The New University Takes a Stand on California Propositions

Prop 83: Yes

Proposition 83 deals with punishment, monitoring and residence restrictions for sex offenders and sexually violent predators. This proposition will prevent registered sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of any school or park.

Felony registered sex offenders will also be monitored by a Global Positioning System for their entire life. The definition of a sexually violent predator is also expanded by this proposition.

We recognize the possibility of added inconvenience for non-violent sex offenders, such as exhibitionists or consensual statutory rapists, in having to find a residence that is not within 2,000 feet of a park or school, which is difficult in cities like Irvine that have very few such places.

But ultimately, we support Proposition 83 because the possible positive outcome would outweigh any unnecessary inconvenience to criminals and because it will benefit any community to monitor felony registered sex offenders.

Prop 85: No

Proposition 85 prohibits a physician from performing an abortion for any unemancipated minor until 48 hours after notification of the minor’s parent or legal guardian.

We do not support Proposition 85 because of its possible harmful effects on pregnant teens. In many cases, this law will not lead to positive communication between pregnant teens and their parents, but rather encourage teens to seek illegal and dangerous abortions if they fear their parents’ reactions. The proposition’s central assumption that parents will always act in their child’s best interests is admirable, but unfortunately not always warranted.

Proposition 85 legislates good parenting, when such practices should not be legislated but encouraged through education and counseling. While abortions should be discouraged, this measure is too overreaching.

Prop 86: No

Proposition 86 would impose an additional 13-cent tax on each cigarette sold in California, adding up to $2.60 per pack. The proposition provides funding for qualified hospitals for emergency services, nursing education and health insurance to eligible children. Money would also go toward tobacco-prevention programs and cancer research.

Although we agree with the spirit of this proposition, the $2.60 per pack tax is excessive and potentially wasteful. While it seems fair that smokers should pay for the cost of public health, this proposition seems like an overly bureaucratic solution.

This proposition is also heavily supported by health maintenance organizations, which we feel do not always have Californians’ best interests in mind.

Particularly unsettling is how the proposition contains a plethora of spending mandates to many state programs, regardless of whether the tax is actually able to raise enough money to fund them. There is no solid guarantee that revenues from the tax will remain steady over the long term, leading to concerns as to how those programs will be funded if the cigarette tax is not able to foot the bill.

The uncertainty as to how the money collected will be put to use, combined with our skepticism as to the necessity of such a heavy tax increase, lead us to encourage voting against Proposition 86.

Prop 89: No

Proposition 89 provides public campaign funding for candidates running for state elected office who have been able to receive a specified number of $5 contributions from voters. The public campaign funding would come from a 0.2 percent income-tax increase for corporations and financial institutions. The amount of money that individuals, corporations, political groups and other groups can contribute to candidate or a ballot measure would also be limited.

A candidate who receives a large sum of money from donations could be restricted by Proposition 89, while a candidate who is less likely to receive a lot of donations could receive as much money in state funds.

We think corporations should not be taxed more to support candidates whom they might not support and who lack the funding of their competitors. Rather, campaigning should test who is cunning enough to get financial support for their campaign and the ballot measures they support.

Candidates should not have a limited period of time to accept or spend campaign contributions, and it seems wholly arbitrary to us to force corporations to pay taxes for the sole purpose of encouraging a multi-party system.

Prop 87: Yes

Proposition 87 deals with research, production and incentives for alternative energy as well as taxes on California oil producers. Specifically, the proposition creates a $4 billion program, which aims to reduce petroleum consumption by 25 perent and to create research and production incentives for alternative energy, alternative energy vehicles, energy-efficient technologies and for education and training.

The proposition is funded by a tax that ranges from 1.5 to 6 percent on oil producers in California, while prohibiting such producers from passing the tax onto customers. Finally, the proposition prohibits altering the tax while indebtedness remains.

We support Proposition 87 for several reasons. First, we feel that the strong commuter culture of California needs to set it sights on weaning itself off of petroleum as its dominant source of fuel. This is especially important for cities like Los Angeles, which suffers from heavy smog output.

While this may initially cost petroleum producers more money and inadvertently cost customers money one way or another, we feel that this proposition will save Californians money in the long run.

Though gas prices are currently down from the last six months, the frenetic cost of gas worries many Californians, and any step towards a cheaper, more stable and more environmentally conscious fuel will benefit California.

Lastly, we feel that this is not just an issue for California, but for the United States and the rest of the world as well.

While we can’t control what goes on outside of California as proposition voters, as Californians we can set an example for others to follow, which has been a positive characteristic of California in the past, and one we would like to continue.