Mary’s Voter Guide

Posted: November 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

We expect there’s a certain number of you of who wait until Election Day, as I do, to cast your ballot. There’s something about standing in a small cubicle with a curtain behind you; maybe it just reminds lapsed Catholics of a confessional.  Anyway, I’m sure most of you know how you’re going to vote–at least on the majority of items.  Just in case you need any help, I’m posting Mary’s Voter Guide.

Mary is Mary Bergan, California Federation of Teachers president from 1991-2007.  I was fortunate enough to serve as one of her vice-presidents for several years.  She has a remarkable labor background, has always put the worker first, and continues to fight the good fight.  During each major election, after a great deal of research, Mary puts together a voter guide.  It is informal, practical, and always very helpful to many.

This year, Proposition 35 was particularly annoying.  I was already strongly leaning No, but Mary’s analysis clinched it for me.  Do the research.  Also, be sure to vote No on Prop 38–the Munger initiative.  CFT posts a “No recommendation” on 38.  Although I understand the reasoning, I think it’s a bad call.

I hope you take Mary’s Voter Guide with you to the polls on Tuesday.  I know I will.  Thanks, Mary.

MARY’S VOTER GUIDE – November 2012

President / VP – BARACK OBAMA, Joe Biden
Take time to contact every friend, relative and anyone else who might listen to you in the “battleground” states and make them swear they will vote for Obama. Sure I’m a bit disappointed, but we are sunk if R&R take over.

State Propositions

Proposition 30 – Tax increases for the wealthy                                    YES
Increases for seven years income taxes for those earning over $250,000, and for four years sales taxes by ? cent to make the 2012-13 state budget work and prevent $6 billion in automatic cuts, most of them to education, including higher education. Provides needed revenue in subsequent years.

Proposition 31 – Government process reform                                         NO
Attempt to reform the way state and local governments do business. This could prevent programs from being approved even if the money is there and gives governor a bit more power to make unilateral cuts in a fiscal emergency. Environmentalists fear that ability of local governments putting forward experimental plans will be able to weaken enforcement of environmental protections.

Proposition 32 – Silence the unions                                                            NO
Destroys unions’ abilities to participate in candidate elections. Claims to also prohibit contributions by corporations, but applies to only a few, and exempts super-PACs from its provisions.

Proposition 33 – Auto insurance rates                                                          NO
Mercury Insurance’s third attempt to poach customers from other companies while raising rates for those who take breaks from car ownership.

Proposition 34 – Death penalty                                                                        YES
Eliminates the death penalty, replaces it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

Proposition 35 – Human trafficking                                                                  NO
Expands definitions of human trafficking for purposes of commercial sex in ways that could criminalize many who shouldn’t be. Increases financial penalties and prison sentences. Opposed by ACLU, Council of Churches, many who work with trafficking victims, and several newspapers. Sacramento Bee has a good editorial (, scroll through endorsements), and there is a series of informational essays at This is an area in which the legislature does good work; Prop 35 mucks up current law and prospective efforts. Keep in mind that it takes another proposition to amend laws enacted through initiative.

Proposition 36 – Three strikes                                                                              YES
Revises three strikes law to ease sentencing requirements when the third strike is a non-serious, non-violent offense. If first two offenses were particularly egregious, current third strike penalties will still be applied.

Proposition 37 – Labeling of genetically modified foods                                   YES
Requires labeling of most foods with genetically modified ingredients.

Proposition 38 – Tax increases for EC, K-12 education                                       NO
Increases income taxes on 60 percent of California taxpayers, with money going to K-12 and early childhood education, also to debt repayment for first three years. Tax is in effect for 12 years, beginning 2013. Passage of Prop 38 will not prevent automatic cuts to schools in this budget year.

Proposition 39 – Closing of tax loophole                                                                YES
Repeals one of three tax breaks put in as price of Republican votes for the 2009 budget. Requires multi-state corporations to pay taxes based on sales in California, not be given the choice of other factors which decrease their liability. For first five years, about half of $1 billion gained in revenue would go to fund energy-efficient projects; after that, all money would go into state general fund.

Proposition 40 – State Senate redistricting                                                            YES
This is a referendum on the State Senate districts laid out by the Citizens Redistricting Commission and in effect for this election. So the question is whether you want to retain these districts. Of course we do! So the vote is YES.

Mary Bergan

  1. arthurshere says:

    Thanks so much for this voter guide. I remember Mary Bergan very fondly. She is a brilliant unionist. I took this guide to the polls and it helped a lot!

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