Props 9 & 10

Prop 9 Criminal Justice System; Victims’ Rights; Parole

Prop. 9 does not define what victims’ rights it professes to protect, except perhaps their right to see convicts locked up forever. In fact Prop. 9 has nothing whatsoever to do with victims’ rights. It deals only with convicts’ rights—by decimating them. The main purpose of this at-best-misguided scheme is to deny convicts the right to petition for parole every five years—parole hearings would come only after 15 years. This is allegedly being done to save victims the cost of attending a slew of parole hearings.

This draconian measure is being driven by a cadre of supporters—including the powerful prison guards union—that has been working for years to make California law the most punitive on earth. Because of their past successes, our prisons are already overcrowded to crisis proportions, mostly with nonviolent offenders. California runs the third-largest prison system in the world. The United States, home to 5 percent of the world’s population, is home to 25 percent of the world’s prison population. Besides being immoral, this is impractical. We have plenty of evidence to prove that incarceration, a crude anti-crime tool, does not work.

The international organization Human Rights Watch has been deeply critical of U.S. prison policies, stating that “the extraordinary rate of incarceration in the United States wreaks havoc on individuals, families and communities, and saps the strength of the nation as a whole.”

In addition to being an assault on fairness and due process, this measure would cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prop. 10 Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy Bonds

California needs a dynamic, comprehensive and fully funded clean-green renewable energy and fuels program aimed at eliminating carbon emissions.

This ain’t it.

This proposition springs from the mind of T. Boone Pickens, the lifelong oil mogul and corporate raider. Having recently had an epiphany regarding the danger of carbon emissions and the efficacy of alternative fuels, he has essentially come up with a plan to sell us some.

Pickens wants California taxpayers to pony up so firms and individuals can buy or lease carbon-emitting natural gas-burning vehicles (hybrids need not apply), thus enormously expanding the market for guess-who’s natural gas company. In a nod, he also includes cash payments in his plan for hydrogen and electric cars.

Pickens sank close to $4 million into Prop. 10 through his own Clean Energy Fuels Corporation. He has at least two additional backers, most notable for their utter obscurity.

A corporate raider’s slick trick to pick California’s green clean? That’s what every state newspaper editorial board weighing in thus far believes. The plan has also been nixed by a remarkably wide range of strange bedfellows: the Sierra Club and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association; the Consumer Federation of California and the California Chamber of Commerce; the California Tax Reform Association and the California Nurses Association.


  1. Emily,
    Thank you very much for sharing your story with us. I am so deeply sorry for your loss, and for the way the judicial system has treated you and your mother. I worked in Victim Offender Mediation for 5 years, and I heard stories like yours hundreds of times. Many nights I found it difficult to sleep; knowing the only thing I could bring victims was a friendly ear, financial restitution, and an opportunity to tell their perpetrator how they felt. I was always fully aware that each victim I worked with was serving a prison sentence of himself or herself. A prison sentence that never has a release date for them, nor any end of pain in sight because when someone is violated, or someone’s family, or friends, or neighbors are violated, or harmed, they become victims of that perpetrator too.

    Emily let me say one thing to you, please don’t allow this man to steal the rest of your life. He has taken enough a way from you and your family. I too have been a survivor of crime, and I refuse to give my life over to my perpetrator by remaining his victim. I have spent my life working hard for victim’s rights by working in law and social justice programs. It has helped me see just how powerful I am as a survivor of crime not a victim of it. I wish you the same strength and peace in your life. You sound like an incredible lady, a lady your father would be very proud of!

    I have voted YES on 9, and so has everyone I know. We must start demanding that victim’s rights take precedence over those of criminals. A YES vote on 9 is one small step toward that goal.

  2. I have recently read your article on Prop 9 –Law – Victims Rights and Protection Act of 2008 and was very upset by it. Have you or have you known anyone that has been a victim of violent crime? Until you can say yes to that question, you have no right writing articles about something that you
    have no clue about.
    My father was murdered in 1984 when I was only two years old. My father was hit over the head in his house and then taken to an agricultural farm in San Jacento and shot twice execution style and then buried. The man that did this was my father’s roommate and was on parole for possession of drugs. He stole my father’s belongings from the house and then took off to Oregon to avoid being caught where he bragged to people that he offed some guy in California.He was on the run for 5 years,when the police finally did track him down he was already in prison again for yet another charge under an allis. When he was extradited he made a deal with the District Attorney office and pled to Murder in the second degree,which gave him 15 years to life.
    In 1996 I received a letter letting me know that my fathers murder was up for parole at State Prison. I decided that I needed to go, this was the only thing that I could do for my father, and I was only 14 years old. When my mother and I arrived at the prison we were asked what we were doing there,
    apparently most victims families do not come to parole hearings. We were escorted into the prison and were put into a small room with two chairs and a small desk. After waiting almost an hour some one came and escorted us into the hearing room. Where we met the parole commissioners and were told that I was the only one allowed to speak because my mom was not married to my father, even though she had been dating him for over 10 years. I was sat at a table and told not to speak until spoken to, directly across from me was the man that murdered my father. The parole board gave him 4 more years until the next hearing. After the hearing I was told by the commissioners that if I wouldn’t have shown up that he probably would of only gotten 2-3 more years because he is a role model prisoner.
    Fast forward to the year 2000, now at 18 years old I have decided to take a
    more active role in getting the Riverside District Attorneys office involved
    with the hearings. Their office told me that there was not enough money to send someone with us to the hearing but they would send a letter. Parole was once again denied but for only 3 years.
    Trying to navigate through our justice system by yourself is a daunting task.
    In 2003, we had yet another hearing; this time the man that killed my father
    had enough money to hire an attorney. I barley make enough to go to college! He hired attorney that gives the sleaziness
    name to lawyers. His lawyer managed to get the hearing postponed in hopes that we would get frustrated and not come to the next hearing. In total my fathers murder has had 4 postponements of parole hearings because of different things each time including his lawyer forgetting to show up to the hearing,
    huh? And has 4 full parole hearings with the last one being this year, in which
    he only had a 2 year denial.  Apparently he is still a role model prisoner,
    has gotten college degrees,is working and has over $10,000 saved and is a self
    taught painter and iron artist. Come to find out that he donates his paintings to charity and one is in a burn ward of a children’s hospital. This man has offered me money to help with my college because he feels bad for taking my father away from me. He has paid $1,200.00 of the $20,000.00 he claimed that he wanted to give me in front of the parole board 4 years ago; he even wrote me a letter about it. I have letters to my dead father and myself letting me know that he is sorry for what he has done and he
    even offered to paint a picture of my father and I, just for me. That’s what I
    want hanging on my wall! If there is not a textbook written about what to do to
    get out of prison, he should write one! 
    I am told that I need to prepare myself because most likely by the time I
    am 30 years old he will be paroled. Thast in 4 years. He will be paroled to Riverside, where I live! So when he does get paroled I have to live in fear of running into
    the man the murdered my father in cold blood at the grocery store or at the gas
    station. Or who’s not to say that he is not going to come and kill me for showing up to every hearing? What is going to stop him, a restraining order. He has killed once and cant tell me why he did it, what makes you think he is not going to do it again?
    My family and I have been put through hell by our justice system; victims truly have limited rights. Prisoners have more rights than the victim. So how can you write an article trying to convince people to take away what little rights victim’s have. How about having to sit face to face with the man that brutally murdered your father once every year and sometimes twice a year. How would you like that? Why dont you let your readers know both sides of the story. Go talk to a victim or a victims family and look into their eyes and see the pain that we go through everyday.
    Do me a favor take a step back and put yourself in the victim’s shoes. 
    Put yourself in my shoes being 2 years old and have your father brutally murdered and taken from you and then having to go to prison at the age of 14 to fight for a father you have never known and face his murderer. Think about that next time. Maybe he should be paroled to San Jose and be your next door neighbor interacting with your family! Apparently your okay with murder’s getting out of prision.
    No one wants to be a victim, we are part of a club that no one wants to join and no one should have to be apart of, we dont ask to be victims but we will forever be members of that club! Every victim’s voice will be
    heard with or with out the support of the you.

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