in the election Tuesday, November 2nd:
36th District — Jane Harman
35th District — Maxine Waters
30th District — Henry Waxman
23rd District — Sheila Kuehl
53rd District — Mike Gordon
Proposition 1A ñ Protection of local government revenues — YES
Proposition 59 ñ Public access to public records; government meetings open to the public — YES
Proposition 60 ñ Retains partisan primary elections — NO
Proposition 60A ñ Money from sale of most surplus state property would go to pay off specific state bonds — YES
Proposition 61 ñ Authorizes $750 million in bonds for children’s hospital projects — YES
Proposition 62 ñ Establishes open primaries; voters in state primaries could vote for candidates in any political party — YES
Proposition 63 ñ Establishes a one percent surcharge on net annual incomes above $1 million to fund mental health services — YES
Proposition 64 ñ Requires that plaintiffs in “unfair business” lawsuits have actually suffered losses before lawsuits can be filed — YES
Proposition 65 ñ Requires voter approval before state can take funding away from counties, cities and special districts — NO
Proposition 66 ñ Limits “Three Strikes” law to violent and serious felonies; increases punishment for crimes against children— YES
Proposition 67 ñ Increases telephone surcharges and establishes other funds for emergency medical services — YES
Proposition 68 ñ Casino gambling; unless Indian casinos agree to pay 25 percent of their revenues to the state, 16 non-Indian establishments (card rooms and horse-racing tracks) could establish 30,000 slot machines, with 33 percent of their revenue going to the state — NO
Proposition 69 ñ Requires collection of DNA from felons and others arrested for certain crimes; DNA information would be placed in a state DNA data bank — NO
Proposition 70 ñ Gives Indian tribes unlimited casino expansion rights for 99 years in exchange for 8.84 percent of revenues — NO
Proposition 71 ñ Establishes a state institute to regulate and fund stem cell research, authorizes a bond issue of up to $3 billion to finance stem cell research and forbids funding of human reproductive cloning research — YES
Proposition 72 ñ Endorses state legislation requiring employers of more than 50 employees to provide healthcare insurance for uninsured workers — NO
Measure A ñ Authorizes a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for expanded law enforcement in the county and each of its cities — YES
City of Los Angeles
Proposition O ñ Authorizes $500 million in bonds to pay for storm water projects, efforts to keep pollution and trash out of rivers, creeks and beaches, maintain clean drinking water, reduce impact of flooding and increase water conservation — YES
City of Santa Monica
Measure N ñ Increases the hotel occupancy tax from 12 to 14 percent — YES
Santa MonicaCommunity College District
Measure S ñ Authorizes the college district to issue $135 million in bonds to replace or repair deteriorating buildings, construct and equip laboratories and meet new needs in emerging technologies — YES
Why we made these decisions:
All three local incumbent congressional members deserve reelection. The greatest federal issue facing the 36th and 35th Districts is the threatened expansion of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
Both Jane Harman and Maxine Waters have been outstanding in their efforts to support LAX neighbors in holding back the onslaught of LAX plans to dump more traffic, pollution and congestion in and around LAX.
30th District Congressman Henry Waxman has been a national leader in health care and senior issues. The older we get, the more we appreciate Waxman’s leadership in ensuring that the health of seniors isn’t pushed aside to help balance federal budgets.
And now a special word about Maxine Waters:
We find ourselves a bit stunned that we would be endorsing and praising Waters, who over the years has been a strong spokesperson for liberal causes that are far from our political stance.
But we have been pleasantly surprised — indeed, almost shocked — by the way Waters has plunged into the LAX issue on behalf of Westchester constituents, many of whom are strong conservatives.
Waters didn’t need to do this. We are reminded of former Assemblyman Curtis Tucker, who had a secure seat and never bothered much with Westchester and Playa del Rey. We ran into Tucker at a meeting outside the area and reminded him that he didn’t come to Playa del Rey or Westchester very often.
Tucker just smiled and replied, “No, I don’t, do I?” He couldn’t have cared less about our local area or our problems with LAX.
Waters could be in the same situation, if she wished.
She hardly needs the electoral support of West-chester to win reelection. Indeed, Westchester needs Waters more than Waters needs Westchester.
But Waters embraced Westchester soon after redistricting gave her this conservative corner in a new district. She showed up at local meetings, trotted downtown to hearings on LAX, wrote letters and pounded the bully pulpit on behalf of her airport-adjacent Westchester constituents.
Yes, Waters is aggressive, loud-mouthed and at times a bit obnoxious. She is exactly what West-chester neighbors need now as they battle efforts to expand LAX.
We take this opportunity to thank her for her past support of our Westchester community. We urge our Westchester neighbors to keep this great support alive during the next two years.
Westchester is lucky to have Maxine Waters standing up for its interests, both here locally and back in Washington, D.C.
SHEILA KUEHL: When California Journal, the state’s most influential publication covering all things dealing with state government, publishes its annual ranking of State Legislature members, Sheila Kuehl’s name is always at the top or near the top of the Legislature’s most intelligent members. When she was in the State Assembly, followers of the State Legislature usually ranked her as the best member of the Assembly. Her high ranking followed her to the State Senate, where she remains on most lists of “best legislators.” Kuehl is seeking a second term. At a time when many in the State Legislature are considered less than brilliant, it would be a shame to lose one of the State Senate’s brightest stars.
MIKE GORDON: Another strong supporter of LAX neighbors who seeks to hold back unnecessary expansion of LAX is former El Segundo mayor Mike Gordon.
Gordon has been so involved in fighting those who would expand LAX that he has almost become the poster boy for LAX neighbors who desperately need leadership to help slow down, if not stop, the downtown L.A. effort to expand the airport.
Now Gordon is moving up, seeking the 53rd Assembly seat that George Nakano must give up because of term limits.
Gordon’s opponents in this Assembly race are virtual unknowns, not only to our local community but to the LAX issue. It would be foolish for those concerned about the possible expansion of LAX to turn back Gordon’s leadership at this crucial time in exchange for somebody who has no experience or association with our community or its problems.
Prop. 1A and 65 are linked — 65 was proposed first and then 1A was offered as an improvement. While both are designed to keep the State Legislature from taking funds away from counties, cities and special districts, 1A would do a better job and even earlier supporters of 65 now urge defeat of that measure. YES on 1A, NO on 65.
Prop. 59 is designed to make sure the public gets access to decisions that impact the public. Government bureaucrats seem to be working overtime in their efforts to keep public information away from the public. Too many of these bureaucrats — and even local officials — see the public as nothing more than a damn nuisance. Some even claim it is too expensive to keep the public informed on meeting agendas and decisions that impact the public. We say “shame” on those local officials who want to blame the press for keeping the spotlight on them. YES on 59.
Prop. 60 would retain partisan primaries while Prop. 62 would take the state back to open primaries where voters could vote in a primary for any candidate, even candidates not in their parties. It is highly probable that Arnold Schwarzenegger would never have been elected governor if he had had to go through a Republican primary to get to the general election. Open primaries usually bring more moderate candidates to the forefront, while closed, partisan primaries are too often won by the extremes of both parties. NO on 60 and YES on 62.
Prop. 60A would help pay off those expensive bonds Gov. Schwarzenegger put on taxpayers to help bail out the state budget deficit. Using funds from the sale of surplus property seems like a common-sense way to help lower this terrible deficit. YES on 60A.
Prop. 61 would help fund children’s hospitals. Everyone moans about the closure of so many hospitals. The money has to come from somewhere to keep these facilities open. YES on 61
Prop. 63 would place a one percent surcharge on income taxes for those whose annual income is one million dollars or more. This is not a tax on millionaires — it is a tax on personal income. Many, if not most, millionaires do not earn a net million dollars a year. We have heard a lot of nonsense over this proposition, with suggestions that the surcharge will drive those making a net million dollars or more out of the state. Does anybody really think that those movie stars who make $20 million per picture are somehow going to flee the state because they have to shell out another one percent of their net income? This is chump change for some of these folks. YES on 63.
Prop. 64 is designed to end the extortion type lawsuits that have plagued small businesses. Attorneys who threaten to sue small businesses over such issues as parking lot handicap spots with fading paint have been running amok during recent years. The proposition does nothing to stop plaintiffs who actually have been injured from having the right to sue. YES on 64.
Prop. 66 would limit felonies to be considered under the state’s “Three Strikes Law” to serious felonies — not simply the theft of a pizza. To ensure that certain crimes still bring appropriate punishment, Prop. 66 increases punishment against children. YES on 66.
Prop. 67 is another effort to help fund emergency medical services. Those who bemoan the closure of too many emergency rooms, especially in our Los Angeles area, should support this. The rest of us may need these services, too. YES on 67.
Prop. 68 and Prop. 70 would increase the number of slot machines in the state. As most folks know by now, Prop. 68 is promoted by race tracks and card rooms that want to get in on the slot machine action, while Prop. 70 is promoted by a single Indian tribe that wants absolute control over how much and what kind of gambling it can develop on its reservation. Prop. 70 is probably the most onerous item on the Tuesday, November 2nd, ballot. Enough of this gambling, already. We are disappointed that Sheriff Lee Baca would allow himself to be a huckster for gambling interests in promoting Prop. 68. Makes it rather difficult to retain respect for the sheriff as he tries to promote his half-cent sales tax increase (County Measure A). NO on both 68 and 70.
Prop. 69 sounds innocent enough until you read the small print. The proposition is designed to expand the state’s DNA database by requiring DNA from felons. So far, so good. Then you find out that the DNA will be collected not only from convicted felons but from anybody who is stopped under the suspicion of having committed a felony. Instead of being presumed innocent until proven guilty, those arrested would have to prove themselves innocent to have their DNA removed from the database of felons. This is a new and dangerous intrusion on privacy rights. As one who has a common last name, we know the opportunity of being confused with others with a similar name. There are just too many Johnsons running around out there for us to be comfortable with this threat to privacy. NO on 69.
Prop. 71 would establish a state institute to regulate and fund stem cell research. This is the most exciting and possibly most important measure on the ballot. The opportunities and optimism for advances in controlling serious diseases are endless. The older we get, the more we should support this measure. YES on 71.
Prop. 72 is a troublesome proposition that is designed to bring health insurance to employees. It is a noble cause and one that deserves support. But not through the bureaucratic mess that 72 would create. Our problem is not with employers paying for health insurance for their employees, but for the new bureaucratic layer of regulation this proposition would create. Prop. 72 does nothing to control health insurance costs and probably would contribute to even higher health insurance costs, especially with the cost of providing this new layer of administration. The Orange County Register said it best when it suggested Prop. 72 would bring employees and their dependents “the bedside manner of the DMV.” No on 72.
County Measure A would increase the sales tax in the county a half-cent to pay for expanded law enforcement in the county and its cities. As usual, the pie has been carved up to make sure everybody gets a piece. The measure almost didn’t make it onto the ballot because the district attorney complained that his share wasn’t enough. This measure requires a two-thirds approval by voters and many insiders we talk to don’t think it will get that many votes. There’s a lot of money involved in this and some of it might even trickle down to where it is promised. YES on A.
City of Los Angeles Proposition O is designed to help keep all that trash from coming down Ballona Creek and into the Marina. And, of course, in slowing down, if not stopping, trash from being dumped into storm drains and ending up on our beaches. The more people we get, the more trash we create. Somebody has to pay to stop — or at least, slow down — the process. YES on Prop. O
Santa Monica Measure N would increase the City of Santa Monica bed tax two percent — from 12 percent to 14 percent — bringing the tax up to the same levels as the Cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. Interestingly, the tax increase has not been opposed by either the local chamber of commerce or the hotels most impacted. YES on N.
Santa Monica College Measure S would authorize bonds for the college to replace or repair deteriorating buildings and help the college stay abreast of new technologies. Some critics want to confuse Measure S with Measure U, a Santa Monica College bond issue two years ago that was designed to help the college recover from the disastrous Northridge Earthquake. Measure U was restricted to earthquake damage and none of those funds can be used for the proposed projects that would benefit with Measure S. YES on S.