Guest Commentary

And now, another viewpoint on this year's ballot propositions

On Election Day, we Arizonans will not only be choosing among the many candidates running for office; we'll also be voting up or down on as many as 10 ballot measures. While some are as boring as determining for whom to vote for mining inspector, many are profoundly important and will affect our lives directly for years to come. Vote "yes" on these.

• Proposition 106, the Arizona Health Insurance Reform Amendment. A "yes" vote would bar any Arizonan from being forced into any health-care plan, and it would secure the right of any Arizonan to purchase medical care on a fee-for-service basis. The addition of this amendment to the Arizona Constitution will present a challenge to recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the federal health-care package) which will force people to purchase approved insurance products. So, now the "commerce clause" not only allows the federal government to control everything we do, but it will control us absolutely. Even if you like the federal legislation, a vote for this ballot prop will allow the legal issues to be resolved in court.

• Proposition 107, the Arizona Civil Rights Amendment. A "yes" vote would end discrimination based on race, sex and ethnicity in government at all levels. It is important to understand that "affirmative-action" programs, which will be eliminated under the law, are not "equal-opportunity programs." In fact, they are quite contradictory. The ugly assumption is that some people, by virtue of their race, are inferior to others and are not capable of competing on an equal footing. If you believe that to be true, just do not ask the government to be involved.

• Proposition 113, Arizona Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment. A "yes" vote would require secret ballots for public offices and referenda, and designations of employee representation. This is a nationwide movement inspired by the looming federal legislation known as "card check," which would allow employees to fill out a card to be collected instead of a secret ballot. The purpose of "card check" is to make it easier for unions to organize workers. I am certain that it will make it easier—particularly among employees who do not want union representation. Clearly, the idea is to enable intimidation and cheating by labor unions. Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute makes the point: "'We feel that the secret ballot is absolutely necessary in order to ensure that workers are not intimidated into voting for a union they might not otherwise choose.' So wrote Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) and 15 colleagues in a 2001 letter to the Mexican government. Why then is Miller sponsoring legislation, now the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act, that would eliminate the secret ballot for authorizing union representation in this country?"

• Proposition 203, Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. A "yes" vote would allow Arizonans suffering from certain diseases to use a small amount of marijuana, medicinally, without fear of arrest and prosecution. It is ironic that the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug (morphine, cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II), virtually preventing medical research, then justifies the classification by saying that there is no medical application. So, we are left with measures such as Prop 203 to allow medical use. The bottom line is whether your mind and body belongs to you or to the government.

• Proposition 302, Arizona First Things First Program Repeal. A "yes" vote would repeal the First Things First program, which is an early-childhood-services program, and put its $324 million into the general fund. The money would then be used for "health and human services for children." I will not bother with the argument that parents, not the government, should be raising children. This program did pass as a referendum, so the people do not agree with me. It is strange, however, that this middle-class benefit is funded primarily by taxing lower-income working people through a tobacco tax. This is part two of a plan to balance the budget, the first being the recently passed one-cent sales-tax increase. If Prop 302 fails, the Legislature will cut other child services, some of which might actually help poor children.

This is a fine time to remind everyone that the opinions above are those of the author, and not the Tucson Weekly.

About The Author

Jonathan Hoffman

Jonathan Hoffman moved to Tucson from Connecticut in 1977 and never looked back. He attended the UA, ran for City Council Ward III in 2001, and made regular contributions to the Guest Commentary section of the Tucson Weekly for over five years. He helped launch the Southern Arizona News Examiner. He is a former...
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