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Dinah's 2008 election slate 2008

President & Vice-President: Barack Obama & Joe Biden
--- Solid platform, sound plans, inspiring leader who can bring us together.

U.S. State Representative: Nancy Pelosi
--- I want her to take a stronger stance against the war, but need an experienced leader in the House.

State Senator: Mark Leno
--- Very pleased with his work.

Member State Assembly, District 13: Tom Ammiano
--- Generally pleased with his work.

Member Board of Education: Barbara "Bobbi" Lopez, Sandra Lee Fewer, Rachel Norton, H. Brown
--- Combination of statements (I like H. Brown's idea of training kids for emergency response preparedness rather than pointless P.E.) and endorsements.

Judge of the Superior Court, seat #12: Gerardo Sandoval
--- Have heard bad things about opponent & have voted for Sandoval in the past without regret.

Member, Community College Board: Mary T. Hernandez, Steve Ngo, Natalie Berg, Milton Marks
--- Again, combination of statements & endorsements.

BART Director: Tom Radulovich
--- Keep up the good work.

State Propositions:
1A - Yes
--- We need to build more non-car infrastructure

2 - Yes
--- Cruelty isn't necessary in food production. Don't buy the argument that it's too expensive to be decent.

3 - No
--- Past bond funds still available. Some concerns over percentage of money going to private hospitals.

4 - No no no
--- Mother's rights over her body come before the "rights" of some lump of cells. Fetuses are not citizens.
Would I like to see fewer unwanted pregnancies, absolutely yes. Do I think making abortion more difficult to obtain decreases unwanted pregnancies, absolutely not.

5 - Yes
--- Treatment works better than punishment and it's cheaper.

6 - No
--- Locking up a specific portion of the budget for a specific cause is generally a bad plan.

7 - No
--- When Environmental Defense, the League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of Concerned Scientists, AND PG&E agree something is a bad idea, it's a bad idea.

8 - No no no
--- Don't build prejudice into the state constitution. (See my comments on this below).

9 - No
--- As someone I trust deeply with direct experience of Victim Witness programs told me: the voice of the victim is already pretty well protected in our justice system. We don't need non-objective opinions leading to over-imprisonment.

10 - No
--- Appears to heavily favor one service provider (key backer of the proposition, surprise surprise) and doesn't even require that the fleet established with these funds remain in California.

11 - No
--- As much as redistricting may be needed, this is not the proposition to do it. It does not have any safeguards to ensure that the commission it would establish actually represents the electoral mix of the state.

12 - Yes
--- A good bond act with costs covered by those benefiting from it.

City & County Propositions:
A - Yes
--- A major quake is just too probable and the benefit of this work too clear to delay it.

B - No
--- Again, as with State Proposition 6, a fixed set aside is unappealing.

C - No
--- This should be covered by other conflict of interest rules. The argument "why should a fireman be prohibited from serving on the environment board?" is compelling.

D - Yes
--- This is a good area to continue developing.

E - Yes
--- Consistency with established best practices is a good thing.

F - Yes
--- Elections are expensive so let's get people involved in these local decisions when they're already drawn to vote on state & national issues.

G - Yes
--- Yes, this seems perfectly reasonable.

H - Yes
--- Imperfect, but I can't say I trust PG&E's environmental or cost decisions over what's proposed here.

I - Yes
--- Seems reasonable & no arguments against submitted.

J - Yes
--- Surprised this doesn't already exist; unconvinced by all the developers & landlords arguing against it.

K - Yes
--- Oh this was a very tough one, but the public health arguments are incredibly strong, particularly the evidence from New Zealand. I would prefer that it explicitly shifted efforts from prosecuting prostitutes to prosecuting human trafficking or other abuses. Frankly, I'll be surprised if it passes, so I expect votes for K are more of an indication of priorities to SFPD.

L - Yes
--- I am unconvinced that the opponents to the Community Justice Center are driven by more than being in opposition to Gavin Newsom. Quit grandstanding, Daly.

M - Yes
--- Only landlords oppose this measure attempting to stop abuses by landlords. *cough* Well that's pretty easy to decide on.

N - Yes
--- I do not believe measure opponent Michela Alioto-Pier has my best financial interests at heart; I'm not nearly rich enough to be part of her base.

O - Yes
--- This is one of those "has to go by the voters but its just a best practice change" as I read it.

P - No
--- Sorry, Gavin, we agree on quite a few things, but I'm with the huge crowd opposing this change.

Q - Yes
--- No brainer; no opposing argument.

R - No
--- This is a frivolous, unhelpful measure and I'm sorry to see it made the ballot. Now is the time for us to find common ground with those who supported George W. Bush and help them understand how his policies were damaging to them. This mockery doesn't help. It's also unkind to those who perform this important city service.

S - Yes
--- A nice rational approach. After that starry-eyed "let's turn Alcatraz into a peace center" measure C earlier this year, we definitely need dreamers to balance their ideas with how they'll be funded before we vote on them.

T - Yes
--- Treatment services reduce city costs relating to substance abusers.

U - No
--- I oppose this war and further troop deployment to Iraq, but don't think our representatives in Congress should be told, for example, that they should oppose an otherwise good plan because it includes a minor deployment.

V - No
--- Military recruitment in high schools is just revolting.

Member Board of Supervisors District 5: Ross Mirkarimi
--- Seems to be doing a good job. I like my neighborhood!

Posted on October 26, 2008 at 04:00 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thoughts on California proposition 8 2008

This is about the law. An adult individual in California currently has a legal right to marry another adult individual to whom he or she is not closely related.

In the past, this right was limited by race: California Civil Code Section 60, provided that “All marriages of white persons with Negroes, Mongolians, members of the Malay race, or mulattoes are illegal and void,” and also Section 69, which stated that "... no license may be issued authorizing the marriage of a white person with a Negro, mulatto, Mongolian or member of the Malay race". This was overturned by the California Supreme Court in October 1948 in Perez v. Sharp on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

As Time Magazine described the decision in their October 11th, 1948, issue:

"Laws prohibiting the intermarriage of whites and Negroes are on the books of 30 states, have survived every legal test. Last week one of those states changed its mind. California's ban on mixed marriages was declared unconstitutional by a 4-to-3 decision of the state's Supreme Court. Marriage, said the majority opinion, is a fundamental right of free men; and the right to marry includes the right to marry the person of one's choice. The decision also declared the law contrary 'to the fundamental principles of Christianity'."

No doubt there were many who would have preferred that the decision had not gone that way; it would be another 19 years before Loving v. Virginia in the U.S. Supreme Court forced laws against inter-racial marriage off the books.

That ruling stated: "Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law."

So, we have a strong precedent for protection of the individual's right to marry the person of their choice.

I firmly believe that women should have the same legal rights as men, and vice versa. In other words, I believe gender should be as strong as race with regard to equal rights under the law.

The law should be blind to gender as it is to color.

Marriage by the state bestows a legal status of a recognized relationship, just as health laws for farms bestow a legal status for a recognized food producer. Religious persons may ban the consumption of a particular food, but their beliefs do not deny others the right to consume that food. Similarly members of a particular religion may ban participation in the religion to those who marry a member of the same sex (or of a different race), but their beliefs should not deny others the right to marry.

With regard to the "what about allowing marrying children? or animals?" scenarios brought up by supporters of a ban on same-sex marriage, these add a new class of person able to marry: a non-adult or a non-human, and are therefore not parallel to the matter at hand in Proposition 8. The "slippery slope" argument ignores this basic matter of legal precedent and Constitutional backing. We are talking about a legal relationship which is defined as being between two individuals who are not closely related. The question here is whether additional qualifications can be added on that; if unrelated individuals A, B, C, and D can be married off as A&B and C&D or as A&D and C&B, then what legal justification can there be for preventing the marriages of A&C or B&D?

I remain baffled by the argument that encouraging serious public commitments to each other somehow "weakens marriage". I was at San Francisco City Hall in February 2004 and walked down the entire line talking with the couples; these were not fun-seekers, but rather couples seeking to publicly state their devotion to each other. In an age of celebrity weddings and "find a bride" reality shows, this restored my faith and that of many of my friends in the institution of marriage.

These are some of the reasons I will be voting NO on 8.

Posted on October 21, 2008 at 09:55 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Let adults marry. Blocking by gender makes no more sense than did blocking by race. 2008


Posted on October 15, 2008 at 08:23 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Won't you join me in helping this Donors Choose project happen? Science Is In Everyday Life! for Ms. T's high school class in Florida needs $243 more in order to help her students make a personal connection with science information & shake the idea that it's too hard or irrelevant for them.

Posted on October 5, 2008 at 03:07 PM in school | Permalink | Comments (0)

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