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Crowded ballots await voters today

November 2, 2010

Today is the big day with residents from all over the state casting their ballots for the next governor of California and nine propositions. Photo by Mike Gervais

Voters across the state today will be weighing in on nine ballot measures, selecting local representatives to serve in the House of Representatives, State Senate and State Assembly as well as voting for a new governor.
Locally, residents in the City of Bishop will weigh in on the controversial chicken measure that will determine whether citizens can raise poultry and rabbits within the city limits.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.
Possibly the biggest race in the 2010 California mid-term election will be to see who replaces Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose term limit has expired.
There will be several candidates on the ballot, including Republican Meg Whitman; Democrat Jerry Brown; Peace and Freedom Party candidate C.T. Webber; Green Party candidate James “Jimi” Castillo; and Libertarian candidate Pamela J. Brown.
Inyo residents will also be voting for a U.S. Senator, a representative in the 34th Assembly District and their voice in the House of Representatives.
On the ballot in the race for the Senate will be the incumbent, Democrat Barbara Boxer, running against Republican Carly Fiorina; Peace and Freedom Party candidate Marsha Finland; Libertarian candidate Gail Lightfoot; American Independent candidate Edward Noonan; and Green Party candidate Duane Roberts.
Local residents will also be voting for 25th District of the House of Representatives where Republican incumbent Buck McKeon will be up against Democrat Jackie Conaway.
In the race for 34th Assembly District, Republican incumbent Connie Conway, who has served in the Assembly since 2008, will be running against Democrat Esmerelda Castro.
In Bishop, voters will be casting their ballot in favor or against the city’s chicken ordinance.
Measure C, as it has been dubbed, asks Bishop residents if Ordinance No. 530, relating to keeping chickens and rabbits within the city limits, should be approved.
Ordinance 530 states that no more than four chickens (no roosters) or rabbits, or a combination of the two, may be kept within the city limits on a residential lot. All chickens and rabbits should be kept at least 20 feet away from any neighboring property line, and that no chicken or rabbit shall be visible from the street or other rights-of-way. All chickens or rabbits should be kept in a coop and their food kept in a rodent-proof container.
The full text of the ordinance is available on the City’s Web site at www.ca-bishop.us or from the assistant city clerk at City Hall, 377 W. Line St.
There are nine statewide propositions on today’s ballot, ranging from legalization of marijuana to redistricting state congressional districts.
Proposition 19, if approved by voters, will legalize various marijuana-related activities, allow local governments to regulate those activities, permit local governments to impose and collect marijuana-related fees and taxes and authorize various criminal and civil penalties for new laws that would prevent the sale of marijuana to anyone under the age of 21.
There are 12 California cities that have local ballot measures on today’s ballot that would allow them to tax recreational marijuana if Proposition 19 passes. Inyo County and the City of Bishop have not placed any marijuana-related measures on today’s ballot.
Prop 20, the Congressional Redistricting Initiative, if approved by voters, will add the task of re-drawing congressional district boundaries to the California Citizens Redistricting Commission created by Prop 11 in 2008.
Currently, redistricting is taken up in the Legislature.
The state constitution requires that the state adjust the boundary lines of the districts once every 10 years following the federal census for the State Assembly, State Senate, State Board of Equalization and California Congressional Districts or the House of Representatives.
To comply with federal law, redistricting must establish districts that are roughly equal in population.
A competing initiative that has also qualified for today’s ballot, Prop 27, would eliminate the Citizen Redistricting Commission. Prop 27 seeks to repeal Prop 11.
Prop 21, the Vehicle License Fee for Parks Act, is a proposal to increase vehicle license fees in the state by $18 a year in order to raise about $500 million a year into a dedicated fund for the state’s 278 parks. The new fee would apply to about 28 million vehicles.
If passed, the surcharge revenues will be deposited into a newly created State Parks and Wildlife Conservation Trust Fund. Those funds will be available only for state parks and wildlife conservation.
Under this measure, all California vehicles subject to the surcharge would have free vehicle admission, parking and day-use at all state parks.
Prop 22, The Local Taxpayer, Public Safety and Transportation Protection Act, seeks “to protect existing funds that are allocated to local government, public safety and transportation.”
The initiative would prohibit the state from delaying the payment of public safety and transportation funds, as well as local government funds, to offset the state deficit.
Prop 23, if passed, will suspend AB 32, the Global Warming Act of 2006.
AB 32 is California’s landmark clean air legislation, and requires that greenhouse gas emission levels in the state be cut to 1990 levels by 2020. The process of cutting greenhouse gas emissions in the state is slated under AB 32 to begin in 2012.
If approved by voters, Prop 32 will freeze the provisions of AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters. California’s unemployment rate, which currently hovers around 12 percent, has been at 5.5 percent or below for four consecutive quarters just three times since 1980.
Prop 24, the Repeal of Corporate Tax Breaks ballot proposition, aims to stop several corporate tax breaks that are slated to go into effect in 2010 and 2012.
The breaks were approved by Governor Schwarzenegger and allow businesses to shift operating losses to prior tax years and allows corporations to share tax credits with affiliated corporations.
If passed, legislative analysts predict increased state revenues of about $1.3 billion each year from higher taxes paid by some businesses.
Prop 25, the Majority Vote for the Legislature to Pass the Budget Act, is an initiated constitutional amendment that would end the current requirement in the state that two-thirds of the members of the California State Legislature must vote in favor of the state’s budget in order for a budget to be enacted.
It also requires state legislators to forfeit their pay in years where they have failed to pass a budget in a timely fashion.
Prop 26, or the Supermajority Vote to Pass New Taxes and Fees Act, is an initiated constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds “supermajority” vote in the California State Legislature to pass many fees, levies, charges and tax revenue allocations that, under existing rules, can be enacted by a simple majority vote.
Prop 26 is somewhat similar to Prop 37, which was narrowly defeated in 2000.
Voters also have the opportunity to weigh in on the race for Secretary of State, where incumbent Debra Bowen, a Democrat, will be running against five challengers, including Republican Damon Dunn, American Independent candidate Merton Short and Green Party candidate Ann Menasche. Also running for Secretary of State are Libertarian candidate Christina Tobin and Peace and Freedom Party candidate Marylou Cabral.
In the race for Attorney General, incumbent Jerry Brown will be stepping down as he runs for governor. Vying for his position will be Democrat Kamala Harris; Republican Steve Cooley; American Independent candidate Diane Templin; Green Party candidate Peter Allen, Libertarian Timothy Hanna and Peace and Freedom candidate Robert Evans.
Statewide, voters will also be selecting a treasurer, insurance commissioner and state controller.

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