At long last, Tuesday is election day. Voters throughout California, and the rest of the country, will head to the polls to vote on Congressional, Senate, Governor and Statehouse races. California voters have a lot of big decisions to make, including several statewide races and ballot propositions.
Streetsblog has covered the races throughout the last several months. Here is a summary of our coverage of the Governor’s Race, U.S. Senate Race, and Ballot Propositions 19, 21 and 23. When you’re done reading, vote in our StreetPoll and see how Streetsbloggers are planning to vote this year.
Governor’s Race: Democrat Jerry Brown v Republican Meg Whitman
Back in June we looked at the transportation positions that candidates had taken during the primaries and their record on transportation issues. Earlier this week, Tanya Snyder took a fresh look at Capitol Hill Streetsblog.
Because of his career in politics, Brown had a lengthy record to analyze. When he was governor in the 1970’s, Brown was ahead of the national curve. He de-emphasized highway projects and put the money towards transit. It seems that record would continue as he is a proponent of High Speed Rail.
Whitman hasn’t addresses a lot of transportation issues head on, but we do know that she’s opposed to the “wasteful spending” of High Speed Rail and favors a suspension of the state’s landmark Greenhouse Gas Law, AB32.
U.S. Senate Race: Senator Barbara Boxer v Carly Fiorina
Streetsblog hasn’t taken a hard look at both candidates’ transportation positions, but there are still a few things we can say with certainty.
Fiorina is an outspoken supporter of indefinitely delaying the implementation of the state’s Greenhouse Gas reduction legislation, supports the state’s High Speed Rail plans and favors more off-shore drilling for oil. Other than that, there isn’t a lot known about Fiorina’s position on transportation projects.
But Fiorina has made a lot of her campaign about the fact that she is not Barbara Boxer. And Boxer we know plenty about.
On one hand, Boxer has been a dynamo in promoting Los Angeles’ 30/10 Initiative that would allow the county to leverage its 2008 sales tax to build 30 years of transit projects in the next decade. Just last week, she helped to bring a $545 million loan for the first 30/10 project.
The larger issue for Boxer has been her lack of energy in passing a new transportation funding bill in the Senate Energy and Transportation Committee which she chairs. While she has promised a robust effort to pass legislation in 2011, there’s two problems with that pledge. First, even if she wins her election there’s a chance that “her” committee will be chaired by someone else if the Republicans take control of the Senate. Second, there’s also a large chance that the House of Representatives, which would need to agree with anything passed by the Senate, is quite a bit more conservative.
Proposition 19: Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010
Streetsblog had no plans on covering this Proposition, until Los Angeles Times Columnist Steve Lopez smoked something called “Trainwreck” and flunked a driving test. This led to a short Streetsblog article discussing the mixed science on the issue of whether or not smoking a moderate amount of marijuana makes a driver more dangerous. The science is somewhat mixed, as was the opinions of Streetsblog commenters. Amusingly, commenters from both sides of the debate accused Streetsblog of taking the other side.
Proposition 22: The Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act
Proposition 22 would prohibit the state from raiding funds generated by taxes for a specific purpose, such as transportation. The act is popular with transit groups who are tired of seeing the state take hundreds of millions from transit operating funds to close a gap in the general fund. Often, one’s views on the proposition tend to depend on how they feel about the issues that would receive more funds than the current status quo and those that would see their budgets cut as funds return to their original purpose.
Dana Gabbard, of the Southern California Transit Advocates, explained why most transit advocates favor Prop. 22.
Proposition 23: The California Jobs Initiative
Have you heard that Proposition 23 is sponsored by “Two Texas Oil Companies?” You have? The advertising was so subtle.
Proposition 23 would suspend California’s global warming plan created under A.B. 32 until the state unemployment level reaches 5.5% Surprisingly, the “no” campaign has actually out fundraised the “Two Texas Oil Companies” and have swamped the airwaves with commercials promoting state law, clean energy and even the national defense implications of kicking our oil addiction.
One reason that Proposition 23 appears to be floundering is that some oil companies are focusing their efforts on passing Proposition 26, which would make it more difficult for governments to create new fines, fees and penalties.
Now that you’ve had a chance to review some of the issues, you’re ready to vote on Tuesday. But, why wait? Los Angeles Streetsblog wants to know your votes now. Visit our Friday StreetPoll at this address.