How I’m Voting and Why

I thought it might be interesting to run down how I plan to vote next month. Most of the time, it’s pretty easy to decide which way to vote. I think the government, local through federal, ought to keep away from providing welfare and entertainment and stick to law enforcement and defense. The candidates in the presidential race have made it extremely difficult to choose this time around.

B Martinez Unified School District: This is an increase in property taxes in Martinez. I’m almost always against raising taxes. I’d much rather have parents contribute as much as they can, which seems to be what goes on at Tre’s school. Voting No.

H City of Martinez: This is a $30m bond to be used to improve parks in Martinez. I’d love for the parks to be better, and it would be especially nice if the pool were renovated. If we can’t get a charity to gather the funds, then a private enterprise should be given the chance. Voting No.

WW Extend Existing East Bay Regional Park District Bond: This is an extension of a bond measure to maintain regional parks in the East Bay. My reasoning is similar to measure H. Voting No.

1A Safe Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train: This authorizes the state to sell $10b in bonds to fund a new train system. The government should never be doing junk like this. Furthermore, the state government has behaved so badly for years with regard to passing a budget, everyone should know that given all this money they would surely fail. Lastly, with the governor publicly contemplating asking the federal government for bailout money, it’s ridiculous for them to start a project like this. Voting No.

2 Standards For Confining Farm Animals: This is a law to force people who raise livestock to provide cages that allow the animals move around. The government should not tell businesses how to operate. Animals don’t have rights. Voting No.

3 Children’s Hospital Bond Act: This is another bond act to fund hospitals. The government shouldn’t be messing around in this area, either. Voting No.

4 Waiting Period And Parental Notification Before Termination Of Minor’s Pregnancy: The government shouldn’t be in the business of helping parents. A notification service like this should be opt-in not opt-out. Also, this measure is undoubtedly based on a motivation to erode Roe v. Wade. Voting No.

5 Nonviolent Drug Offense, Sentencing, Parole And Rehabilitation: While I don’t think drugs should be illegal or regulated by the government, this law creates a new bureaucracy while blindly limiting options for judges. Voting No.

6 Police And Law Enforcement Funding: This law forces the state to spend a certain amount on law enforcement. It also enforces tougher penalties for crimes associated with a gang. The first part is interesting and latter part is wrong. The definition of a gang member is being on some list compiled by some other government bureaucracy. The Bill of Rights allows people to peacefully gather and this law seems to intrude on that right. Voting No.

7 Renewable Energy Generation: This law forces industry to generate energy in a certain way. The government should not be messing with the free market. Voting No.

8 Eliminates Right Of Same-Sex Couples To Marry: This reverses a court decision to allow gays to get married. The proper role of government is to enforce contracts uniformly. Marriage is a contract between two people that the government should enforce, regardless of the gender of the participants. Proponents of this measure disagree with same-sex marriage for moral reasons and would like the government to enforce their morality. The most irritating aspect of this proposition is how such money has flowed in from out of state. Voting No.

9 Criminal Justice System Victims’ Rights, Parole: This law seems to give more protection to victims of crimes. I like the idea that money collected goes to victims first. It seems like it causes mostly minor changes but at least orients things towards victims more than they are now. Voting Yes.

10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles And Renewable Energy: This is the type of law I would never vote for. It’s a bond to give money to people to make it easier to buy stuff. Not only do I disagree with the government increasing taxes so that it can interfere with the free market, I specifically don’t want the government promoting the alternative fuel movement. Voting No.

11 Redistricting: This law changes the way districts are set for electing representatives to the house. I like this law because although adding a new layer of bureaucracy, it should tend to disturb corruption. Voting Yes.

12 Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008: This is a straight bond issue for veterans in California. In general, I approve of the government using money for civil defense. However, the federal government maintains our armed forces, not California. Also, the federal government has plenty of money to help veterans that it wastes on entitlements. Voting No.

President of the United States: Voting for a person as compared to a law is hard. You have to judge the person by their actions to predict how they will promote the ideas you agree with. It’s often about choosing someone who’s not as bad as the rest. This year has been particular bad as neither candidate seems particularly qualified. The war in Iraq is important to me. Despite many mistakes, I think it was morally right to go in and it can still be strategically right. Earlier in the year, I figured that McCain would probably keep the war on track better than Obama. However, the past two months have demonstrated to me that McCain has no principles. He has a strong love of America but has no clue about how to act. He also seems to be a sincerely believer in religion who would impose his religion on the entire country. Two ways he has expressed this recently is with regard to same-sex marriage and abortion rights. Obama on the other hand seems to use religion as a political tool. His dropping of Rev. Wright was clear indication to me of his cynicism, which while isn’t particularly admirable, it’s a better approach than McCain’s.

So, overall I consider McCain unpredictable and willing to take away rights to further this religious convictions. I see Obama as cynical and unoriginal in his thinking. I expect President Obama to promote anti-capitalist economic policy and self-destructive negotiation-based foreign policy. That’s exactly what we’ve seen in the last 8 years. Voting for Obama.

United States Representative: George Miller is the incumbant who’s been there forever. He grew up in Martinez and went to school with my dad and uncle. I went to school with his son. We have sometimes been to parties at the homes of mutual friends. I helped him with the virtual swearing-in of Pelosi two years ago. It’s easy to vote for him for sentimental reasons, even though I probably disagree with most of his politics. There’s a really good chance he’ll win. Miller voted in favor of the bailout plan. He should not have. While I don’t expect a vote against him to lead to his defeat, I hope that voting for his Republican opponent will send him a message that we didn’t want that plan to pass. Voting for Roger Allen Petersen.

State Senator: In this race, I plan to vote against the incumbent due to the poor performance of the state government with regard to passing budgets. Voting for Christian Amsberry.

State Assembly: Again, I’m voting against the incumbent. Voting for Elizabeth Hansen.

City Council: There are two council seats open in Martinez. I am happy that the council balanced the budget and even had a surplus. Voting for Mark Ross and Janet Kennedy.

City Treasurer: The work of this office is mostly invisible, which is probably an indication that things are going well. Voting for Carolyn Robinson.