2010 CANDIDATE SURVEY
A questionnaire seeking to gather local candidates’ positions on civil liberties-related questions was sent last month to all congressional, legislative, city, and school board candidates who will appear on the June ballot in San Diego and Imperial counties.
In the attached tables that capture the responses we received, the ACLU position is shown in the top row. Candidate responses that are in agreement with the ACLU position are indicated in green; those opposed to our views are indicated in red; and “No Response” is indicated in blue.
If you have a question regarding any of the responses, we encourage you to contact the candidates directly. Take the time to examine their stances on the issues that are important to you and the ACLU. If they haven’t responded to our survey or don’t indicate how they stand on our issues in their campaign literature, call and ask them about their positions! Let them know what issues are important to you–and that you vote!
The First Amendment protects speech even when it’s offensive, hateful, controversial or unpopular. When speech crosses the line into criminal conduct like assault or true threat of harm then it is not protected. If elected to office will you support the right of free speech by refraining from censoring, punishing, or silencing speech that you do not like?
The California Education Code requires every school district to give all students the opportunity to fulfill admissions requirements for the University of California and California State University by completing the ‘A-G’ course sequence (courses that teach core English, Math, Science, Social Science, Art, and Foreign Language skills) before graduating from high school. But school districts offer ‘A-G’ courses at varying rates to different schools. Schools in low-income neighborhoods often have far fewer ‘A-G’ courses available to them and as a result far fewer students are eligible for the university or prepared to enter technical or professional degree programs at community colleges. A growing number of school districts in California are adopting the ‘A-G’ course sequence as a standard requirement for all students as a matter of equity and workforce preparedness. Do you support making the ‘A-G’ course sequence the standard for all the school districts in the county?
3. POLICE CHECKPOINTS
One of the values that Americans hold most dear is the freedom of movement within the country. Nevertheless, local police checkpoints are proliferating in San Diego County. Because police do not need to establish a suspicion of wrongdoing to stop vehicles at checkpoints, the use of checkpoints raises concerns about their use as fishing expeditions to find a reason to detain individuals, search their personal belongings, and impound their cars. The newest rationale for checkpoints is to check for licenses, insurance, and registration. Do you support or oppose local law enforcement’s setting up checkpoints without having to establish any reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing?
4. MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Medical marijuana is the only hope that some seriously ill patients have for relieving chronic pain, intractable nausea and the other side effects of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and HIV/AIDS medications. In San Diego County, where medical marijuana is legal under state law, authorities are still hostile to medical marijuana patients and the dispensaries that make medical marijuana available to patients who need it. Do you support or oppose having medical marijuana dispensaries operate in the county subject to government regulations?
5. LOCAL POLICE ENFORCEMENT OF IMMIGRATION LAWS
Some voters believe that local police should not be involved in enforcing civil immigration laws because it takes them away from enforcing criminal laws, it undermines community trust, and it deters victims and witnesses of crimes from contacting the police. Others believe that local police should be involved in enforcing civil immigration laws and should spend some of their time looking for undocumented immigrants. Do you support or oppose local police getting involved in immigration enforcement?
6. DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL
President Obama, Congress, and the Armed Forces are currently considering whether to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which is a law mandating the discharge of openly gay, lesbian, or bisexual service members. DADT, which has removed over 13,000 dedicated men and women from military service, has done so at a time when our country and military need the help and support of all willing Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation. Do you support or oppose the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”?
7. DEATH PENALTY COST ACCOUNTABILITY
According to the bipartisan California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, the death penalty system costs at least 10 times more than a system of permanent imprisonment, from which no one has ever been released. Every time the District Attorney decides to pursue the death penalty, she costs the San Diego taxpayers an estimated $1 million more than had she pursued permanent imprisonment. The costs of death penalty trials may be even higher (some cases in other counties have cost as much as $14 million more) but we don’t know what the actual costs are because the DA does not disclose them. Some people are concerned that our money is being spent to seek vengeance as an emotional or political response to high profile cases at the expense of murder victim family needs and community needs. Would you support a requirement that the DA disclose the costs of death penalty trials?