Which Propositions to Vote for on June 5: A Progressive’s Opinion

Yesterday we posted Progressive Humboldt County Attorney Eric V. Kirk endorsements for political office. Today we are sharing his recommendations on which way to vote for the ballot propositions in the following opinion piece:

Eric KirkProp 68 – Bonds for water and parks – Yes

Would authorize four billion in bonds to repair dilapidated existing state and local parks and even create some new ones.  Appropriates some left-over bond authority from previous bond measures to add to the balance.  Allocates money from the general fund to pay off bond debt.  Favors disadvantaged communities for certain projects.

Much needed as the parks are languishing and some have been closed down.  Maybe some will reopen.  The measure would really help the north coast out with both water and park issues, which benefit everyone in the state.  Will be used to fix drinking water systems in disadvantaged areas to avoid Flint type situations.

Nobody denies that these repairs and improvements are essential to rural economies as well as assets everyone enjoys.  The primary opposition is coming from the usual tax posse, and they especially oppose dedicating general fund resources to pay off some of the bond debt – an approach which is long overdue and you would think would appeal to fiscal conservatives, but they just don’t want to spend.  They would rather privatize public assets.

I can tell you that I’m on the Board for the Mendocino Woodlands which is an asset dating back to the public works projects of the New Deal with resources which need repair and improvement, but anytime we ask the state to meet its obligations the park department threatens to close it down.

It’s not a panacea.  We need much more money for the long run to reopen parks which have been closed down, but now that we have a budget surplus this is a worthy proposal for which to use it.

Also not a fan of Constitutional amendments by ballot.  They really should require a supermajority.  It’s made it impossible to get much of serious substance done in Sacramento.

Prop 69 – Requires that most of the transportation-related revenues be limited to transportation purposes – No

I’m probably in the minority on this even among those of you who will read this and share most of my politics.  It makes a certain common sense that a gas tax, for instance, should be dedicated to roads and infrastructure related to car use or perhaps public transportation.  But it’s one of those concepts which makes more sense when you don’t think about it.  Thing is we don’t limit our sales taxes to infrastructure pertaining to retail.  We don’t limit our property taxes to that which is associated with homes or real property.  We don’t limit our income taxes to those expenditures which pertain to the generation of personal income.  We have fees and we have taxes and they are all revenues for the state.  We have a legislature to which we entrust to prioritize, allocate, and distribute our public assets.  To earmark certain funds takes that discretion away and assumes that the needs and priorities are fixed from year to year.

Yes, there is a lot of mistrust of political institutions which is well-deserved, but micromanaging the management of state funds by ballot box as if the needs and priorities are going to be the same year after year is just folly.  This is what a legislature is supposed to do, and if it fails then the voters are supposed to take measures at the ballot box.  If that’s not working, fixing the budget into one-size-fits-every-year funding structures isn’t going to fix anything.  And hand-cuffing the legislature with endless Constitutional amendments by ballot box is part of the problem of dysfunction.  As noted, the legislature has dedicated these funds to transportation and they will probably continue to do so until such a time as maybe we don’t need as much money for transportation but have a priority emergency elsewhere in the budget.  It may be a good choice the legislature makes.  Or a bad one.  But that’s what we send them to Sacramento to do.

It’s supported by a broad coalition across the political spectrum and will probably pass because it makes common sense.  The opposition wants it rejected so that even more money can be earmarked – apparently 69 would reserve legislative discretion for some of the revenues and fiscal conservatives don’t want any discretion whatsoever in a state in which registered Republicans are now less than 25 percent of the electorate.  The measure is probably intended to head off something more extreme.  And also political figures who supported the tax/fee increases probably don’t want to be blamed if the legislature uses its discretion in a controversial way. But that’s pandering and manipulative – the conservatives actually have a point.

Prop 70 – Requires supermajority to spend cap and trade reserve fund – No

Being pushed by fiscal conservatives (including Gov. Brown who is obsessed with obtaining budget surplus at the expense of all else) which would require a 2/3 majority to access the reserve fund.  I’m generally against requiring supermajorities for anything other than maybe Constitutional amendments.  It’s hard to get a supermajority for anything and allows a minority of people to dictate terms against the democratic process.  Note that most environmental groups and other grassroots organizations oppose the measure.  There’s no point in having the fund if polluters can influence just enough legislators to block any pollution controlling measures.

Prop 71 – Makes ballot propositions effective after the vote has been certified – Yes

Currently the law states that a new law will be effective as of the day after the election.  But often the vote isn’t determined for days or weeks after an election and this has caused some confusion – especially now that so many votes are made by mail.  It makes sense that a law should not be deemed effective until we know it’s a law.  The opposition drafted for the voter’s guide is non-sensical suggesting that if we passed a law increasing punishment for child molesters it would delay such and increase and they would attack more children in the interim (as if the difference in sentencing is going to be a definitive deterrent as opposed to the punishments already in effect).  It’s silly and I’m not even sure what the agenda is.

Prop 72 – Excludes rain-capture system construction from property tax reassessment requirements – Yes

When we make significant improvements to our properties the County reassesses to capture revenues for the increased values of our homes (and possibly takes homes out of Prop 13 protections).  There are numerous exemptions already on the laws for such improvements as renewable energy systems, energy efficiency, etc.  This adds rainwater catches to the list.  There is no organized opposition – it’s supported by everybody from conservationists to the tax posse.



  • Warner Von Braun

    Thanks, now I know what not to vote for.

    • Isay vote No on the park bond! I repsect Eric a ton,but I do not care what a bond is for, vote against it. Bond interest is paid for by the general budget and that leaves less money in the future for schools,roads and parks even.
      Paying for things via bond in my opinion stands against progressive and Democratic values as it reinforces wealth consolidation.

      However I totally agree with yes on 72. Rain catchment should definitely be rewarded in every way possible.

      • Please. We must pay for the things we want. Progressive and democratic values demand it.

      • Bonds are long term financing for investments we have to make and can’t possibly pay for in a single year’s budget.

    • My Dad knew Wernher Von Braun, and you Sir, are no Wernher Von Braun!

  • Why is this guys voice important? A late blooming baby boomer that has perepetuated our fucked up system claiming to be an activist. Are you criminal defense? That means you’ve knowingly defended criminal people who’ve paid you. What do you do but squawk like a chickenhead and sit on committees? Oh nothing useful to humanity. Like Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s.

    • Because allowing as much information as possible on all choices is not the goal. His position is clear. He wants money to be made available for “progressive” (boy that very name is an embarrassing euphemism) causes and, if the public wants money spent on the things they need such as roads that are not obstacle courses, they darn well need to tax themselves a lot more. And hope that the increasing taxes votes can out run the “progressives'” spending on their causes.

      I love his term “tax posse.” It’s true although not the way he meant it. A posse to catch the criminal who has already escaped with the loot. He thinks that’s a bad thing. Scary that there are people out there who find the regular Democrat party not liberal enough so they have to have a Progressive Democrat Party.

    • He’s a lawyer. Sure helps to have that experience.

    • He’s a Civil Attorney, not Criminal.
      You don’t like his suggestions? Call him LIVE on the air, usually once a month at least, on KMUD or KHSU evening talk shows, and have a debate (format pending). He makes all this effort ‘pro bono’ as they say. In other words as a gift to the community. When he is LIVE on radio, and a caller disagrees with him, he’s courteous enough to allow them space to make their opinion, and often to respectfully have a conversation, often recognizing the value of some of the opponent’s points. Would you be so kind???

  • Soon enough, every heart will fail when they learn more about where their taxes really went to. Be brave. This has to be resolved, it cannot continue. It must come to an end.
    Even those who’ve been paid to destroy will come to realize the plans that were laid out for them & their families once they outlived their usefulness.
    The good news is, most of the assets have been frozen and the people responsible have been indicted. World wide. Not all, as of yet, but many have. Many more will be indicted, joining the stack of indictments already on the desk of the DOJ.

    While I don’t agree with their plea for a SC, I do pay heed to everything else they’ve exposed. (much more remains hidden for now. It’s not limited to just one party).

  • When I hear progressive, I get images of isis.

    • That is probably because it is “progressives” who have funded them.

    • Isis is the LEAST (widely known) progressive force in the world! They are very regressive!

    • You associate ISIS with progressives because…. their stand on abortion? LGBT rights? Women’s rights? Advocacy of cultural diversity? Socialism? Trade unionism? Artistic freedom? (or art period?).

      I mean, can you be specific as to the similarities?

  • Alt Right For Life

    He was super fun to troll on the Humboldt Herald, fun times.

  • Who and What to Vote For

    The phrase is often heard “California is too big to be governed.” Which is mostly not true. What is a better way to look at it is “California’s government is to big to control itself.” It certainly never tries to limit itself to what it can actually accomplish. Remember you are not required to vote on each item either. So with that in mind- here is how to vote:

    1) First remember that every item on a ballot represents something being sold to the consumer, which is otherwise referred to as the voter. Few seek to have an election to determine whether they will donate their services or contribute their money to a cause. They don’t need your permission to do that at all. They look not to give but to get. Even the best of them. Therefore look at each candidate and proposal as you would click bait on the internet. If you have a bad feeling, trust your gut. If they are nasty to their opponents personally, then it is likely they are plain nasty to everyone sooner or later including you. If they have a reputation, that means much more than their words.

    2) Proposals are especially designed to sound good by not giving you the ugly details. The point is to get your vote so that they can get something out of you. The title of a proposal may be “Equal Justice for Starving Children” but that’s the hook on the click bait. The reality may be to support a specific industry or lobby. Look at the fine print which is frequently where the truth lies. Many times the sponsors of a proposal is a legislator who wants something but doesn’t want to take responsibility or knows they can get their way. If the proposal (which is you writing the law if you vote for it) is fully of quirky or unclearly related items, give it a pass because those may be the reality. The sponsors are required to earn your support. You are not required to vote for anything that you do not clearly see is good. If you are suspicious, vote no. If part sounds good but part sounds chance, vote no. Make the proponents do a better job to earn your vote.

    3) Every proposal creates rights, obligations and expenses. It creates costs. Nothing, absolutely nothing, the government does is done without employees to administer it, with their rights to pay, benefits, retirement and a union to support them. Every proposal provides fodder for lawyer’s livelihoods, courts where the details are elaborated and enforcement. These things will be needed for a long time, probably indefinitely. Decide whether the proposed goal, which is never fully and sometimes never accomplished at all, is worth the expense, which is never goes away. Do not be bullied or guilted into buying a bad, expensive product because it has a small good but a large cost.

    4) Regarding voting for a candidate, be very suspicious of one who hits all the right buzz words but has a history of climbing the political ladder. Anyone who runs for this election and already has their eye on the next election is not interested doing hard work for you and yours.

    Basically government is a poor tool to doing anything and should be restricted to those things for which need, absolutely need, to be accomplished but are impossible otherwise. Any government action is like a giant tramping across the land. It crushes the good and bad without noticing. There best be a good goal to make all the destruction worth it. Remember, you will pay for it in either your money or your freedom of action or both. Is it worth the cost? If it is, vote your conscience. Not someone else’s.

  • There are a lot of missing comments, including one I made yesterday. Kym?

    • Holiday weekend?

    • I was gone almost all day yesterday so some comments still haven’t been moderated. However, any comment made on Friday shouldn’t have that problem. However, this post by Eric went up Saturday so there would be no comment from Friday on it. Perhaps you are thinking of the post he did yesterday about WHO to vote for. This post is about the propositions.

  • Eric is my hero.
    A smart guy with a sense of humor.
    Yeah, none of you trolls could probably handle law school.
    Go Eric!

  • Soon-to-be Former County Supervisor Ryan Dumberg

    My comment was deleted as well. Why?

  • Eric is the most delicious troll bait ever. Look at how he responded in the other post.trolls love it.

    • Alt Right For Life

      Go back and read The Humboldt Herald with Heraldo and Black Flag.

      Black Flag was the pinnacle of trolling and blazed a trail that may be debated of setting the standards of Humboldt Trolling.

      Either way, Erik definitely fondly recalls The Humboldt Herald and the lessons it taught him online.

  • Kym. What happened to Eric’s (companion) opinion piece on recommended candidates? Was finally going to read it tonight. Looks like it was taken down….??

  • “Prop 68 – Bonds for water and parks – Yes”

    “Much needed as the parks are languishing and some have been closed down. Maybe some will reopen. The measure would really help the north coast out with both water and park issues, which benefit everyone in the state. Will be used to fix drinking water systems in disadvantaged areas to avoid Flint type situations.”

    OMG & WTF! Does Eric not know the reason behind the “Flint type situation”? Spoiler alert; the City of Flint Michigan switched its main water source from Detroit to the Flint River to save the city money. But officials did not properly treat the water coming from the Flint River, which leached lead from Flint’s aging pipes into the drinking supply. As a result, there was a series of problems that culminated with lead contamination, creating a serious public health danger that impacted and threatened over 100,000 residents.

    Full disclosure; Eric Kirk is a Director on the Southern Humboldt Community Park Board, which does NOT provide potable drinking water to the public, visitors or residents of the SHCP, including Tooby Memorial Park.

    So is Eric trying to say, there are public water systems in California that raise to the level of the “Flint type situation”?

    IMHO, if the only way you have to promote and recommend a state bond measure to the general public, is by fear mongering, misinformation and misdirection, then what other facts are you not disclosing to the public?

  • Thanks again Kym!

    Umm, does anyone want to discuss the propositions?

    Just a thought.

    • Truth is; there’s what people want to hear, there’s what people want to believe, then there’s everything else. What do you want to discuss Eric?

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