SF State Students Vote on California Props
SF State Decides on Propositions
November 3, 2004 12:34 AM
SF State students braved snaking lines in the school library and long waits in polling places across the Bay Area Tuesday in order to make their opinions heard on a plethora of state ballot measures and propositions.
Amongst the most controversial props on the ballot was Proposition 66, which proposed limitations to the state's hotly debated “Three Strikes” law.
Losing with a 53 percent majority, the proposition would have limited application of the “Three Strikes” law to violent and serious felonies. Currently, a petty theft or drug conviction is enough to send some repeat felons to prison for 25 years to life.
“I think that's one of the most important (propositions),” said SF State theater and psychology major Brian Vanderbilt, who voted against the measure. “There's too many people in the prison system clogging the works. It's time to put what the “Three Strikes” law was created for in place, so it can actually work now.”
The proposition took an early lead but lost ground as more votes were tallied.
Another contentious winner was Proposition 71, which supports stem cell research in the state. Passing with a 59 percent majority, the proposition will authorize $3 billion dollars in bonds to establish a “California Institute for Regenerative Medicine” to regulate and fund stem cell research.
Proponents touted the proposition as a way to further a promising field or research that could provide cures and treatments for cancer, diabetes, heart disease and spinal chord injuries. However, some voters remained unconvinced at the ballot box.
“I think that too many people underestimate the negative consequences that can be had from that kind of research,” said Brandon Reed, an SF State cell and molecular biology major. “I think there's a lot of power for biologists doing that research to do a lot of good, but there's a lot of power also for it to do a lot of harm, and I think people don't realize it dehumanizes us and takes away from who we are.”
Also passing with a strong majority was Proposition 69, which will now require law enforcement to take samples of DNA from felons, for use in a state DNA database. The measure was a particularly controversial one on campus.
“That... is crazy right there,” said first-year SF State Student Paul Rojas. “They’re just going to take DNA from anybody now.”
Proposition 59 also passed with a comfortable 83 percent majority. The proposition will amend the California constitution to allow for greater public access to government meetings and documents.
State voters gave Governor Schwarzenegger several victories on propositions Tuesday, but he campaigned particularly hard against the Indian gaming propositions. Voters agreed, and Props 68 and 70 lost by 83 and 76 percent, respectively.
Proposition 68 would have required Indian gambling casinos to pay 25 percent of their revenues to the state. Had the tribes refused to do so, it would have authorized the state to allow Indian casino-style gambling off of tribal lands. Proposition 70 would have lifted limits on the number and types of games allowed on tribal lands, among other things.
Most ballot measures were decided by much narrower margins.
Proposition 72, which would have compelled medium and large businesses to provide health care for their employees, lost by less than one percent of the vote. Backers had supported it as a way to ensure health care for more Californians.
“In my La Raza class, they told us that there's like 300,000 Latino people in the community that will get health insurance through it,” said cinema major Kevin Seihan, who voted for the proposition. “So I thought that it would help.” Also, my sister and (others) who work jobs like that will get health insurance.”
However, supporters were outnumbered.
“I vote no for that,” Rojas said. “We're driving a lot of businesses out.”
Another business-related measure, Proposition 64, passed with a 58 percent majority. The measure will limit the types of lawsuits that can be brought against businesses.
Designed to channel money to the state children's hospitals, Proposition 61 passed with a 58 percent majority. The prop authorizes $750 million in bonds for improvements to eligible state children's hospitals.
"I think getting good healthcare for children is important," said SF student Maria Reyes, who voted for the measure.
Proposition 63, which will levy a one percent tax on California's richest for the expansion of mental health care services across the state, passed with a 53 percent majority. The prop will affect individuals with more than $1 million in taxable income.
Another healthcare related measure, Proposition 67, did not fare nearly as well. The measure, which would have levied an extra three percent surcharge on telephones in order to make improvements for hospitals, failed with a decisive 71 percent of voters against.
The ballot had two election-related props, with different outcomes. Passing with a 67 percent majority, Proposition 60 will now amend the state constitution to require that the top vote-getter from each party in a primary election be allowed to go on to the general election.
Proposition 62 failed with a 54 percent majority. It would have given all primary election voters the chance to vote for any candidate, with the top two vote-getters being placed on the election ballot.
Several local government-related bonds also passed. Proposition 1A, which will restrict state control over local government finances, won by 83 percent. Proposition 65, an abandoned early version of Proposition 1A, lost by 62 percent.
The Bay Area had its own share of contoversial ballot measures.
After passing with a 64 majority, Proposition A will authorize the city to borrow $200,000,000 to build and renovate affordable housing. San Francisco voted 51 percent against Proposition F, which would have allowed non-citizens with children in city schools to vote in school board elections. 54 percent of voters agreed with Proposition H, which will now officially name the stadium at Candlestick Point “Candlestick Park.”
Another well-publicized San Francisco ballot measure was that of Proposition N, which made it city policy to urge the United States to withdraw military personnel from Iraq. It passed with a 63 percent majority.
“I think that is was kind of obvious already that San Francisco doesn’t want to go to war,” Rojas said. “This is just admitting it.”
In Oakland, 65 percent of voters passed Measure Z, which will now soften law interference of cannabis clubs and move to legalize private adult marijuana use. Also in Alameda County, 63 percent of Berkeley voters moved against Measure Q, which would have loosened law enforcement against prostitution.
Faced with a number of confusing propositions, many voting students on campus said that they had chosen to skip the proposition section of the ballot.
“Honestly, all I really voted for was the presidential vote,” said SF State finance major Kristen Wong. “I just left them blank, because I didn't really have a strong opinion about them.”
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