Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yannai and Kathy's Voter Guide

Yannai and Kathy gave me permission to post their reasoned and touching voter guide here. My thanks!

Dear Friends,

We're writing to see if we can be of some help to you and also to support some causes we believe in. As many of you know, Yannai is home-schooling, so the two of us have had some time to try to learn about the state propositions and figure out how we want to vote. It turns out that we are glad we took the time, because some of the propositions are quite confusing. We thought you might like to know what we came up with to help you choose. Our "voters' guide" is below, along with our commentary, mostly composed by Yannai.

There are two campaigns that we've been working on by leafletting in our local farmers' markets -- Yes on 2 and No on 8. We especially hope that, if you agree with us, you'll help spread the word about those. Also, the titles of Props 7 and 10 can be misleading, so please spread the word about those.

Lots of love and hope,

Yannai and Kathy

Prop 1A --Yes

Prop 1A would enable a high speed rail system between the major metropolitan areas in the state. A high speed rail system would mean less traffic on major freeways and less air pollution from cars and planes. This initiative is supported by the Sierra Club, the National Resources Defense Council, and other environmental organizations. We read the editorial in the Los Angeles Times, which considers opposing arguments, and recommends a Yes vote.

Prop 2 -- Yes Yes Yes

We have been in farmers' markets leafletting in favor of Prop 2. Right now, factory farms are cramming thousands of animals into tiny spaces where they can't even turn around and stretch. Prop 2 will ensure that farm animals' cages will be big enough for them to lie down and turn around. Also, we understand that if animals have more room, there will be less chance of disease spreading and meat from these farms might be healthier. The Humane Societies of America, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the United Farm Workers, Barbara Lee, Bill Niman of Niman Ranch, San Jose Mercury News, and many others support this one. As far as we have seen, the main opposition is from factory farmers. For more information, see

Prop 3 -- Yes

The problem we have in figuring out all of the propositions that have to do with bond-issues by the state is whether or not the plan would make good use of the money. We researched and we think that Prop 3 is an efficient way to use the state's money in rebuilding and repairing children's hospitals around the state. The Children's Defense Fund and many of the state's large newspapers support Prop 3.

Prop 4 -- No

This requires parental approval of abortions for women under age 18. We would love it if all young women considering abortions would talk with their parents -- and other supportive people -- about it. But if they choose not to consult with them we don't think there should be a law that requires it. Organizations urging "no on 4" include the California Nurses Association, California Association of School Counselors, California Teachers Association, and many others.

Prop 5 -- Yes

We think that giving drug users more access to rehabilitation makes more sense that putting them in jail. So the challenge with this prop was to figure out if the programs it would provide are well thought-out. For this one, we called our Congressperson, Barbara Lee, to ask, and she is supporting Yes on 5. Other supporters include a long list of progressive organizations. See

Prop 6 -- No

This proposition would draw money from education, transportation, environmental protection and health services and put it into policing and prisons. It also would put more teenagers 14 and up in the adult penal system rather than in the juvenile system. Loads of groups are against this one, including the ACLU and the New York Times.

Prop 7 -- No No No

This one is called the Renewable Energy Generation Initiative -- and so we would have thought we would be all for it! But it turns out that people who are active and knowledgeable about renewable energy think that this initiative will actually hurt the development of renewable energy. Many environmental organizations are against it, including the National Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club of California, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. It's also opposed by the California Democratic Party, California Republican Party, California Green Party, California Peace and Freedom Party.

Prop 8 -- No No No

(Kathy speaking here.) Hmmm.... Hard to know where to start on this one; it feels so personal. I'm finding myself trying not to get my hopes up, wanting to assure Yannai and myself that nothing will really change for us if this proposition passes. After all, same-sex marriages have been legal in California for only four months. But it does matter to me!! It touches so centrally on my basic human need for acceptance, I guess.

Inbal and I had a legal marriage ceremony this summer, on the 12th anniversary of our Jewish wedding. It was great; we invited a few friends to come to the county courthouse, put on our wedding dresses, and repeated what we had said to each other 12 years ago. We laughed when the clerk handed us a pamphlet entitled, "Your Future Together." The ceremony reflected the truth of the matter: we're two women living in the joy and complexity of building our lives and our family together. Our relationship blesses our lives. In most ways, the recognition of the state means very little, next to the simple truth of our married lives. But I've also noticed, in the last couple of months, that having the recognition of the state around our relationship does matter to me -- more than I thought it would. I felt it just the other day, filling out a form in the doctor's office, when it said, "Are you married?" and I wrote "yes," purely and simply. Inbal's been my "next of kin" for years. It feels good to be able to trust that that will be recognized in any formal circumstance where it might matter.

This proposition feels like a big deal. If same-sex marriages continue to be legal in California, that will likely have a huge impact on acceptance of same-sex couples all over the country (and maybe the world). It would be a sad step backwards to lose that. Please talk this one up to everyone you know -- make sure that they know that voting NO is the way to keep marriage legal for everybody. (There's been some confusion, with people thinking that a "yes" vote supports same-sex marriage.) Proponents of this measure have been showing ads that say that religious groups that don't want to do same-sex marriages will lose their tax-exempt status; this is not true. Vote no! For more information or to contribute to the campaign, see

Prop 9 -- No

Prop 9 is Prop 6's teammate. Once Prop 6 gets someone in jail, Prop 9 makes them stay there longer. Prop 9 would keep people in jail for longer instead of their having an opportunity via hearing to get out on parole. Also, it would make families not be able to visit family members in prison. Yuck! The same people who are against Prop 6 are against Prop 9, including, to mention some more, Congressperson Barbara Lee and the California Democratic Party.

Prop 10 -- No No No

Prop 10 is, like Prop 7, deceptive. From the title, California Alternative Fuels Initiative, we would think we'd be for it. Prop 10 would try to convert many vehicles to run on natural gas. While natural gas burns more cleanly, it still is not a renewable resource. Also, the main supporter of Prop 10 is one of the owners of a major natural gas company. Other experts say that it's a waste of money. People who oppose this initiative include the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Prop 11 -- No

Prop 11 would change the current not-so-fair system in California of drawing the legislative districts to another equally unfair one. Why should you change a bad system to another one? This prop was a little hard for us to decide, because on the surface, the system that is proposed -- to move authority for redistricting from the legislature to a commission -- makes sense. But we got convinced that the proposed system is not more fair. Opponents to Prop 11 include NAACP, California Teachers Association, California Democratic Party, California League of Conservation Voters.

Prop 12 -- Yes

This would provide a bond issue to give loans for homes and farms to veterans. We wish that there were not so many veterans of wars in this country! But we support the idea of helping them get their lives back together when they come back from war. The measure was unanimously approved by the state assembly and state senate. Supporters include the Los Angeles Times, whose editorial you can read here (this also covers Props 1A and 3):

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