Presidential Election 2012: Barack Obama vs. Mitt Romney Who Would You Vote For? Student Response:
Students With Split-Voting Parents:
DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S ON YOUR BALLOT? NOVEMBER 6, 2012
18 16 14
Barack Obama 82% Mi/ Romney 12% Other Party 6%
PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT
8 6 4
BY ALEXANDER LUCKMANN
he Hawk’s Eye sent out a survey about presidential voting to students and faculty at the School. Out of 206 respondents, 82% of students said that both of their parents planned to vote for Obama, 6% for third party candidates, and the remaining 12% for Mitt Romney. 74% said their parents would both vote for Obama, 12% that they would both vote for Romney, 1.5% that they
Student would vote for Obama
would both vote for a third party candidate, and 12% said that their parents were split. This poll underlines the strong liberal leaning at the School, but the turnout for Mitt Romney is higher than many students might expect; this discrepancy is probably a result of the School’s liberal attitude and the fear of Republicans to voice their opinions. The Republican minority at the School is therefore even less visible than it would be in proportion to its relatively small size. More students said they would vote for Mitt Romney than said
Student would vote for Romney
Student would vote for Other Party
both their parents would. This pattern is surprising, since the Republican party tends to be stereotypically associated with older voters. The faculty vote was even more overwhelmingly for Obama than was the student vote. Out of 77 faculty members, only two cast their vote for Romney, as many as voted for a third party candidate. The higher proportion of Democrats among faculty likely reflects how liberal people tend to be attracted to a liberal area, such as the Bay Area.
Should the Death Penalty Be Sent to its Grave? Death Penalty is the Best Deterrent BY NICO DORADO Design Editor
ivilized societies have historically used severe punishment as a deterrent to potential criminals from committing unlawful action. The United States must not be an exception. Since the government’s highest interest is protecting its law-abiding citizens, it must use the strongest deterrent in order to prevent murder, torture, and rape of its residents. That deterrent is capital punishment, more commonly referred to as the death penalty. Would-be murderers must know that they could potentially pay the ultimate price for taking another person’s life. Although, I strongly believe in the death penalty, I disagree with the bloated appellate process, that is the reason why the death penalty has been costly to the American people. The appellate system is widely flawed because death row inmates do not have a time limitation in which they must submit their appeals. This outdated loophole allows inmates to submit frivolous appeals for decades, which backlogs cases, and costs the taxpayers copious amounts of money. I believe in a citizens right to appeal as a part of due process, but there should be a concrete time frame in which convicted felons may appeal their case. Legislators should modify the Sixth Amendment to the Consitution: “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused
shall enjoy the right to a speedy . . . trial . . . .” so the amendment will not only affect the indictment itself, but also the appeal process. It should create a statute of limitations during which death row inmates can submit their appeals. I believe this revision would greatly cut the cost the state pays per death row inmate, and that if the time limitation of say, five years has run out, all other appeals after should be dismissed. Once you put a time limit on the filing appeals, the death penalty would be a financially viable option for the felons that qualify for the special circumstance of capital punishment. Furthermore, the death penalty protects americans as it acts as the ultimate deterrent. Capital punishment serves to deter potential felons as people fear death more than anything else. For years criminologists have analyzed the murder rate in states that have abolished the death penalty and claim they have discovered a negative correlation but have failed to give a plausible causation. As a result, the data is inconclusive. Conversely, many studies have consistently demonstrated a strong link between executions and reduced murder incidents. Isaac Ehrlich, a University of Buffalo Professor, produced results showing that for every inmate who was executed, seven lives were spared because others were deterred from committing murder. We must protect our society and the safety of our citizens by punishing the most horrendous crimes with death.
Killing Criminals is Costly, Risky, Unreliable BY REID SCHNIDER Copy Editor California voters have the opportunity to vote their consciences and their common sense and bring the state’s criminal justice system into the 21st century. Below are three compelling reasons why voters should support Proposition 34 to replace the death penalty with the penalty of life without possibility of parole. 1. The death penalty is exorbitantly expensive. A 2011 study, conducted by U.S. 9th Circuit Judge Arthur L. Alarcon, found that having the death penalty costs California taxpayers $184 million a year more than if the maximum penalty for murder was life in prison. To fully preserve capital punishment and put an end to the climbing cost for infrequent executions, an additional $85 million dollars a year would need to be added to the budget. If the death penalty were to be abolished entirely, it is estimated $1 billion would be saved every five or six years. Proposition 34 redirects some of this money to underfunded law enforcement agencies to help investigate unsolved rapes and murders. We will all be safer if these funds are used to take dangerous criminals off the streets instead of wasting them on death penalty trials and appeals. 2. The risk that an innocent person will be executed is unacceptable. The inevitability of misidentification, mistakes and misconduct means that in-
nocent people will continue to be wrongly convicted of capital murder and sent to death row. We know this happens, because at least 16 people have been released from death rows in the U.S. since 1999, after DNA testing proved they were innocent. The risk that an innocent person will be executed in California is an unacceptable price to pay for any possible benefit of having a death penalty. 3. There is no fair or reliable mechanism for choosing which defendants live or die. The vast majority of murder defendants in California are eligible for the death penalty, yet only a small percentage, are actually prosecuted for capital murder and sentenced to death. At best, this selection process is a fatal lottery operating without a real regard for the severity of the crime itself. Death penalty proponents claim having a death penalty makes us all safer, because it deters people from committing murder. Yet according to Amnesty International (USA) 88% of leading criminologists believe the death penalty has no deterrent effect at all. A vote for Proposition 34 recognizes that whatever is achieved by extinguishing the life of a few murderers, as opposed to locking them in prison forever, is not justified by the exorbitant cost in money, justice, and humanity that the death penalty exacts on all of us. The time has come to abolish the death penalty in California and replace it with life in prison without possibility of parole.
JOSEPH BIDEN for Vice President
MITT ROMNEY for President PAUL RYAN for Vice President
SALES AND INCOME TAX INCREASE INITIATIVE
If this proposition passes, it will raise California’s sales tax by 3.45%. It will also impose a tax rate of 10.3% and up for individuals with incomes higher than $250,000. Revenus will be used to support public schools.
Opponents, including the California Republican Party, argue that there is no way to guarantee that the money would be used for schools. They believe that the Proposition does not reform the education systems enough.
DEATH PENALTY INITIATIVE STATUTE
Opponents point out that the citizens of California already voted for and approved the death penalty via Proposition 7 in 1978. They call for the death penalty and appeal system to be fixed, not thrown away entirely.
CHANGE IN “THREE STRIKES LAW” INITIATIVE
If enacted, this proposition will revise the three strikes law, so that life sentences are only imposed when the convictions are “serious or violent.” According to supporters, it will “make the punishment fit the crime.”
According to Mike Reynolds, author of the original law, and the California Republican Party, the original Three Strikes law passed in 1994 caused crime rates to plummet, and Proposition 36 would reverse that.
MANDATORY LABELING OF GENETICALLY ENGINEERED FOOD INITIATIVE
Proposition 37 would require labeling of raw or processed food made from plants or animals with genetic modified organisms (GMOs). California would join 40 countries around the world that require labels for GMOs.
The proposition has the potential to increase food costs, and, according to opponents, “add more government bureaucracy and taxypayer costs and create new, frivolous lawsuits... without providing any health benefits.”
BY FRANKIE PARIS Spread Editor
alifornia Governor Jerry Brown has proposed a tax plan for voters on this year’s ballot. His plan, Proposition 30, would increase personal income tax on individuals who earn over $250,000 per year for the next seven years. It would increase sales and use taxes by a fourth of a cent for the next four years. 89% of the revenues would fund K-12 public schools, while the other 11% would go to community colleges. The California Democratic Party, the California Teachers Association, and the California State Parent Teacher Association support the proposition. California’s official voter guide states: “Prop. 30’s taxes are temporary, balanced and necessary to protect schools and safety.” Opponents of the proposition include the Califor-
STATE INCOME TAX TO SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION
This proposition would increase state income tax rates for most Californias, increasing revenues by about $10 billion. Most of the revenue would be earmarked for public schools and child development programs.
According to opponents, the presence of the another tax proposition on the ballot decreases the chances of either 38 or 30 passing. They argue that the proposition “pours more money into system that is failing.”
nia Republican Party and Head of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Jon Coupal. Columnist Debra Saunders wrote that she fears the Proposition will “drive golden geese out of the state.” Opponents also point out that, the proposition pass, California would have the highest income tax rates of any state. California Attorney Molly Munger leads the charge for the second tax increase proposition on the ballot, Proposition 38. This proposition would increase state income tax rates for most Californians, resulting in additional revenue of $10 billion per year. This revenue would be allocated towards public school districts and early childhood development programs. Proposition 38 appears to be competing with Proposition 30. California politicians pressured Munger to withdraw her initiative, since having
multiple tax measures on a ballot tends to dramatically increase the likelihood that they will both fail. Nonetheless, Munger has stood her ground. Arguments in favor of the proposition from the voter guide, state that “Proposition 38 makes schools a priority again.” Both the California Republican and Democratic Parties, however, oppose the proposition, as do the supporters of Brown’s proposal. Opponents of 38 argue that the proposition raises income taxes by as much as 21% for anyone who earns more than about $17,500, and that “the politicians and bureaucrats get billions of dollars in new taxes, with virtually no accountability on how the money is spent.”
Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law BY PATRICK TOPPIN Reporter
Proposition 34 would repeal the death penalty and replace it with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. It would create a $100 million fund to help law enforcement agencies solve more homicide cases.
Propositions 30 & 38: The Tax and Education Debate
roposition 36 is one of the many initiatives on the California ballot this election. This proposition, which was put on the ballot by petition signatures, would revise the three strikes law in California. As it stands now, the three strikes law sentences criminals who commit two violent felonies and a third felony of any kind to imprisonment for life. Proposition 36 would change the current law so that a criminal’s third felony would have to be a violent
one for him or her to be sentenced to life in prison. In essence, if this proposition passed, it would change the current law to impose a life sentence only when the third felony is serious. It would also apply retroactively. This would mean that inmates currently in prison with life sentences, who previously committed a nonviolent third felony, would be eligible for resentencing to a shorter term. The inmates who do commit a nonviolent third felony would receive a sentence two times longer than the normal. If the proposition does not pass, the
law will remain the way it currently is. Those who advocate for Proposition 36 claim that it would save between 70 and 100 million dollars annually. Taking into consideration California’s debt and budget issues, the proposition appears to be an efficient way of saving large sums of money. On the other hand, opponents of Proposition 36 argue that the initiative would release people with a history of violent activities onto the streets unsupervised, which could potentially lead to more crime.
Courtesy of the California State Library
Proposition 37: Genetically Engineered Foods BY JULIA O’SULLIVAN Reporter
roposition 37 is the initiative to make the labeling of all genetically enhanced foods mandatory. This proposition ensures that processed foods can never be advertised as “natural,” and narrows down the term “certified organic” to exclude any food products that are at all genetically or unnaturally altered. Over 40 countries already label genetically enhanced foods such as all of the European Union nations, India, and China. Foods that are generally genetically enhanced are corn, soybeans, canola, papaya, sugar beets and zucchini. Proposition 37 does not require the labeling of alcoholic beverages, pet food, restaurant food, or products from animals that have been fed genetically modified foods. The upside to this proposition is that it better educates consumers and supports their right to know what they are buying. Freshman Mika Taga said, “I think its good idea because people need to know if what they are buying is artificial.” Proposition 37 also ensures
that the notoriously sly food corporations become less deceiving. Supporters of the proposition argue that there is a lack of research on the effects of genetically enhanced foods on human health, and that many people have been affected by allergenicity. A disadvantage of the proposition is the financial effect on the state. It is estimated that Proposition 37 will cost $1 million for the state Department of Public Health inspections. Freshman Thomas Harper believes that “anything to increase the knowledge of the consumer is a good thing...I think it is a worthy investment of time and money for the state.” In contrast, French Teacher Stephanie Gee said, “I’m torn because I think that most people can shop smartly and buy from local farmers without costing the state so much. But if people aren’t able to do that, then they probably should know what they are buying.” The Democratic Party supports Proposition 37. The proposition also has the support of Organic Consumers Fund, Dr.
Bronner’s Magic Soaps, and Nature’s Path Foods. The Republican Party opposes the proposition. PepsiCo, CocaCola, General Mills, Nestle, and other large companies also oppose it. They claim that the proposition may increase the cost of food. They also argue that genetically modifying foods does not always have negative effects. In fact, it can be beneficial sometimes. For example, modifying organisms can help increase the nutrition of certain foods. It can also ward off pests during the growing process.
Courtesy of Dr. Laura Lambert Courtesy of ClipArtGuide.com