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Prop 34 Op-Eds

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The Los Angeles Daily News has pro and con op-eds on Prop 34.  Former state finance director Michael Genest (who, unlike Alarcon and Mitchell, actually has expertise in government finance) writes:

Having served for 30 years in various fiscal and budget-related jobs, I am familiar with how ballot initiatives affect the state budget, including their effects on taxpayers and on funding for public services. Based on my review of the ballot language and the corresponding "study" put forward by its proponents, I believe the claims that Proposition 34 will save money for taxpayers and schools are exaggerated, misleading and irrelevant.

James Ardaiz has this op-ed in the Sunday LA Times on Proposition 34.  Ardaiz was the prosecutor in a notorious case that disproves the notion that a murderer is incapacitated by a life sentence.  From within prison, Clarence Ray Allen arranged for the murder of witnesses to his first murder.  The first brief I ever wrote in a capital case was in the case of Allen's triggerman, Billy Ray Hamilton.  Seems like ages ago.

Allen was executed in 2006.  What punishment would we impose in a case such as this if we did not have the death penalty?  Additional life sentences?  That would be no punishment at all.

If Californians need any more reasons to vote No, the corresponding "Yes" op-ed is written by America's foremost contrarian indicator, former President Jimmy Carter.  (Mr. Carter may have been right about something at some time, but I can't remember offhand what or when.)  He repeats the usual factually wrong arguments refuted here and elsewhere many times.  Without a hint of shame, he begins, "The process for administering the death penalty in the United States is broken beyond repair...."  Of all the factors that have contributed to the malfunction of the present system, the judges appointed to the federal courts by Mr. Carter are factor number one.

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Q: What's the easiest way to figure out the right thing to do?

A: Figure out what Jimmy Carter would do, and do the opposite.

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