Commentary

Commentary – Quentin Kopp

Voting Recommendations

By Quentin Kopp

Some wag proclaimed: “A democracy is a system where a fellow who didn’t vote can spend the rest of the year kicking about the candidate the other fellows elected.”

 I recommended last month Dr. Emily Murase of Lakeshore Acres, Lowell High School, Bryn Mawr College and Stanford University for District 7 supervisor, plus second and third choices, Stephen Martin-Pinto and Joel Engardio. I reiterate my recommendation of Dr. Murase as first choice. I now add in District 1, the Richmond, David Lee, an SF State professor, steady founder of an entity encouraging Asian Americans to participate in politics, and father of two college students, one of whom attends my alma mater, Dartmouth College. His contestants are products of the politics industry in San Francisco, tax-eating City Hall aides. They’re in the avaricious “City Family”; David Lee is not. If I lived in the Richmond, I’d vote only for David Lee. For City College’s Governing Board, I recommend Victor Olivieri, SF Veterans Affairs Commission President and fiscal disciplinarian!

 State Proposition 14 authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to continue stem cell research by nonprofit and private entities. Vote “Yes.” 

Proposition 15 is a Trojan Horse to repeal Proposition 13 regarding property valuation for property tax impositions. It sounds benign to increase taxes on commercial land and buildings and pour more money into cities, counties and special districts, I note opposition by the state NAACP, the California Small Business Association, and California Senior Advocates League because it’s the admitted first step in dismantling Proposition 13, which stopped skyrocketing property taxes on Social Security, pension and military veterans in 1978. Vote “No.”

Proposition 16 restores quota systems in public university admissions, public contracts, and public employment. In 1996, we passed Proposition 209, which prohibits discrimination or preferential treatment based upon race, sex, color, or national origin in public employment, public education, or public contracts. That’s why Californians for Equal Rights calls the ban on discrimination and preferential treatment “… a fundamental part of the American creed.”

Proposition 17 allows convicted murderers, rapists, pedophiles, kidnappers, gangsters, and human traffickers to vote before completing their sentences. In 1974, voters approved restoring voting rights to convicted felons after they complete their sentences, including parole. Leave it that way. Vote “No.” 

Proposition 18 allows 17 year olds to vote in primary and special elections if they’re 18 by the next general election. It’s contrary to California’s Constitution and federal law. A 17 year old can’t join a school field trip without signed permission from a parent or guardian, because age-related brain development relates to reasoning, analyzing, and understanding cause and effect. Seventeen year olds are subject to specific restrictions on driver licenses until their 18th birthday. California’s primary election includes tax and bond measures which don’t create taxes for 17-year-olds. Don’t change constitutional law. Vote “No.”

Proposition 19 abolishes constitutional provisions adopted by voters in 1986 and 1996 by removing Proposition 13 protections. It mandates reassessment to market value of property transferred by parents to children, including some transfers from grandparents to grandchildren. Parents may now transfer a home of any value without increasing property taxes. Proposition 19 compels reassessment at market value of property transferred from parents to children unless the children make it their principal residence. The non-partisan Legislative Analyst predicts this would cost California families about $2 billion yearly in higher property taxes. It’s a political mistake by Sacramento politicians and isn’t on the ballot by popular voter demand. Vote “No.”

Proposition 20 is a crime-victim initiative to restore criminal laws like felony sentences for 22 violent crimes and serial thefts by habitual criminals. Vote “Yes.” 

Proposition 21 usurps local control of rents by permitting local governments to impose rent control on residences more than 15 years old and increases in rent-controlled properties of 15% over three years once a new tenant arrives. As noted by the American Legion State Commander and California Council for Affordable Housing, voters defeated this two years ago. It does nothing to solve California’s housing shortage, eliminates homeowner protections, and reduces home values by up to 20%. It’s opposed by the NAACP and California Senior Advocates League. Vote “No.”

Proposition 22 constitutes an initiative statute to enable app-based drivers and others to work as independent contractors for rides and grocery deliveries. Drivers support Proposition 22. Vote “Yes.” 

Proposition 23 represents another initiative which establishes state requirements for kidney dialysis clinics, and requires a physician or nurse to be present for such treatment. That’s elemental, and I’m voting for Proposition 23. 

Proposition 24 will cost $10 million annually for a new state agency, California Privacy Protection Agency, requiring businesses to correct inaccurate personal information, prevent businesses from sharing personal information, and limit use of information about race, religion, genetic data, sexual orientation and ethnicity. I’m convinced by Proposition 24’s merits to vote “Yes.” 

Lastly, but important, Proposition 25 repeals a 2018 statute ending pretrial release from jail by defendants posting bail or on their own recognizance. Proposition 25 replaced federal and California constitutional bail with an algorithmic computer-generated modeling administered inconsistently by 58 different county Superior Courts. That’s why the NAACP, crime victims, and lawyers who practice criminal law as prosecutors or otherwise recommend repeal of the 2018 elimination of bail. Proposition 25 constitutes a referendum which means a “No” vote to repeal the legislature’s ignorant statute. Every accused criminal has a lawyer appointed by the court at taxpayer expense or retained privately. Defense attorneys will seek release of their clients without bail and present witnesses to support such requests in a court proceeding which permits a judge to decide whether the prosecutor’s request for pretrial bail is justified. The test is whether evidence persuades the judge that the defendant will appear in court for pretrial proceedings and eschew criminal conduct before trial. If an accused doesn’t appear for a court proceeding while on bail, the bail provider must forfeit the bail and/or bring the accused to court to avert forfeiture of his or her money. If a defendant released without bail doesn’t appear in court, county law enforcement must, at taxpayer expense, find and re-arrest the defendant. Bail represents a constitutional, practical court-ordered method in criminal cases. States which abolished bail for this cockamamie algorithm have regretted it. Vote “No” on Proposition 25.

Quentin Kopp is a former San Francisco supervisor, state senator, member of the SF Ethics Commission  and retired judge.

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