Staff writers Neal Biswas, Jared Schwartz and Callie Walker share their opinions on the Santa Clara County measures and the California state propositions.
Measure A: Santa Clara County collects one-eighth cent sales tax for a variety of uses including public safety, health coverage, economic development and housing.
Neal: YES. This isn’t a major increase of taxes and the money would go to many beneficial causes to help the county.
Jared: YES. The tax increase will hardly make a difference in terms of prices, and will benefit the community significantly.
Callie: YES. This measure seems fairly reasonable and shouldn’t affect prices too much.
Measure B: Santa Clara Valley Water District renews parcel tax, with the same rates, to make water cleaner.
Neal: YES. This does not raise taxes and clean water is essential to the well-being of the county.
Jared: YES. A safe and reliable water supply is crucial and worth the money.
Callie: NO. I think that this tax is excessive and if people were that worried about the water they should buy a filter.
Measure C: Three medical marijuana dispensaries will be allowed to operate in the city of Palo Alto.
Neal: NO. Marijuana dispensaries are not necessary in Palo Alto and would only cause problems. This could also be a stepping stone to harder drugs being legalized.
Jared: YES. These will allow the terminally ill to easily obtain a drug that is necessary for their health. Liquor stores pose far greater problems, and there are plenty in Palo Alto.
Callie: YES. This shouldn’t affect the atmosphere of the community, and people who don’t approve of medical marijuana can stay away from it.
Prop 30: Increases taxes by one-fourth of a cent for four years. Tax money goes to schools and public safety services.
Neal: YES. This prop will support schools and public safety services, which is a major part of Palo Alto. This isn’t a huge tax and it goes to a good cause.
Jared: YES. Education needs to be supported, and it has not been lately. This will be extremely beneficial to schools in Palo Alto and throughout California.
Callie: NO. The taxes in California are already too high and the budget is being spent pretty poorly, this tax would just increase the amount of money that California can waste.
Prop 31: Establishes a two year state government budget.
Neal: YES. This will provide a clear government budget plan, which will prevent politicians from spending money without authorization.
Jared: YES. People have the right to know what their tax money is paying for, and should not be left in the dark.
Callie: NO. While this proposition has good merits, in practice it would be flawed and cause expensive provisions to be placed into the state conversation.
Prop 32: Prohibits unions and corporations from using money deducted from an employee’s paycheck for political purposes.
Neal: NO. There should be no restrictions on businesses and unions and how they choose to support their political parties.
Jared: NO. It is good to prevent corporations from doing so, but the measure is unbalanced and will hurt workers unions more than corporations.
Callie: NO. This proposition is not practical, the unions should be able to choose how they use their money.
Prop 33: Allows auto insurance companies to set prices based on whether customers previously owned auto insurance.
Neal: YES. Good drivers with car insurance should be rewarded with discounts on their insurances.
Jared: NO. This is deceptive, and will earn insurance companies money while harming good and bad drivers alike.
Callie: YES. This proposition should lower insurance rates for reliable drivers and insure more drivers, both good ideas.
Prop 34: Replaces death penalty with life imprisonment.
Neal: YES. The death penalty is a cruel and unusual punishment. Not only would the state government save millions of dollars, but the risk of executing innocent people would also be eliminated.
Jared: YES. Keeping criminals on death row is just as expensive as life imprisonment. While these people committed horrible crimes, the government does not have a right to end their lives.
Callie: NO. The death penalty deserves to be part of the criminal justice system. The problem isn’t with the punishment, it’s with the inefficient use of time and money in courts.
Prop 35: Harsher prison sentences and fines for human trafficking violators.
Neal: YES. Human trafficking is a serious issue affecting women and children all over the world. Violators must face harsh consequences.
Jared: YES. This will help prevent the exploitation of children by dealing out harsher punishments to trafficking violators.
Callie: YES. This proposition brings light to a horrendous crime that should be punished more harshly.
Prop 36: Changes the “Three Strikes Law” to sentence life imprisonment only when felony is considered serious or violent.
Neal: YES. The current law is ridiculous. Someone who has committed one violent crime, followed by two petty shoplifting crimes would still have to serve life in prison. This does not make any sense.
Jared: YES. If someone has changed after committing violent crimes in the past and steals a pencil from a CVS Pharmacy, for example, they do not deserve life in prison.
Callie: YES, the proposition restores the original intent of the “Three Strikes Law” and makes more sense than what is in place now.
Prop 37: Genetically engineered food must be specifically labeled as such.
Neal: NO. This prop is a vague and expensive food labeling scheme that is full of loopholes.
Jared: YES. We have a right to know what is in our food.
Callie: NO. This proposition is unnecessary and unrealistic. In addition, the execution of this law would cost a lot of money, which is not what this country needs.
Prop 38: Increased income taxes for next 12 years. Tax money goes to schools, early childhood programs, and repaying state debt.
Neal: NO. Although the money would go to a good cause, there is no need to implement a 12-year tax at this time.
Jared: NO. While it is a good general idea to improve schools, having an unchangeable 12-year length is ridiculous.
Callie: NO. The tax rate has continued to increase at the federal and state levels, and this proposition is another spike in the tax rate. Furthermore, this proposition cannot be modified for 12 years, which is frightening.
Prop 39: Multi-state businesses must pay taxes based on percentage of sales in California. Tax money goes to clean energy projects.
Neal: YES. This proposition is necessary to prevent big businesses from getting out of paying California taxes.
Jared: YES. This hinders the ability of huge corporations to avoid paying California taxes. The money earned from it will go to clean energy, which is a great cause.
Callie: NO. While I do agree with clean energy funding, businesses should be able to determine how they pay taxes. This is a massive tax that would hurt California job providers.
Prop 40: New state districts boundaries drawn by Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Neal: YES. This keeps politicians out of the redistricting process. It is supported by businesses and taxpayers.
Jared: YES. It is important that politicians, who have their own priorities, are kept out of this process.
Callie: YES. This proposition upholds what the people of California want and keeps the districts drawn by citizen-approved groups, instead of politicians.