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Times Endorsements

March 05, 2000

Statewide Propositions

1A. Indian casino gambling. NO. The Times supports Indian tribal sovereignty and the right to operate limited casino gambling, but wide-open Nevada-style casino gambling in California would not be good for any segment of the population. What should have been a modest increase in gambling would in fact be an exponential expansion of poorly regulated casino operations.

Proposition 12. Parks bond. YES.

Proposition 13. Water bond. YES.

These are among the key matters before California voters March 7. Proposition 12 would provide $2.1 billion for state and urban parks, including a large share for Southern California, as well as recreation facilities, wild lands and wildlife projects. Proposition 13 would finance water development and flood control projects totaling $1.97 billion. Because of previous bond payoffs and a robust economy, the state's ratio of bond debt will scarcely rise even if all bonds on the ballot pass.

Proposition 14. Library bond. YES. This $350-million bond would expand literacy programs and increase access to library facilities, especially in joint-use projects with schools. Requires a local funds match.

Proposition 15. Crime lab bond. YES. Would provide $220 million to replace cramped and outdated local police labs.

Proposition 16. Veterans homes. YES. Would provide $50 million to match federal funds, mostly for three retirement homes for military veterans in Southern California.

Proposition 17. Legalize charitable raffles. YES. Amends the state Constitution to allow nonprofit charities to run raffles under strict rules.

Proposition 18. Murder, special circumstances. NO. Would add to the crimes subject to the state death penalty. With new evidence that some death row inmates in other states were innocent, the penalty should not be expanded now.

Proposition 19. Murder of peace officers. NO. Would increase penalty for second- degree murder of San Francisco transit police and state university police. Appears to have little to do with public safety.

Proposition 20. School lottery funds. NO. Would earmark one-half of gains in state lottery proceeds for textbooks, even if schools had more pressing local needs. Schools already have too little discretion in how they can spend state and federal education dollars.

Proposition 21. Juvenile crime. NO. Would try more juvenile offenders as adults and send more to adult prisons. Likely to be costly, and experience in other states suggests the measure would actually increase juvenile recidivism.

Proposition 22. Limit on marriage. NO. Opposition to this proposal does not equate with support for gay marriage; even if the measure fails, gay marriage will not be legal here. Moreover, Prop. 22 invites intolerance, which a diverse California cannot afford.

Proposition 23. "None of the above." NO. Would allow a vote for "none of the above." A pointless exercise that would not change the outcome of any election.

Proposition 25. Campaign finance limits. NO. A worthy goal but badly timed. The Supreme Court has now revived hopes for stricter reforms that were cast aside by lower courts. Prop. 25 also relies on an untested public financing scheme and sets contribution limits too high.

Proposition 26. Majority vote on local school bonds. YES. Many school bonds draw more than 50% of the vote but still fail because of the requirement for a two-thirds vote. The result is overcrowded, dilapidated schools. Education reformers and business alike support a switch to majority vote.

Proposition 27. Term limit declarations. NO. Permits congressional candidates to sign nonbinding ballot declarations that they will serve no more than three terms in the House or two in the Senate. Could make California suffer because congressional power depends on seniority. A showboat gesture, slightly modified from one rejected earlier by voters.

Proposition 28. Repeal of Proposition 10 tobacco tax. NO. The 1998 voter-approved Proposition 10 uses a 50-cent-a-pack tax primarily for early childhood education programs in the counties. The programs are just getting in gear and deserve a better chance to prove themselves. The author of this measure owns a chain of tobacco stores.

Proposition 29. Indian gaming compacts. NO. This deal, set up by then-Gov. Pete Wilson, would allow limited tribal-state gambling compacts and would go into effect if the much less restrictive Proposition 1A is defeated. However, the tribes and the current governor should not be bound by a previous administration's plan.

Proposition 30 and Proposition 31. Insurance referendum. YES. Would ratify or reject two laws passed by the Legislature last year, restoring a limited right for accident victims to sue the insurance company of an at-fault driver if the company stalled or refused to pay. These beneficial measures help right an imbalance that harmed consumers.

>Los Angeles County

Measure A. Remove senior managers' positions from Civil Service. YES. Adds needed flexibility but does not affect current employees.

District attorney: Steve Cooley. Has the experience and temperament to succeed in this sensitive office. Incumbent Gil Garcetti has had too many failures in his eight years in office, including department attitudes that fed the Rampart scandal.

Judicial endorsements:

Superior Court, Office 31. Katherine Mader.

Alhambra Municipal Court. John Martinez.

Antelope Municipal Court, Office 1, Christopher Estes. Office 2, Pamela Rogers.

Beverly Hills Municipal Court. Richard Stone.

Downey Municipal Court, Office 4, Jesse Rodriguez.

Inglewood Municipal Court. Deborah Christian.

Los Angeles Municipal Court, Office 1, David Mintz. Office 44, Richard Rico.

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