Give your opinion with your vote – The Vacaville Reporter
An adage goes like this: All money ain’t good money. While we have many needs in California, such as quality education, homelessness, mental health, gambling addiction programs, and support for Native-American tribes, I prefer we brainstorm other solutions to support these persistent issues without expanding gambling.
In my last column, I gave my stand on a few state propositions voters are asked to consider on the Nov. 8 ballot. Here are the last four.
Propositions 26 and 27 promise to address California’s critical issues with additional funding. While there are many adults who gamble responsibly, encouraging increased gambling for legitimate causes is a slippery slope. Gambling can be highly addictive and can ruin people’s lives. Gambling addictions can indirectly lead to substance abuse, alcoholism, and criminal activities.
Proposition 26 expands betting in California to in-person sports gambling, roulette, and dice games at tribal casinos and specific licensed racetracks. Proposition 27 legalizes online sports betting in California, but not on tribal lands.
The United States owes a great deal to indigenous people for centuries of genocide, land theft, and disease outbreaks. Native Americans should have independence on their sovereign land. And the additional revenue from tribal casinos can help more people in their community.
The key to effective programs to combat homelessness, and provide quality education and mental health is getting dollars to cities, counties, and school districts with the least amount of strings attached. Implementing specific programs that benefit all Native Americans represents serious reparations, including the United States States honoring past treaties with indigenous people.
The idea of additional tax revenues to combat homelessness, fund education, and help support tribes is appealing. Still, both measures come at a cost to the lives potentially ruined by gambling addiction.
No one likes increased taxes. Proposition 30 will raise taxes on Californians with a personal annual income of more than $2 million.
The 1.75 percent tax increase on these individuals would be placed in a fund separate from the General fund to increase the use of electric cars, reduce pollution from public buses and big rig trucks, and develop a network of charging stations. The fund would also help manage wildfires by providing training, hiring firefighters, and executing other preventative programs.
Another goal is to make electric vehicles affordable to low- and middle-income families. And the initiative could create or support green jobs.
California must reduce emissions for cleaner air, which could slow climate change, triggering prolonged drought and extreme heat. We have an annual threat of wildfires, devastating the lives of many families, that we must also address.
Environmental justice activists say that low-income communities, communities of color, and other vulnerable populations experience a disproportionately severe impact of climate change compared to other communities.
For these reasons, Proposition 30 merits support, as wildfires, gas cars and diesel vehicles remain significant sources of air pollution.
When it comes to Proposition 31, banning flavored tobacco products, a yes vote will uphold the 2020 law banning the retail sale of specific flavored tobacco products. Opposition means voters want to repeal the 2020 law by keeping the sale of flavored tobacco legal in California.
The Sacramento Sister Circle mentioned in their 2022 Voter Guide a survey that “e-cigarette use more than doubled among high school students from 2017 to 2019 and tripled among middle school students.” Seventy percent of the teens cited “flavors” for their use.
For decades, we’ve heard about the increased risk of many health problems from tobacco use and secondhand smoke. Kids are drawn to sweet-flavored tobacco products. Nicotine is addictive and flavored tobacco could cause life-long addiction. Also, most tobacco ads heavily target African Americans and people of color who suffer the most disparities from tobacco-related illnesses.
The opposition states that we would lose out on some tax revenue that funds health care, early childhood programs, tobacco control, and medical research with a yes vote. Adults would lose their freedom to legally purchase flavored tobacco products at local locations.
I said earlier that all money ain’t good money. We must protect the next generation as much as possible, understanding that even with a yes vote, parents, teachers, and the community must continue educating about the long-term severe effects of using tobacco products.
That’s my stand on the state propositions. As I said in my previous column, if the government is smart enough to ask for our opinions on Nov. 8, I think we should give them.
— The Vacaville author is a social issues advocate. 2022 Women of the Year Congressional Award Recipient. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org