Editor’s note, 1/16/2017: In light of the sudden death of my co-editor and friend JM, I plan to go back and bring some of his greatest articles up to the front. His last full post, reproduced below, contains a lot of his practical wisdom & wit. Re-reading it reminded me of what a great citizen & thinker we’ve lost. I’ve put some of JM’s most profound sections in bold for those who like to save time:
(11/7/2016, Los Alamitos) by J M Ivler: (bolding added) It is NOT in LosAlNews’ purview to tell you HOW to vote. While the people who post here have a various number of opinions on who they will be voting for, and have even shared those opinions, it’s YOUR vote and it does count.
Yes, the top-of-the-ticket has been an ugly mess. More people are voting “against” one candidate or the other than “for” a candidate that they would actually like to have running the country. The campaigns have been ugly throughout the entire Primary process and into the General election. Even when you think the campaigns can’t get any further into the gutter, they found ways to do so.
The number of times I have heard “well I’m voting for this candidate because I will do anything to stop that candidate from winning.” is past triple digits. The number of times I have heard “lesser evil” is a multiple of that.
So, rather than wade into that mess my goal here is to get you focused on the fact that there are a great many reasons to go to the polls and vote, other than the mess at the top-of-the-ticket.
In fact, I will go so far as to say that you can skip almost all the partisan contests on your ballot because you really know nothing about any of the candidates running other than the winner will be from part of the duopoly. Really, one debate between the candidates for Senate to represent the entire State of California? No debates for the House or Assembly? Do you really know where any of them stand, what they stand for and what policies they will implement in your name?
But down the ballot there are some things worthy of you taking the time to fill it out.
There are local races, where candidates have been walking house to house, where they have been accessible to you. There are school board races where the candidates are locals who you may have had a chance to talk with, or read their opinions. And there are propositions, which you couldn’t have missed if you had bothered to turn on you TV in the last month.
Here your voice counts. Here you can make a meaningful statement by taking the time out to go to the polls and vote. In an earlier post you saw that two of the authors on this site plan on doing a great deal to cancel each others votes out. That’s okay. It’s how the process works. But the most important part of the process is that YOU participate in it. Don’t let my vote influence yours, but look at the candidates and the issues, study them and make sure your voice is heard.
Whatever you do, don’t believe the advertising. Someone is spending a great deal of money to influence your vote. As a voter you were sent two important pieces of mail by the State. The first one was a very thick book printed on very thin paper. It listed a synopsis of each proposition and the the actual proposition itself. Take the time to read the synopsis. If you don’t feel it answered all your questions, read the proposition itself. Rather than listening to what people are paying you to hear, take the time to educate yourself on what is really going on. Some of these propositions are very important and there has been a lot of smoke blown to confuse the actual issues, so make sure you take the time to get all the facts. And all the facts are there in that book you were sent, without all the sales pitches and misinformation.
Now, every ballot is secret, but we have in the past told you how we are voting after we have studied the propositions and candidates. And as I pointed out, in an earlier post Dave and I have stated how we plan to vote on the Los Al School Board in this election. So, after taking a detailed look at the various propositions on the ballot, here is where I stand (in case you want to cancel my vote)
I was asked specifically about some, so here are my opinions on those….
57 (further reduce mandatory sentences)?
The amount we spend sending people to jail and incarcerating them is more than we spend on educating them. For the cost of incarcerating one person for one year we would send that person to college, pay for the dorm and the meal plan, and STILL have money left over. Our priorities are screwed up.
61 (drug price limited)
Consider that your fruits and veggies come from Mexico, Central and South America, your pork and chicken now come from China, and the US shrimp and fish industries only fill 20% of the US needs, it’s beyond humorous and absurd that a pharmaceutical made in the US and exported to Canada, which sells in Canada for 1/3 what it sells for in the US, can not be re-imported by a consumer. Big Pharma has stacked the deck to gain the greatest possible profits from American consumers. Their threat is that they will raise the prices on vets if they are forced to sell to regular consumers at those same profit margins. Well to hell Big Pharma. Personally I really want to see a change in the federal law that says that Big Pharma *must* sell their products in the US at the same price they sell them lowest in the world, or they lose their freaking US patent protection.
I don’t smoke it, but it should be legal. It is not a gateway drug…. Alcohol is a gateway drug. Opiates are gateway drugs. Pot is not. All testing shows that pot has less damaging effect that alcohol, and unlike drinking rot juice, it MAY have some major beneficial effects for certain diseases. But, because it has been classified as “bad as heroin” there has been almost no research into it’s potential positive uses. But beyond that, it’s interesting to see who is funding the effort to kill it. The Opiate Phama companies and the Liquor industry. The people who are poisoning us now are the ones who want it to not pass. Looking at who is trying to kill it is more than enough reason to support it.
JM’s creative alternative to our electoral process:
Now a mini rant about our electoral process in general. It stinks. The current process is designed for the duopoly of the Democrats and the Republicans to maintain control of government. In almost all cases the person who sells their soul to the corporate interests for the most money is the person who wins the election. The primary system is spending our tax dollars to reduce our choices of who we can and can not elect to public office. There is an answer. A Proposition on the 2018 ballot that does the following:
- The elimination of the Primary/Caucus Process in CA saving tens of millions of tax dollars (parties can pay for it themselves if they want to, but it does not change the qualifying process as defined in #2)
- Anyone can qualify for the ballot by raising in $5.00 contributions (no more, no less) from 2% of individuals who are eligible to vote in the election for the office the candidate wishes to run.
- A single vote will be taken from all eligible candidates using Rank Choice IRV.
- The state will provide all candidates a web site for each election and for each office where the qualified candidates can post videos (not commercials) that outline their positions on issues (not campaign commercials, but only candidates talking about the issues they feel are important to the voters) and where voters can pose questions to the candidates and they can answer those questions (to be monitored by a non-partisan third party organization).
If you want to know what a fair election looks like, may I suggest further reading on about Rank Choice IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) at FairVote. It will eliminate the need for a Primary and save California tens of millions of dollars on top of giving us better choices of candidates and ending the duopoly that sucks at the corporate teat and doesn’t represent the people anymore.