A common issue I notice is that each fall election in California has a slew of ballot measures, many of which are confusing and most importantly, deceptive. The amendment, veto and initiative process dates to 1910 and the heyday of the Progressive Era. In the century since, over 1,200 proposals have made it on the ballot. This year has several substantial propositions, which could change not only California’s tax policy, but also how we treat criminals.
I won’t preface these endorsements with much, but I’ll pick out the two most important to me.
Prop 34 will eliminate the death penalty and commute sentences to life without parole. It is not only a moral imperative to do this, but also will have about $100 million a year, which will in part go to investigating unsolved rapes and murders- an outrageous proportion of terrible crimes are done by people who elude justice.
Prop 36 is a serious reform of the “three strikes” policy approved by voters in 1994. I assume some of you may have voted yes in that election, but it is now clear the it is a perversion of justice. It would stop people from serving life for a third, petty offense and adjust sentences of those that are in prison for a minor third strike. Many of the people that have come to define three strikes (who stole a crowbar, a few cookies, or a couple videotapes) would be freed under time served.
Our prison system is inhumane, overcrowded, and filled with people sentenced under mandatory minimums and other measures that fill our prisons and remove power from judges.
The endorsements are below the fold.