Five days to go, and while initiatives are notoriously hard to figure, here's what I'm seeing with five days to go. Below are my projections.
• Prop. 1A: I have been hearing some local radio spots for 1A, so they are trying to get the message out. While the Governor has endorsed
he won't be much help, however. And unfortunately, there are some zombie lies
out there that are making false claims about the high-speed rail project, particularly focusing in on ridership projections and length of travel. The Christian Science Monitor, in its endorsement of 1A
, shoots down these claims.
Yearly ridership is predicted at 88 million to 117 million passengers by 2030.
How can that be if last year only 26 million people rode the national rail network, Amtrak? Part of the answer lies in the state's expected population boom. But also, travelers gravitate to high-quality, affordable transport. Last year, ridership jumped 20 percent for the Acela, Amtrak's only fast train (but not as fast as trains around the world).
Opponents also say the north-south ride will take more like 3-1/2 hours, because no bullet trains operate at the plan's projected speed of up to 220 m.p.h. But Japan and France are testing prototypes capable of such speeds. And so what if the estimate is off? Downtown-to-downtown transport that's also independent of much bad weather and gate delays has its advantages.
Although it's wrong to punish infrastructure in a downturn, given the economic times this is not as safe a bet as before. SLIGHT LEAN YES.
• Prop. 2: Despite the opposition throwing the kitchen sink at the measure ("You'd have to buy eggs from illegal immigrants and get salmonella while your family goes broke!"), I don't think they're fooling anyone into believing that allowing chickens to stand up and move their wings and turn in their cages is unreasonable. LIKELY YES.
• Prop. 3: These type of bonds are like catnip. LIKELY YES.
• Prop. 4: It was close the past two times on the ballot, and it's going to be close this time. Both sides seem to agree that Latino voters
, who vote often with Democrats but are typically socially conservative, are the key swing bloc. In fact, the Yes on 4 people are trying to find Latino voters in Los Angeles
. Um, if they're having trouble with that I don't really trust their targeting efforts. The No on 4 team has revived some popular ads and look in position to repeat their 2005 and 2006 victories, but the likely voter model makes this impossible to predict. TOSS-UP.
• Prop. 5: Every living Governor in the state held an event for No on 5
today, and they join most politicians, living or dead, in their opposition. Of course they're all opposed - they've been wrong on prison policy for 30 years, on a bipartisan basis, so why would they offer anything but more of the same. I enjoyed the Yes on 5 team use the opposition by Bush's drug czar as a reason to support the measure
, and their latest ad similarly uses the corrections officers opposition
to explain how much they love overcrowded prisons as a boon to their bottom line. I'd like to think that people will come around to the idea that the drug war has failed and nonviolent offenders need treatment and not incarceration, but I'm sadly not hopeful. Too much demagoguing here. LEAN NO.
• Prop. 6 & Prop. 9: I put the Runner initiatives together because they both serve the same awful goal of warehousing more of California's population in service to nothing but vengeance. The No side on both of these (funded largely by CTA) is doing a good job of painting these as extreme, and Prop. 9 is getting bad press
for potentially violating inmates' civil rights. I think they're both going down. LIKELY NO.
• Prop. 7: I'm surprised that this initiative was able to fly under the radar for so long. Usually that means that the No side will probably come out ahead, and I don't think this is any different. While many see the value in a strong renewable energy standard, the coalition that has come out against this will split Democrats and unify Republicans, which should be enough to defeat it. LEAN NO.
• Prop. 8: Well, there's not much I can add to this one. It's going to be as tight as a tick, to quote Dan Rather. The Yes side is creepily committed
to denying fundamental rights (that video, exploiting kids for their cause, is a form of child abuse). The No side is committed to preserving them. They got a boost with this letter
from 59 Con law professors rejecting the arguments of the Yes side and basically calling them lies.
In short, these legal scholars conclude:
Prop 8 clearly discriminates against gay men and lesbians.
Prop 8 would have no effect on the tax exemptions of churches.
Prop 8 would have no effect on teaching or the protection of parental rights already provided by state law.
“As teachers of the law we feel an obligation to speak out when claims are made about the law that are simply and clearly false,” said Professor Pam Karlan, the Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Professor of Public Interest Law at Stanford Law School.
We all know this is going to be a TOSS-UP, coming down to turnout in the most closely-watched race of the night. Here's an easy way you can get involved and listen to some great punk rock music besides. Max and the Marginalized, a great band who posts a new song weekly on the Huffington Post, released their latest
, Proposition Hate, and you can buy the track, with all proceeds going to Equality for All.
• Prop. 10. T.Boone Pickens has spent $19 million dollars
to try and fleece the state, and even the kids from his ads are starting to reject him
. When you put that much money into an initiative you're going to have a chance, but it feels to me like the arguments are falling short. SLIGHT LEAN NO.
• Prop. 11. Well, Arnold will be making a full-court press on this for the next five days. It's his only proposition on the ballot, really. It's telling that they are still trying to push this as a generic cure-all
rather than define what the measure would actually do, which is seek to fix a non-existent problem. The very fact that over a third of Republican held seats in the Assembly are threatened this cycle debunks the entire argument that gerrymandering automatically creates safe seats. If Republicans can't manage to make seats competitive, they should be given a life raft by a measure that would seek to re-gerrymander for them. While Bill Lockyer is the lone statewide Democrat
lending his name to this farce, Jon Fleischman's FAIL
put this into a partisan context and will make it difficult to win in a Democratic year. Still, Arnold's going to work as hard as possible, so I wouldn't put defeat down for certain. SLIGHT LEAN NO.
• Prop. 12. Safest thing on the ballot. Homes for veterans and it doesn't cost a dime? SAFE YES.
Labels: California, initiatives, Prop. 1, Prop. 4, Prop. 8