Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

From Daylight Saving Time to Kidney Dialysis & Rent Control, Initiative Recommendations

At the request of many readers, here are my personal recommendations on the Nov. 6 ballot measures.

First, in Los Angeles County, No on Measure W, a new property tax on homeowners, apartment buildings and businesses to pay for stormwater projects. It would raise $300 million per year, just enough to fill up a pot of money for politicians to spread around.

No on Proposition 1, a $4 billion general obligation bond for affordable housing, including $1 billion for veterans' home loans. The veterans' loans cost taxpayers nothing but the rest of it will run $200 million per year for 35 years. Bonds are borrowed money, repaid to investors with interest. As of Sept. 1, California had $73.2 billion in long-term general obligation bonds outstanding, and tens of billions more authorized by voters but not yet issued.

No on Proposition 2, a $2 billion general obligation bond to pay for housing for the mentally ill homeless, to be repaid with tax money that was supposed to be spent on programs for mental health services, but wasn't.

No on Proposition 3, which authorizes $8.877 billion in general obligation bonds for water projects and parks, including $2.355 billion for "river parkways." Total cost: $17.3 billion including interest, or $433 million per year for 40 years. Voters approved $4 billion in water-related bonds in June, and we're still waiting for the new reservoirs from the Proposition 1 bonds in 2014.

No on Proposition 4, which is a $1.5 billion bond, $2.9 billion with interest, to fund grants for construction and equipping of children's hospitals. Why not just pay it from the general fund without interest?

Yes on Proposition 5, which allows homeowners age 55 and older to sell their home, buy a replacement property anywhere in the state and transfer the property tax base from the old home to the new one so the taxes stay the same. Current law limits these transfers to a handful of counties that accept them.

Yes on Proposition 6, which is the gas tax repeal initiative, repealing last year's 12-cent tax hike on gasoline, the 20-cent tax hike on diesel (which raises the price of everything moved by truck, like food) and the hike in the vehicle registration fee. Before this tax increase, California had the fifth-highest gas taxes in the country, but the money was misspent on wrongheaded priorities and waste. Other states have lower taxes and better roads. Let's do that.

Whatever on Proposition 7, a purely advisory measure about Daylight Saving Time. Nothing changes unless the Legislature and Congress say so.

No on Proposition 8, which is a measure that would try to put price controls on kidney dialysis clinics, which is likely to create shortages of kidney dialysis clinics.

There is no Proposition 9, since the state Supreme Court yanked the "Three Californias" measure from the ballot.

No on Proposition 10, which is trying to repeal a 1995 state law that prevents new local rent control laws. If it passes, cities could put rent controls on any rental housing, even on single-family homes and condos. It will discourage new construction and worsen the housing crisis.

Yes on Proposition 11, which would allow private ambulance companies to continue to require that EMTs and paramedics remain on-call during meals and rest breaks, just as the firefighters in our cities are required to be.

No on Proposition 12, which would require specific square footage for the confinement of calves, pigs and hens, and bans the sale of meat and eggs from non-complying businesses. It would raise prices and drive businesses out of the state.

Susan Shelley is an editorial writer and columnist for the Southern California News Group. Twitter: @Susan_Shelley.


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