FROM THIS EPISODE
There are two, starkly different measures concerning capital punishment on Tuesday's ballot. Proposition 62 would repeal the death penalty, and make life without parole California's most severe sentence. Proposition 66 seeks to speed up the process, from conviction to execution.
The latest tally by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority found roughly 47,000 people live on the streets of LA County -- more than half, in the city of LA. Proposition HHH would raise L.A. city property taxes to fund housing and services for the homeless. With that money, city officials estimate they can build between 8,000 and 10,000 units of permanent supportive housing. But should the burden of housing the homeless fall squarely on the backs of city land owners?
As rent prices continues to rise in LA, Measure JJJ, or the "Build Better LA" initiative, seeks to carve out some space for lower-income Angelenos. It would require so-called mega-developers to set aside as much as one-fifth of their new units for affordable housing. It would also require them to hire local, union labor to build these projects. Developers oppose the measure, arguing it does not solve the city's larger problem: a lack of housing, period.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority's recent additions to its train network are proving to be popular, and Measure M would finance the next generation. It would raise an estimated $120 billion over the next 40 years to fund new light rail lines, freeway upgrades and bike paths, among other projects. It would do so by creating a permanent, half cent sales tax, and build on similar tax already on the books. But some local leaders say their communities will never see the money.
US Senator Barbara Boxer is retiring after serving in the upper house for more than two decades. Now two fellow Democrats are vying to replace her: California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Orange County Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez. What sets them apart?
Measure LV - or the LUVE initiative - is on the ballot in the city of Santa Monica. It seeks to curb high-rise development by requiring new buildings, exceeding two stories, to obtain voter approval before construction can begin (with a few exceptions). Proponents say Measure LV will reduce traffic and congestion. But opponents say the initiative takes power away from city planners, and could dissuade developers from building in a city where more housing is sorely needed.
There are roughly 150,000 students enrolled in LAUSD schools that do not speak English as their first language. And some educators say current law is holding many of them back. Proposition 58 would repeal California's 1998 "English in Public Schools" initiative, and allow non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction. Opponents, however, argue the measure would overturn policies that have elevated language instruction in the state.
Ballot initiatives are determined by California voters, but there is a huge amount of money being spent behind the scenes. Big Pharma, Big Tobacco and the plastic bag industry have spent millions of dollars this year on campaign ads seeking to influence votes. KCRW's Warren Olney follows the biggest spenders and what they support.
In many ways, California is a marijuana pioneer. It became the first state in the nation to legalize medical cannabis in 1996. In the years since, however, voter initiatives seeking to legalize recreational use have failed, including in 2010. Proposition 64 would make pot legal, and establish cultivation and sales taxes. Proponents say the measure would bring billions of tax dollars into the state. Opponent fear legal pot could lead to more highway accidents and put small-time pot farmers out of business.
There are 17 statewide propositions on the ballot this year and the topics are wide-ranging. Ammunition restrictions could strengthen California's already strict gun laws. A mandate for condoms could see the porn industry leave. Proposition 57 seeks to ease prison overcrowding by offering more options for early release. How these measures and other will shape California for years to come.