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This is the sixth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

What Proposition 35 Really Does

Proposition 35 is almost certain to be approved by California voters. It bans human trafficking. Who isn't against human trafficking?

But there are actually a number of reasons to vote against Proposition 35.

More below.

Human trafficking is already banned by California law, of course. This is actually kind of obvious; it would have been a really incredible oversight if human trafficking was not previously illegal in California.

What Proposition 35 actually does is that it changes the current law. It increases criminal penalties for human trafficking.

What's wrong with that, you might ask? The vast majority of Californians would support an increase in penalties for human trafficking.

The thing is that the federal government deals with human trafficking, not the state government. The legislative analyst states that:

Currently, human trafficking cases are often prosecuted under federal law, rather than California state law, even when California law enforcement agencies are involved in the investigation of the case. This is partly because these types of crimes often involve multiple jurisdictions and also because of the federal government’s historical lead role in such cases.
That is, because human trafficking often crosses state lines, usually the federal government deals with it. This is why there are only 18 individuals convicted of human trafficking in state prison, as of March 2012.

So this proposition handles something that's not the state's responsibility.

In addition, this proposition mostly deals with something that the typical voter has little knowledge about: proper penalties for criminal activities. Most voters have no idea whether the sentence enhancement of great bodily injury should be six or ten additional years in jail, which is one change this proposition proposes. I certainly don't.

There are people who are qualified to set prison sentences. These are the experts and the lawmakers, who spend their whole lives studying these issues. People like you and me, who just spend a couple of hours (or even worse, seconds) reading about this proposition, are not. Prison sentences for criminal activities are - yet another - activity that would be best left to the legislature to deal with, rather than the broken proposition system.

Why to Vote Against Proposition 35

Proposition 35 sounds great. Punish human trafficking! Let's do it!

But human trafficking is not handled by the state of California - it's handled by the federal government. So Proposition 35 is mostly irrelevant.

Proposition 35 changes prison sentences for human traffickers. But sentences for criminals should be set by the experts and the legislature. They shouldn't be set by voters who have only thirty minutes in the ballot box to vote for ten propositions, half of which they don't understand.

Proposition 35 sounds too good to be true. It is.


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Comment Preferences

  •  there are other reasons to vote no on 35 as well (6+ / 0-)

    1. it adds a provision that requires all registered sex offenders - regardless of the actual offense (statutory rape, indecent exposure, etc.) and how long ago it was - to inform the police of every online account and their password every time they create one, for the rest of their lives. huge civil liberties slippery slope with no justification for casting the net so wide.

    2. this is being funded pretty much completely by chris kelly, the former facebook privacy officer who tried to buy himself the attorney general seat in 2010 before getting beat by kamala harris. tyhis smells of another attempt to springboard himself into a challenge to harris, on the grounds of "i passed this initiative to get tough on child prostitution, vote for me instead of that SF liberal harris." it's a classic CA zillionaire amateur pol campaign strategy, schwarzeneggar did something similar the year before the recall IIRC.

    3. it's sold in such an emotional, sensationalist way, that it totally triggered my bullshit detector. these sorts of initiatives are who CA jails are packed to the gills with prisoners. if this is so needed, it should be easy enough to pass through the legislature, and yet they send it to the voters? gotta be a catch somewhere.

    •  The reasoning... (3+ / 0-)

      Behind the registering all social media / email accounts is because more and more predators are moving online.

      Of course, a continuing sex offender will leave out the ones he uses for such things, unless they're -really- stupid.

      I do agree that it should be sent to the Legislature...  but not for the reason you'd think.  I want to see which of the various idiots in Sac would argue against it.

      You know what, Stuart, I LIKE YOU. You're not like the other people, here, in the trailer park.

      by Mithras Angel on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 12:51:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not all people forced to register (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zack from the SFV

        are active or continuing sex predators, and at any rate none of this has nothing to do with amending existing law on human trafficking. the rewriting of the law to make it all about prostitution, when a huge % of trafficking in CA is about stealing people's wages and coercing them to work for free or criminally low wages for next to nothing by threatening to take their passport or something similar, is especially repugnant, as it would likely hinder prosecution and enforcement of existing trafficking laws, just so chris kelley can look tough without having accomplished anything.

        •  Registration laws can unnecessarily ruin lives (0+ / 0-)

              There are a LOT of people registered as sex offenders because of a situation where an 18 year old guy had consensual sex with his 17 year old girlfriend, the girl's parents found out about it, and filed statutory rape charges.  So just because this guy and his girlfriend became sexually active as teenagers, which is fairly common practice for most American teenagers these days, the guy is branded for life as a sex offender.  For the rest of his life, he'll have trouble getting a job.  He'll have trouble renting a place to live.  If he raises a family, his neighbors and his children's school will receive notifications of his sex offender status and will treat him with suspicion.  And now if this Proposition passes, he'll apparently have to forego all online privacy for the rest of his life, by giving the government access to every email he writes and receives, and every website he visits.  And it will do nothing to prevent the crimes of real sex offenders because those people will simply choose not to comply with the law.  It really seems to me that such punitive, broad-brush Scarlet Letter laws that make people outcasts for the rest of their lives because they made one mistake in their youth only impair these people's ability to be productive members of society, and even increase the probability that they will turn to crime.

    •  Kelly had been stung (4+ / 0-)

      previously by the NY Attorney General's office when they sought to test social media's response to complaints about sexual predators.  As Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer, he failed miserably.  After failing to buy the California Attorney General's office in 2010, this is his newest charade.

      Prop 35 also purports to remove any suggestion that trafficking laws include any reference to coercion, threats, violence, false imprisonment, etc., which has always defined the difference between pimping and trafficking.  It also increases penalties up to and including life imprisonment and adds even more burdens to registered sex offenders.  It's a political campaign just waiting to happen.

      Kelly, with his many millions from Facebook, represents 94% of the funding behind Prop 35.  This is just the latest example of the idiocy of California's Initiative process.

      "He thinks Roe v. Wade is about two guys in a canoe." P. Diller

      by john07801 on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 01:01:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  much more compelling argument than (2+ / 0-)

      the diary's odd "experts should make all laws" argument.

  •  Are you the only person (2+ / 0-)

    who is voting no on both 35 and 36? Kind of a weird combo there.

    "Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the president to explain to us what the exit strategy is." - George W Bush

    by jfern on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 01:24:33 AM PDT

    •  You should vote no on most propositions. (0+ / 0-)

      There are exceptions - you can vote yes on propositions involving moral issues (e.g. the death penalty, abortion) in which a legislator is no more well informed than the average Californian.

      You should also vote yes on propositions on issues which can't be solved through the normal legislative process (e.g. majority vote to pass a budget, independent redistricting commission).

      And of course you should vote yes on propositions solving a crisis (Proposition 30 is a good example of that).

      But on almost everything else you should vote no. The proposition system has done enormous damage to California, especially with the explosion of propositions after the passage of Proposition 13. In general, propositions use a hatchet to do the job of a scalpel.

      by Inoljt on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 03:11:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  whatever happened to (1+ / 0-)

        evaluating each proposition on the merits? As pointed out in a prior comment:

        the diary's odd "experts should make all laws" argument.
        I agree. Legislators are subject all kinds of influences that are not in alignment with the good of society.  As a voter you would have me just say no to most propositions in a kneejerk fashion. Not buying it - I choose to be an informed voter and cast my vote accordingly.

        And then we have logic fail:

        there are only 18 individuals convicted of human trafficking in state prison, as of March 2012. So this proposition handles something that's not the state's responsibility.
        These 18 cases demonstrate that on some occasions it is the state's responsiblity.
  •  good GRIEF! the three strikes law can send (3+ / 0-)

    someone who steals a loaf of bread to prison for life!  that is wrong - and it has happened!

    this should have been changed years ago.  someone who has a felony (many non-violent crimes can be felonies) and a second one, could then be imprisoned for life - no judge's discretion?

    absolutely WRONG!

    vote YES on prop 36!!!

    and, guess what!  on gmo foods - europe already has the regs - we can and SHOULD have that knowledge here!  it is the big agribusiness that is opposed to it.

    YES on 37, as well!

    i'm also voting yes on the two year budget change - i trust jerry brown a helluva lot more than schwarzeneger to et california out of the hole here.


    •  Alright, you go for it. (0+ / 0-)

      by Inoljt on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 03:12:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the two year budget thing's a trojan horse (0+ / 0-)

      designed to prevent the emerging progressive majority in the state leg from spending any extra revenue on any new programs (like state-based single payer health insurance, for example). it is sold with the patina of good government reform, but it's the same anti-tax, anti-spending, anti-democratic corporate types that float a lot of the bad "reforms" in the state.

      jerry brown won't be our governor forever.

    •  our awful county DA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      tried to throw someone in jail for life for stealing a bag of shredded cheese. three strikes is an abomination.

      •  it is used to target minorities and the poor and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wu ming

        the younger set - and it IS an abomination that should have been gone decades ago!

        it's draconian and is opposed by much of the legal profession, from judges to attorneys and more.

        this was the knee jerk way of getting rid of "undesireables" who were in no way a "threat" to the public (like young people selling more than an ounce of pot).  it is a terrible leftover of the drug war and intolerance by the far right.

        •  it's a way of gerrymandering the electorate n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          •  exactly! poor people on probation cannot vote. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            for those who live in poverty with no hope for the future (like the young gang bangers and kids who have been cheated of education and jobs - and turn to the only "job" available (supplying the local college kids with their drugs), they end up in prison.  (disclaimer here: i lived in a city where we SAW the university kids come to "buy" from the poor minority kids who were selling - i talked to some of these kids trying to give them another option - they are so fatalistic about having no future, they have "chosen" to live while they can for however short that time may be).

            most felons are not aware they can petition california to regain their voting rights after they are off probation.  when i was registering voters, i met many people upset they couldn't and were stunned to learn it wasn't permanent (at least here in california).

            sadly, other states have made the disenfranchisement permanent.  i told those on probation that they needed to find TWO friends who weren't going to vote and get them to the polls to be a substitute voice for them!

  •  btw, i read your profile and see you are a (6+ / 0-)

    college student.  as a 67 yr old woman, please trust me on the three strikes law - california prisons have many young people in jail for life over drug possession and drug charges - the prisons are clogged, non violent prisoners are lifers - all because the three strikes law took away a judge's discretion in sentencing.

    PLEASE - for your own generation's sake - vote YES on that proposition!  btw, may youth get caught for dui's - which can be a felony under certain circumstances. "life" is a long time when you are very young -

    •  The profile says "left leaning political (4+ / 0-)


      George Soros dropped $1M to support reforming 3 strikes. NAACP legal defense put a bunch of money in, as did other prominent liberals.

      I always like seeing where the funding comes from on initiatives, pro and con. I make up my own mind, of course, but its good to see who has a vested interest.

      The facts speak for themselves. SCOTUS said CA prisons are overcrowded and CA had to release prisoners. Something reasonable has to be done.

      The diarist is free to post diaries here, of course. But many of the positions MAY not be the most progressive ones to take. Waiting for perfect laws is idealistic. But life perience often teaches that perfect is the enemy of good. And in a state where the legislature doesn't get a lot done, sometimes good is a good starting point.

      © grover

      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 02:44:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The legislature doesn't get a lot done (0+ / 0-)

        because of the proposition system.

        by Inoljt on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 03:18:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Seriously? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, wu ming, edrie, grover

          The legislature doesn't get much done on TAXES because of Proposition 13 and because it doesn't get much done on TAXES it CAN'T get a lot done on anything that spends money. Maybe when we have a 2/3 majority in the State Senate too.

          Your telescope is pointed in the wrong direction, and I'm getting the feeling we're dealing with the Wikipedia phenomenon here -- you know, it's posted at Kos and we think there's some authority behind the post, and there really isn't.

          -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent, and we are all Wisconsin.

          by Dave in Northridge on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 07:00:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  it doesn't get a lot done (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          edrie, grover

          because it needs 2/3 to raise revenue. things that take a simple majority get done all the time, but there's a real problem when you can't pay for programs you propose because 34% of either house of the legislature can veto everything.

          •  True, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wu ming

            But waaaaaaay long ago (you were probably in diapers, if you were even around:  I was in elementary school still), reasonable Republicans like my mom were out there warning/protesting prop 13 because they knew it would strip the state of essential funding to simply educate their kids and patrol their  streets.

            This goes way back before the supermajority. The state has been a fiscal mess since Prop 13.

            Funny thing: my mom has Prop 13 protection on her home. She pays very little in property taxes. But she knows that  Disneyland, IBM, Hilton, and other corporations with their huge properties (which they lease out, if they don't need all the land/improvements, under long-term leases to protect their prop 13 status)

            She'd give it up in a minute. Her grandkids attend the same schools we did. They're simply not the same schools. Funding matters.

            And it's not just schools. The supermajority is a horrible idea, but it may not cripple the state as badly if there were decent income. And then the recession brought the state to a standstill.

            When WA had a rainy day fund during good times, CA was still a fiscal mess.  Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. Their names live in infamy.

            © grover

            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 11:48:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the supermajority requirement was part of prop 13 (0+ / 0-)

              one of the parts noone thought about at the time. same with the supermajority requirements for local school bonds. and yes, i was around then, as a kid. my liberal republican mom stumped vainly around the neighborhood begging our ostensibly liberal democratic neighbors not to mess education up permanently just to skimp on their property taxes. the irony still makes her chuckle darkly.

        •  Yeah, I know. And where's the fix for that?! (0+ / 0-)

          Btw, I didn't vote for that lovely idea. And when I meet people who did, I yell at them. You know who they mostly are? The anti-tax Republicans and Moderates who wanted bipartisan cooperation and agreement in Sacramento.

          What they got is tyranny by the minority.

          Californians, for better or worse, have essentially direct democracy now.

          Dems fought this supermajority screaming that it would tie up the state and make it impossible to govern.

          And here we are.

          © grover

          So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

          by grover on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 11:26:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Yes on 35 and 36 (0+ / 0-)

    Trafficking isn't always a federal issue.  It includes the more mundane pimp-next-door who uses violence to keep a woman (or man, or quite frequently underage minor) on the street turning tricks.  From the victim's point of view, there isn't a lot of difference.  I'm a CPS worker, and I deal with these issues every damned day.  If violent pimps have to register as sex offenders, there's an enforeceable reason to bar them from hanging around schools and group homes, which is where they like to recruit.  It also includes the important, commonsense protection that a trafficking victim can't be prosecuted for acts of prostitution while under control of the pimp/trafficker.  This removes one of the more ridiculous barriers that kept victims from seeking help.

    As for 36, the "3 strikes" law was supposed to be for violent crime.  As the law currently stands, the third strike can be something as small as a theft or drug possession.  Those are not reasons to lock someone up for life.

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Sun Oct 28, 2012 at 08:19:35 AM PDT

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