The November Elections and the Choices We Face

The November 6th election ballot is filled with propositions that can have a direct effect on our lives. They impact public education, the food we eat, and other questions we face in these difficult times.

The economic crisis has meant continued attacks on the quality of our lives. The politicians have cut social services and education to the bone just when we need help the most. The ballot propositions give us a little say in how some things will be decided – certainly not enough. So, we need to know what these propositions are about and make the best decisions possible within the limited choices presented to us.

– Yes on Proposition 30!

Sacramento’s policies of cutbacks have led us to the edge of the cliff. And now Governor Brown is telling us that if we don’t vote for Prop 30, education in California will go over the edge, with more than $6 billion in “trigger cuts” from kindergarten through the universities.

This proposition is a band-aid not a cure. It prevents more huge cuts to education by putting a small income tax increase on those who make more than $250,000 a year as well as adding a small sales tax on all of us (about $4 for each $100 we spend). It does not restore the money that has been cut from California schools already but it can prevent the cuts from getting even worse this coming year.

We think we need to Vote Yes on 30 to prevent even bigger education losses this coming year.

– No on Prop 32 – An Attack on the Unions

Proposition 32 is written to sound like it will work to keep “special interests” from influencing elections. What Prop 32 does is make it harder for unions to use dues money to participate in elections while the rich, the big corporations and banks can use their money the way they choose.

The only ones who should have the right to decide how union money is spent are the workers who are the members of the unions!

We say Vote No on Prop 32.

– No on Prop 38!

Proposition 38 claims to address the funding of education by imposing an income tax increase on everyone in California who earns more than $7,316. These increases would take place next year, doing nothing to stop this year’s “trigger cuts” of more than $6 billion.

Only Proposition 30 or Proposition 38 can win. We say Vote No on Prop 38.

– Yes on Prop 37 – The Right to Know!

Prop 37 demands that food companies reveal whether they are using Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in their food products by including a notation on all food labeling in California. Huge agribusiness has spent tens of millions to try to defeat this initiative.

We have a right to know what we are putting into our bodies and feeding our children! There is increasing research that GMOs, which have not been well tested over long periods of time can cause cancer and other health problems.

We say Vote Yes on Prop 37.

The elections and these propositions are frustrating. It is rare that we can choose a candidate who really represents our interests or propositions that present us with a choice that we would like to make. Politicians, and the big money interests have created the choices for us. This is their version of democracy – for us to choose public education that is partially funded or drastically under-funded or to decide how much we will raise our taxes while the billionaires and their corporations continue to get tax breaks. Why is it even a question whether we are allowed to know the content of the foods we eat? The elections show us how little this system represents our interests.

Voting takes about 15 minutes and maybe an hour of thought beforehand. The outcomes of November 6th will not solve the problems we all face.  At best the crisis in education may be forestalled or a label will be put on a box of cereal. But this will not bring about the real changes we need. November 6th will be over soon. The real question for us is, what are we willing to do from here on?