The Pat Keene Home Page



Pepper, in better days

One of the primary things I want to do with this page is to have my own editorial forum, and to write about personal things that happen to my family and me.  I have a page of what I call "Rants," which is my assembled collective editorials, past and present.  Some are personal, some deal with my immediate reaction to some current event, and most are political.  My most current rant is here on the home page.  I also have a few photos on the Photos page, which I will change periodically, according to my whims.  And as I become more facile in designing pages.  I have also added a special photos page containing the best photos from our recent trip to Tahiti and Bora Bora.  Here's the link:  Bora Bora.
And I've now added a page of the best photos from the four trips we made to Hawaii.  In mid-October, 2009, we for the first time saw the summit of the volcano Haleakala, which dominates (in fact, which created) the east portion of Maui.  The link to the Hawaii photos is Hawaii Photos.

So, (hopefully), enjoy. . .


       2016 Ballot Proposition Recommendations

    There are a large number of propositions on this November’s ballot.  I have taken the time to review each of them from my own personal perspective, and offer the following thoughts:

    Proposition 51.  This proposition would authorize the issuance of $9 billion of bonds, of which $3 billion would be for construction of new K-12 schools, $3 billion for modernization of existing K-12 schools, $1 billion for funding of charter schools and vocational education facilities, and $2 billion for community college facilities.  The payback for these bonds would be $500 million per year for 35 years.  The arguments in favor of the proposition put forth by the PTA, retired teachers association, and a representative of community colleges.  The arguments opposed are from the California Taxpayers Action Network.  Because I generally prefer spending more money on schools than I do on prisons, I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 52.  This proposition would extend an existing fee on hospitals and medical facilities in order to obtain federal matching funds in the same amounts.  It appears to have the support of most of the medical industry and business, labor and community organizations throughout the state.  I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 53.  This proposition would require a vote of the people or any state projects requiring revenue bonds over $2 billion.  It appears that the proposition’s main thrust is to stop the Delta tunnels project and the high-speed rail project.  Its main proponent is Dino Cortopassi, a large landowner in the San Joaquin Delta who is opposed to the tunnel project.  Among the opponents to the proposition are firefighters’ organizations, the state sheriffs’ Association, the League of California Cities, and the California Chamber of Commerce.  I recommend a no vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 54.  This proposition would prohibit the Legislature from passing any bill unless it has been in print and published on the Internet for at least 72 hours before the vote, except in cases of public emergency.  It would also require the Legislature to make audiovisual recordings of all its proceedings, except for close sessions, and post them on the Internet.  It would also allow any person to record any legislative proceedings, except closed session proceedings.  The apparent primary backer of this proposition is the California Chamber of Commerce.  It is also backed by the Common Cause organization.  I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 55.  The opposition would extend for 12 years the previous “temporary” income tax increase on incomes over $250,000 per year for single individuals or $500,000 per year per married couple.  These taxes were approved by the Legislature after the last state budget crisis in order to balance the state budget, and were specifically set to expire at the end of this year.  The estimated revenue that would be generated would be between $4 billion and $9 billion each year, depending upon the economy.  Half of the funds raised would go to schools and community colleges; a portion of the proceeds would go to increase Medi-Cal funding; and the remainder would go to increase state budget reserves and make debt payments.  Liberals are generally in favor of it; conservatives are generally opposed.  For the simple reason of preserving honesty respecting “temporary” tax increases, I recommend a no vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 56.  This proposition would add a $2 per pack additional tax on cigarettes and tobacco products.  I am admittedly not neutral on the issue of tobacco; because I have lost both parents as a result of tobacco use and have a brother who is minus a lung because of tobacco use, I think that anything that can be done to reduce cigarette smoking is a good thing, and for that reason I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 57.  This proposition would allow parole consideration for nonviolent offenders after serving the full prison term for their primary offense; if there was an enhancement or extension of the prison sentence for additional factors, the parole board could allow parole without the inmates serving the additional time for those additional factors.  It does not apply to violent offenders.  Because I believe that in general we have far too many people in prison at gross expense to the taxpayers, I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 58.  This proposition would make more flexible the teaching of English to pupils who are not fluent in English.  It would substantially revise Proposition 227, passed in 1998 that restricted the use of bilingual programs.  This proposition appears to offer a broader approach to the teaching of English to children who do not know the language.  I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 59.  This proposition is an advisory measure that recommends that California’s federal elected representatives use the authority to propose and ratify an amendment to the United States Constitution to repeal the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts in political campaigns.  While I fully support the reversal of this decision, I generally feel that advisory propositions, which do not have any binding effect, are generally a waste of time and money, and for that reason I recommend a no vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 60.  This proposition would require adult film performers to wear condoms during sex acts that are being filmed.  While this is undoubtedly a good idea for the health of the performers, I think it is rather ridiculous that we have a proposition to require this, and for that reason I recommend a no vote on it, to discourage future propositions dealing with petty issues.

    Proposition 61.  This proposition would prohibit state agencies from buying any prescription drug at a price higher than that paid by the federal Veterans Administration.  It is generally understood that the VA gets better prices for prescription drugs than any other government entity because it is the only government entity that actually negotiates with the pharmaceutical companies.  This proposition would not provide for negotiation of prices between state agencies, such as Medi-Cal, which purchase prescription medications, but simply puts a cap on the price that the state would be allowed to pay.  There is no way to know what the reaction of the pharmaceutical industry would be to this proposition, and whether or not they would simply cease to provide medications to California agencies if it were passed.  I believe that all government health-care providers should be able to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies, but that is not presently the law.  The Legislative Analyst opines that if this proposition were passed, it might actually result in an increase in drug prices.  For that reason, I recommend a no vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 62.  This proposition would repeal the death penalty in California.  This is a very personal issue for many of us, but I have long felt that the death penalty should be repealed for a variety of reasons.  The moral arguments are obvious, but there are also substantial cost savings for court-paid attorney fees as well as other expenses necessitated in order to ensure the constitutional validity of a death sentence.  I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 63.  This proposition would require individuals to pass a background check in order to purchase ammunition, and would prohibit the possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines.  It would also require that ammunition sales be made through licensed vendors and be reported to the Department of Justice.  If you are in favor of gun control, will be in favor of this proposition; if you are in support of absolute and complete 2nd Amendment rights, you will be opposed.  I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 64.  This proposition would legalize possession of marijuana by individuals over age 21.  I do not presently use marijuana, although I’ve certainly tried it, and have reached the conclusion that I don’t like the way it makes me feel.  However, I think marijuana is far less dangerous to society than alcohol, which is legal for persons over 21.  This proposition would also impose a tax on marijuana sales which would bring in revenue to the state.  I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 65.  This proposition is tied to Proposition 67, which would confirm the Legislature’s vote to outlaw single-use plastic bags at the grocery and retail stores, but this proposition would require that any fees raised as a result of the plastic bag ban be paid into a state fund, the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Fund rather than be retained by the grocery stores.  If you are in favor of the plastic bag ban, will vote yes on this; otherwise you will vote no.  Since I will be recommending a yes vote on Proposition 67, I recommend a yes vote on this as well. 

    Proposition 66.  This proposition would streamline the present process for handling death penalty appeals, so that condemned prisoners could be put to death sooner.  If you are in favor of the death penalty, you will vote yes on this.  I am not in favor of the death penalty, and therefore I recommend a no vote on this proposition.

    Proposition 67.  This proposition is a referendum on the Legislature’s game on single use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores.  If you are in favor of banning plastic bags, and having grocery or retail stores charge you $.10 per bag for a paper bag, you will vote in favor of this proposition.  Since our family keeps multi-use grocery bags in our car and use them on a regular basis for our groceries, I recommend a yes vote on this proposition.


 





I'd love to hear from you about what you think of the page.  My e-mail address is pkeene@yahoo.com.

Thanks for visiting!!

Pat