TRUCKEE, Calif. - In recent years, I have taken on the risky and daunting task of offering my, always humble, opinions on State Propositions and candidates for public office. I must be a glutton for punishment, but a few of you always ask, so here are my unsolicited suggestions for the State initiatives and some of the candidates. For varying reasons, I decline to opine on a few.
This is coming from a moderate Democrat, so discount appropriately.
U.S. President: I prefer Obama, but you decide.
U.S. Senator: Dianne Feinstein - without doubt.
U.S. Representative: Jack Uppal - anyone but McClintock.
State Senator: Ted Gaines, Rep., State Senate, District 1 - Ted serves us well.
State Assembly, District 1: Brian Dahle, Rep.
Truckee Tahoe Airport District: I am voting for Lisa Wallace, Mary Hetherington and Tom Van Berkem - a deserving slate, but I am told we would also be well served by Greg Jellinek.
Truckee Town Council (Four Year Term): Joan Jones and Alicia Barr. I like Jamie Brimer personally, but will vote for Joan and Alicia.
Truckee Town Council (Two Year Term): Patrick Flora. Denny is a friend, I prefer Patrick.
Measure J: Truckee Donner Rec. District Bond. Uphill battle, but YES.
My kneejerk response to State Propositions is vote "No" on everything; the Legislature and not special interests should make our laws, but in practice I am not that pure.
Prop 30: YES. This is Governor Brown's tax increase which is not pretty but it goes a long ways towards balancing our budget and it helps education.
Prop 31: YES. A wordy constitutional amendment to do some State government cleanup sponsored by California Forward which is a reputable organization.
Prop 32: NO. This is the so called "Paycheck Protection Initiative" that was defeated in 2005 -- basically banning union payroll-deducted political contributions to state and local candidates. Unnecessary.
Prop 33: NO. This Proposition allows insurers to offer certain automobile insurance discounts. A similar measure was defeated in 2010. Primarily supported by Mercury Insurance which makes me lean "No."
Prop 34: This is the Proposition to end the death penalty, so its personal. The death penalty system is completely dysfunctional, costing hundreds of millions of dollars per prisoner executed, and the death penalty is clearly not a deterrent to crime as it takes about 20 years for prisoners to exhaust their constitutional rights of appeal. Prop 34 will save the State over $100 million a year. Your call.
Prop 35: This is a ban on human trafficking and sex slavery. If you are inclined to vote "No" on all Propositions, this might be a good time, but it's hard to say "No" to increased prison terms for human traffickers, so I'll vote "Yes."
Prop 36: YES. This measure softens the "Three Strikes" Law slightly so that when the third strike is a non-serious or non-violent felony, it is not automatic life imprisonment. It makes sense and saves California over a $150 million a year. If you are hardcore tough on crime and don't mind paying more for prisons, vote "No."
Prop 37: No recommendation here as the idea of requiring mandatory labeling of genetically engineered food is excellent, and all sorts of giant agricultural corporations are fighting this measure which says something, but it is poorly written and there will be significant unintended consequences if 37 passes. Come back with a better bill. Most of my friends will be voting "Yes" on 37.
Prop 38: NO. This is liberal advocate Molly Munger's tax increase to support education which competes with Governor Brown's Prop. 30. I am going "No" on Molly, "Yes" on 30.
Prop 39: YES. Prop. 39 is an income tax increase for out-of-state/multistate businesses which claims to be closing a tax "loophole." I am suspect about that claim, and it is a new tax. The list of supporters is impressive, so I'm going "yes."
Prop 40: YES. YES. A vote for Prop. 40 upholds the redistricting plan approved by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission which thankfully took the mapping of legislative districts in California out of the hands of the Legislature. "Yes" on 40.
Most importantly - VOTE.
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. He was the Governor's appointee to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and McPherson Commission, both involving election law and the Political Reform Act. Jim's practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, foreclosures, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at the firm's website www.portersimon.com.