If supporters of several proposed initiatives now in the process of gathering signatures get their way, California voters may soon see an unprecedented opportunity to cast extremely selfish ballots.
The most purely selfish of these were put forward by Lee Olson, a previously unpublicized figure in the Orange County city of Huntington Beach.
Three proposals from Olson are now authorized to circulate, although it’s unclear whether they will get much financial support. If all should reach the November ballot, they will provide a litmus test of whether Californians really mean it when they proclaim to pollsters that they support more education funding, good roads and better academic quality in public schools.
One planned Olson initiative exempts Californians with no children enrolled in public schools from paying any taxes, fees and other charges for public education. If it makes the ballot, this would give millions of the state’s senior citizens and parents of private or parochial school students a chance to vote themselves thousands of dollars in personal savings – at the expense of the millions of students enrolled in public schools, colleges and universities.
This could cost the state many billions of dollars, and no one has any idea how that funding might be replaced. It would likely be the most selfish proposition ever placed on a California ballot.
Not far behind is another Olson proposal to exempt anyone over 55 years old from paying state or local income and property taxes and property fees. It doesn’t quite go so far as to let seniors off the hook for homeowner association fees in condominiums and other developments that require them. But this one would decimate spending for schools (again) and fire and police departments, plus road and sewage repairs, courts, parks and virtually everything else government does. It would cost governments $60 billion a year – unless they raise sales and vehicle taxes through the roof.
Olson has another notion, too, this one to prohibit school boards from enforcing any kind of educational standards, while giving parents the “right to determine the venue…” where their children are schooled. It’s not clear whether that would force the University of California to take every student who wants to attend, regardless of qualifications, but that would likely be a subject of lawsuits.
These are probably the most radically destructive ideas ever proposed for the California ballot, and they could provide myriad opportunities for casting ultra-selfish ballots – votes that might backfire on those who cast them they next time they need police or fire department help, or want to flush their toilets.
Of course, more standard measures now circulating also could offer plenty of chances to cast selfish votes, while standing a far better chance of actually qualifying for the ballot.
One is the proposal to repeal the state’s new 12-cents per gallon gasoline tax, reviled by Republicans and some Democrats. Every poll shows Californians want the road repairs for which the billions of dollars this tax is raising are earmarked. But those same polls show a majority of voters dislikes the new levy. That’s pure selfishness, voters essentially saying they want smooth pavement, but don’t want to pay for it. Like much that’s self-serving, this set of sentiments has plenty of potential to backfire on supporters when they have to buy new tires, springs, shock absorbers and struts after driving through enough potholes.
Another more standard proposal already enjoying significant support would allow property owners under 55 years old to transfer their Proposition 13 property tax benefits when they sell one home and buy another, just as folks over 55 now can do. That one would also cost governments billions, with no one having the slightest idea how to replace the funds.
And there’s a proposal setting salaries for schoolteachers with at least five years service at the same level paid to state legislators. This would allow for ultra-selfish votes from myriad schoolteachers and their families, without concern for public school budgets.
None of these possibilities has yet reached the ballot, but if any or all make it, they will provide voters with opportunities to be as selfish as they like, no matter what they tell pollsters in advance.
3:09 a.m. Vagrancy, 200 block of South 12th Avenue.
8:27 a.m. Vehicle burglary, 800 block of East Bush Street.
8:37 a.m. Battery, 1200 block of North Douty Street.
9:11 a.m. Stolen vehicle, 10800 block of South 12th Avenue.
9:14 a.m. Fraud, 100 block of East Grangeville Boulevard.
2:24 p.m. Petty theft, 10800 block of West Hanford Armona Road.
5 p.m. Stolen vehicle, 500 block of North 11th Avenue.
10:29 p.m. Shots heard, 900 block of West Sixth Street.
Michael Richard Bruget, 25. Suspicion of spousal abuse and false imprisonment related offenses.
Monica Lynn Madruga, 44. Suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance and transporting/selling a controlled substance related offenses.
Eleanor Dominguez Castanon, 50. Suspicion of five criminal sexual assault related offenses.
Kings County Board of Supervisors meetings are each Tuesday at 9 a.m., for regular session in the Board of Supervisors Chambers at the Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, 852-2362. Visit www.countyofkings.com.
Striking a deal in Washington often requires horse trading. We understand that. But when one of the bargaining chips is the lives of some 800,000 immigrants brought here as children — 120,000 in Texas — the negotiating takes on a sickening smell.
This week members of Congress and President Donald Trump are trading demands for what it will take to continue the DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program.
The program, started by President Obama, has provided work permits and a reprieve from deportation for some immigrants who were brought here by their parents and have never really known their birth countries.
The DACA recipients, called Dreamers, have graduated from high schools and attended colleges here. They hold respectable jobs. They serve in our military.
You can argue that their parents should be held accountable for illegally entering the United States. But it seems wrong to blame and punish young people, many who were barely out of diapers when adults decided they should grow up in the United States.
President Trump has given Congress a March 15 deadline to come up with a legal fix for the Dreamers or they’ll face deportation.
Most congressional Democrats and a fair number of Republicans want to find a solution that will allow the Dreamers to stay. The President told a bipartisan congressional delegation Tuesday if Congress can pass a plan that does that he’ll sign it. The hitch seems to be the President’s demand that border security and funding for a wall with Mexico be part of a deal.
Most everyone agrees we need a secure border. But defining what constitutes security and then paying for it has alluded Congress and previous administrations unable to adopt meaningful immigration reform. Texas has spent millions in state tax dollars on border surveillance arguing the federal government can’t seem to get the job done.
Linking these young people to a plan for border security is ridiculous. How is the border any more secure if they are deported?
Kings County Board of Supervisors - Cancelled: Tuesday, the Kings County Board of Supervisors will hold a regular meeting in the Board of Supervisors Chambers. Kings County Government Center, 1400 W. Lacey Blvd., Hanford, 852-2362. Visit www.countyofkings.com.
Lemoore City Council - Special meeting: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m., Lemoore City Council Chambers, 429 C St., Lemoore. The council is hosting a special meeting for consideration and public input for moving to voting districts for elections. This meeting will cover discussion of the composition of districts. The meetings will also be live-streamed on the City of Lemoore's Facebook page. Questions or comments, contact the City Manager’s office at 924-6700.
Hanford City Council: Tuesday, 5:30 p.m. closed session, 7 p.m. regular session, the Hanford City Council, holds a meeting, in the Council Chambers, 400 N. Douty St., Hanford. Visit www.cityofhanfordca.com.
Westlands Water District Board: Tuesday, 1 p.m., the Board of Directors of Westlands Water District will hold a regular meeting at the District's Fresno Office, 3130 N. Fresno St., Fresno. Visit: www.westlandswater.org.
KCAO Board of Directors: Wednesday, 4:30 p.m., the Kings Community Action Organization will hold its monthly Board of Directors meeting at KCAO offices. Kings Community Action Organization, 1130 N. 11th Ave., Hanford, 415-7202, visit www.kcao.org.
KCAO Strategic Planning Committee: Wednesday, 3:45 p.m., the Kings Community Action Organization will hold a monthly Strategic Planning Committee meeting at KCAO offices, 1130 N. 11th Ave., Hanford, 415-7202. Visit www.kcao.org.
Kings County Commission on Aging Council Committees: Thursday, 3 p.m., with Finance, Personnel, Legislative, Membership, Executive committees and Council Board meetings to follow at 10953 14th Ave., Armona, call for times 852-2828.
Home Garden Community Service District: Thursday, 5:30 p.m., the Home Garden Community Service District Board of Directors will hold its monthly meeting in the Social Hall of the New Life Baptist Church, 11590 3rd Pl., Hanford. Information: District Office, 11677 2nd Pl., Hanford, 582-4503, email firstname.lastname@example.org.