| Propositions 18 through 27 have been officially numbered for the November 2010 ballot by Secretary of State Debra Bowen. Get used to these numbers.
Below is my first take, and how I'm currently leaning. Calitics and the Courage Campaign (where I work as Public Policy Director) will be out with their endorsements by the beginning of October, likely sooner.
Prop 18: The $11 billion water bond. Leaning no.
Prop 19: Cannabis legalization. Oh hell yes. This is one of the 2 or 3 most important initiatives on the November ballot. It's a must-pass.
Prop 20: Expands Prop 11 redistricting commission to include Congressional races, which could cost Democrats seats in the House. This is a definite no.
Prop 21: The state parks initiative, raising the vehicle license fee by $18, keeping all parks open at restored hours, reducing the maintenance backlog, and allowing all Californians with a registered vehicle to get into any park free of charge. Another obvious yes.
Prop 22: Bans state government raids on local government funds for good. Given what I wrote earlier today you shouldn't be surprised I lean yes on this one as well. Austerity is not good, and if we can contain it at the state level, then it's easier to force the issue for new revenues at the state level as well.
Prop 23: Repeal of AB 32, the state's landmark global warming law, an initiative funded by $2 million in campaign contributions from oil companies. Think of it this way: Prop 23 reverses AB 32. This is one of the 3 most important initiatives on the ballot, and it absolutely must be defeated.
Prop 24: Closes corporate tax loopholes that adds at least $1.7 billion annually to the budget deficit. Another obvious must-pass, though it'll be interesting to see the big corporations argue against this one. Of course, as we saw in Oregon in January, voters are not likely to look favorably upon corporate arguments in favor of unaffordable tax breaks.
Prop 25: Restores majority rule for the state budget process. This is the 3rd of the extremely important initiatives. We cannot afford to let this one fail. We'll need an all-out effort between now and November to pass it.
Prop 26: The antithesis of Prop 25, Prop 26 would require a 2/3 majority for fees. Just as Prop 25 must pass, Prop 26 must fail.
Prop 27: The antithesis of Prop 20, but in a good way - this eliminates the Prop 11 redistricting commission entirely. I'm probably going Yes on this one, since I don't really think a bunch of affluent white men count as a representative sample of the people of California. The whole Prop 11 commission was a bad idea to begin with, a "solution" to a non-existent problem.
So there you have it. There's unfortunately no easy way to remember these recommendations, and the voter guide charts will have a lot of green check marks and red x's, but it would seem that you'll want to vote Yes on 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, and 27, and vote No on 18, 20, 23, and 26.
Some progressives might have the temptation to vote "no" on everything, as some sort of childish protest at the initiative system. Doing so at this election would be an inherently right-wing move, undermining such obvious progressive policy propositions as Props 19, 21, 24 and especially 25 and giving aid and comfort to the right-wing via Prop 23 in particular.
Whether you love the initiative process or hate it, you don't have the option of sitting these battles out. We won some big victories on the June 8 ballot, beating Props 16 and 17 - but we also lost the battles on Props 14 and 15. Given what is on the November ballot, we cannot afford to lose these fights. All hands on deck!