05 November 2008

My 2008 Election Selections

Okay, okay, I'll admit it: despite the annoyance leading up to the election, watching the exit polls tally and project the winners was a pretty exciting time. Although I missed most of it due to school and, consequently, the drive back and the traffic as a result, I was able to be around when the election really heated up. In some states, the race was very close, even in those states that one would normally imagine would be dominated by a particular party. Now that the polls have closed, and the final electoral votes are being tallied (the votes that really count), I guess I can now post what my election selections have been, and as promised, why.

The California Propositions
Each bullet number corresponds to the proposition number:
  1. Yes
    Although it is a very expensive proposition, its return may prove to be greater than its expense. In a time when gas prices are high and more and more people are beginning to green, alternatives to fuel-sucking SUVs and even sedans are being searched for, especially among the large number of those who must commute to get to work. This proposition would supposedly allow those who, like myself, must commute a significant distance to work to utilize high-speed rail systems to not only get them to work quicker and safer, but may also alleviate the stresses involved with commutes (rushing to work, lack of slept, etc.) Also, it opens up avenues for tourists, allowing the tourist industry to pick up after abismal years, thus allowing the state to recoup many of the setbacks that the last couple years of high gas prices have created.
  2. No
    Now, I love animals - I really do. Seeing them confined in very small places to me is a form of undue punishment - this is usually something that we do to prisoners who need solitary confinement (although I still argue with the effectiveness of that too). And the mistreatment of animals, especially those that we rely on as sources of food, is unethical and is illogical. Why beat an animal that knows no better? Is that really teaching them anything? And don't even say "It tenderizes the meat..." as there is no evidence that is even true. However, I do understand that, as the costs to obtain land - something that is already dwindling across California - continues to skyrocket, it is difficult for farmers to offset the costs. This results in the increase of prices, definitely something we do not need in the current economic climate. And as sales go down, companies will turn to imported products, whether in or out of the country but definitely not from within California, which increase the risks of contaminants in our food supply. It also does not help farmers any more as their need is all but eliminated - similar to the way the outsourcing of tech jobs made many people redundant and unnecessary.
  3. No
    I love children. In fact, I want to have a couple with Ashley someday myself. Unfortunately, this bond attempts to spread itself too thin, and with rising medical equipment costs, its effectiveness deteriorates quite rapidly. If the bond was for, say, just construction or just renovation, then the bond would be more appealing as its purpose is very clear. However, as mentioned before, taking a large sum and dividing it albeit quite unevenly would not benefit any piece as much. As the old adage goes, "its better to be well-versed in one thing than try to do many things half-assed."
  4. No
    This one was a measure that took a little bit to think about. Although I believe that a parent should have the right to know that their daughter is attempting to get an abortion, it does create a conflict that could actually result in more harm to the young woman. Ashley gave a very good example to supplement my own, but I will illustrate her hypothetical situation: suppose a 17-year-old girl (a minor according to federal law) became pregnant and seeks an abortion, however the girl does not want her parents to know that she is seeking an abortion, and instead turns to an older friend to take her out-of-state, possibly out of the country where a procedure could be performed. Depending on the level of safety in the place she goes to, she may end up horribly injured, possibly even dieing. Now, my hypothetical situation was: suppose a girl who no longer has a mother for whatever reason and lives with her father. Suppose that her father is not in the best of minds and is sexually frustrated, rapes his daughter and impregnates her. Seeing as it would be a conflict of interest to notify her father (thereby giving him a chance to do something possibly heinous prior to the abortion, and subsequent arrest), who would be the necessary contact for notification as notificatoin must be made prior to the performed procedure.
  5. No
    This is actually quite a simple one to answer: the jails are already crowded, and more jailed people is not going to make things easier for the already taxed corrections system. Though problematic, drug offenders are less of a problem than murderers and theives, so enacting stronger programs for rehabilitation of these drug offenders would not solve the greater problems: the increase in violent crimes and the dwindling space in prisons for major offenders.
  6. No
    This is a similar reason as above, except that increasing penalties would actually create more overcrowding and thus even more problems with the corrections system as parole would be considered more often to alleviate taxed prisons.
  7. No
    I am all for alternative energy sources. We know the technology necessary, but only need more invested into making those alternative sources more efficient. However, penalizing the utilities companies, whether state-owned or not, would not be beneficial for the customers stuck with only one source for their utilities. As the penalties increase, the costs for the utilities will increase as well, and in order to offset those costs, they will be passed down to the consumer.
  8. No
    I've had very long debates on this issue, but instead of launching into my normal tirade about it, I will be very brief: a) voting "Yes" would be a blatant restriction of basic rights (freedom of speech, religion, and separation of church and state), and b) it is still too vague for use (it specifically says "man" and "woman," but how does this law apply those people who have undergone sex changes?).
  9. No
    Brief: too much effort for too little return. Systems are already in place, and information is already available for notification on not just the offender of the victim but also other violators as well, they just need to be made more promenent and should be updated to reflect the technological advances made to make them more visible.
  10. Yes
    Encouraging the adoption of alternative fuel systems and research into them would definitely have a overall positive impact on the state's reliance on oil, and would put less of a strain on the environment. California is one of the most environmentally concious states in the US, and this is one measure that promotes just that without too much negative economic impact (in fact, it may boost the floundering automotive industry in California as the sales of alternative fuel vehicles may actually increase).
  11. Yes
    I don't think its fair that the state legislature is the only entity allowed to draw district lines. I feel that it is a conflict of interest, as the legislature can draw lines to help a particular political party over another by emphasizing strength in certain areas. Therefore, this measure would, potentially, allow fairer districts to be created through a 3rd party (not political party, mind you) entity.
  12. No
    I have the utmost respect for our veterans. They fought and continue to fight for our freedoms and our country. However, this measure appears to me to have one single factor that has a high risk of backfiring: veterans tend to be older, and thus veteran farmers are usually much my senior. By creating nearly a $1 trillion bond to help those farmers sounds like a great idea, especially since it would strengthen the agricultural industry here in California, it backfires as the bond is paid for my the borrowers. But what happens when the borrowers pass-on? Who is left with the bill? The taxpayers, and this is where things get ugly, especially in these trying economic times.
I have not included my selections for the Presidential race, but I will post these later. I purposely omitted them so that you could read the rest of what I had rather than just skipping to the juicy bits. I know, its an evil move to force you to read this, but rest assured, you will know soon enough.


AJ said...

Hey Sean. I can see where you are coming from in regards to prop 7. I voted yes for prop 7, and let me tell you why.

As you said, one of the main problems here is cost. That is the exact problem I believe with some of the privately owned utility companies; they run as a business. Let's face it. We're all familiar with the saying that "Money makes the world go round". Alternative energy is expensive at the moment and running a utility company as a business trying to make profit doesn't always align with the altruistic thing to do. Unless there is an immediate danger or a reaction to a catastrophe, i believe utility companies are reluctant to change. This law at least tries to make that immediate consequence. It's not perfect, i know but it still forces utility companies to move in the right direction.

I believe part of it is again a frame of thought. People these days are thinking in terms of logistics, cost, and implementation. This is why I think many newspapers said no on this proposition. But if zoom out a little and think about it from a point of view of the reluctance of human nature, it makes sense why the scientific community, such as 3 nobel laureates, endorsed this proposition.

Sean said...

Well, the problem lied with the fact that it removed the penalty cap, thus if the utilities do not adopt something useful soon, and implement it in a grand scale, it would end up racking up a huge penalty bill very quickly. Really, if you boil the prop down to it, it was just removing the penalty cap, increasing the per-kilowatt penalty, and shortening the amount of time the utilities have to implement. If you want to think of it this way: under that proposition, the utilities will have to adopt a plan quickly (and probably recklessly), spend HUGE fortunes getting it implemented by the deadline, then offsetting that to their already financially-stressed customers. Voting no doesn't really change much, but at least gives them a little more time, thus allowing the cost to spread through the years a little more evenly and thus alleviate the burden on the customers.
I understand from a business aspect it is important to see where the benefit for the business is, but the business can't exist without customers who pay, and if they can't pay because the prices keep going up, then we are looking at financial failures in the utilities, which would be almost as bad as the failures of the banks.