Most of us will shortly receive an absentee ballot in the mail for the upcoming Nov. 4 election. Other than the continuous and deceptive ranting by health care lobbies about threats of higher medical costs if we pass Propositions45 and 46, this election seems under the radar. I always read the actual language of any bill or proposition.
Usually I uncover hidden purposes that are misrepresented or misstated in election ads.
Of course I found some very misleading wording again this time and feel it my duty to pass along to our Signal readers the bottom line of proposed measures.
Proposition 2 seems to have the usual opponents who claim a “no” vote “would protect our schools.” The measure mandates that 1.5 percent of general fund revenues be allocated to the “state stabilization account.”
This account essentially pays off California’s debt and maintains a reserve account in preparation for the next recession. Excess funds collected when the economy is healthy would be used for school reserves.
Despite the complaints from teacher groups about “losing money,” the passage of Prop 2 will help avoid massive teacher layoffs, borrowing money at high interest rates, and leverages tax revenues during good economic times to smooth out the budget in tougher times.
I recommend a “yes” vote on Prop 2.
Proposition 45 would require approval by the California Insurance Commissioner before health care providers can jack up your rates.
Right now, the commissioner has no power to stop the unending upward spiral of health policy increases. The health care lobby wants to remain free to gouge the public at will and claims that a “yes” vote will give the commission “too much power.”
I say check “yes” on Proposition 45 and make health care providers get approval for rate hikes. The insurance commissioner must have the legal authority to hold health-care providers accountable.
Right now, a malpractice award is limited to $250,000 per event. As we know, this amount is arbitrary and essentially holds unaccountable those guilty of medical misconduct.
Proposition 46 increases the top award for malpractice to $1.1 million, requires that doctors are periodically drug tested, and instructs pharmacies to maintain and monitor dispensation of prescription drugs.
Pharmaceutical firms are fighting Prop 46 because they want to keep the doctors prescribing and selling pain killers un-monitored. Doctors are objecting to drug testing because we would weed out physicians who themselves are strung out on medication.
Health-care providers want limits on malpractice to keep their exposure to medical misconduct at a minimum. None of these objections have service of the public in mind.
Of course a “yes” vote on Proposition 46 creates a safer and a fairer health care environment.
I have a real worry about how ineffective our justice system would become should Prop 47 pass. This proposal is clearly designed to save money by putting criminals back on the street faster and with less consequence.
Vote “no” on Prop 47. Here’s why: Prop 47 would reduce some serious felonies — such as drug possession, forgery, check fraud, grand theft, possession of stolen property, and some assaults — to misdemeanors.
A misdemeanor is defined as a non-serious, non-violent crime. Are the proponents of Proposition 47 trying to convince us that forgery, drug possession, and assault are non-violent and minor in nature?
A “yes” vote on Proposition 47 is simply a way to clear out the jails and initially spend less on incarceration, but in the end only to spend far more on law enforcement, the judiciary, probation officers, and in time incarceration for repeat offenses.
If the first sentence is not swift and severe, those who are first convicted learn that there is no consequence to criminal misconduct.
The last proposition on our ballots for this November is Prop 48. The North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe want gambling casinos.
One casino would be up by Fresno and the other by Eureka in northern California.
I say why not? If people need a closer place to lose their money, at least they can save on gas and travel time.
In summary, I recommend a yes vote on all the propositions except 47.
Jonathan Kraut is a local private investigator and serves in the Democratic Party of the SCV and SCV Interfaith Council.