California propositions cover many issues


Dylan Bryant, Reporter

The general election is right around the corner, and that means Californians will have to decide whether to pass or fail the 17 voter initiatives on the ballot. These initiatives range from requiring porn actors to wear condoms to a referendum on whether California state officials should propose and ratify a constitutional amendment overturning the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission, often dubbed “Citizens United.” In the interest of the reader, The Rip has seleceted a few propositions that deal with students, and the youth, for further detail.

The first is Proposition 51. The measure would approve $9 billion in funding in the form of bonds for the state to build and modernize schools, including K-12 public schools, charter schools, and vocational schools. $2 billion would be designated to the community college system’s efforts to modernize campuses. This would be a huge step toward modernizing our aging educational infrastructure, though would come with a cost of about half a billion dollars a year for 35 years.

Supporters include Californians for Adequate School Housing and the California Building Industry Association Issues Committee, a lobbying group representing developers. Opponents include Gov. Jerry Brown, who argued the measure locks in a flawed method of funding school renovations.

Second is Proposition 55, which would extend a tax set to expire in 2019 until 2030. This tax was an increase of about one percent to the income tax rate of those making over $250,000 a year, or a joint income of over $500,000. If it fails, the K-12 education system is set to lose $4 billion in funding beginning in 2019, and California is already in need of more teachers.

Proponents of the measure, which include the California Federation of Teachers and the California Teachers Association, argue that our schools can’t afford that massive of a cut. The Kersten Institute for Governance and Public Policy is running a campaign in opposition, and the San Francisco Chronicle recommended voters reject the measure.

While the former argues that business may “flee” if the measure is approved, destroying jobs in the process, the latter argues this form of funding for our schools is “too unstable,” and that the assets the state has become reliant on could “vaporize” in the next recession, leaving our schools vulnerable.

Proposition 64, named the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would legalize marijuana for recreational use in the state of California. It would regulate the production, distribution, and taxation of recreational marijuana sales and allow for adults 21 and over to possess, use, and grow marijuana with some limits. It would also reduce or eliminate the sentences of those currently in prison for marijuana related offenses. This affects our campus not only because young people smoke marijuana more than older adults, but because this measure is projected to generate over a billion dollars of new tax revenue every year, and reduce criminal justice costs by tens of millions of dollars each year as well.

Proponents include Napster CEO Sean Parker, who donated millions to the effort, as well as the California Democratic Party, and the California ACLU. Opponents include the California Republican Party, the California Highway Patrol Association, some medical marijuana patient’s groups, and senator Diane Feinstein.

Lastly, the community will be deciding whether or not to approve Measure J, a bond measure aimed at renovating the infrastructures of the KCCD’s schools: Bakersfield College, Porterville College, Cerro Coso College, and the BC Delano campus. The bill’s largest sponsor is former Congressman Bill Thomas, and it has been endorsed by local conservative pundit Cathy Abernathy. Though the bond will cost the county $2.3 billion over 30 years, proponents argue the campuses affected are in desperate need of repair.

Opponents argue we don’t need yet another tax, and that the KCCD could use the $60 million it has in a slush fund to fund the repairs.