The Bus Your Own Tray Slate Card: how to vote on the California Propositions

Proposition 30. NO.

Prop 30 is a tax measure. It raises income taxes on the 1% and adds a quarter cent increase to sales taxes. It is supported by Governor Jerry Brown. It’s upsetting that this is even on the ballot.

Taxes are usually raised by an act of the legislature. That’s why we elect legislators, to make decisions about things like this. That’s how representative democracy works. But California isn’t a representative democracy. Our decisions are often made by the people themselves, through direct democracy. 

But most of the people do not understand tax policy! Yet the Governor is asking the people to decide this issue anyway. He’s doing this because some time ago the people also made it so the legislature can’t raise taxes without a two-thirds majority. The Democrats do not currently have a two-thirds majority. So the Governor is asking the people who made that rule to go around the representatives they elected and raise taxes themselves.

Do not buy into this system. Direct democracy is the reason California is a failing state.

Proposition 31. NO.

Prop 31 makes it so the legislature sets a budget every two years instead of every year. This is possibly the dumbest thing that’s ever been put on a California ballot. We’re notorious for not even being able to see two months into the future, let alone two years. 

Proposition 32. NO.

Prop 32 makes it so unions can’t use payroll deductions for political advocacy. As far as the recent trend of union-busting legislation goes, this is kind of meager. And it’s pretty useless. It’s also the flip side of Prop 30: Republicans don’t have control of the legislature, so they’re going to the people. Make Republicans try harder to get elected to office.

Proposition 33. NO.

Prop 33 “allows insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any insurance company.” Gah! I don’t know! Why are you asking me this? Ask someone my taxes pay to be an expert on such questions. Stop making me read more about auto insurance. 

Proposition 34. YES.

Prop 34 abolishes the death penalty in California. I’m voting yes on this because I’m a hypocrite. I care more about abolishing the death penalty than I do about voting no on all propositions because I think the initiative process is destroying the state. Call me what you will.

Proposition 35. NO.

Prop 35 increases jail terms for people who sell slaves. Is this an issue? Are we releasing tons of human traffickers into society? Does this actually crack down on anything? I don’t even know what the sentence is for human trafficking right now, but I assume it’s pretty rough. I pay people to evaluate this sort of thing for me. Stop making me do it.

Proposition 36. NO.

Prop 36 revises the Three Strikes Law so that the third offense only sends the convicted to prison for life if that offence is “serious or violent.” How about you just repeal the Three Strikes Law altogether, and stop selling me this ticky-tack, middling shit?

Proposition 37. NO.

Prop 37 requires food companies to label food that uses genetically engineered ingredients. First, I don’t care. Second, I’m fine with the genetic engineering of my food. It’s funny to me that the same people who think science should win over fear are the ones who don’t want science to improve the food supply. Gregor Mendel says, “Vote no on Prop 37! Hybrid peas for you and me!” Also, in case you haven’t noticed a trend here, I don’t like initiatives.

Proposition 38. NO.

Prop 38 raises taxes similar to the way Prop 30 would, except that all the money goes to education instead of the general fund. California schools are in bad shape. You know what else is in bad shape? Everything. We elect people to weigh all the competing interests for what few resources we have left. Let’s let them do their job.

Proposition 39. NO.

Prop 39 does some rejiggering of the way multistate companies pay taxes on revenue made in California. How, I’m not entirely sure, because again, I’m not an expert in corporate taxation. Neither are you, probably. 

Also, this initiative says that all the extra money made has to go to green energy projects. Because no reason. See response to Prop 38 above.

Proposition 40. YES. 

Actually, vote NO just for fun. A while back California created a rather lovely bipartisan commission to handle redistricting. It was actually impartial! This was probably the only thing Schwarzenegger did well. Now, for some reason, somebody wants to overturn all their good work. Correction — they wanted to, past tense. See, the “NO” folks have withdrawn their objection, but the initiative is still on the ballot. Why? Because the initiative process doesn’t even work when it’s working. We’ve released this beast into the environment and now even the people who did so want to kill it. But they can’t! It’s out there! GOD HELP US ALL.

Vote NO if you’re just fed up with the initiative process and want to see it fail so badly that it undermines the only good thing it’s accomplished the past decade.

(Actually, don’t be a dick and vote YES.)

11 notes


  1. hnjohnso reblogged this from spiegelman and added:
    Too amazing.
  2. formerlydietcock said: I wish there was an initiative to ban the initiative process. Would you join me in circulating petitions to get it on the ballot?
  3. spiegelman posted this