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Make Sure You Vote — This Tuesday Novemer 4!

Check out PolitoMuse’s analyses of all California Propositions and Selected Candidate Analyses, then make up your own mind and vote!

Voter turn out is traditionally very low in non-presidential Elections like this one.  That’s a good news/bad news proposition.  The bad news is that a small number of voters will make decisions that bind all Californians.  The good news:  If you decide to be one of those responsible citizens, your vote will be that much more powerful because of that low turn-out.

For everything you wanted to know about voting in California checkout the Secretary of State’s Voter info website

For our local readers, checkout the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters website for other election questions checkout our Useful Resources section on this page.  If you are not already a registered user sign-up to receive updates in your inbox.  We only post around election time and we never send out spam.

Happy Voting!




Make Sure You Vote — This Tuesday June 3!

Check out PolitoMuse’s analyses of Propositions 41 and 42 and Selected Candidates, then make up your mind and vote!

Voter turn out is traditionally very low in California’s Primary Elections.  That’s a good news/bad news proposition.  The bad news is that a small number of voters will make decisions that bind all Californians.  The good news:  If you decide to be one of those responsible citizens, your vote will be that much more powerful because of that low turn-out.

For everything you wanted to know about voting in California checkout the Secretary of State’s Voter info website

For our local readers, checkout the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters website

Happy Voting!

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GO VOTE — PolitoMuse Offers Complete Analysis on All 11 California Propositions And Selected Local Measures

Visit the PolitoMuse Propositions page for complete independent analysis of each of California proposition on this November’s ballot and the PolitoMuse Local Measures page for selected Measures.  Agree with us, disagree with us, post and vent, but whatever you do, fulfill you duty to educate yourself about the issues and then exercise your right to vote.

PolitoMuse State Proposition Recommendations:

PolitoMuse Selected Local Measure Recommendations:

We urge you to re-post the PolitoMuse URL on your personal network pages (Facebook etc), wear your “I Voted” sticker, and urge your friends and family to learn, debate, motivate, and VOTE.  Votes matter – just ask Mr. Dewey.

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Prop 31 – PolitoMuse Urges Throwing This Baby Out With The Bath

See our analysis of California’s Proposition 31 and its mishmash of various purported reforms.  Some of the ideas are good, some are bad, and some are none-of-the above.  Overall, we don’t think this watered down “reform” plan does anything to “advance the ball” on the key state issues that call out for government reform.

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“Yes” and “No” (and “No”) – PolitoMuse Analyzes California Propositions 37, 39 and 40

California’s Proposition 37 could probably be dismissed because of its haphazard regulation scheme but at the proposition’s core is a growing public discomfort with genetically engineered foods and the monstrous agribusiness forces behind it.  We decided to reach out to one of our PolitoPals for help in trying to wade through the science.  We think the analysis provides some interesting food for thought (and we promise it won’t make you grow reptilian scales… we think).

We analyze California Proposition 39 and its efforts to close a 3-year old tax loophole created by Republican lawmakers in the dead of night.  Finally, we join others scratching their heads about Proposition 40, a referendum that is no longer backed by its own backers.  If that isn’t confusing enough, in order to defeat the referendum you need to vote “yes.”

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Oh Molly… Why Californians Need To Reject 38 And Approve 30

We’ve got to hand it to Prop 38 backer Molly Munger, the multi-millionaire and her PR posse are pounding the airways with an avalanche of slick ads pushing her self-created tax plan. According to polls and questions we are getting here at PolitoMuse her money is yielding a strong return. Unfortunately, her ads are a bit loose with the truth.

“Prop 38 Doesn’t Restore Education Funding”

The Prop 38 folks just missed that one word we highlighted in making their ads. As we outline in our analysis of Prop 30 and Prop 38 only Proposition 30 restores the education funds removed in the last cost-cutting budget. Specifically:

  • Prop 38 restores exactly $0.00 of the funds cut from higher education – it will necessarily result in more increased tuition costs and reduced services to all community college, Cal State and U.C. students.
  • Prop 38 restores exactly $0.00 of the funds cut from Developmental Services (the folks that provide educational support for the disabled in California)
  • Prop 38 does not even “restore” the K-12 monies removed by the current budget. It provides different sums of money (resulting in a net reduction this year followed by a net gain in later years – more on that later) but then mandates that it be spent in a particular manner, including about $50 million (1%) to fund a new bureaucracy created by Prop 38 and some $750 million (12%) annually on computers and training whether schools need them or not.

By contrast, Proposition 30 does exactly what Proposition 38 falsely claims — it precisely “restores” the funds removed by the current budget cuts.  Cuts that were implemented with the intention of giving voters the choice posited by Proposition 30.

Prop 38 Doesn’t Keep Money Away From Bureaucrats

Molly and her PR folks missed that same important word on this claim too.  As we explain in our analysis, Prop 38 actually creates a massive bureaucracy; it just moves bureaucratic decisions from the legislature and local communities to the Superintendent of schools and a newly created non-legislative board (not exactly a “win” in our book).  It also imposes required spending on all schools throughout the state in a manner that will be good for some and bad for others.  For example, it will require spending on “technology” totaling nearly 750 million in year 2 and nearly $1 billion in years 5 through 12 – And like the rest of the initiative, that allocation cannot be changed absent passage of another state-wide proposition.  Finally, it does one of the biggest budgeting “no-no’s” one can do: It creates massive fluctuations in the income stream for both schools and the general fund. Here is how the estimated money flow looks just for K-12:

  • Year 1 = $3 Billion (a net $3 billion loss based on existing budget cuts)
  • Years 2-4 = a massive jump to about $6 billion
  • Years 5-12 = another jump (and a corresponding, inexplicable reduction in other expenditures) to over $8.5 billion.

The proponents of Prop 38 offer zero justification for the funding levels they selected, much less the rational for the sudden, massive, 50% increase between year one to two and the nearly 30% increase between years four and five.

Similar zigzagging of expenditures is found at the state general fund level which receives substantial funds to pay down debt for four years, followed by a sudden, unexplained, end to those payments (and no we will not come anywhere near paying off our debt after four years).

Prop 30 does the opposite.  It provides a steady, predictable, income stream at proven levels previously used by the State.

Voter Beware

As a matter of state law, Prop 30 and 38 can’t both be enacted. That means you have to pick one, the other, or neither. This is one of the many reasons proponents of Prop 30 begged Molly Munger to withdraw her well-intentioned, but poorly crafted, initiative. Because she refused, it means that those who support a modest tax increase to increase funding for education will be split between two competing statutes while those opposed will just vote against both. That is unfortunate for the reasons we set forth in our analyses. Our state desperately needs the funds targeted to the broad range of educational sources in Proposition 30. We hope voters will be savvy enough to wade through the confusion to vote in favor of 30 and against 38.

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PolitoMuse urges a “Yes” vote on Proposition 34

We carefully analyze the weighty pro and con arguments relating to Proposition 34 and conclude that it is one of those rare propositions that properly presents a well-reasoned change in state policy.  This particular change resolves a number of real problems while resulting in a net savings of tens of millions of dollars to state and county budgets.  We like that.  Agree?  Disagree?  Post your equally well-reasoned responses at the bottom of the analysis page.

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PolitoMuse Is Getting Ready For the November 6, 2012 Elections


As we update our website for the upcoming November 6 elections, we will be rolling out analyses of selected propositions, starting with a comprehensive comparative analysis of two key tax proposals in propositions 30 and 38.  Make sure to click “email subscription” on the right hand side of the site to ensure that you get notification of our posts during the election cycle and then watch your email to “confirm” your subscription.

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Lies, Lies, Lies…

We at Politomuse are big fans of free speech.  That said, there is a good reason that false or misleading speech is generally not protected in this country — the reason is that lies don’t generally promote the positive effects of discourse.  Unfortunately, when we have an initiative process that foists upon voters the responsibility to analyze pages and pages of legalese, there is a real incentive to “bend the truth.”  Sadly, our press has become less interested in calling out untruths, opting instead for a policy of acceptance of all opposing positions — even ones that are based on false or misleading facts.  We don’t agree with that trend so, in anticipation of tomorrow’s election day excitement (yes, we admit to being Polito-geeks), we thought we’d point out some of the more egregious falsities in recent election mailers.

First Place:  Prop 29 Proponents Claim Funds Must Be Spent in California.            Verdict:    FALSE

We urge a “no” vote on 29 for a number of reasons related to the manner in which the hundreds of millions of dollars collected through this tax would be spent.  Among those reasons, however, was not the fact that the moneys need not be spent in California.  Apparently, however, many voters are troubled by the fact that California’s smoking taxpayers would potentially have their money funnelled out of state and the “No” campaign has been getting some traction with that argument.  So, what better way for the “yes” folks to rebut that argument than a recent mailer sent by the pro-29 folks simply stating that all the money must be spent in California.  The “pro-29” forces are also running the same misstatement in slick television commercials that are currently blanketing the airways.  The only problem with this clever rebuttal is that it is patently untrue.  We’ve reviewed the full six pages of tiny text several times and find no requirement that money be spent here.

 To the contrary, section 30130.53, subdivision d, section 1 provides that “All qualified investigators, regardless of institutional affiliation shall have equal access and opportunity to compete for the funds in this act.”

In other words, any attempt to limit expenditures to California would likely expressly violate the proposed initiative.  Like most initiatives, if approved, this one can’t be changed except by additional proposition (though this one could be altered by the legislature 15 years after passage).  So, while we can think of a number of reasons that reasonable voters may disagree with our “No” recommendation on this initiative – this falsehood isn’t one of them.

Second Place:  Measure B Opponents claim passage will cause city employees to lose their homes.            Verdict:    Misleading

We picked the nicely laid out picture of the young couple that states “If Measure B passes people like me will lose our homes” followed by a signature of Carlos, a San Jose Animal Control Officer for this questionable prize; although frankly, we could have picked a number of questionable statements presented in various “No” flyers for this dubious honor.  The wickedly clever part of this hit-piece is that the statement is really an opinion and therefore can’t really be disproved.  However, Measure B gives current employees the option of either not changing their current paycheck at all but moving to a less generous future pension or “agreeing” to a small increase in the amount of their pension contribution (between 4%-16% but no more than 50% of the real cost of the benefit).  Since Carlos will chose whether he takes a small financial hit today or a small financial hit in the future one really can’t say that the measure will force him out of his home.  If you are interested in the specifics, this chart shows the various permutations that would be available to City employees.

Dishonorable Mention:  Measure B Proponent Chuck Reed claims Measure B doesn’t reduce employee benefits.            Verdict:    Misleading

So lets think about this, we want to solve a financial problem by not reducing benefits to employees?  If you think that sounds a little dubious, there is good reason.  While its is true that City employees will have an option that keeps their exact current pension plan in place under Measure B, they will need to pay more for that plan — an increase in costs is necessarily a decrease in overall benefits to the employee.  While Mayor Reed has done a better job recently of avoiding some of the less palatable tactics he employed earlier in this campaign, we were disappointed to see this little nugget in a recent Reed flyer.  Especially since with the exception of this point, he has recently done a fair job of just laying out the facts — facts that we think should lead voters to a “yes” vote.  So why bend the truth Mayor?

We hope you navigate your way around these and other misleading gems in this election cycle.  If you find the information we provide on this site helpful, please remember to subscribe (on the right side of this page) so you will get our future posts delivered (and nothing else by the way).  Happy voting!

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The Truth About TARP & Taxes

You can hardly click a mouse, much less turn on a television without hearing about the “anger” being felt by the electorate.  Tops on the gripe list are taxes and TARP (the Troubled Asset Relief Program).  Polls  and commentators suggest that perceptions about both issues are driving the “wave” of anger and contributing to a “throw the bums out” mentality amongst voters.  PolitoMuse readers are more attuned to the facts than most, so we thought we’d check your perceptions about both issues:

And what about that huge $700 billion federal bailout (TARP)?  We all heard the fantasies that the administration was offering up; that the total cost would be much less than $700 billion dollars, that the government would offset losses with profits through the program such that the total cost would be much less than the nearly 3/4 trillion-dollar price tag we all feared.  Tarp officially ended this month – so what’s the REAL cost to taxpayers going to be?

Answers – The Truth About TARP, Taxes and the Economy:

Make sure you enter you poll votes before you click here for the article reviewing these issues and here for a complete report on the Tarp expenditures.

Want just the true facts:  The current congress and administration have lowered federal taxes by $240 billion, lowering tax rates for 95% of all Americans by about $400 for each taxpayer.  TARP is currently scheduled to recoup 90-95% of its expended funds and will cost between $30-60 billion — less than all initial estimates.  And while we’re at it consider these facts:  On October 27, 2010 the commerce department reported that the economy actually grew 2% this last quarter, for a modest 3.1% annual growth rate.  Meanwhile, consumer spending grew to its highest level in four years (see the same article).   We know facts are less sexy than rhetoric, but occasionally its worth referring to them.

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