fund neither, at least not directly (vouchers are perhaps acceptable as a compromise), and the massive regime of taxation that supports public education should be abolished as well, thus benefiting all society at large. However, short of this (which is very unrealistic in today’s environment), Amendment 8 is a step in the right direction.[break][break]When the founding fathers wrote about separation of church and state, they did not envision the state funding anything…it is a deep distortion to twist that principle into the integration of state and EVERYTHING but faith based entities. That amounts to state sponsored secularism, and prejudice against the religious values which the founding fathers ironically strongly believed in.[break][break]Amendment 8 will make it easier for the state to issue school vouchers, and to increase the availability of choice parents have in the education of their children. Educational institutions should compete in a market place, like all other goods and services. It is nor correct to ban certain institutions from this market place simply because they may hold certain values and/or beliefs. Ultimately, this condition limits parent choice on education and hurts children, chaining them to the ever expanding mess that is public education (and chaining the taxpayer to ever increasing debt along with them), and subjecting them to their monopoly on thought and education. That is most definitely the opposite of separation of church and state, it is the government sponsor of the Church of Atheism and Socialism, and the subjugation of all others.[break][break]
    • Amendment 9– “Homestead Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouse of Military Veteran or First Responder” – Florida Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses[break][break]
      • YES – Pretty straightforward. Though again it is debatable whether this should be part of the constitution, the policy in effect is a good one. Surviving spouses of those who fall in the line of duty, soldiers and first responders, get tax relief. This in many situations, may allow them to keep their homes and not lose them due the loss of a breadwinner and rising property taxes. The vulture crowd of state worker unions, teachers unions, league of women voters etc are against this sensible and noble effort because it will deprive local governments of an estimated $1.8 million over the first years of implementation. Rightly so, 1.8 million dollars they would have liked to take from spouses of fallen heroes to line their pockets.[break][break]
    • Amendment 10– “Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption” – Florida Tangible Personal Property Tax Exemption Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Much needed tax relief for small business and individuals. Raises the tax free tangible value threshold from $25,000 to $50,000 and allows local governments to add further exemptions to encourage capital investment and help citizens. The League of Women Voters of Florida estimates this will save taxpayers an estimated $61 million (which is why of course, they oppose it) in the first three years of implementation. An excellent aid to small business  the lower middle class and a tool to help jump start the economy (and remain competitive thereafter).[break][break]
    • Amendment 11– “Additional Homestead Exemption for Low-Income Seniors who Maintain Long-Term Residency on Property; Equal to Assessed Value” – Florida Senior Homestead Tax Exemption[break][break]
      • YES – This amendment only makes it LEGAL for local governments and municipalities to grant low-income senior citizens tax relief on their property taxes on homes they have lived in for more than 25 years. Currently, since this would apply a different tax rate than the uniform rate, it is unconstitutional in Florida. So even when communities, counties, cities etc WANT to grant these seniors tax breaks and avoid the shame of literally taxing low-income retired seniors out of their life-long home and into destitution, they cannot do so. This amendment basically allows for this tax relief. To qualify, seniors must have lived in their home for at least 25 years, they must have  a low income, and the home must have a reasonably low market value (stands to reason that if they own a $4 million home, low income or not, they can sell it and move into a more modest accommodations, and not deprive the state of the property tax). Amazing that the Democrats and unions stand opposed even to this amendment. Their humanity is always boundless… always willing to GIVE people money they stole from someone else, but never refusing to NOT steal it in the first place, even if it means taking the house of a retired and poor senior citizen.[break][break]
    • Amendment 12– “Appointment of Student Body President to Board of Governors of the State University System” – Florida Appointment Process for State University System Board of Governors Revision Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Though the media politicizing of this measure might be confusing, the amendment is actually pretty straight forward. The University System in Florida has a 17-member Board of Governors. Some of these are appointed by the Governor (and approved by the Senate) and some are members by virtue of their position. One of the latter members is the sole representative of the students on the board.[break][break]Currently, he is the Chair of the FSA. The FSA is an independent organization, with its own agenda, and there is no requirement that students or Universities join it (as there shouldn’t). The FSA charges fees and in recent years, some schools have opted not to pay them and join the organization. This has effectively barred the possibility that some students (those in non-member Universities) sit in the Board of Governor’s as the representatives of the state’s students.[break][break]The Amendment is a common sense reform of this issue. It changes the form in which the student’s elect their representative on the Board of Governor’s, effectively making it a true democratic process open to all students and bypasses the Florida Student Association, which a student has no obligation in joining.[break][break] The amendment enacts that the student body presidents of ALL the state’s 12 universities will form a new council. The elected chair of this counsel will be the student representative in the Board of Governors. The amendment simply turns a monopoly of the Florida Student Association into a true democratic process; students already elect their respective student body presidents, and they in turn will elect from among themselves their leading representative who will have a seat on the state Board of Governors. Opposition to this common sense change comes from the usual vested interests, who wish to keep state power in their hands and closed to independent and differing opinions and values.

 

  • Georgia

  • Supreme Court

    • Retain Justice Carol W. Hunstein?[break][break]
      • NO[break][break]
    • Retain Justice Harold. D Melton?[break][break]
      • Yes[break][break]
    • Retain Justice Hugh P. Thompson?[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
  • Appeals Court

    • Retain Judge Michael P. Boggs?[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Retain Judge Stephen  Dillard?[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Retain Judge John Ellington?
      • YES[break][break]
    • Retain Judge M. Yvette Miller?[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • Retain Judge Herbert Phipps?[break][break]
      • YES
  • Ballot Measures

    • Amendment 1 – Georgia Charter Schools Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – The Georgia Supreme Court authored a political and false decision that the Charter School Act of 2008 was unconstitutional. There was a very significant, sound and passionate dissenting opinion (technically 2 opinions)  from Justice Nahmias, Melton and Carley. If Justice Hunstein says the Charter Schools were unconstitutional, well here is the chance for the voters to clearly change the constitution where she can no longer say so.[break][break]This is a rare occasion for seeing the correct use of Constitutional Amendments. If the Courts say something is unconstitutional, and the the people’s will is great enough to enact it, the right vehicle is to then change the constitution so it is no longer unconstitutional. The Bar for this is quite high, and it is not a frivolous use, as in the case with most referendums. It also keeps the Courts in check, since they realize they are not omnipotent, and drastically radical interpretations of the constitution will cause its amendment and their being overruled.[break][break]
    • Amendment 2– Georgia Multi-Year Rental Agreements Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Fairly straightforward, passed unanimously in the legislature, and simply allows for a reduction in state operating costs.

 

  • Hawaii

  • US Senate

    • Linda Lingle – Popular two-term first female Governor of Hawaii.
  • US Representative

    • District 1[break][break]
      • Charles Djou – A Major in the Reserves, a veteran, well educated and an intelligent promising young man.[break][break]
    • District 2[break][break]
      • Kawika Crowley – Staunch constitutionalist, fiscal conservative, and a self proclaimed “Hilo Boy”.[break][break]
  • Ballot Measures

    • HB 2594– Hawaii Dam and Reservoir Owners Assistance Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Given that the state passed new regulations for dams and reservoirs, the least they can do is help pay for the upgrades. This allows special bonds to be issued, so that the investment comes from private funding, at low interest rates, and is not guaranteed by the state or taxpayers. It will help smaller dam and reservoir owners afford the new regulatory requirements. Whether the new regulations are needed, wise and efficient is a different matter. [break][break]
    • SB 650 –Hawaii Appointment of Retired Judges Amendment[break][break]
      • YES – Allows for experienced emeritus Judges to be appointed after retirement when needed. The State is having a difficulty finding qualified Judges and efficiently dealing with cases in a timely fashion. There is no reason to arbitrarily bar those experienced Judges to serve, and instead settle for unqualified judges or backup the system. The appointments would be for 3 month periods maximum as needed, and according to all other laws and limitations, and only allow Judges to be temporarily appointed to courts at the same level or lower than they achieved during their public service.[break][break]
  • Hawai’i County

    • Ordinance No. 12-110– Establishing a Game Management Advisory Commission
      • D

 

  • Illinois

  • Supreme Court

    • For the Vacancy of Chief Justice Thomas Fitzgerald[break][break]
      • James G. Riley[break][break]
    • Retention of Rita B. Garman[break][break]
      • YES
  • Ballot Measures

    •  HJRCA 49– Public Pension Amendment.[break][break]
      • NO – I hate to be on a side with the likes of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association but here I am. This constitutional amendment can be supported as an Oh Well law indeed. Its effects would undoubtedly be at least slightly positive as it would make it harder for the unions and state workers to give themselves higher and higher benefit and pension packages which are bankrupting the state. The amendment requires that at least 3 5ths of the General Assembly approve these raises, instead of just a simple majority.[break][break]However, the amendment goes too far in dictating that any and all local governments (counties, city councils, school districts, etc etc) must abide by the same three fifth rules to raise their worker’s pensions. This is a breach of freedom and should not be supported  It means that a community or town cannot form its own rules and governing charter to chose how to pay salaries out of its own budget.  I have little doubt that the effect on the local governments which are often especially corrupt would be positive if this law was enacted, but it still cannot be supported. It cannot be unconstitutional to create a city government where the majority can rule on the pension packages of its own workers. It must be fully constitutional, for a poorly managed local government to overspend or go bankrupt.

 

 

  •  Maine

  • US Senate

    • Charles E. Summers Jr
  • US House of Representatives

    • District 1
      • Jonathan Courtney
    • District 2
      • Kevin Raye
  • District Attorney

    • Darrick Banda (Prosecutional District 4, Kennebec and Sommerset)
  • Sherrif  (Franklin County)

    • Schott Nichols
  • Ballot Measures

    • Question 1–  Maine Same-Sex Marriage Question[break][break]
      • NO – The entire text of the question on the ballot reads: “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?”[break][break]As my article on the issue points out, this is not about allowing same-sex couples to be couples or even marry, which they are free to do so anywhere in the US, but about the government issuing a state sanctioned marriage licence for them. Additionally, it puts clergy (priests, ministers, rabbis, etc) who do not wish to perform such marriages open to litigation, lawsuits and possible indictments by all sorts of government and private groups. Currently, without these laws, there is nothing that prevents same-sex couples to marry with or without clergy who wish to participate in such ceremonies. On the other hand, there is nothing that forces clergy who oppose such marriages to have to conduct them.[break][break]
    • Question 2– Maine Community College Bond Question[break][break]
      • NO – This is an $11.3 million dollar bond mostly for a diagnostic facility, and some investments in community colleges ($3 million)  and a small amount ($500 thousand) in the Maritime Academy. Though in general, this year’s bond Maine measures are reasonable in comparison to other states and other years, it is still more government borrowing and spending that largely feed the bureaucracies that create them. It also is deceivingly worded, since the most useful parts of the measure (machine tools, community colleges and the Maritime Academy) are getting a very small part of the investment. The bulk of the money is for a laboratory that will be mostly used to track invasive species in the state. If the legislature really believes these improvements to be important, it should easily be able to cut $11.3 million from elsewhere in the state budget to fund them. More borrowing is not the right answer. As long as voters keep approving such bond measures, legislatures do not have to make these tough budget decisions.[break][break]
    • Question 3– $5 million Bond for Conservation Lands – “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine’s Natural Resource-based Economy”[break][break]
      • YES – Though a “NO” vote on this bond measure would be perfectly reasonable due to similar reasons explained above (simply more state borrowing and spending), a “YES” vote here is slightly preferable given the circumstances. Firstly, the $5 million is a very small amount relative to the State budget and debt. Secondly, the measure requires the $5 million to be matched by private or public institutions so that $10 million will actually be spent on the efforts though only $5 million will be borrowed. The efforts will be focused on buying (from willing sellers), lands that serve as deer wintering areas, fish habitat, wildlife habitat and agricultural areas for conservation purposes. The bond measure also specifically states these areas will be for public access, and may not prohibit fishing or hunting beyond any existing state or federal rules. A long term investment by the state in its natural resources, in this modest amount and backed by matching funds is an example of a reasonable use of bonds.[break][break]
    • Question 4– Maine Transportation Bond Issue – “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue to Invest in Transportation Infrastructure To Meet the Needs of the Business Sector and To Create Jobs”[break][break]
      • YES – A “NO” Vote is also reasonable here, especially as this represents the largest of the bond issues, at $51.5 million. However, we give it a very slight “YES”, especially if the other bond measures (except Question 3) are opposed. In order to remain under the “5%” rule, Maine could borrow up to $100 million this year in the form of bonds, so this bond represents only half that responsible threshold.  In addition, the bond would entitle Maine to over $100 million in matching funds (mostly Federal) . Finally, unlike the Obama type “Green” Stimulus that seem to simply digest money in vast amounts without any visible results or jobs created, this measure goes directly into the main infrastructure of the state. Roads, bridges, rail, ports etc. Improving the state’s infrastructure is vital for its economy and the expenditure itself stimulates the economy with real jobs. Since the state is the one that currently provides for public transportation, as opposed to the private sector, then it is at least necessary to attempt for the state to do a good job of it.[break][break]The Transportation Bond measure has strong bipartisan support and is the only one of this year’s bond measures supported by the Midlands Chamber of Commerce.[break][break]
    • Question 5– Water and Sewer Bond $7.93 million Question – “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue for Wastewater and Drinking Water Revolving Loan Funds”[break][break]
      • YES – This bond measure has all the trappings of a “NO” vote. It is vaguely worded, bureaucratic, and targets nice-sounding euphemisms rather than concrete goals. It is actually pretty unclear on what exactly the state would actually spend this money on, what the benefits would be and if it is needed, especially during this time of economic uncertainties, deficits and debt.  However there is one inescapable aspect of the bond (which undoubtedly is what drove the majority, though not all, of the state GOP to support it) that is hard to pass up. The measure is designed to qualify the state for a host of Federal matching funds for these various projects in a ratio of 5:1. Maine will have to borrow almost $8 million (in 2 years), and will qualify to get nearly $40 million in Federal funds. At that ratio, the exact benefit or nesesity of the projects become of lesser importance and the issue simply becomes one of net gain. The Maine taxpayer can invest $1 (borrowed for a 10 year period, for a total payback cost of $1.25), and receive $5 from the Federal Government. The $6 together can then be invested directly into the state. Hopefully, the execution can be such that the actual infrastructure that is upgraded will benefit the sate economy, environment and public health for many years; but regardless of that effect, the net investment in the state will have an immediate and direct positive impact on the economy. At the 5 to 1 ratio, the state taxes and revenues that will be  produced by the mere expenditure of the investment will go a very long way in replacing at least a great deal of the state taxpayer’s investment, which is to be paid over the next 10 to 11 years.[break][break]The transaction as a whole for the US is undoubtedly very poor, wasteful and contributing to the enormous Federal deficits, but from the perspective of Maine taxpayer, it is overall better to support it than oppose it. Citizens of Maine, like all Americans, are heavily taxed and heavily in debt due to the current administration, that is currently inescapable, but there is little to gain for Mainers by paying their share of the Federal Taxes and Federal debt, but not receiving any of its few deficits. Obama believes in “tax and spend”. Maine is already taxed, on this occasion it has the chance to at least in this modest way, make sure it gets its share of the “spend” as well.[break][break]

 

 

 

  • Michigan

  • US Senate

    • Pete Hoekstra – Michigan’s Taxpayer’s Party stands on excellent principles, and is fielding and endorsing a veteran Airborne paratrooper, Richard A. Matkin. However, his complete inactivity in the election and lack of accessible information about him (other than a short resume) for the public, makes him difficult to endorse. Hoeskstra has a good record in private business, as well as during his time in the House of Representatives  He is a solid conservative, and advocate for lowering taxes, government intrusion, government spending, and supporting freedom.
  • Member of the Board of Education (2 positions)

    • Todd Courser and Melanie Kurdys. Here again, the Taxpayer’s party is fielding two candidates (Karen Adams and Gail Graeser) with virtually no information about them available.
  • Member of the Michigan Board of Regents (2 positions)

    • Joe Sanger – A candidate with strong Constitutional principles, a rich experience in several fields and a veteran, Sanger has a a clear set of goals for needed reform and is so far the only Taxpayer’s Party Michigan candidate that has a significant amount of information about his record and his goals publicly available.[break][break]
    • Dr. Robert Steele – Beats Dan Horning for the spot.
  • Member of the Michigan State University Board of Trustees (2 positions)

    • Melanie Foster and Stephen J Young
  • Member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors (2 positions)

    • Satish Jasti and Robert Gale
  • Justice of the Supreme Court (2 positions)

    • Justice Stephen Markman – What a Supreme Court Justice should look like.[break][break]
    • Judge Colleen O’Brien (Bob Roddis also likely an acceptable, and interesting choice)
  • Justice of the Supreme Court Incumbent

    • Mindy Barry – Strong Endorsement. The Left has attacked her as a “fake” candidate, when she is anything but that. She is a victim of the left’s specially reserved hatred for conservative, constitutionalist or libertarian women.
  • Ballot Measures

    • Proposal 1– Referendum (on Public Act 4 2011 ) on Michigan Emergency Manager Law (to enact the “local government and school district fiscal accountability act”)[break][break]
      • NO – This is quite an interesting referendum, and it poses somewhat of a dilemma. The referendum is a veto referendum. Basically, the law commonly known as the Emergency Manager Law, was already passed by the state legislature and signed by the Governor. It in fact has already been enforced in several cases. However, after questions of its constitutionality and legal challenges arose, after a somewhat complex process, the end result has been that it has been referred to the voters. Voters have a chance to enact it as is (Vote “Yes”), or strike it down (Vote “No”).[break][break]The core of the Emergency Manager Law is a power granted to the State to firstly review the finances of municipalities, towns, school districts and other local governments; and if they are found to be irresponsible or under stress (in danger of insolvency), the law grants the state the power to appoint an “Emergency Manager” who takes over their management. His powers are greater than the elected executive he replaces, since the law allows the EM to change contracts, reduce pay, and take other strong measures to restore the local government to fiscal solvency.[break][break]There is little doubt, that at least for the short and probably mid-term, Michiganers will be better off with the law enacted (the referendum passed) than without it.[break][break]The trend is that local jurisdictions, and school districts especially  are often extremely inefficient, wasteful, ineffective, self-serving and sometimes even outright corrupt. Local councils are often little more than rubber stamps for union contracts. The mere threat of state review, supervision and in extreme cases possible takeover of the local government by the state will alone help to keep them fiscally responsible. Those that are not, can be shepherded less painfully and more efficiently back to fiscal health by the state than they could on their own. The state leverages its resources, economies of scale, greater human resources in expertise, and broader legal powers granted by the law to make the difficult choices needed to break the entrenched interests’s hold over the locality and restore a sound budget. Perhaps most significantly, this is done while avoiding litigation, bankruptcies, and “keeping the lights on”. Essential services like fire protection and law enforcement can be kept running smoothly by the state while the corrections take place. Insolvent local governments on their owns, would in many cases cease to be able to pay their day-to-day operational expenses and shut down.[break][break]Given the above facts, and the radical groups staunchly opposed to the Law (the radical Left together with Unions who fear losing control over local governments and their unaffordable wage, benefits and pension packages), it is uncomfortable to stand alongside, though principle requires it.[break][break]The problem with the law, is that in the broader picture, it is a big government power grab and of very dubious constitutionality. Whether or not the Michigan constitution as it stands would allow such a law, it ought not to. Certainly, such a law at the Federal level is unconstitutional on the face of it. It is also sets a very bad precedent long term.[break][break]. Though their may be short term benefits due to the current situation, in which you often have incompetent and/or corrupt local governments and a much more efficient and intelligently run state government under Rick Snyder, that does not have to be always true. It is easy to envision the big state government under a more bloated, bureaucratic and progressive administration using these powers to usurp responsible and efficient local jurisdiction, a government elected by the local community being replaced by an unalected and all-powerful state manager.[break][break]More importantly, is a core problem with this method of reform. The EM Law continues the tradition of “too big to fail”, of removing personal responsibility and obstructing freedom of contract. Local governments should be free to run their finances as they see fit, including very poorly. They then should be free to suffer the consequences of those choices. If unions or any other entrenched interest are able to negotiate unreasonably high payment packages which force a local government to bankruptcy  that is exactly what should happen. One of the great advantages of a local government is that it CAN go bankrupt without any of the terrible consequences of a country (or even state) going bankrupt. Local governments will have to prove to creditors, taxpayers, workers, and those individuals and companies that wish to do business with it that they are a safe bet. They should be bound by the same laws of nature that bound all other corporations, businesses, organizations or other type of entities. It is being touted as a great plus for the Law, that lawmakers on both sides of the argument have accepted that if the law is struck down, credit rating of many local governments will suffer (making it harder and more expensive to borrow money). That in fact proves how terrible the law is. The credit ratings SHOULD in fact (as we should have learned from the recent financial disaster) reflect the risks and realities of transactions and parties involved. There is no free lunch, and that perceived burden on the localities that will lower their credit ratings, is equal to that burden that will be lifted from the state’s shoulders who no longer has to guarantee every irresponsible local government and their actions. This law makes it so that local governments do not have to go through bankruptcy, but increases the chances that the entire state will have to.[break][break]Ironically, a bankruptcy of a local government actually achieves what the EM law attempts to do in half measures, much more effectively. Nothing breaks standing contracts like a bankruptcy. Nothing can leave a local community with a cleaner slate after having been poorly led and managed than bankruptcy. And yes, the chances that ma happen will make creditors and others weary, as they should be. A local government must prove its trustworthiness by actions and example, by sound and efficient management. If not, it will fail to attract the investors, lenders and others needed for the local government to function. The EM law, strips that responsibility from them. So why are the unions opposed to this law? Well, they rightly fear that a watchful state government will crack down on them BEFORE they actually drive a local government to bankruptcy. The law also allows for continuous review and strong “recommendations” to avoid the state taking over. These will also for sure make local governments, fearful of the takeover, crack down on wasteful spending and bloated union contracts. But in the long run, it is a liberty sapping law. These unelected creations of “Emergency Managers” should not have dictatorial super-executive powers, modifying and abolishing contracts as they see fit. It undermines the entire game, where people, individuals and local governments should all be responsible and mindful of what they sign, and must then live up to it (and likewise feel comfortable that their counter-parties must live up to THEIR promises and guarantees). Only the courts can ultimately do that in case it is needed at bankruptcy or reorganization proceedings.[break][break]The one counterargument to all the above is hat whereas bankruptcy and insolvency can leave a town with the “lights out”, the state can step in earlier and guarantee a continuous supply of essential services while implemented fiscal reform. This is true but hardly enough to warrant the loss of liberty, justice and common sense. Every local jurisdiction (in most US states) is by definition inside a county, where law enforcement is the job of a County Sheriff or similar. If the LAPD disappears tomorrow, all of Los Angeles would still be under the protection of the Los Angeles County Sheriff. Counties and local administrations often make deals about how to divide this and other responsibilities when the local governments begin to tax and spend for themselves, but if these are dissolved, responsibility (and revenue) simply goes back to the county. Beyond this of course, all localities remain within the state and all of its resources, not to mention those of the US Federal Government.[break][break]Only one Republican in the Legislature voted against this law (along with every Democrat), and though this Dale Zorn more likely is foolhardily simply trying to continue his attempts at appeasing the Unions (for either campaign support, votes or both), he was right on, on this issue and his ability to stand apart from the party when needed should be commended. An interesting and complex choice on this one, but it should end a “No”.[break][break]It must be noted that striking this law down does not completely end this state power, as it is would simply revert the previous law notwithstanding, which in this case means a less powerful version of the Emergency Managers law. That should probably be repealed in its own right but that is another matter. How to have the best of both worlds?[break][break]Well, the law would not be so bad, and many of its positive attributes could be saved, if it was voluntary. That would enshrine the principle of freedom of contract instead of suppressing it. Local governments could elect to enter into the State’s protection, in exchange for which they would agree to follow the fiscal guidelines the state requires and submit themselves to review, recommendations etc. These local governments, would be willingly accepting that their choices could lead to the state taking over the local government, and furthermore those that enter into contract with the locality would also be aware of this. On the positive side, creditors and others would feel more comfortable about the long term viability of the government. On the other hand, employees  unions and others would be aware that regardless of what contracts they sign, if the local government is in trouble, an state appointed Emergency Manager could change or revoke them. On the other hand, local governments would be able to opt out of such an arrangement.[break][break]
    • Proposal 2 – “Protect Our Jobs” – “A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION REGARDING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING“[break][break]
      • NO – Liberty repressing union-boss backed piece of marxist legislation  Though it is dressed up in nice euphemisms about “rights” to organize and protecting jobs, it in effects prohibits all sorts of activities and freedom of contract. It puts Michigan’s public and private sectors under the command of union bosses, and would further lead to the state’s economic decline, taking away the very jobs the proponents claim to want to save.[break][break]
    • Proposal 3– Renewable Energy Amendment – “A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION  TO ESTABLISH A STANDARD FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY”[break][break]
      • NO – The amendment would require 25% of energy that all utilities in the state sell come from renewable resources by 2025. Firstly, it actually names the allowed resources (hydro, biomass, solar, wind) , therefore not being broad enough to envision technological advances that might tap energy from other sources. Secondly, it allows extensions to the 2025 “deadline” if the companies o cities cannot do it under cost. So in essence, it does not even promise what it intends to promise.[break][break]Most importantly however, this is the kind of language that has no business being in the Michigan state constitution. Current law in Michigan already require utilities to produce 10% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2015 (10 years earlier). However, the correct answer is less regulation of these companies and not more. Consumers need to have options not only on pricing, but also the source of their electricity. The free market alone is creating innovative technologies that make renewable energy often a more attractive choice. The state may also enact laws to protect its natural resources and ban emission of pollutants, and the free market must adjust to these valid regulations. But micromanaging utilities, making them state sanctioned monopolies, repressing possible competition and taking away the consumer choice of which and what type of electricity to purchase and what cost, is the proven wrong path for any state.[break][break]
    • Proposal 4 – Michigan Home Health Care Amendment – A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO ESTABLISH THE MICHIGAN QUALITY HOME CARE COUNCIL AND PROVIDE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR IN-HOME CARE WORKERS[break][break]
      • NO – More communism.[break][break]
    • Proposal 5– Michigan Taxation Amendment – “A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION TO LIMIT THE ENACTMENT OF NEW TAXES BY STATE GOVERNMENT”
      • YES – This amendment makes it more difficult for the state to raise taxes, or come up with new taxes; the solution lawmakers usually come up with for revenue shortfalls. Taking someone’s earned money by the force of the state is not a light matter, and should be done at least as possible and only when it is absolutely necessary  In order for a democracy to not become, the majority ruling over (and taxing) the minority, limitations are required. This law requires two thirds of the legislature or a statewide vote (of the people) in order to raise taxes. Since two thirds of the legislature (and thus indirectly of the people’s will) is a very inclusive group, and most often must be at least somewhat bipartisan, taxes will only be raised when it is absolutely necessary  When it is necessary however, there will be nothing stopping this from happening.[break][break]The law stops special interest groups and lawmakers from sneaking new taxes into existence without proper public debate or support. It will force the state to act fiscally more responsible, since its ability to tax and spend is curtailed, and will in the long term help its fiscal health, credit ratings and prosperity. from the very poor to relatively well off citizens, their acceptance of new taxation is very legitimate.
    • Proposal 6– Michigan International Bridge Initiative – “A PROPOSAL TO AMEND THE STATE CONSTITUTION REGARDING CONSTRUCTION OF INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES AND TUNNELS”[break][break]
      • NO – This amendment is really being pushed by entrenched interests to protect a monopoly. Competition in border crossings is important for commerce and quality of service. It is the Federal Government’s task to secure the border (though it does not) and control crossing points. The state legislature and executive should have the powers to fund certain projects in relation to that that they deem will be beneficial to the state. It does not mean that they should build more bridges or spend more money, but that they should have the power to. That is why there is an elected legislature and governor, if every power granted to them is taken away and given to the people directly, the republic is dead and mob rule takes its place. The elected officials are supposed to be more learned and intelligent on these matters than the average citizen who has his own life, worries and career to think about. I am all for taking powers from government altogether (and replacing them with freedom and the private sector), that is what a constitution is for, but not of blindly taking them away from elected officials and giving them to voters directly.

 

  • New York

  • US Senate

    • Wendy Long

 

  • Pennsylvania

  • US Senate

    • Tom Smith
  • Attorney General

    • David Freed
  • Treasurer

    • Diana Irey Vaughan
  • Auditor General

    • John Mayer – One of the most fitting and competent state officials on the ballot this election. Mayer not only has business experience, and broad government experience as veteran member of the US House of Representative  but is an expert in forensic auditing and accounting. One can expect he is most conveniently placed to tackle government waste and corruption as Auditor General.

 

 

  • Washington

  • US Senate

    • Michael Baumgartner – Young Smart guy. Well educated and broadly so. Served (as a civilian) in Iraq and Afghanistan, received praises from the likes Of Gen. Petraeus.
  • Governor

    • Rob McKenna – Rob’s credentials blow his opponent’s (Jay Inslee) out of the water. He is well educated with degrees in Economics, International Studies, and Law. After working in the private sector for a decade, he joined local politics and was very successful. He later was an efficient, forceful and successful two-term Attorney General for the State of Washington. McKeena was voted President of the National Association of Attorneys General. He argued and won before the US Supreme Court several times and made maintaining a safe, clean and business friendly community his priority.  During his second term, he joined a coalition of state Attorney Generals challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare.[break][break]McKeenna has moderate Conservative views, he favors lower taxes, less red tape, fiscal responsibility and balanced budgets, school choice, and fighting crime and drugs. He also is pro-choice, wishes to increase education funding, protect the environment and opposes State certified gay marriage. He maintains the voters should decide on its legality, but supports civil unions.
  • Lt. Governor

    • Bill Finkbeiner – Bill has experience in state politics as a representative and as the youngest  state Senate President in Washington’s history. However, he is still somewhat of an outsider, independent from party politics and has spent much of his time as an entrepreneur (while in and out of office). He has worked for the likes of Microsoft and launched successful companies. Bill is a moderate conservative, that is interested in ending party gridlock, single party control of the state, special interest influence, and corruption. He promises to focus on transparency, fiscal discipline and using his office as safe heaven for party cooperation.[break][break]Finkbeiner is a much better choice than his opponent Brad Owen who on the other hand, has done little other than be in office. He has been office since he was 25 years old, a representative at 26, and a Lt. Governor since 1996. He is a typical example of a political insider, in office for over 35 years, embroiled in ethics violation investigations for unreported contributions and a youth group he designed, and the longest sitting Lt. Governor in the United States. Mr. Owen thinks the Lt. Governorship is his private home, and wants to keep it.
  • Attorney General

    • Reagan Dunn – Reagan Dunn has great credentials to be Attorney General. After graduating magna cum laude in Arizona State University, Dunn got his law degree from the University of Washington School of Law, in the state where continued to live and work in private practice. He gained valuable experience in civil litigation and championed small business causes. He then worked under the Department of Justice during the 911 era, where he was a skillful administrator of DJ legal departments, worked in community efforts to curb violence and did his bit to help defend the nation against terror during those difficult times. He was even involved in the prosecution of the so called 20th hijacker (though I am not sure how or to what extent).[break][break]Reagan Dunn then started the phase of his career which best prepared him for the office he now seeks; he was a Special Assistant United States Attorney in several districts and helped prosecute a wide variety of crimes.  He was promoted to the elite Terrorism and Violent Crime Unit in Washington with a special classified clearance.[break][break]After an impressive career as a Federal prosecutor with prior experience in administration in the Department of Justice and business and civil litigation in the private sector, Dunn was elected to the King County Council in 2005, where he has worked on many good projects, reducing taxes, waste and receiving an “Outstanding” rating from the Municipal League of King County (much as McKeena did who Dunn seems to be following in his footsteps from Council to Attorney General).[break]break]Dunn’s opponent on the other hand, could not be a worse choice for Attorney General. Though I have no reason to doubt Bob Ferguson’s character and intentions, he seems to be a nice family man and a good Washingtonian, his background,  experience and ideology could not be worse for the office he seeks. Ferguson has never prosecuted a criminal, though he has helped defend them. Ferguson was a typical civil lawyer who had his hand in suing small and large businesses alike, for good and bad reasons alike. After this legal experience, he ran for the office he has held since in the King County Council. Membership in the council is the only thing he and Dunn share, other than both being avid outdoors men (though I assume Ferguson doesn’t hunt). Ferguson’s most notable achievement while in the council however, is NEVER having voted against a tax increase. Ferguson’s ideology of an intrusive government that taxes the life out productive citizenry is old, tried and failed. His experience as a prosecutor is nill (Attorney General is the State’s top law enforcer), and he has never argued before higher courts. Frankly, even his “civil litigation” record is largely exaggerated  There are very few instances where he ever was lead attorney, he never handled any important or complex cases, and he has NEVER tried a case in court (not that Dunn has many times either, but at least he has).   Bob Ferguson’s experience amounts to voting to raise taxes in the King County Council. Reagan Dunn is a moderate Republican (Washington Style), and will be an efficient State Attorney.
  • Secretary of State

    • Kim Wyman
  • State Treasurer

    • Odd race between the formerly unopposed Democratic Jim McIntire and Sharon Hanek.  Sharon Hanek is to be admired for her grass roots efforts to become the first write-in candidate to get into a statewide ballot. She describes herself as a Christian Conservative, is staunchly pro gun owner rights and against gay marriage. The Lighthouse commends her for her activism, for her values and her patriotism, but must fall short of an endorsement. It is not clear that she is qualified to be a State Treasurer, although she is a CPA (unlike her opponent) and has political experience working with fellow Republicans on accounting and economic analysis. I believe running for a more junior or local position to begin with, would have been wiser. Usually, one must prove themselves in some position of great authority, government position, or in the private sector in some outstanding fashion before having large support to to walk in and be State Treasurer. [break][break]On the other hand, the incumbent and Sharon’s opponent, Jim McIntire, has been an efficient Treasurer to say the least. His background, with a several degrees including a masters in public administration and a PhD in Economics is very well suited for the post. He has ample experience in the private sector and in government including having been a state representative. He has maintained Washington’s credit rating through very difficult times, and has been a conservative force in an otherwise very spending-happy Democratic state party. He has often been behind fiscally conservative measures like the “rainy day” fund, and lowering the debt ceiling. Though unsure about his ideology, given the two choices, we endorse McIntire who is an intelligent, well educated man and an efficient state Treasurer.
  • State Auditor

    • James Watkins – James is a a nice guy, with excellent credentials for the position. He has tons of experience in performance and financial auditing and consulting both in the private and government sectors. From a young age, he has been a risk taker and an an achiever (moving to Alaska and managing a rural bank at a very tender age). An outdoors man and sportsman, involved in the community and a family man.[break][break]His opponent Troy Kelley also shares some of these good qualities,  but has less real experience in the types of auditing a state auditor can and should do. He also is mired in some legal controversies and accusations  which true or not, hit an especially sensitive spot when it comes to a State Auditor who must be, before or else, incorruptible. Watkins’ ideology of fiscal discipline, lowering state spending and waste, while improving performance is superior to Kelley’s mixed bag on those issues.
  • Superintendent of Public Instruction

    • Ronald L Higgins – I have to give Mr. Higgins one of the biggest endorsements the Lighthouse has made for this election. Americans don’t get better than Ron. Mr Higgins is a Vietnam War Veteran who served as Helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps, and a retired as Reserve Lt. Colonel in the reserves. Mr. Higgins has several academic degrees (including two masters) and worked in the Department of Energy as an engineer until 2009.[break][break]As the good citizen that he is, real retirement around golf courses and bingo was not for him; instead he immediately got his teacher’s certification and began substitute teaching. He even got licence to be a substitute school bus driver. Mr. Higgins has taught since, and though it is not too many years, it has given him an extraordinarily broad spectrum of the Washington school system. He has taught every grade, every type of school, in at least six school districts and including bilingual and special education classes. He was able to meet thousands of students, and hundreds (if not thousands) of public education staff, and been able to compare and contrast different schools, with different management styles and philosophies. These years of teaching experienced, combined with his previous teaching and leadership experience in the Marine Cops and Department of Energy (at many points in his career in both he taught, was a trainer or examiner)  give him an excellent background in education. Uniquely, his educational experience has been extremely broad, teaching several subjects, to students of all ages in schools of many types. An intelligent man as he is, will have collected a vast number of observations and issues facing Washington’s schools, methods that work and those that do not.[break][break]Due to these, Mr. Higgins has spelled out very clearly some of the issues that he will tackle as Superintendent. This is of course quite unfortunate for his campaign, since his opponent Randy Dorn is doing much better by saying nothing in a few pleasant sounding words, and enjoying his professionally produced campaign Website. Mr Higgins has been stunned by the lack of civics in the modern classroom. Students know nothing of the nations founding documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Basics such as Math and English are ignored while students are often thrown into higher education classes which demoralize many of the students who are neither interested nor ready for them. The emphasis is seen in promoting a liberal social agenda and throwing as many students as possible into college, cheapening the value and standards of a bachelors degree while burdening many young people with unsustainable debt. Basics and skills required for jobs are meanwhile completely absent from school systems, as are the lessons in civics and history of the country’s founding principles. Mr. Higgins has an energetic and youthful personality, is a family man of principle and character who has already done a lifetime of work for his country, in and out of fire. Before he is done, he wishes to improve the education level of the new generation that somehow are meant to carry those very same principles forward which they most often are not even aware of. Washington voters would be wise (though it is unlikely they will be) to give him that opportunity.[break][break]Ron Higgins’ opponent on the other hand, is a tired old leftist politician who has done little except continuously demand more and more spending for his education bureaucracy (and not for the students) as legislator, head of the second largest education employee Union in the state (Public School Employees of Washington), and more recently as the incumbent Superintendent of Public Instruction.
  • Insurance Commissioner

    • John R Adams – Apparently from the same family as John Adams. Works for me.
  • Commissioner of Public Lands

    • Clint Didier – NFL Hall of Famer.
  • Ballot Measures

    • Initiative 1185– Save the 2/3 Vote for Tax Increases (Again) Act Initiative 1185[break][break]
      • YES – A previous initiative (1053) was very widely approved by the voters but was held up by activist judges. The current measure hopes to extend and support its validity and reach. Simple enough  politicians love to tax, and people in general love to vote to take other people’s money. This in large part has led to the nationwide financial collapses. This measure makes it more difficult for legislatures to take more of people’s hard earned money. It makes them have to look to other solutions first. In cases where there is a true need, or no other choice, mustering two thirds is still quite possible. It usually will however, require some bipartisan work and compromise.[break][break]
    • Initiative 1240– Washington Charter School Initiative[break][break]
      • YES – The initiative is not perfect, but there are little grounds to oppose it since it is much better than nothing. The initiative is a modest experimentation with Charter Schools in a state that currently does not allow them. The initiative allows a maximum of 40 charter schools to be established within the next 5 years. They are free from much of the regulations and bureaucracy that hinder standard public schools. The Charter schools must be non-profit and cannot be religious or sectarian in nature. They must hire state certified teachers and abide by state academic standards. This initiative still provides for a lot of state oversight over the Charter Schools  They simply will allow parents more choice in their children’s education and allow for innovative educators and teachers to come up with more efficient and custom tailored school environments for certain students. As Charter Schools have become more common across the country, they are now less feared and more trusted as their performance tends to be much higher than regular public schools.[break][break]Of course, the usual teacher’s unions and state worker political machine are busy trying to defeat the measure. Standing opposed includes our previously un-endorsed friend Randy Dorn. What do they fear? Just competition, loss of control, money, perks, pensions, etc. If the Charter schools actually do better, the public school system might have to work harder or continue to lose students to more Charter Schools that the voters would continue to approve.[break][break]
    • Referendum 74– Washington Same-Sex Marriage Referendum[break][break]
      • REJECT – Referendum 74 is a veto referendum. It is a measure to ask the people if they approve or reject the legislature’s law  Senate Bill 6239 (SB 6239) that was signed into law by Governor Christine Gregoire. SB6239 is an extreme measure in the gay marriage debate. For more on this issue, see this previous article.[break][break]The issue here is not what is so often espoused, “legalizing gay marriage” as if it was illegal, which it is not. What SB6239 actually does is redefine marriage at the state level, as gender-less. It orders all other laws, regulations and statues that have the words “husband or wife” to be considered gender-less as well. Not only does it simply allow same sex couples to get a marriage licence but redefines marriage for all citizens  A husband and wife therefore, only happen to be a couple of mixed genders, a mom and dad also only happen to be a man and a woman.[break][break]The bill goes further. Not only does it redefine marriage (which will cause legal messes everywhere, such as in family law and divorce and custody proceedings (how can a mom’s general priority in custody be upheld in this genderless new world?), but will also hurt religious freedom and invite litigation against those who do not wish to participate in such marriage ceremonies. The bill does provide protections for clergy against being sued, but what about wedding photographers, caterers, bands and anyone else who may come into contact with a same sex couple? And perhaps most amazingly of all, not only does this bill not give the right to same sex couples to marry (which they already have, under clergy who agree to perform such a ceremony), but it does FORCE them to. Domestic partnerships and civil unions, which currently exist in Washington State and are perfectly legal, will all be automatically turned into marriages unless the same sex couple dissolve them. This is shocking. So same sex couples who do not believe in marriage, or in gay marriage or for any other reason(s) do not wish to be married, but are otherwise content with their civil unions or domestic partnerships will be forced to dissolve them or automatically be married by the state. Simply outrageous. Regardless of what your personal values and beliefs about marriage (and gay marriage), this bill should be soundly Rejected.[break][break]
    • SJR 8221– Washington State Debt Constitutional Amendment[break][break]
      • YES[break][break]
    • SJR 8223– Washington Public University Investments Amendment[break][break]
      • YES

 

 

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Comments

5 Responses to US 2012 Nov 6 Ballot Voter Guide

  1. Jenny says:

    Hello there, just wondering how you came to voting no for the Colorado judges? How did you research them? Thanks!

  2. Kyle says:

    FYI, according to the USDA, organic food can not be genetically engineered. Therefore there is no reason to subject organic foods to the GMO labeling requirement as it would be redundant.

    From the USDA web site:
    What is organic?
    Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used


    • Thanks for the feedback, and the USDA info.

      Firstly, if organic food could not be genetically engineered, then there would be no reason to exempt it. It is the exemption that would be redundant in that case. Thirty-year-olds are not exempt from the underage drinking laws, they simple are allowed to drink under them. Why would organic food ever have to e labeled GE or GMO? And thus why would the exemption ever be needed?

      Though it is true that the USDA claims to not grant organic labels to foods that are genetically engineered or modified, the devil is in the details. My attempt in the article was to show how different and widespread GMOs truly are in our agriculture than people tend to think, and how broad and unclear that definition truly is. That is why the exemption is crucial for the writers of this law. The USDA describes the type of genetic engineering that is not allowed in organic production as:

      A variety of methods to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions or processes and are not considered compatible with organic production. Such methods include cell fusion, microencapsulation and macroencapsulation, and recombinant DNA technology (including gene deletion, gene doubling, introducing a foreign gene, and changing the positions of genes when achieved by recombinant DNA technology). Such methods do not include the use of traditional breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture. (7 CFR § 205.2-Terms defined)

      Firstly, note that “traditional breeding, conjugation, fermentation, hybridization, in vitro fertilization, or tissue culture” are not included, but these are all ways to alter the genetic makeup of an organism. The last three, products of a modern biotechnological age. Also note that the whole definition of not possible “under natural means” is vague at best and likely very flawed. Traditional breeding and in vitro fertilization among others are not “natural means” are they? On the other hand, “introduction of a foreign gene” and many other types of genetic changes, insertions and deletions are.

      Today, we know that gene flow in nature is not only vertical (parents to offspring), but horizontal as well(especially in plant species and microoganisms). Transposons, retrotransposons, proviruses and other mobile genetic elements all are capable of changing organisms on a massive scale in nature. In fact, this is how we get our famously antibiotic resistance bacteria. No one engineers them, they engineer themselves (by the very presence of the antibiotic of course). More than that, and in at the very base level… our modern understanding of evolution (and thus all of the earth’s existing and extinct biodiversity) comes from the concept of gene mutations. To be descriptive, in nature not only can a tomato evolve to be more hardy, but it can mutate into a Tyrannosaurus rex.

      We are taught that all the different traits on earth, are due to random genetic mutations, that occur quite naturally.

      Organic food can be genetically engineered and modified just as much or as little as any other food. Our entire base stock for agriculture has been already genetically modified, first for millenia through selection, and in the last 100 years by many more modern methods. Bananas no longer have seeds, and cannot even reproduce naturally anymore, the great majority of our fruit bearing species must be grafted to grow. Ironically those same bananas are in danger of extinction because of lack of genetic diversity. Without engineering, they are likely to die out. Tissue culture to screen for genes and traits is extremely commonplace in order to introduce and create hybrid for production.

      It is the type (the species, subspecies, breed, variety or cultivar, etc) of the food raised or grown that makes it genetically engineered, not how you grow it. If I take a genetically engineered tomato plant or seed, grow it organically (basically without the use of pesticides) and harvest tomatoes from it, those tomatoes would be genetically engineered AND organically grown. Except that under proposition 37, I could lie about the genetic engineered part and just label them organic.

      And the problem with the USDA definition is its vagueness and contradictory character. Organic is about a method of growing, and genetic engineering or modification is about developing through selection or other means, better varieties of plants and animals. We have been developing new types, cultivars and breeds for thousands of years. As my article states, domestic chickens, cows, dogs, cats and even goldfish were all developed by man from their wild counterparts. This is in essence genetic engineering. With crops, we select traits for pest resistance, drought resistance, bigger and tastier fruit, etc. As science has progressed, the speed at which we can do that also has increased dramatically.

      Not only can organic foods be genetically modified, but they are even MORE dependent on it. Because organic foods must, as your definition states, be grown in certain ways, they often must be superior to standard varieties in order to be successfully grown. Most importantly is disease and pest resistance, because pesticides, certain fertilizers and other chemicals cannot be used. Anyone who thinks those luscious large brightly colored “organic” vegetables in our supermarket shelves are the original wild type is sorely mistaken, they have been most definitely genetically altered.

      I suppose the problem is that the term “genetically engineered” sounds much more sinister than it is… it just means certain traits are selected for by man in order to improve breeds. Everything from our corn to your poodle has been so bred by man.

      So what is it that we are after here? That if two species are crossed in order to introduce a gene from one into the other, that is perfectly organic, along all with the natural mutations, virus contamination, vertical gene flow. If cells are fertilized in vitro, cultured in labs, mixed, hybridized and grafted that is all organic as well… but if a man with a needle inserts a disease resistance gene into one of the cells now it is not organic? The banana, all clones of each other and no longer able to reproduce is not genetically modified? Not if we don’t use pesticides on it, because then it is organic.

      This was the essence of my article. 1. Genetic engineering is not what people tend to think it is, and it is much more benign and commonplace.

      2. It would be very tricky to fairly define what is genetically modified and what isn’t since almost everything we raise and grow is.

      3. Even if you believe genetically engineered foods should be labeled, or banned, this proposition does neither. It is a special interest measure, that allows the organic industry to bypass this requirement (without any reasonable just cause to do so) and continue to grow and sell genetically engineered food without labeling it so. More deceivingly, when all other foods have to be labeled so, and the public assumes ALL genetically engineered foods are labeled, the consumers of organic foods will be greatly misled.

      4. Finally, it is another complex, expensive, hard to enforce, intrusive, unnecessary bureaucratic government requirement that will hurt many farmers, growers and grocers, while unfairly help many others (which is why they sport it). Plenty of lawyers will be happy about the endless litigation it will cause. Not to mention the fines, arrests and indictments on unsuspecting farmers who will be unfamiliar with the technicalities of the law.

      A final note on why the exemption is so critical here. Proposition 37 would have done everyone a favor and could be approached with greater trust if it did not include that special interest exemption. Currently, the “organic” label is voluntary and it is in general a positive. It can increase sales and/or sale price. No one however is forced to get it. Companies do their best to get approved, and though I am reasonably certain that most under that label do not use pesticides, it is clear that any GMO requirement is much more loosely adhered to. The new measure is the opposite.

      The GE or GMO label will be a negative, scaring consumers away from your product and lowering its price. It will also not be voluntary, but rather companies will be forced to stamp them on their products. The burden of proof shifts drastically here, since companies will now have to try to convince the state government that they should not have the label, as opposed to the other way around. This will be a legal mess. Organic producers will not have that burden and can simply bypass it. Will it drive some non organic producers out of business, out of the state, and others to change to organic production? Yes. But that is the deception of the bill. The organic industry is now plagued with having to sell at higher prices than the traditional agriculture. This bill will tilt the balance, and it has nothing to do with GE or GMO species. By driving consumers away from products with the scary genetically modified labels, the organic industry will be able to continue to sell at higher prices. Eventually, all food can switch over to the organic label and NONE will have to be labeled as genetically modified ironically, as if it never existed.

      If the people want to ban pesticides, or demand all foods be organically grown, that is what they should vote on. But this bill is deceptive in the extreme and simply meant to bolster organic producers, genetically modified or otherwise, and destroy the rest of the agriculture sector, while raising prices on the consumer.

      And if the people wish to ban certain biotechnology methods, like where the man in a white lab-coat manually injects a gene into a cell, then they could do that as well. Clear laws, not misleading ones. And if after all, they really do just want to label foods genetically modified, then the bill they should vote on should have no hidden exemptions to any industry, and clearly state what kinds of practices will be labeled as what. This Genetically engineered concept is nothing but scare tactics that preys on the consumers’ misinformation.

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