A tale of two shows in a single episode Tales From The Drop Box Episode 123 is split evenly into two distinct halves – each with vibrant energy – but each half producing different mood altering impacts. I am not sure how Episode 123 it will impact you overall, but it left me a little unsettled as I recorded the show. Not because the music is unsettling because it is not, but just how the tracks fell together created tension. I honestly have no idea where I’m going with this introduction, but I felt it was important to forewarn you that this show is mood altering – in a very pleasant way!
There is an important event occurring shortly that is relevant to your life – we have an election coming up on November 6!
NB: If you are one of the many foreign listeners to this podcast feel free to skip ahead! If you don’t live in California but live in the U.S., then read the next section and then skip ahead to the track listing at the bottom so you can see what the heck this episode is really about! Hint: Episode 123 begins with RunHideFight (an excellent new band from Pennsylvania) and ends with Mod Con (an excellent new band from Melbourne Australia). If you live in California, then read all of these notes! However, if you are not “feeling it” then skip to the bottom and check out the music.
The most important thing for everyone to do right now is register to vote! If you do not register, then you cannot vote. It is that simple. And as I have informed you before – it is really @^^!!!^&! important to vote. So, here is where you go to register:
- Determine your state registration deadline:
- Then register to vote: (It takes less than 2 minutes – 120 seconds to vote for change)
For California: https://registertovote.ca.gov/
For the rest of the U.S.: https://www.rockthevote.org/
For California residents there are, as always, a lengthy number of ballot propositions this year. Unfortunately this also means proposed legislation by special interest groups. Below you will find my voters guide to the 11 propositions on the ballot to be decided on November 6. You can read the official voters’ guide here: http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/ (But I think you will find my version much easier to read!)
Affordable Housing And Home-Purchase Assistance For Veterans: If passed, Proposition 1 would authorize the sale of $4 billion in bonds to finance existing housing programs, as well as infrastructure work and grants to match a local housing trust fund dollar-to-dollar. One-quarter of this $4 billion would help veterans purchase farms, homes and mobile homes.
I vote Yes. This was close. In fact, in order for me to vote yes, I had to make a huge leap of faith. The Proposition does not provide nearly enough money to make a significant impact, but will add units to the rental market. The $4 billion sets aside $1.5 billion to provide loans to renovate or build more rental housing. We need more rental housing – it is that simple. There are simply not enough available rental units and the price of those rental units is so high that most people cannot afford to rent them. Millions of dollars of the money raised by this proposition would also go toward grants to build or improve sewers, roads and water systems in cities i.e. infrastructure improvements which are desperately needed. So, on this one, I am a yes, but it is a qualified yes. If you believe that the State will actually utilize the money, monitor where is goes, and provide oversite then vote yes. If you believe government will waste the money or use it to reward pet projects, then vote No. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates the total cost, with interest, for the $3 billion in funding this measure calls for would end up at $5.9 billion. The loans for veterans has no impact as they are loans. I have a hard time swallowing the fact that Californian taxpayers will squander $1.00 for every $1.00 raised, but I believe we have to bite the bullet now as housing costs are only going to increase in this new era of tariff’s on soft lumber. We need the units. I’m just praying it works a little to ease the pressure.
Using Mental Health Dollars For Low-Income Housing: Proposition 2 would free up $2 billion in bonds to pay to build housing that includes mental health services for chronically homeless people. The original bonds are part of the Mental Health Services Act, approved by voters in 2004 to provide mental health services to Californians. Legislators tried to appropriate this money two years ago, but that law has been tied up in courts ever since.
I vote No. This was also actually a close call but in the end, a no vote is the correct call. This is the second of the two affordable housing measures (see Prop 1 above). Prop 2 wants to issue $2 billion in bonds to fund No Place Like Home, a state program that builds housing for homeless folks with mental illnesses. The state then wants to repay a part of the $2 billion bond utilizing $140 million a year out of the state’s Mental Health Services Fund. And this is where I have the issue with this proposition. Prop 2 on the surface sounds like a good idea because we should help the mentally ill and the homeless but in application the benefits may not be realized i.e. the actual consequences of the proposition can completely miss those people and by diverting funds away mental health treatment programs actually harm the people who need the support.
The Mental Health Services Fund was itself created by a proposition. Passed in 2004, Prop 63 taxed people making in excess of $1,000,000.00. The funds raised from that tax were to be utilized to expand mental health services, particularly for the homeless. A 2014 State auditor’s report demonstrated that the State had no idea as to where most of the approximately $13B raised was spent, and questioned whether the money raised had actually done anything to ease homelessness or impact California’s mental health crises. The 2017 Report is actually worse: https://www.auditor.ca.gov/pdfs/reports/2017-117.pdf . The report title provides the single best reason to vote no on this proposition: Mental Health Services Act – The State Could Better Ensure the Effective Use of Mental Health Services Act Funding. Therefore, I vote no because the success of the measure depends on close government oversight and monitoring and the State is wasting taxpayer money already. Do we want to give them more to waste? Certainly not.
Note: The congressional Annual Homeless Assessment Report estimated that California’s homeless population is around 134,000 people, and our “unsheltered” homeless population is around 92,000 people, an increase of 13.7% from 2016 to 2017. (See p. 13, Ex. 1.7.)
Authorizing Bonds for Safe Drinking Water and Water Infrastructure: With Proposition 3 voters will decide whether to authorize $8.87 billion in state bonds for water infrastructure. The majority of the revenue would go to safe drinking-water projects and watershed and fishery improvements, with money also going to habitat protection, dam repairs and other programs. The proposition also gives priority to disadvantaged communities, and would require some projects to come up with matching funds from non-state sources.
I vote NO. This is pay-to-play and promoted by individuals and entities that are going to be receiving a share of the bond money. This will be a pit of graft and waste all at the taxpayer’s expense. Prop 3 would authorize the largest water bond in California history, $8.9 billion. Add in $8.4 billion for interest payments and the total reaches $17.3 billion. That’s $430 million annually for 40 years. 3 water bonds in 4 years? The Central Valley will reap the rewards and the rest of California will pay for it. It is merely a pork-laden pet project list with no prioritization and it pisses me off that propositions like these keep appearing each year.
Authorizing Bonds for Children’s Hospitals: Proposition 4 would approve $1.5 billion of bonds to build, expand, renovate and equip qualifying children’s hospitals. The majority of funds would go to private nonprofit hospitals that provide services to children who qualify for certain government programs. This includes children with special needs who qualify for the for the California Children’s Services program. The rest of the funds would be allocated to the University of California’s acute care children’s clinics, and public and private nonprofit hospitals that serve qualified children.
I vote NO. You are likely reading this to yourself and saying to yourself only a cold cold hearted bastard would deny hospitals money for children with special needs. These are hospitals taking care of critically ill children and this bond would enable hospitals to acquire new cutting edge technology. I still vote NO. like past measures, enabling public support for a broken system prolongs the tax payer agony and does not improve healthcare. Making it easier for hospitals to feed from the public trough does not save lives. It creates waste and relieves the hospital administrators from prioritizing patient care, research and eliminating waste.
Granting Property Tax Break to Senior Citizens and Disabled Persons: Proposition 5 would grant a property tax break to property owners who are over 55 years old or severely disabled. The measure would allow them to transfer their property tax to a replacement property of equal or lesser value in a specific county.
I vote NO. Although well-intentioned, it is difficult to imagine how much harm to local communities would arise from the loss of tax revenue. Schools are funded in part from local tax revenues and this would not fix the problem of adding new units to the housing market. We are still going to have a severe housing shortage and this is definitely not the approach. Advanced by the California Association of Realtors, this would not fix the housing shortage. In order to fix a housing shortage the solution is to build more houses. Tinkering with tax breaks will result in long term harm to every community without impacting the housing shortage or the affordability problem.
Repealing the Gas Tax: Lawmakers’ increase to the gas tax has been contentious since the moment it passed last year. Democratic state Sen. Josh Newman was recalled in June in part over his “yes” vote on the tax. Proposition 6 would allow voters to repeal the gas tax increase that currently generates revenue to pay for improvements to local roads, state highways and public transportation. Prop. 81 would also require that the Legislature submit any future tax or fee on gas or diesel fuel, or on those driving a vehicle on public highways, to voters. Gov. Jerry Brown came out hard against the measure when it qualified for the ballot, calling it “flawed and dangerous” in a tweet.
I vote NO. Unless you live in a major city in California, and even in some of the smaller cities you cannot even believe how bad traffic really is in this state. In Los Angeles, on an average day to go from Pasadena to Santa Monica, a journey of 26 miles, can take on average more than 2 hours between the hours of 6:030 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. The journey home takes a little longer at rush hour. Rush hour is from 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. It is only getting worse. Repealing the gas tax would insure longer drives as the road repairs would not be made and the congestion is only going to get worse. It is too bad Los Angeles didn’t actually begin planning for public transportation that works until recently, but things are not going to change soon.
Revisiting Daylight Saving: California lawmakers have flirted with ditching seasonal time changes for years. Proposition 7 itself would not make permanent or abolish daylight saving time. The measure repeals a 1949 voter-approved proposition that established Daylight Saving Time in California. This would leave it up to the Legislature to decide how the state’s time should be set. The Legislature could then establish year-round Daylight Saving Time in California with a two-thirds vote and Congressional approval.
I vote NO. As much as I would like to say, really? We have a ballot measure that would permit our legislature to set our time clock, the real issue is that already people believe Californian’s are different. Do we want to be perceived with as much disdain as Newfies? Newfies are residents of Newfoundland, Canada and as the joke goes, they are always ½ hour behind the rest of us. There is no need for Californian’s to be out of synch with the rest of the country.
Limiting Dialysis Clinic Revenue: If passed, Proposition 8 would put a cap how much outpatient kidney dialysis clinics may charge patients, and would impose penalties for excessive bills. The measure would also prohibit clinics from discriminating against patients based on their method of payment. In a push for accountability, clinics would also be required to report annually to the state costs, revenue and charges.
I vote NO. This proposition was brought by two labor unions who attempted unsuccessfully to organize workers at dialysis clinics. This is essentially a unions large middle finger to the industry. It would hurt existing clinics, and frankly is an attempt to get the government to implement socialism in this industry. This would likely cause clinics to close and hurt patients. If there is one small positive about the proposition, at least the proponents were not deceptive about it’s true intent which is to interfere with the operation of these clinics as a business, who like every other business exist to make money. If passed this proposition would destroy competition, force closures and in the end increase the cost of services for patients who desperately need this service.
Sometimes the court’s actually work. This proposition which attempted to carve up California, was nonsense. Best evidence for why this is a bad idea are North Dakota and South Dakota. Do we really need multiple Californias? Hell no.
Allowing Local Authorities to Enact Rent Control: A measure seeking to give local authorities more freedom to enact rent control policies will be on the November ballot. Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act and its ban on certain types of rent control, including protections for tenants of single-family homes, condos and apartments built after 1995.
I vote NO. There are some people who must think that the California electorate is stupid. You would have to have not a clue about how the State and most local governments work to vote yes on this proposition. Giving your elected officials control over the rental housing market is a very bad idea and would certainly make things even a bigger mess than they are. The reason California has a housing shortage is because of restrictive building and zoning laws that increase the cost of building new residential units. If you add on rent control, then you can guarantee that no one is going to build more units in California because the economics simply will not work.
Ambulance Workers To Remain On-Call On Meal And Rest Breaks and Get Paid; Disaster Training: If passed, Proposition 11 would require ambulance workers at for-profit medical-response companies to be on-call during meal and rest breaks, meaning that they would need to be reachable by mobile device in case of emergency. Workers would be required to be paid at their regular rate during these breaks, and interrupted breaks would not be counted toward the breaks a worker is required to receive per shift. The measure also requires companies to provide additional specialized training to ambulance workers, and to offer mental health services to employees. Companies would be required to either offer 10 paid mental health services per year, or to offer medical insurance that covers long-term mental health care, if the company provides health insurance.
I vote NO. This is another great example of a deceptive proposition for which California is known. Ambulance workers, like every other worker need meal and rest breaks. This one is designed to increase the overhead cost of every for-profit ambulance service by increasing the cost of services and increasing worker pay. If passed this proposition would also would guarantee mental health benefits for emergency medical technicians and paramedics, and mandate additional training for active shooters, terrorist attacks and natural disasters. This is a government required pay raise for workers supported by local unions who want to interfere with business decisions by owners of these companies. California workers have more than ample protections imposed by law. This is piling on.
Farm Animals Need Space: Proposition 12 bans the sale of meat derived from animals and their food products that are confined within certain areas. By 2021, the measure would also require that all eggs sold in California be from hens raised according to the United Egg Producers’ 2017 cage free guidelines. California passed a similar measure in 2008, Proposition 2, which banned the sale of certain animal products if the animals were confined in spaces that left them unable to turn around, lie down, stand up and fully extend their limbs. Prop. 12 would take this one step further by laying out specific square footage requirements.
I vote No. Regardless of how you feel about the treatment of our food supply i.e. we raise the animals in order to kill and eat them, the net effect of this proposition will be the same as Prop 2 – decrease production and substantially increase the cost of food. We already have a highly regulated agricultural industry and this will not improve it one iota and instead will substantially increase food prices.
So there you have it. My cheat sheet for all of the propositions on the California November ballot.
I am voting Yes on Prop 1 and voting No on all of the others. Information is power. A well informed electorate reduces the chance for major mistakes that hurt people.
Here is what you’ll find in Episode #123:
- RunHideFight – “He’s A Jerk” (He’s A Jerk 7’’)
- After 10 – “Paper Thin” (Bad Influences)
- Famous World – “Candylegs” (Spesh)
- The Villagers – “Fool” (The Art of Pretending To Swim)
- Blue Heaven – “Assumptions” (Volume 1)
- Broncho – “Boys Got To Go” (Bad Behavior)
- Bleeding Knees – “Case” (Fade The Hammer)
- Youth Killed It – “What’s So Great, Britain?” (What’s So Great, Britain?)
- Peter Holsapple – “The Death of Rock” (Peter Holsapple v. Alex Chilton: The Death of Rock)
- Bragging Rights – “Built To Destroy” (Bragging Rights)
- Civic – “New Vietnam” (New Vietnam EP)
- D.O.A. – “State Control” (Fight Back)
- Drenge – “Fades To Black” (Autonomy EP)
- The Libertines – “The Man Who Would Be King” (The Libertines)
- Mod Con – “Tell Me Twice” (Modern Convenience)
Three nations divided in two under one banner old school views but we live in a new manor, traditional values have to evolve or stand like statues … To make what I quite like to make it through the night my heart beats slow fast, I don’t feel right with a sleight of hand I might die what about you over there?