Students react to California proposition results

Maya Akkaraju, Author

Californians face changes after citizens voted on a multitude of propositions on Nov. 8, along with the presidential, statewide and local elections.

Prop. 51, which passed by an eight percent margin, will put a $9 billion bond towards construction in schools. $7 billion will go towards K-12 schools, while the remaining $2 billion will be put towards community colleges. The bond, which will be paid off over 35 years, will cost the state a total of about $17.6 billion because of the interest on the $9 billion principle. Junior Maya Rebitzer was against Prop. 51 because she feels that it is aimed towards helping construction companies in California rather than school districts.

“In general, it’s better to have more locally funded schools because it is more efficient with the money, and it holds people more accountable when it’s local funding rather than state funding,” Rebitzer said. “The way this proposition is worded does not specify how the money is distributed. School districts just apply for it, and because of that, the richer districts who can afford to hire consultants are more likely to get the money than the districts who actually need it.”

This year, the ballot had two propositions regarding the death penalty, giving California the choice between speeding up or repealing the process. Sophomore Claire Chen is glad that Prop. 66 won and the death penalty will be sped up because she believes it will help reduce the amount of money spent on a process that many consider slow.

“I think there has to be a death penalty, but it also has to get sped up or it has to cost us way less money because right now we’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to keep these prisoners who have committed murders in prison, and I don’t think we should be spending this much money on that,” Chen said.

However, junior Reza Navadeh disagrees, and thinks speeding up the death penalty will leave more room for error.

“I think that it is not good to have a faster death row, and I believe that it is worth the tax dollars to keep innocent people alive rather than to possibly getting the wrong guy,” Navadeh said.

Navadeh also thinks that the passage of Prop. 64, which legalized recreational marijuana for people ages 21 and over, has potential benefits and drawbacks.

“I think that it will be very interesting to see how the marijuana industry in California will increase an already huge California economy,” Navadeh said. “But it seems that there are a lot of issues with its legalization. It is predicted that there will be harsher punishments for minors with marijuana, and that the price will increase, which would be bad for medical users. I think that it’s about time we see weed legalized in California, and I’m interested in seeing if this will overall lead to a good or bad for outcome for consumers.” 

Prop. 55, which was passed by a 24.2 percent margin, extends the income tax increase that was voted for in 2012 via Prop. 30. This increased the taxes by one to three percent for people with annual incomes over $263,000. Prop. 55 extended the increase to those who make over $250,000 a year, and will be in effect until 2030. Senior Ben Beaudry supports the proposition.

“I do … agree with the increased taxes for people making over $250,000 since they are making enough to support themselves and can give a bit more. Plus, the government needs the money,” Beaudry said.

See the infographic below for a summary of how Californians voted on each proposition.