It's the fourth quarter. Or the ninth inning. Or the last lap.
Whatever the game analogy, we're finally at decision time for the many seats to be filled and propositions to be decided in the Nov. 6 election.
The chart at right is an updated version of the primer we published in August, to try to help voters understand the many state propositions on the ballot. Eleven is not the highest number ever, but it's too many for citizens to have time to research them all. There's a lot of information in the Official Voter Information Guide from the Secretary of State's office, but it isn't all that easy to understand. Also, the Legislative Analyst's Office focuses on the impact on the state budget when reviewing the proposition. While that's useful, citizens also want to know the impact on their lives and their pocketbooks, and that's not so easy to discern. It's made harder by the rampant amount of misleading advertising, so much this year that we would guess some people will just tune it all out and, possibly, not bother voting.
We ran editorials on each of the state propositions and those are still available at www.modbee.com/elections, along with many of the opposing views. More commentaries will be coming in the next two weeks.
We've published dozens of letters to the editor about the election and will continue to accept letters through Friday. Writers are asked to follow all of the normal guidelines for letters, which appear on the adjoining page. Letters that do not contain the writer's full address and phone number will not be accepted; neither will letters that are more than 200 words in length.
The Modesto Bee has focused this year on local and regional races. Here's a recap of the recommendations that we have made to date:
10th Congressional District Jeff Denham
16th Congressional District Jim Costa
5th State Senate District Cathleen Galgiani
12th Assembly District Kristin Olsen
21st Assembly District Adam Gray
While we have not reviewed the needs of the local school districts with bond measures on this ballot, we are concerned that some may be proposing the very expensive capital appreciation bonds that end up costing 10 to 20 times the original amount because of delayed payments and high interest rates. The San Bernardino Sun referred to these bonds as the "buy now and pay way the heck later" approach.
Merced County Treasurer-Tax Collector Karen D. Adams wrote an understandable commentary that appeared in Friday's Bee about these bonds, which county treasurers would like the state to restrict. It appears that school trustees are not always aware of the full, long-term cost of their proposals. If they are, then they are being short sighted because chances are great that school board members in 2035 and beyond will be hampered in what facilities they can build or upgrade because of poor decisions by their predecessors in 2012.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer issued another warning about capital appreciation bonds just this past week. He supports legislation that would limit school bonds to no more than 25 years.
Our advice to voters: Thoroughly investigate any school bond proposals and their true costs before voting "yes."