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Death Penalty Repeal and Hidden Money

We have a serious issue on the ballot, why obfuscate the question.

Proposition 34 to Repeal the Death Penalty is on the November ballot. This has been a long debate in our state. Both sides are passionate in their feelings regarding the death penalty.

Some on the side of repeal are the Los Angeles Times, The California Conference of Catholic Bishops, The American Civil Liberties Union and the Democratic Party.

On the side of keeping the death penalty are a number of police officer associations, deputy sheriff associations, district attorney prosecutors and the Republican Party.

Most of the money is being raised by the groups in favor of repeal. The SF Gate Blog reports the California Business Roundtable & Pepperdine School of Public Policy survey released August 2 that showed 35.9% of 811 likely California Voters approved of Prop. 34 and 52.2% oppose it. These numbers came after the
recent events in Colorado and the Sikh shooting in Wisconsin. The numbers change regularly depending on the news of the day. 

I would like to look at something else apparently thrown in to bolster the idea of passing Prop 34. The proposition has a one time commitment of $100 million by the state to local police departments to help them solve more homicide and rape cases.

Where will we get the the $100 million to give law enforcement?  I thought we were already going into debt to buy a high speed rail system between a couple communities in the San Joaquin Valley. I thought we were spending our
money to improve schools.

A quick review of this year’s budget process reveals several interesting facts. The legislature approved a $92.1 billion budget and Governor Jerry Brown vetoed about $353 million from that total and signed the budget. There was a gap in revenue of some $8 billion dollars which they hoped to make up with a tax increase on the November ballot. Through April the projected revenue was $10.1 billion below estimates.

The governor says there is $8.1 billion in our rainy day fund, but the state controller says there is actually $11.1 billion in the rainy day fund. Meanwhile, the State Parks administration found $54 million it didn’t know it had. What we have here is evidence the State has no idea how much money it has, but it is positive it needs more.

A quick review is in order. We have an acknowledged budget shortfall of $8 billion. Revenues are down about 10 percent from the projected receipts for this year. Another expected source of income was the taxes on the Facebook public offering. Only problem is this will actually result in about half of what had been expected. I mean, really, what could go wrong? 

We can all agree the State of California is in financial crisis. We cannot afford the
government we have, let alone the government envisioned by our governor. So the people who are dealing with the death penalty question decide to stack the cards a little by throwing some money at law enforcement to show they are pro enforcement. I don’t think it matters which side of the death penalty issue you are on, we should all be able to agree we cannot afford $100 million here and there to help pass propositions. This is an egregious act and should elicit a vote against Prop 34. 

If there is to be a resolution to the death penalty question, let’s make it based on a serious presentation to the people of California. There are strong arguments on both sides, but it should not be tied to another attempt to grow our already bloated budget and increase the size of government. Is it any wonder people are dissatisfied with the political system in California?

What do you think?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David A. McVicker August 31, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Most of those on death row had more than enough time to think about what they were doing. Such as multipal murders, from Scott Peterson to william Bonin they desevre to be there. If you want to help, Help enpower the victims. Fight for swift justice. Don't make excusses for not applying the law that we voted for and deserve.
David A. McVicker August 31, 2012 at 06:28 AM
Welcome to America Charlie, If it was not for those third graders Obama would not be our president. My god I hate third graders lol
Martin Henderson August 31, 2012 at 11:05 AM
To David McVicker: This comment at Dan goes a bit over the top (or maybe off the deep end). Keep in mind that Dan lost his sister and niece to violent crime, and his opinion is as valid as yours. Be respectful of other commenters; frankly, how do you know that his relatives weren't as cruelly punished as you described? You don't. And if they were, then you were an insensitive jerk for bringing it up. I'm not demeaning the horrors you experienced and likely still suffer, but let's take a deep breath and keep the dialogue smart and respectful (an apology would be nice); there's enough evil in the world without good men getting into it when both have suffered but share differing opinions. Again, I ask everyone to be civil while discussing a hot-button, often passionate issue. (By the way, I did Google you and it hasn't changed my opinion—the rules of commenting apply to you, too). Thanks—and good luck to you and your family.
Dan Avery August 31, 2012 at 03:51 PM
John when you pay them far less, don't you end up with far more corruption? I mean that as a serious question. Louisiana prisons are hell holes. Aren't we a tad more civilized that than? We are talking about fellow human beings here. As David A McVicker has proven above, there's a monster is us all. I'm responding because your qualifiers are vague enough to cause concern. Terms like "far less" is what I mean there. As an officer I assume you spent the first few years doing jail duty? If so, how much would you need to be paid to do that full-time and to do an excellent, corruption-free job?
Dan Avery August 31, 2012 at 03:55 PM
David, you died each time someone was executed. Until you forgive, you will never be free. And, yes, it's possible to forgive. I did it. It was hard. But completely worth it. And that is why Jesus said to do it. And not just Jesus. Every major religion addresses forgiveness on this level and they all advocate for it.


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