How I’m Voting on LA’s 2016 Ballot Measures (and Links to Voter Guides)

I fig­ured since I spent some time research­ing and switch­ing between var­i­ous brows­er tabs and devices to under­stand the dif­fer­ent bal­lot mea­sures in this elec­tion, I’d share what I decid­ed. Hope­ful­ly this infor­ma­tion will make it eas­i­er for you to fig­ure out how you’d like to vote!

Dis­claimer: I’m unashamed to say that I con­sid­er myself a social pro­gres­sive vot­er, so that’s going to be the way I slant with my rec­om­men­da­tions.

First, here are the resources that I used:

  • Courage Cam­paign Vot­er Guide—This site’s clever inter­face lets you switch between dif­fer­ent groups to see what posi­tions they endorse on dif­fer­ent mea­sures. They also give good sum­maries of each of the California-specific props.
  • A Berner’s Pro­gres­sive Vot­er Guide—Not the eas­i­est page to view on a phone, but includes endorse­ments from Our Rev­o­lu­tion regard­ing dif­fer­ent offices.
  • LA Times Endorse­mentsLA Times has done some thor­ough cov­er­age of the LA-specific bal­lot mea­sures, as well as writ­ing about the Sen­ate race.

I was able to find posi­tions that agreed with me from all of the above resources. The ones that I got hung up on most were the Los Ange­les Coun­ty bal­lot mea­sures A, M, CC, HHH, JJJ, RRR, and SSS. The word­ing of these props can be quite tricky!

Mea­sures A, M, and CC — Yes. As much as I don’t want to pay more tax­es, these seem like impor­tant city infra­struc­ture and ser­vices to fund.

HHH — Yes. Sup­port seems pret­ty uni­form around this one.

JJJ — No. In short, it seems like it could make actu­al­ly build­ing new hous­ing more expen­sive, which would lead to less con­struc­tion in a time dur­ing which we need more afford­able hous­ing built. 

Also, there are “two smarter afford­able hous­ing pro­pos­als cur­rent­ly being stud­ied at City Hall,” accord­ing to the LA Times.

RRR — Yes. Despite the scary mail­ers call­ing it a “DWP pow­er grab”, it seems like a rea­son­able bit of leg­is­la­tion to nudge LADWP in the right direc­tion. Here’s a salient quote (again from LA Times):

Mea­sure RRR is more like a series of tweaks to the man­age­ment and over­sight of the DWP. Some are nec­es­sary and common-sense changes to help the gen­er­al man­ag­er oper­ate the util­i­ty more effi­cient­ly, and can be done only by vot­er approval. Some are incre­men­tal changes that may or may not help stream­line oper­a­tions. And some are win­dow dress­ings that make the mea­sure seem more con­se­quen­tial than it is. On bal­ance, though, Mea­sure RRR has enough help­ful changes to make it worth­while, and vot­ers should pass it.”

SSS — No. TL;DR: “Police pen­sion Mea­sure SSS rais­es too much doubt to sup­port.

Finan­cial issues aside, of which there are sev­er­al cov­ered in the LA Times piece above, the part that real­ly stuck with me is this:

[In] sup­port­ing Mea­sure SSS, vot­ers may be unwit­ting­ly com­mit­ting the city to a future merg­er of the air­port police and LAPD with­out a prop­er pub­lic dis­cus­sion about whether it would be the right deci­sion for the air­port or the city … But the con­se­quences need to be explored ful­ly before the city heads down that road.

Mea­sure SSS is an incre­men­tal move in that direc­tion, which seems pre­ma­ture. That, com­bined with the cost and the lack of sup­port from the affect­ed offi­cers, is rea­son enough to vote no.

The Psychology of Victim-Blaming

Good read, this piece explores why we (Amer­i­cans espe­cial­ly) are like­ly to blame vic­tims for being vic­tim­ized.

No mat­ter what we want to believe, the world is not a just place. And it takes some dif­fi­cult cog­ni­tive work to accept both that bad things some­times hap­pen to good peo­ple, and that seem­ing­ly nor­mal peo­ple some­times do bad things.”

The Psy­chol­o­gy of Victim-Blaming

Why Do Tourists Visit Ancient Ruins Everywhere Except the United States?

TIL about these amazing ancient ruins that are right here in the USA!

You might suspect that few people visit Cahokia because earthen mounds are not that inspiring (although the Egyptian pyramids are really just piles of rocks). Or because the large pueblos and cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon are remote (although tourists flock to isolated sites like Machu Picchu and the Valley of Kings).

But imagine if the Southeastern United States were today a country inhabited and led by Mississippians whose ancestors had built the earthworks that still dot the region. The Lonely Planet guide to the country of Mississippi would list dozens of operators that led tours of the ancient earthworks, and Cahokia’s ruins would be the can’t-miss attraction.

Excellent Piece from @BrainPicker about the Personal Philosophy of Bruce Lee, Including Never-Before-Seen Writings from the Bruce Lee Foundation

Brain Pickings has an extremely interesting piece about the personal philosophy of Bruce Lee, including exclusive access to materials from the Bruce Lee Foundation.

Below, a set of affirmations or reflections written by Lee on a notecard:

"You will never get any more out of life than you expect

Keep your mind on the things you want and off those you don’t

Things live by moving and gain strength as they go

Be a calm beholder of what is happening around you

There is a difference a) the world b) our reaction to it

Be aware of our conditioning! Drop and dissolve inner blockage

Inner to outer ~~~ we start by dissolving our attitude not by altering outer condition

See that there is no one to fight, only an illusion to see through

No one can hurt you unless you allow him to

Inwardly, psychologically, be a nobody"

TL;DR: Men less likely to make sexist jokes if they think other men disprove

TL;DR: Men make sexist and homophobic jokes to bond with men, and they care about other men's reactions. The effects on women and others are explained in the article.

The male participants were not influenced by whether or not a woman objected to sexist jokes. They were, however, highly sensitive to how they thought another man would react to them, reducing their use of sexist jokes if they thought a man would be object.

What these results show is these jokes appear to have a “male bonding” function – that, primarily, men make such jokes typically to impress other men. Other research has suggested a similar function for homophobic slurs.

TL;DR: You probably have a ‘favorite emotion’ that you often default to, based on your upbringing

I find this article oddly hopeful. I'm certainly going to think about what my 'favorite feeling' might be after reading this… What do you think is yours?

Depending on how we’re raised, each person is infused with a “favorite feeling” that he or she likes to play. This can be anger, guilt, inadequacy, righteousness, etc. While all of us experience different feelings, the dominant and “favorite feeling” is played out more than others and “becomes a sort of conditioned reflex which may persist for the rest of his life.”