San Diego ACLU 2012 Ballot Measure Positions

The ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties has taken the following position on statewide ballot measures for the November 2012 election.

Propositions 30 and 38 – Support

Proposition 30 generates funding for education and provides a stable funding source for counties to pay for the new responsibilities they have acquired through criminal justice realignment by amending the California Constitution to permanently dedicate revenues to local governments to pay for realignment.

Proposition 38 raises $10 billion per year to provide funding for education and early childhood programs and provides for higher levels of funding for low-income students.

California needs these revenues in order to implement the critical policies for which ACLU advocates, and to prevent the inevitable inequalities that will result from further cuts to education. Only one of these measures will ultimately become law. However, if neither passes, the consequences for public education will be dire. California will face further devastating cuts to education, including shortening the K-12 academic year and further slashes to the California State University and University of California Systems. The lowest income schools will be disproportionately impacted by cuts, and the equal educational opportunities that the ACLU has fought for and won will no longer be able to be implemented, violating the fundamental right to education and equal protection under the law.

Proposition 31 – Oppose

Proposition 31 establishes a two-year budget cycle and a pay-as-you-go approach to state spending on social services. It allows the Governor to cut the budget unilaterally under certain circumstances. It also allows counties to opt out of certain state regulations and laws. If passed, the measure could seriously undermine critical safety net programs relied upon by low-income families, immigrants, seniors, and people with disabilities; it would shift an undue amount of power from the legislative to the executive branch; and may erode compliance with and enforcement of state laws.

Proposition 32 – Oppose

Proposition 32 (Special Exemptions Act) is a deceptive attempt to discriminate against labor union political speech, allowing special exemptions for corporate special interests to continue to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Because unions raise their funds overwhelmingly through paycheck deductions, the effect of this initiative would be to make it overly burdensome for unions to raise funds, forcing them to create a new way to collect that money from members.

Proposition 34 – SUPPORT!

Proposition 34 (SAFE California Act) replaces the death penalty with justice that works: life in prison without the possibility of parole. This initiative would save $130 million per year, which could be better spent on public safety, education, and social services. 140 people have been freed from death rows across the country after being wrongfully convicted—3 of those in California. And we know that hundreds of innocent people have been wrongfully convicted of serious crimes in California alone. Replacing the death penalty is the only way to ensure that California never executes an innocent person. We know that 46% of murders and 56% of rapes go unsolved in California each year, with even higher numbers in Latino and African American communities. This initiative also establishes the SAFE California Fund, which directs $100 million of the savings from replacing the death penalty to local law enforcement for the purpose of solving more rapes and murders.

Proposition 35 – Oppose

Human trafficking is a serious problem that should be addressed through well-reasoned and balanced policies. Unfortunately, this measure goes too far by creating new, long mandatory sentences for a range of existing crimes and by adding new and extensive registration requirements with which it will likely be impossible to comply. This measure would be expensive to implement with no clear public safety pay-off.

Proposition 36 – Support

Proposition 36 (Three Strikes Reform Act) would help to restore the original intent and core purpose of the Three Strikes law: to keep dangerous and violent criminals behind bars. It would eliminate unintended and ineffective life sentences currently imposed for nonviolent, non-serious crimes, and save $100 million per year to fund schools, prevent crime, and reduce the need for tax increases. The initiative achieves these things by getting rid of 25 years-to-life sentences for third strike offenders who have never been convicted of a crime like rape, murder, or child molestation, and whose third strike is a minor offense like petty theft or drug possession. This initiative will help to reduce inappropriate and excessive punishments and over-incarceration in California.

The ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties fights for individual rights and fundamental freedoms for all through education, litigation, and policy advocacy.

As a nonpartisan organization committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the Bill of Rights, the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties believes in:

•   The dignity and equality of every human being
•   Vigilance against abuse of power
•   The principled approach rather than the convenient one when individuals’ rights are at stake
•   Speaking truth to power even when it is unpopular to do so
•   Fairness and respect in human and organizational interactions
•   An educated and participatory public