ACLU Guide to Key Civil Liberties Issues in Election 2008

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties recommends the following positions on five key California initiatives in Election 2008 that will affect our civil liberties.

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ACLU Civil Liberties Proposition Voting Guide
Table of Contents

I. NO on Proposition 4
II. YES on Proposition 5
III. NO on Proposition 6
IV. NO on Proposition 8
V. NO on Proposition 9
VI. Candidate Civil Liberties Issue Survey

NO on Prop 4

Proposition 4 would amend California’s Constitution to require a 48-hour waiting period before a minor under age 18 can obtain an abortion, and mandates parental notification.
This is the third attempt in four years to put the health and safety of teens at risk by limiting access to safe, quality medical care, particularly for vulnerable teens. Other initiatives failed in 2005 and 2006, but Prop. 4 goes further. If a teen decides to notify a family member other than a parent, she must state in writing that it’s because her home environment is abusive. Medical professionals are then forced to report the parents to Child Protective Services, triggering a law-enforcement investigation of the home. We want our daughters to come to us if they become pregnant, but we shouldn’t threaten them with dire scenarios if they choose otherwise. No law can mandate family communication. Teen safety is what’s most important. Visit
ALSO OPPOSED BY: The ACLU Affiliates of California * Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California * CA Medical Association * CA Nurses Association * CA Teachers Association * CA School Counselors Association
Supported by: James Holman, San Diego newspaper publisher and major donor for past parental notification initiatives (Prop. 73 and Prop. 85) * Right to Life California

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YES on Prop 5

Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, would transform California’s dysfunctional $10-billion-a-year prison system by providing a comprehensive model for ap¬proaching substance abuse as a public health issue. It would reduce the number of nonviolent people unnecessarily incarcerated. The independent Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates Prop. 5 would generate net taxpayer savings of $2.5 billion in only a few years — savings that could be used for health care, education and addressing the budget deficit. Prop. 5 would build upon Prop. 36, passed by 61 percent of voters in 2000, which diverted nonviolent first- and second-time offenders into substance-abuse treatment programs, a move that has saved California $1.5 billion and has not led to an increase in crime. Create meaningful change and promote alternatives to the costly and unwinnable war on drugs. Visit
ALSO SUPPORTED BY: League of Women Voters of California * State Conference, NAACP * Latino Voters League * Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice
Opposed by: California District Attorneys Association * California Narcotics Officers Association * Los Angeles County Prosecutors Association

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NO on Prop 6

Proposition 6 is a political stunt that would drastically increase the burden on the state budget while escalating the failed policies that have given California overcrowded prisons and an enormous state deficit. It would redirect vital state resources away from schools, hospitals and emergency services into programs already proven to be ineffective. In addition to diverting about $1 billion in state revenues annually, on top of requiring $1 billion in start-up costs, Prop. 6 would sentence youth as young as 14 years old as adults; erode civil liberties and target communities of color, immigrants and low-income families; and increase penalties for alleged gang membership, causing even more unequal, punitive sentenc¬ing based on the race of the individual rather than actual gang involvement. Prop. 6 is heavily supported by prison-industry groups. Visit
ALSO OPPOSED BY: California Federation of Teachers * California Professional Firefighters * California Teachers Association * California NAACP * California National Organization for Women (NOW) * Californians United for a Responsible Budget * Children’s Defense Fund California * Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles * Ella Baker Center for Human Rights *Families to Amend California Three Strikes * Human Rights Watch * Islamic Shura Council of Southern California * National Council on Crime and Delinquency * National Korean American Service and Education Consortium * Office of Restorative Justice, Archdiocese of Los Angeles * South Asian Network * Youth Justice Coalition * Minorities in Law Enforcement * Former LAPD chief and current City Council Member Bernard Parks * The ACLU Affiliates of California * Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California * CA Medical Association * CA Nurses Association *CA Teachers Association * CA School Counselors Association
Supported by: Henry Nicholas II (sponsor of California’s Three Strikes Law) * State Sen. George Runner * California Correctional Supervisors Organization * California Probation, Parole and Correctional Association

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NO on Prop 8

Proposition 8 eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry, amending California’s Constitution to single out one group of people for different treatment. All committed and loving couples who want to accept the responsibility that comes with marriage deserve the same fundamental rights to marry as everyone else in California. Our laws must guarantee the same fundamental rights to everyone. Government has no business telling people who have been together for years that they can or cannot get married. Same sex couples are part of our community; eliminating their fundamental rights undermines a foundation of American society — equal protection under the law. Only marriage provides the certainty and the security couples can count on. We should not eliminate a fundamental right for any Californian. Visit
ALSO OPPOSED by: ACLU Affiliates of California * Equality California * Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center * AFL-CIO * MALDEF * Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern Calfornia * Interfaith Clergy Coalition * National Counil of Jewish Women * Progressive Jewish Alliance * League of Women Voters
Supported by: Focus on the Family * Traditional Values Coalition

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NO on Prop 9

Proposition 9 erodes due process protections and limits inmate rights to legal representation and parole while hiding behind the guise of expanding victims’ rights. In reality, Prop. 9 provides nothing to help victims heal, and it provides no standards or accountability. Strong protections already exist for victims through California’s Victims Bill of Rights, passed in 1982. Rather than spending millions of taxpayer dollars on increased punishment and prison construction, strategies that have proven ineffective in the past, isn’t it about time California made investments to reduce violence and support victims through prevention, intervention and rehabilitation instead?
ALSO OPPOSED BY: ACLU Affiliates of California * American Friends Service Committee * Ella Baker Center for Human Rights *
Supported by: Henry Nicholas II (sponsor of California’s Three Strikes Law)

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ACLU Candidate Civil Liberties Issue Survey

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties is a non-partisan organization dedicated to bringing the informed and active participation of our members to the political process. After all, electing officials who understand the importance of our civil liberties and promise to uphold them is perhaps more crucial now than ever before. With that in mind, we reached out to candidates for public office in San Diego and Imperial counties and asked them to fill out a survey on issues of critical importance to our organization and membership. The results of the survey will be made available in our Fall newsletter (due to hit your mailbox by October 20) and on our website. Please check back to see how candidates in your district scored on our Civil Liberties meter.

Still confused?
Click here to learn more about our Pre-Election Civil Liberties Issues at Stake in Election 2008 Forum Thursday, October 30, 7 pm. Guest speakers include John Dean, former White House counsel; Robert Scheer, nationally syndicated progressive columnist; and Ruben Navarette, nationally syndicated conservative columnist.

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ACLU Non-Partisan Voter Guide

2008 non-partisan guide.pdf

Clip-Out Guide: Bring to Polls with You

clip-out VR guide.pdf