12 October 2010

2010 Arizona Ballot Proposition Recommendations

Ever wondered how and why we have all those confusing ballot propositions ever couple years? Not only are they usually strangely worded, but what's up with not numbering them consecutively? 101, 304, 425.... Never makes much sense. Well, here's the gist. Propositions are the result of either the state government wanting to change something with Arizona's laws or Constitution, or the public wanting to do so. And to accomplish this, we classify propositions according to four criteria: (read more after the beak jump!)

100's: Propositions numbered in the 100's are for all Constitutional amendments, regardless of who initiates them. For example, the 2006 campaigns featured the high-profile Prop. 107 - the amendment to restrict marriages in Arizona to one man, one woman.

200's: When a citizen or non-governmental group proposes a change to create or amend a state statute, it is numbered in the 200's. The 2008 Proposition 200, for example, which changed the way payday loan companies operate in Arizona and set caps on lender fees, was started by an initiative petition that gathered enough signatures to make it onto the ballot.

300's: Like the 200's, propositions in the 300's column are state statute changes which are initiated by the Arizona State Legislature. Only one such measure was on the 2008 ballot: a proposed recommendation to increase legislative officials' salaries by $6,000 per year.

400's: Any local matters are numbered in the 400's, and might include spending decisions for cities, like this year's Mesa Prop. 420 to spend $84 million to keep the Chicago Cubs in the city.

This year, voters will have the opportunity to decide on 10 statewide propositions and a few local ones. I have read through all the for and against arguments of each, and I present to you here my recommendations on this year's proposals:

Prop. 106: The Healthcare Choice Amendment
Recommendation: VOTE NO
This proposed amendment to the Arizona Constitution prohibits any rule or law from compelling a person to participate in a health care system, prohibits any law from fining someone for not having health insurance, and would not affect healthcare options, services covered or not covered, or worker's compensation. Sounds good, but the only reason for this amendment is as a direct challenge to the Patient Protection and Affordability Act (AKA "Obamacare"). Realistically speaking, all this proposed amendment would do is succumb the state to another lawsuit over tenth amendment rights versus the federal government's assumed right to regulate healthcare via the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. It wouldn't help fix any problems with the current healthcare system. It wouldn't cover more Arizonans who can't afford healthcare, and it wouldn't help the state financially in any way. We need solutions, not blockades of things we don't like. Vote no on this poorly written and poorly conceived proposition.

Prop. 107: Anti-Preferential Treatment
Recommendation: VOTE YES
This proposed amendment to the Arizona State Constitution would add in the requirement that no preferential treatment of any individual on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in any pulic employment, education, or contracting setting. That includes the state, cities, towns, counties, universities, community colleges, etc. The reason for this proposition is to combat the now-increasing problem of "reverse discrimination" whereby minority candidates for positions and programs are chosen over non-minority candidates in order to fill quotas or maintain racial or sex-related "diversity" in that program. But, it also says that if federal money is involved, the state will not be prohibited from something that might conflict with this amendment in order to obtain that money. I'm voting yes on this one because the time has now come for our generation to start acting like race and sex really ARE equal, without quotas and "diversity" movements having to force us together to say that we are.

Prop. 109: Right to Hunt and Fish
Recommendation: VOTE YES
This amendment would vest sole lawmaking and regulatory functions over hunting and fishing in Arizona with the Arizona State Legislature, and enumerates the right to hunt and fish to all citizens of the state. Voting yes on Prop. 109 maintains a tradition in Arizona that plays both a vital role in wildlife management and entertainment/tourism for the state.

Prop. 110: Fixing Land Trust Projects
Recommendation: VOTE YES
In the 1930's Congress amended a law called the Enabling Act to allow Arizona to sell, lease, or place restrictions on state trust lands, which are a vital part of Arizona's economy. Unfortunately, the state never amended the Arizona Constitution to reflect those changes, and a lawsuit which made its way to the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that such an amendment needs to be passed to continue to allow Arizona to operate these trust lands as they have been doing. Not passing 110 would be irresponsible and would really hurt the state. Vote yes!

Prop. 111: Creation of a Lieutenant Governor/Party Ticket Voting
Recommendation: VOTE NO
Currently, the citizens of Arizona are allowed to vote separately for a Governor and a Secretary of State. This proposed constitutional amendment changes the title of the Secretary of State to "Lieutenant Governor" and changes the way Arizona voters choose their two highest elected officials. Rather than voting separately for a Governor and Secretary of State, who could potentially be of two different parties, Prop. 111 makes it so that during the PRIMARY ELECTION ONLY, voters would select a gubernatorial candidate of their party and a Lieutenant Governor candidate of their party, and then for the General Election, would cast a vote for only the Governor, with that vote counting for both the Governor and Lieutenant Governor of the same party. It takes away a voter's right to elect officers of different parties. Imagine if Jan Brewer were leading polls for Governor, but a Democrat were leading for Secretary of State. If Brewer were to win Governor, that Democratic SoS candidate would automatically lose because of this new system. This is a very badly conceived law, and ultimately takes away some of the rights of the voter to have elected officers of differing parties. I STRONGLY urge a NO vote on Prop. 111.

Prop. 112: Filing Deadlines for Initiative Petitions
Recommendation: VOTE YES
This proposed amendment simply moves up the filing deadline for initiative petitions to six months prior to the date of the election from four months prior. It gives the Secretary of State's offices additional time to properly verify signatures on those petitions. As someone who used to collect candidate signatures, and who understands how this would benefit both the SoS's office and the voters, I recommend a yes vote on 112.

Prop. 113: Secret Ballots
Recomendation: VOTE YES
Prop. 113 would guarantee the right to vote a secret ballot in any any all elections or referendums for employee representation. Some union representatives wish to take away this right in order to know which employees are voting against union-approved candidates. Since the right to a secret ballot is a fundamental part of the American political process, enumerating this in the Arizona constitution is just a smart thing to do to ensure that right is never denied to anyone.

Prop. 203: Medical Marijuana
Recommendation: VOTE NO
Prop. 203 creates a whole new Arizona bureaucracy to deal with the dispensation, cultivation, and registration of allowing a currently illegal narcotic to assist patients with certain types of illnesses and to manage pain. In reading the text of this proposed new law, which takes up 10 pages of the Arizona Ballot Proposition Guide, I find that it is so wide-reaching that parts of it could be interpreted to allow the smoking of marijuana any time, any place. Considering that in many places around the country, marijuana is still illegal (including Arizona), and that the medical benefits of the drug have never been fully tested or evaluated by an independent regulatory agency, and that the psychological effects of the drug are debilitating in the short term to any user, this proposition is a complete waste of Arizona money and time. There's a reason it's illegal, people! Vote NO!

Prop. 301: Reverting Land Conservation Fund Money to the Arizona General Fund
Recommendation: VOTE NO
Prop. 301 would revert the balance of money in the Arizona Land Conservation Fund to the Arizona general fund in order to award grants for start trust land projects or conservation management projects. The problem is, the Land Conservation Fund does a great job in keeping Arizona's many, many natural wonders open to the public, secure, and beautiful. Considering how easy it is accounting-wise for the Legislature to reappropriate any money in the General Fund for other purposes (like getting us out of recession), and how much tourism in our natural features is important to the state, it only makes sense to keep the LCF intact.

Prop. 302: Reverting Early Childhood Education Money to the Arizona General Fund
Recommendation: VOTE YES
This final statewide ballot proposition would terminate the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board and revert the balance of funds in the ECDH fund to the Arizona General Fund. It would also revert the tax revenue from the $0.80/pack tobacco tax into the general fund. As I see it, the ECDH fund really hasn't helped fulfil its mission of improving childhood education, school testing scores, or children's health standards. It has been a failed program, and while it was good to attempt it, the time has come for the State of Arizona to get rid of it and try something new. Vote YES on this proposition.

City of Mesa Prop. 420: Keeping the Cubs
Recommendation: VOTE YES!!!!!
The City of Mesa also has one proposition that is very important to me this year. Prop. 420 authorizes the expenditure by the City of Mesa for at least $84 million to purchase land and build a new baseball stadium and surrounding city-controlled developments for the Chicago Cubs franchise. It might seem a little odd, considering considering the Diamondbacks are our team, but for Spring Training, the Cubs have been Arizona's, not to mention Mesa's, top dogs for decades. According to some stats I've read, the Cubs can generate upwards of $100 million in a single Spring Training season for the city, and tourism typically skyrockets around here (meaning revenue to hotels, restaurants, ticket sales, etc) during March and April. I have met people that fly out for two weeks at a time from Chicago, Seattle, San Diego, Texas, or elsewhere just for the Arizona Cactus League events. Top that off with the Cubs agreeing to help find a team to replace them in Hohokam Park (the currently largest Spring Training stadium in Arizona), and this is a no-brainer. The Cubs are part of Arizona's traditions, a huge revenue spike in the spring, and a tourism attraction. Voting no would be irresponsible and ignorant of all the Cubs generate for our city! VOTE YES ON 420!!!!!

I am happy to field questions about these propositions, and my candidate voting recommendations will be forthcoming this week. Feel free to leave comments or to contact me!


  1. Yes on Prop 109? Really?

    The Fish & Game department is run brilliantly. You really want to turn their decision making over to the Legislature?

    I'm voting No on that one.

  2. 109 is one I was on the fence on. There's just as good an argument to be made for it as there is against it. I'm voting for it mainly because it guarantees in the state constitution the right of Arizona citizens to hunt and fish. In practice, the legislature will contract most functions to Fish and Game anyway, so their lawmaking function won't be quite so heinous.

  3. Prop. 203: Medical Marijuana
    Recommendation: VOTE NO

    You know if you ever get hurt, I'll make sure I VOTE NO, To give you anything to Cure your pain,

    Vote Yes! Stop putting sick people in jail over Weed!....

  4. If I ever get hurt, my anonymous friend, I'll be sure to use LEGAL pain medications.

    Prop. 203 is just plain wrong.

  5. what medical science has for pain is narcotics. they happen to be quite addictive.you on the other hand are either naive or willing to mislead the people of our state.no one ever died from smoking weed. and racism and propaganda are the only reasons "we the people"have to deal with this situation. we who still have compassion for our fellow Americans.

  6. on prop: 109 the fish and game dept. has done a more than wonderful job in protecting and increasing our usage of public waters. to even think of allowing politicians to come near controlling the purse strings is utterly out of the question!!!

  7. prop: 302 you bad rap the program. but you don't give us anything but the Az. general fund, sorry. the teachers and other educators that I spoke to do not see it your way. I wonder why? who is right them or you ?

  8. Anon 1: I never said anyone "died from smoking weed." What I said was that marijuana is an illegal narcotic never tested by an independent regulatory agency and that the proposition in particular is so widely open to distribution of this drug that it fails to properly secure it against improper use. 203 is just a bad idea. Why do we need MORE drugs available to people? Shouldn't we be striving for FEWER?

    Anon 2: Sorry you feel that way. If you read my prior comment to another poster, you'll see my explanation.

    Anon 3: Considering the fact that I AM a teacher, and considering that I've done my research into just how well ECDH has performed (or should I say NOT performed) to make a difference for children that justifies its cost to the state, I feel just fine making my recommendation to vote yes on Prop. 302. I'm also not entirely sure what you mean by "but you don't give us anything but the Az. general fund, sorry." I am not giving anything... the General Fund exists. Shocking, I know.

  9. I'm the "anon" from the first comment (and the one about Kazmi).

    I heard someone mention an issue with Prop 110 but I'm a little fuzzy on it. Something about this prop allowing some Papago Park lands to be sold without public notice or fair value?? Something to do with the National Guard base. I wanted to find out for sure before I voted yes. That's the only negative thing I've heard about it so far.

    I may not go along with you on Prop 107 either. I have a friend who is involved with a foundation that offers grants & scholarships to try to increase the number of women going into "STEM" fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). They run programs with state universities & use the assistance / facilities from the universities to host them. The Prop is going to catch a lot of good programs in it's net.

  10. Hey Anon-Kazmi (your now-official designation!),

    As far as 110 goes, the way I understand it is that the state of Arizona has authorization under the 1936 Enabling Act passed by Congress to conduct land exchanges, sales, and leases like we already do. The problem is that the Enabling Act's provisions were never reflected in our state constitution, and the AZ Supreme Court has said they need to be put in there in order to continue to operate the land swaps as normal. Since 1936, Arizona has been able to sell/lease land to protect military installations, like selling part of the Papago land to protect National Guard training without public notice. This proposition just complies with the state Supreme Court decision.

    If we do not pass Prop. 110, Arizona could be in danger of losing the ability to conduct land sales to protect our many military bases and training grounds, unless we go through a very long public notice process. Considering that no arguments against this proposition were ever filed with the Secretary of State's office for this election, and it enjoys bipartisan support all over the state, I am inclined to agree with voting yes on 110.

    As for 107, I disagree that your foundation would be affected. A private foundation would not be hindered from providing scholarships or grants to any specific group. Prop 107 applies only to the State of Arizona and its various governmental bits and pieces (the universities themselves, cities, towns, government offices, etc.) from conducting preferential programs. So, for example, ASU couldn't offer an engineering scholarship only for Hispanics or only for women; it would need to be open to all to apply and be considered. But a scholarship from (for example only) the National Organization of Women (NOW) would still be all right.

  11. Anon-Kaz again.
    Thanks for the info on Papago Park & Prop 110. I'm voting yes.

    I appreciate the extended explanations on the Prop 107. I should have probably clarified something in my Prop 107 comment. My "friend" is my wife's friend, and my early ballot is sitting on the counter next to my wife's early ballot...

    In all seriousness, I thoroughly read 107 and looked at the results in the states where Ward passed similar legislation. It had pretty negative results in higher education. I think that drop in enrollment will be even worse in Arizona where there are almost no real options to the big 3 state universities. If this proposition had the references to education removed, I'd likely vote yes.
    I'm still an old school "Equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome." kind of guy.

    That program I mentioned is partnered with the ASU Foundation.

  12. Hey Anon-Kaz,

    I'm happy I was able to help! (And that my explanation made sense... haha!)

    As for 107, I guess my feeling is that in an age where a bachelor's degree means less and less, and where equality between males and females and whites, Hispanics, blacks, and other races is so great, pretty soon we are going to hit a tipping point where reverse discrimination against whites is happening. That's no more fair than it was to have inequality directed at blacks in the 60s or pay differences between men and women through the early parts of this decade.

    I just don't see why programs that aren't open to everyone are more favorable than those that are. 107 stops that from happening in public realms.

  13. Those are all fair points. I just want to save people from the "sausage fest" that I had to suffer through when I took my upper level math courses...

  14. Well, perhaps we should be focusing on continued diversification of the workplace, rather than the schools. The more women we have in high-level positions (CEOs, CFOs, NASA, etc.), the more young women are going to be attracted to study in those fields, like mathematics and science/engineering. Then we don't necessarily need diversification requirements at the universities or community colleges.

  15. See.. Now you've got me investigating this issue when I barely half-ass cared about it at first.

    Again, I'm for expanding opportunity, not outcomes. My support for these programs ends on graduation day with degree in hand.

  16. I'm for giving kids a boost. Once you're done with school and out in the world, it's time to fend for yourself.

  17. I'm for expanding opportunity as well. Expand opportunities in the workforce where inequality is a real issue.

    I'm also all for giving kids a boost, but my question is why female kids and not male kids? Why Hispanic kids and not white kids? Shouldn't we, as responsible adults (and I say this knowing I'm going back to school myself), lead by example and actually start treating everyone equally instead of promoting preferences?

  18. "why female kids and not male kids?" Because even with these programs it's a struggle to get 40% women. I don't know why women aren't as drawn to STEM as men are. They are just as successful in those fields as men are. Maybe we need to give our daughters LEGOS instead of Barbies, but honestly I don't know. There's a program running out of ASU called CareerWISE that is trying to figure that out. But I figure if we keep adding women into those fields, eventually it will iron itself out.

    "Why Hispanic kids and not white kids?" Because white kids make up a larger percentage of students in those courses compared to the population at large. From there, you have individual scholarships to help those that need it. I don't want to see us self-segregate now after all the crap we've had to go through.

    Look at what happened in California after Prop 209. Now one race that makes up 16% of the state population makes up 41% of incoming college freshmen. It's not about preference. It's about making sure that future employers don't have a reason to start weeding out the resumes of applicants who don't have an asian sounding name. It's about making sure there are enough women in those fields so that someone doesn't decide not to hire a female researcher because it's so rare as to be a distraction.

    I don't think it's a good idea to return to the days where all the best jobs were all white & all men.

  19. If you think I'm advocating for us "to return to the days where all the best jobs were all white and all men" then you have missed the point of what I've been saying.

    You've just yourself advocated for making sure individual employers don't weed out applicants based on race or sex. That's what I'm saying needs to keep on being fixed. It's no longer an education problem, it's a back end results problem.

    I'm just unclear on why public tax revenue should be funding sexist or racist programs? That should be the purview of private foundations now, and that's why I support 107.

  20. "If you think I'm advocating for us "to return to the days where all the best jobs were all white and all men" then you have missed the point of what I've been saying."
    No, I absolutely don't think you are advocating that. I'll tone down the hyperbole. By that same token, I'd be surprised if you really believed that it's sexist to try to fix the large gender gap in those fields of study.

    I totally get your point. We both want fairness. I don't know anything about the race numbers, but STEM fields are some of our highest paying, most productive fields for the US economy. That's where most of our innovation and growth has been for the past century. If these programs go away and women go back to making up only 15-17% of the graduates in those fields, I think that would look back and say that was a bad thing.

    We need more STEM graduates across the board. China & India are eating our lunch in those industries. If women migrate out of those fields and back into marketing, business, social science or whatever, the void they leave won't just fill with men, instead the STEM programs will just shrink. ASU, UofA, and NAU are not at the same level as MIT, Caltech, or Stanford (all of which have successful gender programs). UofA is (arguably) the best engineering school we have, but they're not turning away any well qualified applicants. Their engineering department does a lot of outreach & recruitment of women, but they're still hovering at 19% female enrollment. http://www.engr.arizona.edu/about/

    Some of this argument has me lost. I don't get the argument to monitor individual employers. If we produce more, qualified minorities or women, they will be able to compete effectively in the marketplace. The market will punish employers who discriminate based on race or sex because they may be eliminating the better qualified applicants. I don't want to shoehorn an unqualified person into a high-level job just because they are a minority, but I'm all for shoehorning while they are in the education system, because that's where they get qualified. Then when they have the tools to compete in a free marketplace their race or sex shouldn't matter.

    Isn't this the conservative approach to diversity? We provide incentives, outreach & additional training to increase diversity instead of mandates, regulations & quotas.

  21. See, now I just don't get where you are thinking I'm advocating "monitoring individual employers." I said, and I quote, "Well, perhaps we should be focusing on continued diversification of the workplace, rather than the schools. The more women we have in high-level positions (CEOs, CFOs, NASA, etc.), the more young women are going to be attracted to study in those fields, like mathematics and science/engineering."

    You posted a statistic that says that despite all the programs out there with money for women, UA engineering still only maintains 19% female enrollment. In my view, that's not a problem with out women's outreach, but a problem with not having women in positions in the ACTUAL workforce that young students can look up to and drive towards.

    My argument is simple: continue to support diversification of the workforce itself, and more women will want to get those tech/engineering/science jobs, and thus more women will attend those types of scholastic programs.

    But here's where you might be just plain misinformed: the conservative approach to this problem is not to throw lots of money at women but not men, or one race but not another in the name of "diversity." Incentives of public money should be open to ALL PEOPLE, regardless of sex, race, gender, whatever.

  22. We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I'm voting NO on 107.

    I don't want to see our best jobs diversified using H1B visas.

  23. As a new resident of Sedona, I just wanted to say thanks for this detailed, intelligent, and helpful guide to the propositions. And although I think I disagree on 107 (see below) I am very glad that this page exists. I will look for a similar guide to future elections!


    * re 107: "Reverse discrimination" for white people is just not a problem and won't be for the foreseeable future -- it is a bugaboo meant to frighten white people into a selfish lack of understanding of a complex issue. A compassionate view of our country's racist past means that we must acknowledge that, statistically speaking, certain populations are inherently disadvantaged, and equal opportunity simply doesn't exist for them. That's what these laws are trying -- painfully, slowly, awkwardly -- to combat.

  24. Welcome to Arizona, and I'm glad I could be of some help in figuring out our propositions this year.

    As for 107, obviously there are plenty of people out there who don't like messing with discrimination-related laws. Prop. 107 does no more and no less than take the State of Arizona out of decision-making when it comes to hiring/firing or allocating resources to one particular group over another based on race, sex, etc. The reverse discrimination argument I made was merely supplementary to a more complex desire to not have my tax dollars funding women but not men, Hispanics but not whites, or group A over group B.

    Oh, and by the way, I know plenty of Hispanics doing quite well in society, and I know of plenty of white folks with three jobs living in slums. It's not certain racial groups or sexes with the disparity nowdays. It's certain individuals.

  25. Thank you so much for this Andrew! I read through some of the packet, and while I understood what I did read, it was just hard to put a lot into perspective for me.

    I'd consider myself new to AZ still, and I really enjoyed your commentary and recommendations. The insight you provided was great, and helped me make the choice I needed to on some of the ones I was still confused about.

  26. "Oh, and by the way, I know plenty of Hispanics doing quite well in society, and I know of plenty of white folks with three jobs living in slums. It's not certain racial groups or sexes with the disparity nowdays. It's certain individuals. "

    This is a classic example of anecdotal evidence tainted by confirmation bias and not a useful way to measure a nationwide problem. We must rely on large-sample-size statistical information.

    Besides, this seems to be an economic issue for Arizona:

    "Arizona's economy depends upon attracting large and small businesses to the state, and to the jobs brought in around our state's three universities. In terms of economy, Proposition 107 would broadly eliminate many programs that benefit women and minorities, including daycare programs for working women, training and professional improvement programs aimed at underrepresented groups, and outreach efforts for federal assistance and grants to help female- and minority-owned small businesses. Large corporations looking to move into Arizona may find their private diversity hiring practices at odds with state laws prohibiting affirmative action, and may thereby be discouraged from setting up shop in the state. In terms of education, Proposition 107 will reduce federal money coming to the state to help female and minority students, and will discourage in-state and out-of-state minority students from enrolling in our state schools. Indeed, in California, passage of a similar measure resulted in a progressive, and immediate, drop in Black and Latino students for nearly a decade." (From Blog for Arizona).

  27. Thanks as I voted alongside the computer and compared your list vs the Tucson citizen [ http://tucsoncitizen.com/mark-evans/archives/366 ] to get both sides.

    Q: I first went to the AZ republican website, but could not find a list like this. Are they not allowed to recommend how to vote?

  28. Glad I could help, Anonymous.

    To answer your question, the AZGOP is allowed to recommend candidates that you should vote for (from their perspective), but often chooses not to. Most of the time, it's just that they don't actually produce a physical list of people after the primaries because it's not hard to figure out who they're supporting. They wouldn't recommend Goddard over Brewer in the Governor's race, for example, and their opinions cannot reliably be counted on as unbiased. Of course, if you really want a list from the AZGOP/AZ Dems, it's always safe to assume that if a candidate has an (R) next to his or her name, the AZGOP is probably backing them, just as the AZ Dems back those candidates with a (D).

  29. Does anyone know the #1 cash crop of Arizona??? It's definitely not baseball! spending $80+ Million on baseball could be an emormous mistake. We can't rely on tourists to keep AZ afloat. Imagine the places we'll go as a state when Prop 203 is voted in. It's time to welcome some new direction.

    If you all want to see some positive change in AZ, new outlooks, increased revenues, country wide respect, Vote Yes.

    Why spend money to keep the money we have?? Let's open up new opportunites and see how high we can go! The sky is the limit!

    -Sam M.

    Yes on 203!

  30. Who ever wrote thos is a complete JACKASS.