A number of the propositions on this ballot are there because the legislature doesn’t legislate the tough issues, especially those likely to offend their funders. Most props are easy to figure out simply by looking at who paid to get them on the ballot. Those in the public interest are mostly the work of ordinary people who either collected the qualifying signatures themselves, or collectively paid to have the required signatures collected. But most initiatives are the work of the self-interested organized as corporations or as syndicates of the self-interested — doctors and landlords for instance, this time around. As the plague rages, the economy implodes, Trump bumbles, the libs sputter and cringe, the whole show is rapidly coming apart, with events moving faster than the leadership — even if there was one — can cope with, meaning that some of these initiatives are already mooted by recent events. But all this is obvious to ava readers, as savvy and sophisticated a posse as ever walked our dying earth, but here goes anyway:
PROP 14: STEM CELL RESEARCH. What kind of monster could possibly oppose stem cell research? The Boonville monster, for one. The prob here is that the feds are already spending billions on this line of inquiry so, like, why should the State of California spend $7.3 billion on the same science? And the Cali people behind 14 get a lot of the money and so on. NO ON 14.
PROP 15: PUBLIC ED FUNDING. Partially undoes the massive gift of public money to corporations made possible by Prop 13 many years ago. Prop 15 would spike property taxes upwards on commercial parcels and structures, the billions thus raised funneled to the instruction of our nation’s future, those millions of sugar-fueled, twitter-fragged young who will somehow have to learn enough to cope with the social/environmental chaos they will inherit. YES ON 15.
PROP 16: DIVERSITY HIRING. Everyone should be nice, nicer, nicest. We shouldn’t not hire someone because he showed up in make-up and a mini-skirt for a job as a kindergarten teacher and referred to himself as “they” during the interview. But seriously, arbitrary rejection based on immutable human facts of race, gender and sub classifications thereof, aren’t fair when public money is in play. Ol’ Whitey, male division, still gets the biggest share of public money, and although Ms. Whitey still makes less than Mr. Whitey both still do a lot better than most black and brown people who are denied equivalent opportunity. There’s still major unfairness in the way that public money and public jobs are allocated. Although many of the people pushing Prop 16 are race-baiting demagogues and stone weirdos, YES ON 16.
PROP 17: RIGHT TO VOTE. Remember when ex-cons were said to have “paid their debt to society”? Well, society still hasn’t stamped paid on that debt, and there are millions of people out there in our highly incarcerated land who deserve to be restored to full citizenship. YES ON 17.
PROP 18: THE VOTE FOR 17-YEAR OLDS. Only if they know front from back of their baseball caps, pull their pants up and don’t scatter “likes” “sort ofs” “kindas” and “dudes” in their every attempt at communication. But what the hell, considering the choices of so-called adult voters who’ve selected recent presidents, a few more idiots voting won’t even be noticed. YES ON 18.
PROP 19: CHANGES SOME PROPERTY TAX RULES. Big help to non-rich people, especially old people and the disabled and helps fund deserving public agencies while making property taxes more fair as it punishes multi-home celebs and kindred swine. YES ON 19.
PROP 20: PAROLE AND SENTENCING REVISIONS: This one’s a mixed bag of good and bad reform. Allows DNA collection from persons committing certain types of mostly misdemeanor crimes, which can be a good thing in that it can help solve other crimes, but makes some property crimes felonies which would expand prison populations when public sentiment is running against more prisons. The good thing 20 does is it would tighten parole restrictions on cho-mo’s and wife beaters, and make it harder for other sex criminals to get paroled. Overall, more good than bad. YES ON 20.
PROP 21: LOCAL AUTHORITY TO ENACT RENT CONTROL: A wimpy measure unlikely to be deployed by local authority of the fey Mendo type, but another small step towards the much tougher rent control needed by millions of rent-paying Americans as the economy crumbles and millions face eviction because they can no longer pay to shelter themselves. The television ads make it seem as if little old ladies renting one end of their Ukiah duplexes will lose their only source of income, but the large majority of renters are at the mercy of large-scale landlords like, for instance, our president. YES ON 21.
PROP 22: NO. Tricky prop written by Uber/Lyft/Doordash to stiff drivers out of decent fringe benefits. A reader puts it best: "Just a few words on Prop 22 re app-based workers. The point of this measure is to re-classify app-based workers as independent contractors and eliminate the AB 5 classification of these workers as employees who have employee type rights. Prop 22 is sponsored by the app-based companies like Uber. One can see that classifying app-based workers as independent contractors makes sense in many ways. And Prop 22 does provide some “benefits” to a sub-set of app-based workers. I have not done a deep enough analysis of the measure compared to protections that would come through AB 5 so I cannot say under which scheme app-based workers are better served. But this measure is much different than simply providing benefits for these workers." The ava recommends a NO vote anyway because we see it as a ploy by the app-titans to do an end-around true reform of worker protections.
PROP 23: YES. KIDNEY DIALYSIS UPGRADES: This ghoulish billion dollar private industry feasts on people who will die without it. The world’s civilized countries include dialysis with tax-funded medical care for all their citizens, but the world’s richest country sells the lives of its citizens to syndicates of investors. The largest dialysis companies are hugely profitable. They can easily afford a minor upgrade in patient care and protection. YES ON 23.
PROP 24: CONSUMER PRIVACY LAWS. Protects us, perhaps, from the cyber-harvesting of our personal information. But given the fiendishly intrusive abilities of modern tech we’ll all remain subject to constant monitoring and sales of our consumption profiles to the titans of free enterprise. But what the hell, YES ON 24.
PROP 25: MONEY BAIL. Hugely unfair, especially to the Defendant Community, who languish in jail for mostly low-level, non-violent offenses because they’re poor and unable to afford bail. Opponents say Prop 25 will require an expensive bureaucracy to keep track of the caught and released, proponents point out county jails will be cheaper to operate because fewer people will be held in them — a wash? Maybe. But a long overdue reform. YES ON 25.
INDIVIDUAL POLITICAL RACES: We recommend, as usual, protest votes, meaning NO on all Northcoast incumbents, a gaggle of undistinguished and indistinguishable machine Democrats, and an emphatic NO on Biden because, you Democrats will recall, Northcoast Democrats went heavily for Bernie, the timid socialist made to seem like a Bolshevik by the utterly corrupt DNC who, natch, chose the indefensible (and senile) Biden over even the possibility of discombobulating their billionaire funders. Given that California is in the bag for Democrats, a Northcoast protest vote for, say, Peace and Freedom, is not an implicit vote for the Orange Monster, but an expression of your righteous and wholly justified outrage at the wholly corrupt Democratic machine.
LOCAL RACES: Sigh. The Supervisors? Whoever replaces McCowen and Brown are lateral moves because local elections tend to be issue-free and child-like i.e., popularity contests. Besides which we’ve managed to achieve, here in the “progressive” shangri-la of Mendocino County, a perfect political entropy, making even the most sensible reform impossible. The county, like the country, will soon be broke, and our county apparatus will be totally unable to cope or even understand what is happening. Anyone dependent on county services better hunker down, and county employees below the administrative level, well, good luck compadres. You’re going to need it.