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.