Prop 51 – Will Schools Get Fixed and Repaired?

September 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

Proposition 51

By Doug Porter

The California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, better known as Proposition 51, proposes to refill the State of California’s money pot used for school construction and repair.

It has been ten years since the last statewide school bond, and proponents say there is a massive backlog of local school projects.

Everybody loves building and fixing schools, right?

The list of supporters includes both major political parties, the Chamber of Commerce, the California Labor Federation, education groups of all sorts, the League of Women Voters and on and on. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has endorsed Prop. 51. So has Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom.

Supporters have raised over $8.4 million.

Where the bond money would go …

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Measure D – Nice Try, But No Cigar for The Citizens’ Plan

September 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

Downtown-Hotel-San-Diego-California-United-States-300x420By Doug Porter

A good metaphor for Measure D would be the guy who tries to break up a fight and ends up getting pummelled by both combatants.

Also known as the Citizens’ Plan, Cory Briggs Evil Plot, and Chargers Stadium Lite, the proposal is all-but-dead in the water.

The money spigot ran dry in May. The thoughtful discussion Measure D should have stimulated never happened, lost in the dread of yet another rich guy scheme, and the unintended consequences of its (mostly) good intentions.

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Chargers Stadium Ballot Measure C — as In Chutzpa

September 22, 2016 by Doug Porter

This is a rendering. They have no actual plans drawn up.

By Doug Porter

There are two items on the ballot for City of San Diego voters related in some fashion to the construction of a place for the local NFL franchise to play.

Measure C, backed by the San Diego Chargers ownership, is an effort to get a stadium/convention center built. The group’s committee is a cash machine, taking in tens of thousands of dollars (nearly) daily, all from the same source.

Measure D is primarily backed by interests with investments in nearby properties, namely the Moores family. For monetary reasons, it’s just about dead in the water. D is on the ballot, but the money spigot was turned off May 3.

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Measure B – Ballot Box Planning at its Worst

September 21, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measure B – Ballot Box Planning at its Worst

Lilac Hills Ranch Developer Goes for an End Run Around Community Groups

By Doug Porter

Union-Tribune headline Tuesday morning: ‘San Diego median home price hits highest point in a decade.’

Q’s: Are you a NIMBY? Don’t you care about San Diego’s housing crisis? The signature gatherers for the measure in support of building Lilac Hills said it would provide affordable housing for low-income families and veterans, along with being eco-friendly. How can you be against that?

A. Easy. If you’re buying the arguments proponents of Measure B are peddling, I have a bridge to sell you.

Measure B is a clear cut case of a developer doing an end-run around years of community input into planning. Voters in El Cajon and Chula Vista are being asked to decide on a North County project they only know of through ads with fallacious arguments. (Ask the people in Barrio Logan how they feel about that concept.)

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Does SANDAG’s ‘Measure A’ amount to Bold Action on Climate Change?

September 20, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Does SANDAG’s ‘Measure A’ amount to Bold Action on Climate Change?

By Doug Porter

Of all the local measures on the ballot, none has split local Democrats, labor, and environmental groups more than Measure A.

It proposes to fund transportation and open space projects throughout San Diego County over the next 40 years via a half-cent sales tax increase. Questions about its environmental and social consequences have been raised.

The plan, crafted by the staff of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), will raise $18 billion over its lifetime, with $4.3 billion doled out to local communities for upgrades and repairs.

Just about everybody agrees that work on local and regional infrastructure needs to continue. It’s how we get there that’s causing disagreement.

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San Diego County Supervisors District 3 Contest: A Whole Lotta Meh

September 16, 2016 by Doug Porter

dave-roberts
By Doug Porter

County Supervisor Dave Roberts is in the fight of his political life. He’s the lone Democrat (first in two decades, actually) in a powerful political entity with few of the checks and balances Americans expect to find in government.

He’s tried to go along to get along, continually stressing the virtues of the entire board in public statements. But a series of poor management (and maybe personal) decisions, costing the county $310,000 in legal settlements, within Robert’s office created an opening for local Republicans.

They’re pressing their advantage, hoping for a return to the one-party system that’s served them well in the past. The race for District 3 supervisor is one of the few bright spots on the local GOP’s horizon.

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San Diego City Attorney Campaign: Community Involvement vs Law and Order

September 15, 2016 by Doug Porter

mara-elliott robert-hickeyBy Doug Porter

San Diegans don’t have a general election contest for mayor in 2016, and four of the five seats up for grabs on the City Council are already taken. But we do get to vote on City Attorney, and this happens to be an important contest.

The June primary winnowed down the field to Mara Elliott, currently serving as Chief Deputy City Attorney under CA Jan Goldsmith and Robert Hickey, a Deputy District Attorney under County DA Bonnie Dumanis.

Elliott has been endorsed by her Democratic primary opponents and has the support of the party apparatus. Hickey has the active support of Republicans in town save one: his boss.

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With No Contest in 4 San Diego Council Races, District 9 Matters

September 14, 2016 by Doug Porter

council

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

What was supposed to be an epic, high-dollar struggle for the partisan upper hand on the San Diego City Council never came to pass. Odd-numbered districts elect representatives in 2016, and Republicans were hoping to gain a majority on the theoretically non-partisan body.

Of the five City Council districts having primary contests in June, only one will have a meaningful contest for the general election. In three (3,5,& 7) of those districts, there won’t even be a choice on the November ballot.

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Applegate Versus Issa Is the Congressional Race to Watch

September 13, 2016 by Doug Porter

An Overview of House of Representatives Contests in San Diego

SDFP 2016 Nov LogoBy Doug Porter

Of the five electoral contests for the House of Representatives including San Diego voters only the 49th, encompassing the cities of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and Encinitas, looks to be competitive on November 8th. A small part of Orange County and the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton are also in the district.

Republican Darrell Issa is facing retired USMC Col. Douglas Applegate.

Issa, the wealthiest member of Congress (2015 estimate: up to $768 million), has all the advantages of incumbency, having served since 2001. Applegate has time and (dislike of) Trump on his side.

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A Look at San Diego’s Ballot Choices for State Legislature

September 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

SDFP 2016 Nov LogoThere’s bad news and good news about the partisan makeup of San Diego’s representation in Sacramento in 2017.

The bad news is that there is no real competition among the eight local contests for the State Legislature. A few seats are changing hands, but the resulting differences among the newbies will be of style rather than substance.

The good news is that the Democrats likely to be representing the area are all of above average or better quality. What happens in contests elsewhere in California will have a significant influence on just how effective San Diego’s delegation can be.

Democrats, who need two more seats in the State Assembly to recapture supermajority status, started out by targeting contests in Manhattan Beach, Fullerton, Rancho Cucamonga, Dublin and Corona. Christopher Cadelago at the Sacramento Bee reports they’ve recently added support for races in San Luis Obispo and Santa Clarita.

Here’s the rundown on the races for local legislative positions.

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California’s US Senate Race: Kamala Harris v. Loretta Sanchez

September 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

SDFP 2016 Nov Logo

Sanchez Has Only Long Shot Chance for Victory Over Harris

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The optics of Democratic Senatorial candidate Loretta Sanchez touring with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa recently can be difficult to understand until you realize they actually need each other at this point.

The well is dry for Sanchez when it comes to pumping up support from her party. And Issa needs to convince voters in his district that he’s less of an ogre than his choice for president, Donald Trump.

Such is the state of politics on the Left Coast these days. The woman who unseated Rep. Bob Dornan–who spent 18 years being the enfant terible of the Congress–is now tying her fate to the man who many accuse of leading witchhunts for the past eight years.

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Will Governor Brown Do the Right Thing for Farmworkers?

September 2, 2016 by Doug Porter

Via WineWaterWatch.org

By Doug Porter

After two years and more than five thousand proposed laws, resolutions, and constitutional amendments, the current version of the California Legislature wrapped up its session in frenzied fashion.

Wednesday, August 31st saw more than one hundred bills up for consideration. Now it’s up to the Governor to say yea or nay on legislation affecting all aspects of life in California.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who successfully shepherded 19 of 20 bills through the legislature this year, is leaving nothing up to chance with her hard-fought victory on AB 1066, gradually phasing in standards for farmerworker overtime.

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SB 32: California’s Big Bet on the Environment

August 31, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for SB 32: California’s Big Bet on the Environment

By Doug Porter

Senate Bill 32 was approved by the California legislature last week along with a companion bill (AB 197), putting the Golden State on a path to further reducing greenhouse gas emissions past the end of the decade.

Gov. Jerry Brown fought long and hard for the legislation mandating an additional 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030. The state is already on track to meeting the goal, set by AB 32 in 2006, to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions back down to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Not included in the new legislation was extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, arguably a more flexible, lower-cost policy tool to cut emissions. As things stand now, the future of the program is uncertain, as the California’s Chamber of Commerce is in court seeking to overturn the program on the basis that it needed two-thirds approval.

The Governor maintains that SB 32 and AB 197 will provide the leverage he needs to reach a deal with businesses that would prefer a market-based program like cap-and-trade over tougher mandates to cut pollution. Brown says he will put the matter of the program’s future on the 2017 ballot if he has to.

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A Sneak Peek at the 35 (!) Local Measures Appearing on San Diego Ballots

August 26, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for A Sneak Peek at the 35 (!) Local Measures Appearing on San Diego Ballots

By Doug Porter

Labor Day used to be the traditional start of the Fall Election season. That’s no longer the case with the increasing popularity of mail-in ballots driving endorsements and campaigning further backward on the calendar.

August 24th’s endorsement session of the San Diego Democratic Central Committee proves the point. Dozens upon dozens of candidates and ballot measures were considered. The really big deals were the top four ballot measures.

In a nutshell, the Dems opposed SANDAG’s Measure A and the Lilac Hills Measure B, stayed neutral on the Chargers’ Measure C, and supported the Citizens Plan Measure D.

In fairness to the partisans for and opponents of these marquee measures, the final vote tells just part of the story. The opposition came up just one vote short in the Democrats meeting of opposing the Chargers’ stadium proposal.

If this all seems like gibberish to you, you’re at the right place. Here’s your first peek at the 35 (!) ballot measures to be presented to voters in various parts of San Diego County for the 2016 general elections.

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Del Mar Races: Cruel As Ever

August 25, 2016 by Doug Porter

Martha Sullivan

By Doug Porter

There’s disagreement over how many horses have died at the Del Mar races this year. Animal rights advocates say it’s 18. The Union-Tribune says 16. The Daily Racing Form says 14. Some of the variance, no doubt, comes from the time frame from when it was reported.

Regardless of the final number–and it’s likely to increase by the time the summer season ends on Labor Day–more horses have died this year than last. Betting is down, and purses for the last two weeks of the season have been reduced by another 5% on top of the across the board 10% reduction from 2015.

Saturday, August 20th, was supposed to be the biggest day of the racing season at Del Mar, the $1 million Pacific Classic, including big name horses Beholder, California Chrome, and Dortmund. It started with another death.

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Why Do People Hate the Homeless?

August 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

anti-homeless-sticker-br-034-300x225By Doug Porter

They’ll say it’s the smell of excrement. Or the public intoxication. Or the aggressive panhandling. Or the intrusion on their public or private space.

People hate what they don’t understand. Lots of people translate their repulsion in hate.

Homeless people on the street are a stark reminder of the failure that could be lurking around the next corner in life. And in order to get along in life, the rest of us have to deny the possibility of becoming one of ‘them.’

All homeless people apparently lived great lives until they somehow fucked it up and ended up homeless. And “we” are better than that. Or so we think.

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Is Anybody Judging the Judges? The California Legislature Wants Answers

August 16, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Is Anybody Judging the Judges? The California Legislature Wants Answers

By Doug Porter

A joint committee of the California Legislature has authorized an audit of the Commission on Judicial Performance, the only entity that can discipline or remove a state judge.

A coalition of two dozen groups reflecting a wide range of interests, led by the Center for Judicial Excellence wrote letters, made calls and sent emails to urge the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) to call for the audit.

“The Center for Public Integrity gave California an ‘F grade’ on its 2015 report card for judicial accountability, said Kathleen Russell, the executive director of the Center for Judicial Excellence in a press release.

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DA Dumanis Subpoenaed in Campaign Conspiracy Case

August 11, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for DA Dumanis Subpoenaed in Campaign Conspiracy Case

By Doug Porter

San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has been and is expected to testify in federal district court on Monday at the trial of Mexican businessman Jose Susumo Azano Matsura.

Defense attorney Michael Wynne has been questioning witnesses about the DA’s direct knowledge of illegal campaign contributions and told freelance reporter JC Playford in an on-the-street video about the summons.

Although their initial support for her campaign is at the core of the government case against Azano and his co-conspirators, prosecutors have this far crafted a case that avoids avoiding linking her to any participation or awareness of illegal activities.

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Stacking the Deck: San Diego Homeless Sweeps, Charter School Cheats, and the Modern Jim Crow

August 3, 2016 by Doug Porter

News roundup logoBy Doug Porter

Comic Con and the All-Star Game have come and gone, but San Diego’s homeless remain, criminalized and demonized.

A report from the ACLU calls out blatant discrimination in charter schools throughout California.

And rightwing-inspired laws restricting voting in states around the country are proving to be nothing more than a shield for racism.

Today we look at some of the downsides of life in the USA these days. The deification of the market economy and the quest to drown government in a bathtub are at the root of all these stories, something the Make American Great Again crowd seems unable to grasp.

Homeless and Helpless

A perfectly reasonable story in Tueday’s Union-Tribune, focuses on the now-weekly displacement of homeless people in downtown and the East Village.

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Will the Balboa Park Make-Over Include Rockscaping for the Homeless?

July 5, 2016 by Doug Porter

Yesterday the sweeps continued- Photo via Michael McConnell

By Doug Porter

What kind of a city is it that entertains funding a new stadium, a convention center expansion, a major events arena, gondolas, and a parks make-over, but can’t figure out a short term solution to homelessness other than criminalizing it?

That would be San Diego.

Yes, I know it’s apples and oranges–different pots of money are involved, some are subject to voter approval and others will only be indirectly supported by the taxpayer…

But … where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Presently there are a lot of moving parts in play when it comes to the future of America’s Finest City. Let me lay out a couple items for your consideration.

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Will California Legalize Marijuana in 2016?

June 30, 2016 by Doug Porter

If there’s any group capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in California, it’s marijuana activists.

AUMA 2016By Doug Porter

The polling has never been better. This year 60% of likely California voters are inclined to legalize the consumption of marijuana for recreational use, up from 54% last year.

The political prognosis has never been better. Four states and the District of Columbia have already legalized pot and another eight states are considering giving voter approval to the idea.

So California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act qualifying for the November ballot should be good news, right? Not so fast. We’ve been here before. In 2010 Proposition 19 started out with strong polling and had decent financial backing, as I recollect.

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Big Win for Women’s Rights! Supreme Court Strikes Down Texas Restrictions on Abortion Provider Law

June 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

supreme court building“Today women across the nation have had their constitutional rights vindicated.” —Nancy Northup, president of the Center for Reproductive Rights

By Doug Porter

The Supreme Court’s 5-3 ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt will affect millions of women in several states. The case, arising from a Texas law, is the most important abortion rights case in a generation.

Justice Steven Breyer penned the majority opinion, which said in essence:

Both the admitting privileges and surgical center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution.

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Baseball’s All-Star Game in San Diego: Rocks for the Homeless?

June 17, 2016 by Doug Porter

anti homelessBy Doug Porter

The infamous rockscaping in and around East Village was installed as part of the city’s preparation for Major League Baseball’s 2016 All-Star game on July 12.

The wishes of the surrounding community, the supposed reason for the installation, were actually not considered.

Even as emails on the situation were made public on Wednesday by Kelly Davis at Voice of San Diego , local gendarmes were rousting homeless people who’d moved to surrounding neighborhoods as a result of the city’s actions.

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2016 Primary Election Results and Analysis for San Diego

June 9, 2016 by Doug Porter

Election Returns

Editor: The following election results and analysis were put together by Doug Porter on Wednesday, June 8th, for his column at San Diego Free Press – and all vote tallies are as of yesterday’s numbers.

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over. But it’s mostly over in San Diego. Most of the ballots for the June 2016 primary election have been tallied. The remaining 285,000 ballots uncounted as of Wednesday morning are provisional and late arriving mail-in ballots. A few close races may change, but if history is any guide, what you see in the way of results the day after the election is what you get.

A multi-year campaign for an increase in the local minimum wage came to a close as voters overwhelmingly approved City Proposition I. For me personally, and for tens of thousands of San Diego workers, the last item on the ballot was the most important one.

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It’s the Primary – Progressives – and Time to Vote!

June 6, 2016 by Doug Porter

ballot box san diegoProgressive Primary Voting Guide for San Diego

Endorsements by OB Rag and San Diego Free Press

By Doug Porter

If you haven’t voted in San Diego yet, now is the time to get focused, and I’m here to help.

While there are many candidates and issues on the ballot, let me remind readers that a Yes vote on Proposition I will have the most immediate impact locally. More than 170,000 hard-working San Diegans will get a badly needed, overdue raise and access to five earned sick days a year.

What I hope to do here today is offer one-stop shopping for those of you just getting around to making your ballot box decisions.

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San Diego Becomes Ground Zero in Presidential Contests (For a Few Days, Anyway)

May 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

Via the Sanders campaign

Sanders, Clinton and Trump, Oh My! – Plus Updates on Mayor and City Council Races

By Doug Porter

As May slides into June, enthusiasm about election contests big and small is sweeping San Diego. Hope, an elusive feeling in an era of pessimism, is in the air.

Democrats Senator Bernie Sanders and ex-President Bill Clinton both campaigned in the area. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump is holding a rally at the Convention Center on Friday, prompting promises of protests from activists throughout the region.

Away from the bright lights and big crowds, campaigning for local offices has reached a fevered pitch. Democrats, environmentalists, and organized labor are providing volunteers, who are going door-to-door in City Council contests, backing up direct mail campaigns. Republicans are carpet bombing the city with money for TV ads, slick (and often questionable) mailers and paid canvassers.

The good news from my perspective is that early ballot returns show a high level of interest in the primary from Democratic voters.

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Much Ado About Money – County Supervisors on the Primary Ballot

May 20, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Much Ado About Money – County Supervisors on the Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

Back in 2010, San Diego became the seventh county in California to impose term limits on its Board of Supervisors. Voters approved of the idea by better than a two to one margin. Unions, which typically oppose term limits, actually funded the effort.

This electoral groundswell happened for a reason, namely the billions in funding flowing through (and overly generous reserges in) county coffers. The ability of just five elected officials to shape the county’s priorities in big and small ways amounted to a ticket to lifetime tenure in part because supervisors also draw their own district lines.

There are two contests for County Supervisor appearing on 2016 primary ballots in San Diego. They only appear on ballots for voters living in the districts involved. (First District Supervisor Greg Cox – who represents Ocean Beach and Point Loma – is unopposed and therefore, won’t be on the ballot)

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Progressive San Diego Voter Guide for June 2016 Primary

May 19, 2016 by Doug Porter

imageBy Doug Porter

Over the past few months the San Diego Free Press and the OB Rag have reported on the candidates and causes central to the June 2016 primary elections.

We have combined our research and analyses with information from public sources to create a progressive voter guide for electoral contests appearing on ballots in the San Diego region.

This guide includes links to candidate websites, symbols indicating endorsements and a short overview of contests, along with links to our reporting.

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Who Are the San Diego Democrats Who Aren’t Really Democrats?

May 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

Feeling #theBern AND the Burn in San Diego Politics

carpet saleBy Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

This started out to be a column addressing the increasing awareness of the Bernie movement on finding like-minded progressive candidates on the ballot. It ended up be an exploration of the Dark Side of both local politics and the newly ascendant supporters of the Democratic Socialist from Vermont.

For those of interested in short lists for city offices, here it is: if you like Bernie, then Lori Saldaña for Mayor, Bryan Pease for City Attorney, Sara Saez for D9 City Council, and Jose Caballero for D7 City Council…

… Except that the Progressive Democratic Club says if you support Bernie you should vote for Ed Harris for Mayor.

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An Analysis of Ballot Measures for the June 2016 Primary

May 13, 2016 by Doug Porter

ballot sampleVote ‘Aye’ on San Diego’s Proposition ‘Eye’

By Doug Porter

If there one issue symbolic of San Diego politics, it’s the fight for a bump in the local minimum wage. Almost two years after a majority of the city’s elected representatives voted for a measure increasing wages (in baby steps) and allowing for earned paid sick leave, the voters will have a say on the issue.

I won’t mince words here. If you live in the City of San Diego, vote YES on the referendum on Earned Sick Leave and Minimum Wage, which will appear on the June 7th ballot as Proposition I.

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