Posted by Ernesto USMC, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 10:03 am
I'm with the editors on 31, 33-37, and 40, but the three most important measures, they have unfortunately advocated for continued fiscal mismanagement at the State level.
The state continues to flagrantly waste taxpayer money, largely because our state legislators are bought and paid for by public unions. They continue to offer out of market compensation, benefits, and pensions, while caving to union demands for near-zero accountability (it's near impossible to fire a bad teacher even if they show up to work drunk or high, and even blatant felons such as child molesters continue to draw state pensions from the taxpayers).
The two ways to fix this mess are to take a firm stance against bailing the state out with new tax revenue: therefore No on 30, 38, and 39.
The second, more important fix is to vote yes on 32 and put a serious check on the root cause of our perpetual mess: public union power as a special interest group. The unions are throwing over $50M to defeat this one. If I had only one vote, it would be yes on 32.
Posted by Doug, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 10:55 am
Regarding Prop 37 - labeling GMO foods, I'm voting yes. I agree with the weekly that GMO has realized and potential benefits. But there are many new studies showing problems, and plenty of countries that regulate GMOs. 50 countries require GMO labeling.
The FDA considers GMO food to be so similar to non-GMO food that safety testing is not required. But the EPA considers GMO corn an insecticide because the corn's DNA has been modified to kill insects! The World Health Organization and the American Medical Assoc. want mandatory safety testing. Complacency is not appropriate.
Apart from the potential threats of GMO food, we're a diabetes- and obesity-plagued nation and we need more information about what we're eating.
Posted by Taxpayer, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 11:21 am
I agree with Ernesto USMC, especially in regards to Prop 32. I am very disappointed in the PAW that they don't own up to the fact that unions buying off politicians is the #1 problem with CA from a fiscal point of view.
I would vote yes on 30 because it corrects a problem.
Posted by Teacher, a resident of Mountain View, on Oct 19, 2012 at 11:38 am
Prop 32 is very deceptive. It says it limits corporate special interest, but it doesn't. They have written loopholes into it so they are exempt, they don't take VOLUNTARY payroll deductions and super PAC and millionaires and billionaires can still donate as much money as they want. Corporations out spend unions 15 to 1. Look how much money is being put into yes on Prop 32 by the Koch brothers (who don't even live in California). It isn't the Unions that are buying off politicians, it is big corporations and wealthy individuals. If you value education, nurses, firefighters, police officers, then vote NO on 32. As a teacher we advocate for students, they are our Special Interest. Even when we negotiate contracts we negotiate for smaller class size and better classroom conditions because that is what is best for students. Vote in favor of 32 takes away our voice completely, but it DOESN'T take away the voice of corporations, the real culprit of special interest political funding.
Posted by Mags Pat, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 11:50 am
More mystery money from out of state goes to attack California's families and give our state away to crporations.
"Oct 16, 2012: Mystery Arizona group sends $11 million to fight unions, Gov. Jerry Brown
A shadowy Phoenix-based group contributed $11 million Monday to a campaign committee funding attacks on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative and supporting a measure curbing union dues collection, a new campaign finance report shows.
'Americans for Responsible Leadership' gave the donation to Small Business Action Committee PAC, which is backing Proposition 32 and opposing Proposition 30. Before the latest contribution, the PAC had been heavily reliant on more than $20 million from Charles Munger Jr. A spokeswoman for the Small Business Action Committee said she didn't know where Americans for Responsible Leadership got its money." Web Link
Corporations trying to buy California elections.
Mystery money from out of state to support a law giving corporations more power.
Who will fight for families in California? Corporations? Of course not.
Posted by COC+ COpncerned about our County, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 12:15 pm
Grace Mah!?! They have got to be kidding!?! Where were they in 2008 when she held the P.A.U.S.D. School Board hostage? After a democratic vote where the School Board after much research and input voted it down, she threatened them that if they do not vote it in, she will petition a Charter School. She did not care about the Palo Alto community then, and she does not now. She does not even let us know what is going on at that County Board. This year they approved 20 Charter Schools, and last year 5! She approves every thing related to the Los Altos Bullis Charter school where there are almost no special education students. Talking to Los Altos parents you find out that that Charter school is run like a private school, for privileged families. There is much negativity between the parents who are in that charter school and those who are not. It has become as bad as P.A. was over MI. No- after 5 years it is time for Mah to go. The newcomer Dave Cortright wants to bring back the intent of the Charter School Laws. The intent was for the Charter schools to serve the underprivileged students. It was not to enable parents of excellent school districts like Los Altos and P.A. give their kids even better education and leave the less privileged kids in the dust. Unfortunately the laws re these schools are loose and it is easy to find loop holes. A new bill SB 1920 was just passed in Sacramento but it just begins to touch the larger problems of these laws. Vote in Dave Cortright and let him make a difference!!
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm
The arguments against Prop 32 make me realize that the so-called voluntary payroll deductions are not really voluntary. Prohibiting coerced payroll deductions for politics does not prohibit contributions by cash, check or credit card. Campaign advantages may tip one way or the other but tell me how somebody gets "shut out" by a yes vote on 32.
Posted by Carlos, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm
Re 37, even though we don't yet have all the answers, I'm voting Yes because as a consumer I want to make an educated choice about what I'm feeding my family.
Simply don't buy it when I hear the argument that this is "better addressed on a national level by the FDA or Congress." Besides, just look at who is behind "No on 37" and you'll know what the right choice is.
Posted by Voter, a resident of the Barron Park neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 5:29 pm
Unions put themselves in this situation for all of the reasons that Ernesto describes above. They are not victims of a sadistic national past time as Mags implies.
I'm voting yes on 32. I'm a Democrat, with liberal social values, and I'd rather see my tax money spent on more worthwhile things than letting public union members retire with giant pensions and six figure unused sick time payouts.
I'm leaning against 30 because the money goes into the general fund where the union controlled politicians can divert it. Might vote for 38 if I'm convinced that the money is out of Sacramento's reach.
Posted by Yes on 37--Label GMOs, a resident of Stanford, on Oct 19, 2012 at 5:55 pm
The Editor's position on Prop 37 is uninformed and short-sighted.
An increasing amount of peer-reviewed studies links GMOs to allergies, organ damage, and other significant health problems. Even though genetically engineered foods have been on the market for more than 15 years, the first and only peer-reviewed, long-term safety study of Monsanto’s GMO corn was just released—linking it to mammary tumors, kidney and liver problems, and premature death. This new study highlighted the fact that we know very little about the long-term health consequences of a GMO-laden diet. It also raised a critical question: Why are GMOs allowed in our food, without our knowledge, when it's clear that they have not been proven safe? Still, the US government and FDA continue not to require safety tests of GMOs, despite the consensus of the American Medical Association and World Health Organization that GMOs should undergo mandatory safety studies.
Guess what? Agribiotech companies don't allow independent research of their seeds. Under the threat of litigation, scientists cannot examine whether genetically modified crops lead to unintended environmental side effects. It's unacceptable that Monsanto and the other GMO patent holders have been allowed to control and suppress scientific research.
This past spring, the FDA received over a million comments demanding that GMO foods be labeled, more than any petition in the agency's history. Polls have shown that approximately 90% of Americans (and Californians) agree. We want the right to know what we're eating, just like the citizens of the 50 other countries that already label genetically engineered food.
Yes on Prop 37 is a grassroots campaign about our basic right to information regarding GMOs in our food. The opposition campaign (pesticide and junk food companies ) has already donated $34 million to defeat this proposition. It's two largest donors, Monsanto ($7.1 million) and DuPont ($4.9 million), are the same companies that told us Agent Orange and DDT were safe. These powerful interests—with their long history of deceiving the public, endangering human health, and polluting our environment—are trying to deny us basic information about GMOs in our food. Isn't that sufficient cause for concern?
Voters, do the research and think for yourselves. Even if you don't mind GMOs in your bodies, please don't prevent those of us who DO from our right to know.
Posted by musical, a resident of the Palo Verde neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm
"Warning: This facility contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm." Does anybody even notice, let alone be deterred, by those ubiquitous yellow Prop 65 placards? (Yes, the one on my workplace is still there; I had to go out and check.)
"May be Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering" will be the new catchphrase if Prop 37 passes. "In clear and conspicuous language on the front or back of the package."
Absence of such a label will be an invitation to lawsuits, even though unintentional commingling or trace GMOs (less than 0.5%) are exempted. It can always be alleged that the producer or seller should have known.
If the demand is really there, it makes more sense to me to develop food product lines that could reasonably be labeled "No GMOs" rather than require the converse Prop 37 labeling. Wouldn't people prefer a label saying "No GMOs" rather than the absence of a label saying "GMO"?
Posted by changed my mind about Grace Mah, too, a resident of the Green Acres neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm
I hope locals will get over their feelings about how Grace Mah got MI for our district. I was critical, too, but over time I've come to realize that she was really forced to be pragmatic. Our district office has a way of leading people on -- they don't just say no, it's like they think if they don't ruffle any feathers, never say no but never say yes, and keep whatever process going as long as possible, people will get worn out and go away.
The MI people really did get led on for five years, and they worked pretty hard. The district could have just said No early on, or been more clear about what they required. I think after 5 years, Grace just took off the gloves. Yes, there were some just plain abrasive and unreasonable people involved who just made her look bad, but they didn't speak for her.
I think the charter threat was really the only way to achieve the goal. It was a shrewd political move, and Grace took the heat for it. But I don't see how she could have achieved the goal otherwise. The district certainly has plenty of notice of the goal. If they had been more straight about reservations, or had just said No early on, things would have been different.
Anyway, all I'm saying is, just judge her based on her work in office, and let the past be past with the MI debate.
Posted by Ward, a resident of the Community Center neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 9:49 pm
Prop 30 is Jerry's High Speed Rail tax:
Gov signs legislation authorizing the sale of bonds to start construction of HRS that bears little resemblance to the language in prop 1a.
Since the HSR is a financed by bonds, the initial 2 or 3 billion in bonds will cost $700 million or so every year for decades to come to pay the interest and principal on those bonds. And, since it bond debt, that $700M gets paid first, before anything else, like schools.
Gov Moonbeam, spending more money than the state has on his legacy rail project, then claims that there is a fiscal crisis and unless he gets his tax increase via prop 30, schools must be cut, because they are the problem, of course. All but a few democrats agree with Gov moonbeam, High Speed Rail is MUCH more important than educating our kids.
Prop 30 is the 'solution' to the problem our Gov and his yes men Democrats created. The funds basically go into the general fund where it is likely that no school will ever see a dime of any tax revenues collected as a result of prop 30.
Vote NO on prop 30. Might as well vote against Rich Gordon too, he's made it clear that HSR is more important than schools too.
Posted by Terry, a resident of the Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm
I read paloaltoonline to keep track of events in Palo Alto, but often recoil at the lack of editorial insight and journalistic standards. At least I am occasionally rewarded with the wisdom of Nayeli or Wayne Martin.
I would like to commend the staff on the usefulness of their voter guide. Since they recommend the opposite of all the important measures I am tracking, it gives me good guidance to vote for the reverse of their recommendations for the rest of the measures and people.
Posted by C.O.C., a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 19, 2012 at 10:10 pm
To the last poster- I appreciate your thinking about that situation. And I wondered about that as well. But the problem is that a school board can only speak for itself during its term. In other words they could never say - never. Because they will only be there for about 4 years. and then they go off and others come on- and so with the next board they may decide it is ok to do it. But look at her goal: that her kid and a small group get an immersion language- that is not a fair goal in a public school. My concern is mostly that here in P.A. all of our children should have the opportunity to learn languages from 3rd grade on-MI got a lot of money from the State funding about $600,000. and then P.A. was to match that amount. I believe that the board could have financed an MI program and other languages for all 3rd graders. However, lets look at what is happening now. Find out the serious problems that are going on at The Los Altos Bullis Charter School that Mah and the other county board members are approving- in brief it is a public school and takes money from the State, but takes no or very few Special Ed and ELLers students. So it is segregated. It has requested that one public school be closed and given to it- and it wants it 24/7 whereby no one else can use that campus after school hours, no sports teams, nothing only their own school. There is one foundation that only funds that school. It may be legal but it is not the intent of our public school system. So pls vote for Dave Cortright who sees the abuse of the Charter School Laws and wants to correct it.
Posted by Thinking Voter, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 2:06 am
@Steve: Deciding to vote the opposite to the recommendations of any given editorial board is almost inevitably going to have you voting WITH the recommendations of another. Read the editorial recommendations (or don't), and then vote as seems reasonable to you.
Also, voting totally opposite to a set of recommendations makes no more sense than uncritically following the set of recommendations. Either way, you're letting someone else determine how you vote.
Posted by Chris Bernstien, a resident of another community, on Oct 20, 2012 at 2:54 am
The author has been brainwashed by the biased and untrue arguments about costs, which are exaggerated and ignore the increased costs that would result from Prop. 34's passing. There are several other reasons to reject Prop. 34:
The 729 on death row murdered at least 1,279 people, with 230 children. 43 were police officers. 211 were raped, 319 were robbed, 66 were killed in execution style, and 47 were tortured. 11 murdered other inmates.
The arguments in support of Pro. 34, the ballot measure to abolish the death penalty, are exaggerated at best and, in most cases, misleading and false.
No “savings.” Alleged savings ignore increased life-time medical costs for aging inmates and require decreased security levels and housing 2-3 inmates per cell rather than one. Rather than spending 23 hours/day in their cell, inmates will be required to work. These changes will lead to increased violence for other inmates and guards and prove unworkable for these killers. Also, without the death penalty, the lack of incentive to plead the case to avoid the death penalty will lead to more trial and related costs and appeals.
No “accountability.” Max earnings for any inmate would amount to $383/year (assuming 100% of earnings went to victims), divided by number of qualifying victims. Hardly accounts for murdering a loved one.
No “full enforcement” as 729 inmates do not receive penalty given them by jurors. Also, for the 34,000 inmates serving life sentences, there will be NO increased penalty for killing a guard or another inmate. They’re already serving a life sentence.
Efforts are also being made to get rid of life sentences. (Human Rights Watch, Old Behind Bars, 2012.) This would lead to possible paroles for not only the 729 on death row, but the 34,000 others serving life sentences. On 9/30/12, Brown passed the first step, signing a bill to allow 309 inmates with life sentences for murder to be paroled after serving 25 years. Life without parole is meaningless. Remember Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan. Convicted killers get out and kill again, such as Darryl Thomas Kemp, Kenneth Allen McDuff, and Bennie Demps.
Arguments of innocence bogus. Can’t identify one innocent person executed in CA. Can’t identify one person on CA’s death row who has exhausted his appeals and has a plausible claim of innocence. See Web Link
Posted by Milan Moravec, a resident of Los Altos, on Oct 20, 2012 at 9:41 am
Examples of how University of California will use education funds from Prop 30, 38. University of California Chancellor Birgeneau ($450,000), Provost Breslauer ($306,000) pick pockets of in-state students, their parents clean. Birgeneau’s, Provost’s tuition increases ranked public Cal. the # 1 most expensive (during the greatest recession of modern times) for in-state students. B & B’s 14% annual tuition increases (2006 – 20012) illustrates an out of touch, self-serving Cal. senior management.
Robert J Birgeneau and Provost forget they are public servants, stewards of the public money, not overseers of their own fiefdom. Let’s review how they used tax funding:
Pay ex-politician $300,000 for several lectures; Recruit affluent foreign & affluent out of state students who displace qualified instate applicants; Spend millions (prominent East Coast university accomplishing same at 0 cost) for OE consultants to remove Chancellor, Provost created inefficiencies but prevent OE from examining Cal. senior management.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org Calif. State Senators, Assembly Members (The author has 35 years’ management consulting, taught at Cal. where he observed the culture & ways of senior management & yes was not fired).
Posted by Lisa Antillon, a resident of the Old Palo Alto neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 10:00 am
VOTE YES on Proposition 37!
We want to know what is in our food. It is done in advanced countries, such as European countries and Japan...and even China and India require labeling! Don't let the food industry fool you. They are spending millions making you think labeling will make food more expensive. It will not.
Americans believe in transparency in politics, in business. But so far, not in transparency in the food business. No wonder the US health statistics are so dire! It's time to make better choices in the supermarket. Labeling GMOs in food will help us decide what we want to eat.
Posted by Carol K, a resident of the University South neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 11:06 am
I cannot believe that PA Weekly has recommended NO on Prop 37. That is, YES to Monsanto and Gigantic Ag which are spending big money to defeat the our right to know what is in our food. And YES to the risks that are strongly indicated, even if in some cases not absolutely proven, in consuming GMO products. (See the comment by "Yes on 37 - GMO labeling" for good info and link.) You are ignoring the principle of 'First do no harm'?
This is a very disappointing recommendation, and I hope the Weekly will reverse it!
Posted by Janice, a resident of the Embarcadero Oaks/Leland neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm
No Mah. She is self-serving and a divisive threat to communities. While she voted against the renewal of Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, she has since done NOTHING to help bring the Los Altos community together. She will tell you that SCCOE lacks the resources to oversee charter schools yet she approves every charter petition without regard to the impact these schools have on communities, without regard to the fact that they serve a fraction of the community. Then again, she did hold the PAUSD board hostage with the controversial mandarin immersion program in PA so she is no advocate for equality. Here's a quote from Mah “Charter schools are meant to serve the ‘have it your way’ demands of the community.’ Shameful. I will not vote for Grace Mah. We need someone who believes in equality, who will protect our neighborhood schools and tax dollars and who has the fortitude to stand up for what is right.
Posted by Parent , a resident of Los Altos, on Oct 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm
We who support Dave Cortright are supporting the better candidate for ALL of the children in the county. Grace Mah has repeatedly shown that she feels "powerless" to do the job she is supposed to do, which is to provide oversight to the charters her board approves. This irresponsible behavior has had devastating consequences to education of of both charter and non charter children. Dave Cortright is a new comer to the political scene, but Grace Mah's "experience" hasn't provided her with the skills to actually DO her job, so her experience is **worthless** to me.
Posted by email@example.com, a resident of the Downtown North neighborhood, on Oct 20, 2012 at 8:22 pm
Yes on 37
In response to musical's fear that passage of Prop 37 will lead to lawsuits as Prop 65 has, the two propositions are written VERY differently. There is no incentive for lawyers to sue in 37. If a mislabeled product is found, the manufacturer has 30 days to correct the mistake--either by stating there are GMO ingredients or by eliminating the offending ingredients--with NO PENALTY. A professor at George Mason U wrote a study comparing 65 to 37. Here is a link to
Absolutely, I agree with the Weekly that it is preferable for the FDA or Congress to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. I doubt seriously that will happen unless some catastrophic event precipitates it. Please note that it was over the objections of their own scientists that the FDA approved GMO foods 15 years
ago with no independent testing required.
Does anyone really think that blasting a DNA cell from a foreign species into the DNA of a soybean makes that soybean plant identical to soybean plants grown without genetic engineering? The industry sponsored studies mostly last 90 days. The one long-term study just completed in France didn't find any differences between experimental and control rats until after 90 days: Web Link
The genetic engineering industry has a lot of money and political power in this country. Does anyone believe our polarized Congress, susceptible to the influence of well-connected lobbyists, is going to pass legislation to require the labeling of genetically engineered food? If California can lead the way, as we have on vehicle emission standards, it is just possible that other states and then the nation will follow.
Please vote Yes on 37 for our right to know what's in our food.
Posted by Local yokel, a member of the Fairmeadow School community, on Oct 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm Local yokel is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
I agree with the points made by Janice, Parent and C.O.C. -- Dave Cortright is a much better choice than Grace Mah for Santa Clara County Board. Ms Mah used California's charter school law in order to bypass the democratic process. Mandarin Immersion was voted down multiple times by different Boards. Mah would never accept it, so she used the charter "Ace card." This is her belief system. In other words, game the system so you get what you want. She is now an elected official. How can anyone be sure she believes in the democratic process in her current role? Her actions prove differently.
Posted by melissa, a resident of the Crescent Park neighborhood, on Oct 24, 2012 at 11:08 am melissa is a member (registered user) of Palo Alto Online
As a parent, I want the freedom to make informed choices about the quality of food I serve my family. So I was disappointed to read your 10-19 Editorial, State Ballot Recommendation regarding Proposition 37, urging a vote of “no” on genetically engineered food labeling. The reasoning provided read more like a Monsanto or DuPont press release than a thoughtful argument for or against labeling.
You seem to insist in the same breath that genetic engineering is no big deal because it’s been used for 15 year yet also say that the industry is too young to know with certainty about any health risks. Which is it? And do you really envision the FDA taking on this issue when Michael R. Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA, is a former Monsanto VP and lobbyist?
Your editorial is out of step with the thinking of many Palo Altans on this subject as aptly shown by the Streetwise question on the opposite page. All five people interviewed said “yes” to requiring labeling on genetically engineered food. Let’s hope Californians remain unswayed by the multi-million dollar marketing and advertising budgets of chemical companies and vote to lead the nation on this very important issue.