NOTE: Our New site can be found at www.WestRanchBeacon.comEric Rosenberg is a community volunteer in Stevenson Ranch and is a candidate for the Stevenson Ranch Community Association board of directors. He attends most of the community meetings in the West Ranch area and is an informed resident. Eric is a new to the West Ranch Beacon and is a guest commentator expressing his views on politics, local issues and the upcoming election. As with all columnists, these are his own views and don't necessarily reflect those of the West Ranch Beacon.
I spent the past two weekends reading every line of the various propositions that will be on the ballot November 7th, plus every word I could find on all the candidates running for office. Since I know many special interests have seriously confused the actual meaning of many of these propositions, and because very few people will actually take four days to read anything other than the short biased summaries for each proposition, and because not everyone has an extremely knowledgeable attorney as their spouse to whom they can pose legal questions, I'd like to offer my non-partisan advice on how to vote.
I am not a member of either the Democratic or Republican Party; my philosophy is a combination of Libertarian and Green with a few handpicked positions from the two major parties. Basically, I'm an Independent beholden to no one who has the ability to make up my mind without worrying about how the "party faithful" will feel. I don't get fooled by silly catchphrases like "stay the course," "cut and run," etc., nor bamboozled by people throwing out labels such as "liberal" and "conservative." Talking points and repetition have absolutely no affect on me (other than to annoy me!), so no matter how many ads the oil companies run against Proposition 87, I'm still going to vote based on the actual text and meaning of the proposition!
If you and your readers are now comfortable with me as a voter and agenda-less community participant, then let's move on to my suggested positions for the coming election. (If you're not comfortable, it's probably because you don't like people who question your group's positions, regardless of which political party you belong to. If you've lost the ability to sincerely question your leaders, then you've lost the ability to stay informed and be objective. "You're either with us or against us" is 3rd grade playground logic and should not be relied upon for your decision making. Don't be held hostage and blindly follow the party line...that's what Islamic terrorists do, not Americans.)
Here are the candidates and propositions I recommend based on my research and fact-checking:
1) Governor – Arnold Schwarzennegger
2) Lieutenant Governor – Tom McClintock
3) Secretary of State – Bruce McPherson
4) Controller – Tony Strickland
5) Treasurer – Mehul M. Thakker
6) Attorney General – Kenneth A. Weissman
7) Insurance Commissioner – Dale F. Ogden
8) State Board of Equalization (2nd District) – Bill Leonard
9) State Senator – Dianne Feinstein
10) U.S. Representative (25th District) - Robert Rodriguez
11) Member of State Assembly (38th District) - Cameron Smyth
12) Castaic Lake Water Agency - (At Large) Isaac Lieberman / (Division 3) Carole Lutness
While I would have preferred to vote for Michael S. Wyman for Attorney General and Todd Chretien for Senator, I just cannot accept their errant positions on immigration which are so important to the fiscal future of our state. Sorry! (I would also have liked to find out some information on David W. Erickson for Congress, but he has no website, no e-mail contact, a single phone number that's always busy, and almost no other public information that I could find! Maybe his only goal was to get on the ballot??)
I also can't support Howard "Buck" McKeon for U.S. Representative because of some very dubious decisions he's made, like using campaign donations to pay family members $152,362 for working on his election (of which $74,462 went to his wife), for his inability to reverse California's 12% deficit of Federal funding vs. what we pay in as taxpayers, for his weak refusal to debate his challengers in a public forum, and for his very slimy attempt to take credit for killing the Cemex mining expansion (which was NOT halted) by getting the City of Santa Clarita to pay for "Thank You, Buck" banners audaciously posted in the public right-of-way that made it sound like McKeon succeeded, when in fact he did nothing other than belatedly introduce a bill to Congress (HR 5471) that was dead on arrival.
Now for the propositions:
1A – YES
1B – YES
1C – NO
1D – YES
1E – NO
83 – NO
84 – YES
85 – NO
86 – YES
87 – YES
88 – NO
89 – YES
90 – NO
M – YES
It would take many paragraphs of analysis to explain the above votes, but I truly believe those positions are in the best interest of our state. The really smarmy part of these propositions is how many are worded to mean one thing but actually accomplish something else, plus the deceptive ads all over television that completely misrepresent what your YES or NO vote will accomplish.
For example, 1C sounds like it's a very charitable proposal to help battered women and low-income seniors find housing, when in fact 1C does nothing to make housing more affordable! Another example – Proposition 1E claims to protect California's drinking water supply, but it doesn't have any effective provisions to do this! Propositions 83 and 85 sound like good common-sense moral measures, yet both laws set legal precedents that would negatively impact many other areas of law and government, neither law actually achieves the main goals they claim, and both have failed legal and logistical tests in other states. And don't even get me started on Prop 87! This is a very good measure for the state, but you'd never know that if you listened to the 30-40 grossly misleading ads per day that the oil industry pays for to try and scare people into voting "no."
So there you have it. All I can hope is that the electorate thinks for itself, does the necessary research to make informed decisions, and votes for the best solutions for our state's and country's problems. I sincerely believe the above recommendations fulfill that criteria, and I know that others will disagree for various reasons. But if those reasons are ignorance, "because my party told me to disagree," apathy, or misguided hard-headedness, then it's not a valid rebuttal and we should ignore their vacuous shouts. Vote for what is right, not because you're "left" or "right."