By James Clark & Rachel Tennenbaum
*Proposition 91*. Transportation Funds — Sets limits on how much money for transportation funds can be used for other purposes. Prohibits certain motor vehicle fuel taxes from being retained in General Fund and delays repayment of such taxes previously retained. Changes how and when General Fund borrowing of certain transportation funds is allowed.
Pro: Helps in controlling government spending.
Con: Groups that worked to get Prop 91 on the ballots are now urging voters to say “no” because a similar measure has passed.
*Proposition 92*. Community Colleges. Funding. Governance. Fees — Prop 92 would establish separate funding and administrative systems for community colleges versus the rest of the K-12 public education system. Requires minimum funding for schools and community colleges to be calculated separately. Also sets fees at $15/unit and limits future increases.
Pro: This would give community colleges more funds to increase classes and services; also lowers fees to $15.
Con: Setting up a new administrative system would be expensive.
*Proposition 93*. Limits on Legislators’ Terms in Office — Proposition 93 reduces state legislative service from 14 years to 12 years. Those 12 years could be spent in either the Assembly or the Senate, or a combination. Currently one can serve in the Assembly for eight years and in the Senate for six.
Pro: Gives politicians, such as John Laird, more freedom in how they choose to serve.
Con: Longer periods of uninterrupted time in either Assembly or Senate.
*Propositions 94, 95, 96, 97*. Amendment to Indian Gaming Compact for the Pechanga, Morongo, Sycuan and Agua Caliente bands, respectively — Propositions would seek to ratify already existing agreements between the tribes and the state, as well as add more slot machines to casinos and bypass State Environment Regulations for special projects.
Pro: Increases tax revenue.
Con: Tax draws on low-income brackets and increases wealth only to certain tribes.
_Proposed Local Measures_
*Measure G Gann Limit Measure* — Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary School District: If approved, the Loma Prieta Joint Union Elementary School District would continue to maintain its current spending limitation for four more years. Measure G does not authorize the district to increase the property tax rate or impose a new assessment. It would allow the district to continue to spend the taxes already approved by the voters for another four years.
*Measure O School Bond Measure* — San Lorenzo Valley Unified School District (55 percent approval required). The school district seeks to acquire, construct and improve school facilities, including rebuilding the high school library recently destroyed by fire. It would be replaced with a modern facility with improved access to technology. The performing arts theater would be improved for school and community use, additional classrooms would be constructed, along with improvements to playgrounds and security at each campus by issuing $18,900,000 in bonds at legal interest rates. It would be done with a citizens’ oversight committee, annual audits, and no money for administrator salaries.
*Measure P Continuation of an Expiring Parcel Tax* — Santa Cruz City Elementary School District (two-thirds approval required). Santa Cruz City proposes to continue its parcel tax for nine more years. The annual rate will be changed from $81 per parcel to $105 per parcel. This will be done in order to reduce class size in all elementary grades and support achievement in science, reading, writing, and the arts, fund school libraries and literacy instruction. Senior citizens (over 65 years old) will be exempt from this tax. An independent oversight committee will audit spending, with every dollar staying in this community to support local elementary schools and no funds used for administrator salaries.
Ryan Coonerty is the Santa Cruz Mayor. He recently announced his support of Democratic primary runner Barack Obama and was willing to meet with City on a Hill Press to share his thoughts.
CHP: Why endorse Barack Obama?
Mayor Coonerty: I honestly believe that Barack Obama is the most important candidate of my lifetime, as he seems the most likely to create and propose good policies in order to change national dialogue. I love the way he’s inspiring a new generation to engage in politics. I feel it’s been lacking for a while. Many of us are turned off by the rancor in Washington, and the idea that we can change the tone and bring new people into the conversation is inspiring.
CHP: What prompted you to make this statement of support? Why is it important to you?
Mayor Coonerty: He’s a fairly young elected official. It’s nice to have someone of a new generation leading and bringing a fresh view and perspective. It’s absolutely a change. I’m real hopeful that he can be the nominee.
CHP: What does this mean to you as mayor?
Mayor Coonerty: I’ll be campaigning until the time of the election and trying to gather support.
Think the two-party system is the only way to go? No way! This year’s presidential primary hosts candidates from the Green, Libertarian, American Independent and the Peace and Freedom Parties, in addition to Democratic and Republican parties. There are at least 41 candidates among all parties, each hoping to make it the White House.
Find out more information at smartvoter.org and don’t forget to vote on Feb. 5.