My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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my views on California propositions (vote NO on 4 and NO on 8)

Voting is absolutely critical. It’s especially important that youth get out and vote so let me begin by sharing this brilliant video:

Now… with respect to CA state propositions… While voting is a personal act, many people choose to vote based on what those around them are voting. For this reason, I think that it’s important to share your opinions and, as appropriate, research. Thanks to my proposition party, I have a decent sense of all of the different propositions and I thought that I’d share what my ballot will look like on local issues in case this is helpful to those of you who aren’t sure what you’re voting. I’m happy to respond to comments if you’re confused as to why I’m going in certain directions. (As for president, I’m DEFINITELY voting for Barack Obama.)

State Propositions:

  • Prop 1A, Safe Trains: YES!
  • Prop 2, Confining Animals: yes
  • Prop 3, Children’s Hospitals: no (yes if you’re in favor of bond measures)
  • Prop 4, Waiting Period: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!
  • Prop 5, Nonviolent Drug Offenses: still not sure…
  • Prop 6, Police and Law Enforcement: no
  • Prop 7, Renewable Energy: no
  • Prop 8, Definition of Marriage: NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!
  • Prop 9, Criminal Justice System: no
  • Prop 10, Alternative Fuel Vehicles: no
  • Prop 11, Redistricting: torn…
  • Prop 12, Veteran’s Bond Act: YES

Proposition 5 is a bit tricky… It’s based on Prop 36 which is really good and really effective, but it also seems to take the choice out of the hands of judges rather than simply making it feasible for more drug offenders to take the rehab path. Additionally, it seems to re-classify violent criminals as non-violent criminals which I have a mega problem with. I’m leaning towards ‘No’ but still looking for more information.

Proposition 11 is also a bit tricky… It’s generally a good idea, but there are some flaws in the actual proposal. Many Democrats argue that you shouldn’t vote for it because it would weaken the Democratic party. I think that’s a lame reason. That said, the randomness factor to the redistricting proposal worries me. There’s good reason to believe that this will have a negative impact on people of color, communities of interest, and other minorities. I’m leaning towards voting ‘no’ because I’m worried about this, but I am still looking to be convinced otherwise.

Btw, for anyone who looks at Prop 7 and Prop 10 and thinks “weee… better energy” think again. These are really screwed up propositions that look good on surface but actually fuck over progress towards green energy AND make a handful of people shitloads of money, including the sponsors…

And for goddess sake, vote NO NO NO NO NO on Propositions 4 and 8. They are evil, downright evil. Proposition 4 is the third attempt to limit minors from the right to choose without parental consent (even when their parents are abusive). Proposition 8 is an attempt to legalize inequality in the form of banning marriages for loving couples of the same sex.


  • Prop A, Gang & Youth Violence: yes
  • Prop B, Update of Low Rent Housing: yes
  • Measure J, Community College: yes
  • Measure Q, LAUSD: torn…
  • Measure R, Traffic Relief: YES

Regarding Measure Q… I don’t like bond measures at all. That said, our schools are in dire shape. That said, Measure Q doesn’t really address the systemic problems or put structures in place to move forward. That said, our Governator is going to further cripple schools on November 5. Way way way torn.

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10 comments to my views on California propositions (vote NO on 4 and NO on 8)

  • I’m voting for Obama too – by absentee ballot this year. And if I was a California resident I would sooooo be with you on Prop 8. The more loving families we can get in this world the better. If two people of the same sex want to take care of each other and maybe some kids too then why would we stop that?! Let’s hope common sense rules.

  • i’m voting no on all props except 11. i’ve never followed a newspaper’s endorsement before, but the sacramento bee totally convinced me.

    the biggest thing is the cost of so many of these props. how can we even consider spending money on high speed rail when our schools are failing, hospitals crumbling, our roads are the shame of the nation, our colleges are facing more and more cuts… so many of these props will cost us just way too much money. even though prop 5 says it will save us money… it will still cost us more money until it starts actually saving us money and there’s no guarantee that it will save us money. (and i say this as a prisoner’s rights advocate. the cause is laudable. but we’re too far in trouble right now to really consider such measures, i’m afraid)

    anyways, the bee says it all much better than my poor addled mind can try to explain at the moment.

  • i agree with you NONONONONO on prop 4 and NONONONO on prop 8! it makes me glad to know others agree. i’ve been a little depressed about these propositions passing.

  • Danah,

    These get tricky don’t they? Prop 2 seemed obvious… do the right thing for the animals, but then you read sfgate:

    What do you think about that?



  • Dion – there are actually huge problems with cage-free productions that are densely packed, most notably the increased likelihood of the spread of various diseases. It’s interesting… with chickens in food production, there’s actually a lot to be said for caging them. That said, I think that humane caging is necessary if for no other reason than a healthy bird produces healthy meat and eggs. I understand the economic and competitive concerns but I’m watching as more and more states create laws like this and the cost of shipping from other states (thanks to gas and refrigeration) means that in-state competition is not going to be strong. As for CA’s ability to export… unclear. But I think that we should be a leader in this and I’m still very much in favor of this change.

  • maria

    I am a babyboomer, and my voting checklist, here in California, matches yours! At first, I wasn’t sure about Prop 2, but after reading about the issue in the New York Times Magazine, I changed my mind.

  • bobentin

    For those of you living in LA County, please, please vote yes on Measure R. We absolutely need the projects that this will fund, including the Wilshire Subway and various other rail lines around the county. Many of the opponents are only bitter that their line to Montclair doesn’t get a very high priority. Also, those of you living in Santa Clara County, vote no on measures B, C, and D. B is a tax for the sole purpose of running BART, which almost certainly won’t be enough to actually run it, and building it will likely bankrupt the VTA. I’m also very ambivalent about the High Speed Rail plan, because it’s made by the same set of politicians who have been running San Jose’s transit planning process.

  • Kethryvis

    bobentin, re: measure b in santa clara county… i live in san jose. b does raise the sales tax here, but *only* if we secure state/federal matching funds to build the bart extension. if the funds don’t come through (and there is no guarantee they will especially in this current financial climate), the sales tax hike won’t go into effect. also, measure b is for bart only… vta won’t be building the bart extension, nor will they be running it. so vta is really not part of the equation here in the long run. the only reason they are is because they can put tax measures on the ballot here, bart can’t.

    measures c and d do not raise taxes, and don’t really have to do directly with the bart extension.

  • bobentin

    VTA will be paying to run the BART extension. Santa Clara County is not, and will not be part of the BART district, so BART demands that the VTA pay them to run trains to Santa Clara, which seems like a reasonable enough arrangement, but BART is pretty expensive to run. And the VTA intends to pay for the extension, at least within the county, of course with federal and state matching funds, though if you read the ballot language, the matching funds only have to be 1 billion, while the extension will cost somewhere around 6 billion (for which price, they could have paid for their share of caltrain electrification 20 times over). And I don’t think that it’s such a great idea to tax EVERYONE just so that a few people from Fremont and Hayward can get to Downtown San Jose faster, when there are so many better uses for the money. Also, this measure was effectively written by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
    Measures C and D don’t raise taxes, but one of them does ask you to approve a plan that you’ve never seen and that the VTA doesn’t intend to show you until you’ve approved it.

  • I wasn’t sure about Prop 5 either but then I read this post which convinced me to vote YES on Prop 5.