Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Adams and Jefferson Votes For...

A week from today Arizonans will get the opportunity to cast their votes for the candidates and positions of their choice. Without further comment, Adams and Jefferson will be voting for the following individuals:

President - John McCain
US Representative, District 6 - Jeff Flake
State Senator, District 18 - Russell Pearce
State Representatives, District 18 - Cecil Ash, Steve Court
Corporation Commission - Marian McClure, Bob Stump, Barry Wong
County Board of Supervisors, District 2 - Don Stapley
County Assesor - Keith Russell
County Attorney - Andrew Thomas
County Recorder - Helen Purcell
County School Superintendent - Don Covey
Sheriff - Joe Arpaio
County Treasurer - Charles "Hos" Hoskins
North Mesa Justice of the Peace - Lester Pearce
North Mesa Constable - Ed Malles
Maricopa County Special Healthcare District 2 - Greg Patterson (Harlan Stratton would also be a good choice)
Mesa Unified School District #4 - Steven Peterson, Kate Ali'Varius, Lance Entrekin

For a guide to the propositions and judges, see my previous post.

To find your polling place click here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Adams and Jefferson's Take on Arizona's Ballot Propositions

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to make a presentation on the 2008 Ballot Propositions. We had a great discussion and spent well over an hour hashing out each proposition and its potential effects on Arizona. Without further ado - here are my notes from that presentation:

Disclaimer: I personally have real issues with making laws by initiative petition. That is what we have a legislature for. We do a lot of damage to our state with some of these propositions, and we can't undo the damage easily or quickly. My arguments against the initiative process will have to be the subject of a future post.

100 Series Propositions
100 series propositions are amendments to the state constitution.

Proposition 100 – No New Taxes on Real Estate
Prop 100 will prohibit the state or any other government entity from charging a sales tax on the sale of real estate.
Currently there is no sales tax in the State of Arizona on the sale or transfer of real property from one entity to another.
This proposition will make it constitutionally illegal for any subdivision of government to impose such a sales tax in the future.

Prohibits a type of tax on real estate transactions

Eliminates a potential revenue source for Arizona in the future

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on PROP 100

Proposition 101 – Freedom of Choice in Health Care
Proposition 101 will make it so that no law can:
Restrict a person’s freedom to choose a private health care plan or system of their choice
Interfere with a person’s or entity’s right to pay directly for lawful medical services
Impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for choosing to obtain or decline health care coverage
Impose a penalty or fine, of any type, for participation in any particular health care system or plan

Ostensibly preserves the right to choose your health care options in the future free from government, employer, healthcare provider or other entity’s influence.
Seen as a pre-emptive move against the effects of socialized medicine.

“Fixes” a problem that doesn’t exist yet with a constitutional amendment. The long-term ramifications of this type of law cannot be determined yet.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on PROP 101

Proposition 102 – Defense of Marriage Act
Prop 102 defines marriage in the State of Arizona as between one man and one woman. It allows for no other definition of marriage. Because it is a constitutional amendment, it will not allow a court to overturn this definition.

By law, the State of Arizona already only recognizes marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Because this definition is found in the Arizona Revised Statutes (as opposed to the State Constitution) this law is open to challenge in the State courts and can be overturned by an unelected majority in the State Supreme Court. This is what occurred in Massachusetts a few years ago, and happened earlier this year in California.

Prop 102 takes this decision out of the hands of our court system and puts it directly into the hands of the people – where it belongs.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on PROP 102

Proposition 105 – Majority Rules Initiative
Prop 105 amends the constitution to require that a majority of qualified electors be required to pass any future initiative measure that seek to raise taxes, fees or other revenue, or mandates a spending obligation – whether by a private person, legal entity, labor union or the state.
In plain English - this means that any spending or taxing initiative that is on the ballot will have to pass by a majority of all registered voters, whether they all voted or not.

Will bring an almost absolute halt to spending measures and tax increases by initiative petition.

Counts people who do not bother to vote as “no” votes.
Depending on how this law gets interpreted by courts, it could completely shut down the initiative ability of the citizens of Arizona
I agree with the intentions behind this proposition - to limit the number of spending and taxing initiatives passed into law directly by the people. Unfortunately this proposition is the equivalent of killing a cockroach with a .357 Magnum. The cockroach is definitely dead, but you have probably caused serious damage to something else unintentionally. A shoe would have worked just fine.
In this case - a better proposition would require a supermajority of votes cast to pass spending and tax initiatives. It would eliminate most of the stupid issues that we have passed recently without slamming the door on this ability forever.
Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on PROP 105
200 Series Propositions
The 200 series of propositions are initiatives put on the ballot by the citizens of Arizona or special interests who got enough signatures. These kinds of changes to our state laws cannot be limited by the legislature once they are passed, they can only be "expanded". Be very careful about these propositions.
Proposition 200 – Payday Loans
Arizona has a law on the books that allow payday lenders to operate in the State through July 1, 2010. Prop 200 extends that law out indefinitely and adds additional regulations on the payday lending industry.
This law was put together by the Payday Loan industry and is being promoted by a very deceptive campaign. It advertises itself as a proposition that will put needed regulations on the payday lending industry, but if this passes it will restrict the legislature's ability to modify and/or make any new regulations. The payday lenders are worried that the law allowing their existence will expire without being re-authorized, so they are doing this as an end-run around the legislature. Because it is a ballot initiative - it will be very difficult for the legislature to modify any regulations on the industry if this passes. They have plenty of time to persuade the legislature to re-authorize the law and pass other needed regulations, it does not need to be passed by initiative petition. I am a free-market capitalist, so I don't care if payday lending exists, but initiative petitions are not where these types of regulations should be passed.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on PROP 200

Proposition 201 – Homeowners’ Bill of Rights
This bill will allow homeowners and prospective buyers, the right to sue their builder/contractor for deficiencies found in their homes. It will mandate that any dispute between a homebuilder and a homeowner (or prospective homeowner) be settled in a lawsuit. It also makes it so that the seller of the home cannot recover attorney and court costs from the buyer – even if the seller wins the lawsuit.

There is nothing in Prop 201 that is good for Arizona. This proposition will:
  • Require that any dispute between a seller and buyer/prospective buyer be settled by a lawsuit. Mediation will not be an option.
  • Increase the cost of homes regardless of their actual value.
  • Allow lawsuit happy people to sue the pants off builders with impunity.
  • Will prohibit the victim of a frivolous lawsuit from recovering court costs and attorney fees even if they prevail and the lawsuit is actually deemed frivolous. This will allow lawyers to file multiple lawsuits multiple times for the same "offense" without risking additional costs if they lose their case.
  • Help our already over-litigious society to become even more so.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on Proposition 201!!!

Proposition 202 – Stop Illegal Hiring
Prop 202 alters Proposition 200 – the Employer Sanctions Law - that was overwhelming passed by voters 2 years ago. It removes the penalties (specifically the business "death" penalty) on businesses that knowingly and intentionally hire unauthorized aliens to work for them. It eliminates the requirement to use E Verify in hiring decisions, and instructs the State of Arizona to take their cue from the Federal Government before enacting any of their own laws relating to illegal immigration. It creates stronger penalties for employers who do not properly report cash wages paid to their employees.
This proposition will alter a law that has shown signs of improving our current situation, but hasn’t had enough time to work so we can make an informed decision.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE NO on PROP 202

300 Series Propositions

300 Series propositions are laws that are referred to the people of Arizona by the legislature. It usually means one of three things:

1 - The governor vetoed it and the legislature couldn't override the veto but they still wanted a shot at passing the law so they sent it to us.

2 - The legislature couldn't get enough legislators to sign onto the legislation to send it to the governor so they passed it on to us for a decision.

3 - It is a matter that can only be decided by the people of Arizona, such as an increase in legislator's salaries.

Proposition 300 – Legislative Salaries
Any increase in the salary of our State Legislators has to be approved by the voters of Arizona. Currently they make $24,000 for roughly six months of work. This would raise that salary to $30,000.
Potentially get a wider range of people to represent us in the legislature.

Greater cost to the state.

Adams and Jefferson doesn't feel strongly either way about this proposition but will probably vote NO

Mesa Special Elections

400 series propositions are referred to the people by their City Council and are used to make changes in the City Charter. Questions are almost always to approve bonds.

Proposition 400 – Residential Inspections
Proposition 400 would allow city inspectors/code compliance officers to inspect the interior of slum properties with the consent of the owner/occupier. Right now they can only inspect the exterior of these properties.

Will give the city another tool to combat urban blight by inspecting the interiors of slum properties.

Do we really need more inspections?

Adams and Jefferson doesn't feel strongly either way about this proposition but will probably vote NO

Question 1 – Public Safety Bonds, Question 2 – Street Bonds
Question 1 will authorize the City of Mesa to issue $58,300,000 in general obligation municipal bonds to pay for improvements to the city fire and police department in infrastructure, personnel and equipment. Question 2 will allow the City of Mesa to issue $110,900,000 in general obligation municipal bonds to pay for improvements to the city’s streets, highways, and traffic control systems. Both bonds are to be paid for over 25 years and are secured by a secondary property tax on all taxable properties in the city.

Improved public safety
Improved roads

More borrowing for the city
Secondary property tax will be triggered by these bonds.

We have a new mayor and city council that have worked hard to trim the fat in our budget. These bonds are actually half of what the city departments originally proposed to the city council. I hate to borrow more, especially when it will trigger the property tax, but we get the city we pay for. I would like a better city than the one we live in now.

Adams and Jefferson says: VOTE YES on QUESTIONS 1 and 2

Judicial Review

In terms of how they are performing the daily tasks of their job, only one judge does not meet Judicial Performance Standards as determined by the Commission on Judicial Performance. All others received either a unanimous or near unanimous rating of “Meets Expectations” by the commission.
Judge Crane McClennen of the Maricopa County Superior Court does not meet expectations.

A terrific blog that rates judges based on their rulings can be found here.