Below are the Desert Dispatch's formal positions on the initiatives on Tuesday's ballot:
Proposition 19 would legalize small amounts of marijuana growth and personal use and allow communities to decide whether to tax and allow it to be sold. There are some flaws in the proposition, but the unintended consequences cannot possibly be worse than the unintended and violent results of our failed drug war. Learn a lesson from our failed efforts to ban alcohol. The drug war has not made us safer — it has done just the opposite.
Vote Yes on Prop. 19.
Proposition 20 would remove California congressional members' ability to draw their own legislative districts and give it to the independent California Citizens Redistricting Commission.
Voters' passed Prop. 11 in 2008 to end elected officials gerrymandering that gave incumbents advantage, made races less competitive and allowed politicians essentially to pick who may vote for them.
Prop. 11 established the Redistricting Commission to assume that authority, which should result in more competitive and contiguous districts. But Prop. 11 applied only to state officials, not congressional representatives. Prop. 20 would correct that.
Vote Yes on Prop. 20.
Proposition 21 supposedly would provide "stable and adequate" funding for state parks by adding an $18 extra annual charge to vehicle registration costs. We especially oppose more taxes and fees when government has over-spent and created a huge budget deficit.
By misrepresenting this tax as a so-called fee, Prop. 21 backers attempt to circumvent California's constitutional requirement for two-thirds majority approval of taxes.
Park funding already is provided through legislative deliberation. While Prop. 21 promises to put the $500 million it raises annually into a trust fund limited to parks, money is fungible and it's likely legislators will divert existing parks funding to the general fund. California taxpayers already are among the nation's highest-taxed.
Vote No on Prop. 21
"Redevelopment" is an abused local government power that uses taxes to seize private property by designating it "blighted." The property, often not blighted, usually is given to private companies to develop. Original owners are not always compensated at full-market value. The process violates owners' property rights.
Last year, to back-fill its deficit, state government "raided" local government funding for $5 billion in redevelopment and other funds. Proposition 22 on the Nov. 2 ballot would prevent a recurrence.
We oppose Prop 22 because rapacious redevelopment agencies should lose funding. Indeed, those agencies should be abolished, rather than further legally enshrined.
Vote No on Prop. 22.
By approving Prop. 23, voters can stall implementation of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 and save more than 1 million jobs by delaying its regulations until state unemployment falls to 5.5 percent for four consecutive quarters. Unemployment has been above 12 percent for more than a year.
We prefer permanent repeal of the 2006 law. For now, we urge a Yes vote on Prop. 23 to at least delay its disastrous economic effects and infringements on private-sector freedoms.
Otherwise, the state Air Resources Board's unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats will impose Draconian regulations on California businesses, ostensibly to curb manmade greenhouse gas emissions, which we believe pose little if any threat.
Vote Yes on Prop. 23.
Prop. 24 would attempt to fix the state's budget woes by increasing employers' taxes. The result, however, would be to slow hiring, chase more businesses out of the state for more favorable environments and even higher unemployment.
The proposition would repeal 2008 legislation that allows businesses to lower tax liability by sharing tax credits with affiliated businesses and through flexibility in reporting operating losses against past profits. But Prop. 24 would repeal these needed reforms.
Prop. 24 proponents call the reforms "loopholes." But California has the nation's ninth-highest corporate income tax rate and the highest in the West, making neighboring states attractive lures for California companies.
Vote No on Prop. 24.
Prop. 25 could result in higher taxes and fees by making it easier to approve the state budget by lowering the requirement for passage from a two-thirds legislative majority to a simple majority. This makes sense only if budget passage is all that matters. It's not.
The effect of simple-majority approval would be to grant almost complete control over the budget to tax-and-spend Democrats' large majorities in the state Senate and Assembly.
Some believe legislators could then enact taxes in a budget bill with a mere majority vote, circumventing the constitutional two-thirds majority requirement to approve new taxes or tax increases.
The measure also would eliminate voters' right to put referendum measures on the ballot to reject new fees or fee increases imposed by the budget, and make it easier for legislators to increase their travel and expense accounts by simple majority vote.
Vote No on Prop. 25.
As governments at all levels strain to meet bloated payrolls and provide services that taxes they already collect are supposed to pay for, frustrated officials frequently turn to so-called "fees" as an alternative.
Fees generally cover costs of services received by payers, contingent on receiving a benefit. Taxes are paid for any service generally benefitting the public, and can be any amount regardless of whether payers receive a benefit.
California voters clearly have rejected tax increases. Prop. 26 would close loopholes to prevent increasing so-called "fees" to circumvent the two-thirds' majority for tax increases.
Vote Yes vote on Prop. 26.
California voters passed Prop. 11 in 2008 to correct the Legislature's gerrymandering of districts for state Senate, Assembly and U.S. House of Representatives and members of the Board of Equalization.
Gerrymandering made it almost impossible to defeat incumbents whose districts were drawn along party voting patterns, giving them a huge advantage, and encouraging more extreme candidate stances.
Prop. 11 took redistricting from the Legislature and gave it to a more impartial 14-member California Citizens Redistricting Commission, whose goal is to create more logical, consistent boundaries to promote more competitive races.
Prop. 27 would overturn the new system.
Vote No on Prop. 27.