How I plan to vote (in CA) [Prop 59–62, 66]

I’ll focus on ballot props here, because I still don’t think there’s a good way to evaluate candidates. Polinav, once it’s mature, can help, but there’s still a long way to go to make our democracy work for the people. Ballot propositions, though, are direct ways for CA residents to enact real change, so here are my thoughts on them in 4 parts.

For help picking your President, ProCon.org has a quiz with 70+ yes/no questions to help match you with the different candidates.

For info on other candidates, the League of Women Voters does the best job (not necessarily great) getting information on candidates.

For ballot props, I’ve done most of my research on Ballot.FYI & Ballotpedia.org

Prop 59: for or against Citizens United

My stance: YES

My position likely won’t be an unpopular position, but the reason why I support it isn’t really mainstream. In a properly functioning democracy, I think that the results of Citizens United are fair. If our democracy was working well, then corporations should be able to spend however much money they want in the political process (as a form of free speech) and disclosure of who is donating money to these SuperPACs is also not as important. But that’s an ideal world.

The reality of our current democracy, though, is that money plays an outsized role in our political system. Within that premise, Citizens United exacerbated an already bad situation. In a funny way, it made millionaires feel priced out of the system because now there were no limits on how much one person could spend. Campaigns, if they wanted to be efficient, only needed to focus on getting the support of a few billionaires instead of working to please a score of millionaires. For one, it’s like one big reason why the Republicans fielded so many presidential candidates.

If Polinav actually succeeds in getting the people’s voice heard, I’d actually be okay with corporations being allowed to spend money on campaigns. However, I would still support the public disclosure on who is contributing and how much is being contributed. But at this point in time, I’m all for the full clawback of Citizens United. As much as I’ll try to make Polinav a success, it’s a difficult road ahead for us :).

Prop 60: force pornstars to wear condoms (during sex)

My stance: NO

There are multiple angles to look at this from: we should protect pornstars, porn would go underground/elsewhere, porn is morally wrong. Let’s tackle each one.

“We should protect pornstars.” My main question here would be, “Do pornstars secretly fear the threat of STDs, but feel that they can’t voice their concerns?” If this is the case, then yes, we should enact government regulation to protect people, but the facts seem to show that STDs aren’t a big concern in the industry.

“Porn would go underground/elsewhere.” This is the argument that if porn isn’t being made here, then it would just be made elsewhere while damaging California’s economy. But one interesting fact I learned during my research is that porn is technically only allowed to be shot in CA and NH, so with more restrictions here, it could actually make an impact or move more porn production underground.

“Porn is morally wrong.” Whatever my personal belief on the existence or the act of doing something, I’m a believer in the freedom to do and try things (to an extent, of course). The act of making porn doesn’t cross that line for me :\.

As much as there is the potential for abuse with pornstars because of the nature of the industry, you would much rather that the industry be mostly regulated, so it is easier to keep track of. That way, if there is abuse, there’s a system in place for it be rectified within the confines of the law.

Prop 61: prices the VA pays for drugs, becomes ceilings for some other state health programs

My stance: YES

Man, these propositions were a lot harder to decide on than I thought it was going to be. Honestly, this isn’t a great piece of legislation. It doesn’t fundamentally address anything. In a way, it just changes the rules of the game, when the game itself is flawed. In this game, the players (the pharmaceutical industry) have the edge over the house (the people). Now, the players just need to figure out how to play this version of the game.

I honestly don’t understand this ‘game’ well enough to say that I know that such and such prescriptions are the best ways to fix our healthcare system (or even just the smaller segment of the pharmaceutical industry), but the reason why I would support this is that it forces the industry to respond to change. The pharm industry doesn’t want people to start thinking that they can be challenged. The status quo is obviously comfortable for them. Further, this is turning into one of the most expensive proposition battles ever, with over $125M being spent in total, and the pharmaceutical industry outspending the opposition more than 3 to 1.

I’m curious to see what adding a little wrinkle to the game will change how the system works. It will likely add a little bit more transparency and give us more data on how the healthcare system would respond to such changes, so we have a better idea on how future changes may turn out. It’s interesting because the big question mark with this legislation is that we don’t know whether this will lower or increase drug prices. I’m curious to see what happens!

Prop 62 & 66: Either don’t allow death penalties to exist or make them happen quicker

My stance: YES on 62, NO on 66

The arguments around this can be boiled down to your moral stance on the death penalty. As much as there are different facets to this issue (particularly the monetary one), for me, it was summarized to one question: should we put our most heinous criminals to death or put them in prison for life?

So, my general moral stance is that we shouldn’t retaliate even if someone wrongs us. That revenge is a never-ending cycle. I could see reasons for a death penalty in our far off past, though. Way back in our history, prisons used to be less humane and/or not as secure. It would be impractical for a small town to house a potentially dangerous criminal securely for life in relatively humane conditions. In today’s day & age, I feel that we have the means to do so. So, without regard to my desire for prison reform, I’m more in support of keeping our most heinous criminals in prison for life (and hopefully some rehabilitation) over putting them to death.

So, if you’re in support of the death penalty, then vote No on 62 and Yes on 66; if you’re not in support of the death penalty, then vote Yes on 62 and No on 66.