Friday, September 22, 2017

Intelligence Authorization Act Vetoed by Clinton

Proponents of the Intelligence Authorization Act were sent into an uproar this week after President Clinton vetoed the controversial piece of legislation. After a difficult process of deliberation, Clinton vetoed the act to the chagrin of authorities such as Janet Reno and organizations such as the CIA. However, Clinton's action champions the right of free speech and the right of the press to keep the public informed.

The Intelligence Authorization Act itself seems ordinary. It is fiscal in nature -- legislation authorizing the distribution of funds to various governmental intelligence agencies for 2001. Buried within it, though, is an ""anti-leak"" clause, so termed because it makes the leaking of classified information by a government official a felony punishable by three years in prison.

Current law criminalizes the leaking of defense-related classified information and other types of highly sensitive information related to national security. The Intelligence Authorization Act's clause would have created sweeping changes with the potential to impinge free speech.

For one, the broad nature of the clause's language caused confusion among members of Congress, proving that it would be difficult to enforce. Confusion ensued in Congressional debates as to whether the clause would be applicable to members of Congress themselves, and whether those who benefit from the information leaked would be subject to persecution.

It is not difficult to see why this aspect of the clause would be a matter of concern to those with a vested interest in protecting free speech. The editors of the New York Times and the Washington Post sent letters to Clinton,urging him to veto the legislation. Critics of the act recognized immediately that it would have been an attack on the roots of democracy to leave the press susceptible to persecution for informing the people.

The clause's broad language also caused legislators to wonder if its wording would allow the Executive Branch free reign to determine what denotes ""classified"" information.

Unlike previous provisions, the Intelligence Authorization Act's clause does not specifically state that matters such as Executive Branch gaffes cannot be classified. If the clause had become law, a president with a pernicious past could have exploited its harsh penalties to his advantage: Imagine what would happen if a president were to classify a major flub, only to prosecute the government official who leaked it to the press.

The term ""classified"" would no longer denote a status of secrecy for the protection of the nation -- it would come to mean anything that a department or a high-ranking official did not want known publicly.

Even those who favored the act's passage did not jump to conclude that it would result in a tighter seal around matters of sensitivity. Last week Reno was asked at a news conference how the act would assist the prosecution of those who leak classified information, as there are so few cases of such prosecution now.

""I don't think there is a reluctance to prosecute the person who leaks information,"" Reno replied, ""but finding that person while at the same time honoring the First Amendment interests of the media is a very difficult task."" Thus Reno did not assert that the clause would result in more prosecutions.

Though it may be naive, it is reasonable for an employer to expect that his employee will be faithful and truthful. In most cases this is for the good of the company as a whole. In government, the situation functions differently: Though a breach of trust can harm the nation, it is imbued with the potential to affect the nation positively as well.

Experience tells us that leaks to the media, even of ""classified"" information, do more good than harm. The most prominent examples of this are the cases involving the Pentagon Papers and, of course, the Watergate scandal. No one can deny the significance of these two events in shaping the public's consciousness on issues they should have known about.

The government should expect fealty from its employees, but people should also expect the truth from their government. As we cannot generally rely on our government to keep us informed of issues that can affect us greatly, the importance of the media's ability to do this becomes tantamount.

It remains to be seen whether the Intelligence Authorization Act is gone for good. Its critics and its proponents alike are vehement, but its critics may prove to be the stronger side. If so, it can only be hoped that our next president will have the clarity of mind to recognize the legislation for what it is -- an attempt to restrict the rights guaranteed to the people and the press.

Transportation Department Lacks Humor

Apparently, the UCSD transportation department has lost its sense of humor.

Last week, it informed Debbie Evans, a shuttle driver, that she is no longer allowed to act like a pirate on her shuttle.

Since the beginning of the school year, when she started her shuttle-driving career, Evans has worn a red bandanna, an eye patch (not over any eyes, of course), and occasionally a fake hook or parrot while on the job. She had greeted passengers with an occasional ""Ahoy, matey!"" or ""Arrrggg!"" mixed in with the standard ""Hello.""

In doing this, Evans livened up the atmosphere on the Regents East shuttle, amusing some, if not all of the passengers.

Even the ones who didn't find her funny didn't complain about it; Evans was not reprimanded because of any customer complaints.

Her superior's decision to ban the pirate act came after other shuttle drivers complained that it was ""unprofessional.""

While I respect the right of Shuttle Operations to set standards for its employees and to enforce them, in this case it has made a poor decision.

There are no rules prohibiting shuttle drivers from attempting to entertain their passengers. In her act, Evans did not put anyone in danger, nor did she do anything to make her passengers doubt her ability as a driver.

Her actions may have been, as the other drivers say, ""unprofessional,"" but I don't think that the word is very well-applied to the profession of shuttle driving.

If it were truly a professional situation requiring a professional demeanor, shuttle drivers would likely be prohibited from playing their own music, talking to friends while they drive, and waving at each other all the time.

If this were an issue of safety, I would be the first to support the transportation department. Last year, a driver on the shuttle out to East Parking bothered me not because of his appearance or his greetings but because of his total lack of safe driving skills.

There were more than a few times on that shuttle where I expected it to tip over going around a curve.

I don't know about you, but I'll take a talkative pirate over a threat to my safety any day. Perhaps the transportation department should worry less about the acting skills of its employees and more about their ability to drive.

This is much less a case of safety or of professionalism than it is a case of wanting to preserve the status quo. Evans' co-workers and superiors, faced with an expression of individualism they hadn't seen before, decided to reject it as different instead of judging it at face value.

From what I have been told by Evans and by the Transportation Office, this issue is still unresolved.

Evans retains her desire to brighten up the mood on the shuttle with her rendition of ""Yo ho, yo ho,"" and her superiors are still stopping her from doing so.

I personally am saddened by this because I'm tired of being bored on the shuttle.

UCSD is not the most exciting school in the world, and we should be doing all that we can to support a little bit of diversity and individuality.

If you share my sentiments and would like to see the reappearance of Pirate Debbie on the shuttle system, please call Shuttle Operations at (858) 534-6282 to voice your opinions.

You do have a say on your campus.

Props & Flops

Thumbs up to no more political advertisments bombarding us when we want to watch television in peace.

Thumbs down to nonvoters. Your vote could have changed the course of the nation.


Vincent Gragnani, Editor in Chief
Bill Burger & Alison Norris Managing Editors
Jeffrey White, Copy Editor
Tom Vu, Opinion Editor
Lauren I. Coartney, News Editor
Robert Fulton, Sports Editor
David Pilz, Photo Editor

Voter information guides are meant to be informative, not misleading. Last week, the UCSD College Democrats distributed a voter guide on campus, listing their endorsements for various positions and propositions.

We at the Guardian, however, find the guide grossly misleading. The front of the guide says, ""UCSD Student Voter Guide, Election Day, November 7th 2000"" and includes an official UCSD logo.

The logo, which abstractly resembles Geisel Library, is generally used side-by-side with the name UCSD. We feel that it was misused, leading students to believe that the guide was prepared by the university or the A.S. Council.

The back of the guide includes endorsements, listing and endorsing the Democratic candidates for president, U.S. senator, U.S. representative, state senator and state assembly. It also made recommendations on the eight propositions. ""Paid for by UCSD College Democrats"" is printed at the very bottom of the endorsements, as well as a Web address for the College Democrats.

The Guardian feels that the College Democrats should not mislead students. ""UCSD Student Voter Guide"" is extremely vague, and the name does not even offer students a hint that the guide was paid for by a partisan student group.

The front of the voter guide should have been appropriately labeled, making it clear that the guide was put out by the UCSD College Democrats, and not made or paid for by the university.

Others apparently felt the same way.

On election day, members of the UCSD College Democrats passed out their voting recommendations, this time with the name of the organization handwritten on the top of the front of the guide. We appreciate their straightforwardness in making the correction, but feel they should not have tried to get away with the original flyer in the first place.

The United States Student Association, on the other hand, distributed a more appropriate student voter guide, one that the College Democrats should have emulated. The name of the organization is printed on every page of the guide, including the front. It did not mislead, nor misrepresent anyone. The Guardian applauds USSA for making an effort to inform students in an honest way.

Dead Heat Election Unneccesary in Light of Gore's Advantages

At 9:10 p.m. Tuesday, George W. Bush and Al Gore were tied in Electoral Votes, at 242 each. Bush had won Arkansas and its six votes while Gore won Washington with it's 11 votes. As Brian Williams from NBC so eloquently put it: ""They don't get any deader than this dead heat."" Even though the presidential election has yet to be decided, this article will look at some interesting aspects of the race and some trends that it revealed.

In the next couple of days, everyone, from the media to political analysts to the loser of this election, will be asking him- or herself: Why is this election so close?

It is even tighter than the 1960 elections between Nixon and Kennedy, to which this election is continuously juxtaposed. Everyone had predicted a close election but did it really need to be this close?

The answer is: No.

This was not an election that had to be forced down to the wire as it currently is.

Not to take any credit away from Bush if he is declared the winner, but this is an election that Gore should have won, hands down.

This nation is only now coming out of the economic boom that the Clinton-Gore administration overlooked. True, they had little to do with moving the nation into the New Economy, but, as proved by voter preferences throughout numerous elections, this matters little.

As long as the people live in prosperous economic times, they vote, in their minds, to keep the good times rolling. Being vice president, Gore automatically inherited this from Bill Clinton.

Second, the United States is at peace. Obviously there are still terrorist nations, but America is not involved in a war while entering this election.

When Nixon won the presidency in 1968, the nation was torn by the Vietnam War. Gore and Bush, and thankfully America, are not faced with this situation.

As a result, there is no excuse for the election to be as close as it is. If Bush is declared the winner, it is because Gore gave him that opportunity.

What about the Nader effect? It is obvious to anyone that looks that the popular votes in the close states that Nader changed the outcome.

If even one-half of the votes in Florida that went to Nader went to Gore, the state would have tipped to Gore's favor. As Lawrence O'Donnell, a commentator, said, ""If George Bush wins Florida, the first phone call he needs to make is to Ralph Nader to thank him.""

However, this goes back to the earlier argument: Gore had the opportunity to pull ahead but did not take advantage of it. He had the money and he knew far enough ahead the trouble that Nader presented. Because he did not act, someone else will determine his political future.

What does this presidential election show about the national trends?

Considering how the senatorial races are developing, with the possibility of having a 50-50 split, it means the nation is decidedly moderate.

Though Republicans still, surprisingly, hold the House, it is with a much slimmer majority. Americans have converged to the center. Consider the past few presidential and midterm elections.

The last time we had a unified government was in 1992. Since then, Americans have divided the government between the two parties. With each election, the number of seats that the majority Republicans held has slowly shrunk.

Now, the difference in the House is less than a dozen and there is a possibility that the Senate will be evenly split down the middle, leaving the deciding vote to the vice president, whomever that may be. This would be the first time since 1882 that something like this happened.

As unified as this nation may seem in her politics, one look at the electoral map shows how differently one American views the candidates than the other. Down the middle of the nation: Bush Red. On the coasts: Gore Blue. While Americans may be moderate, each American's view of what, and who, is moderate varies greatly.

Some consider Gore and his New Democrats as centrists. Others view Bush and his compassionate conservatism to be the middle.

This presidential election indicates the cultural and regional differences of the nation. ""Starbuck's vs. Dunkin' Donuts,"" as CNBC commentator Chris Matthews calls it.

What will this mean for America? The next president can win the elections without winning the popular vote, something that has happened only three times in the history of the United States. Will the Electoral College be scrapped? Will a dead man be elected to the Senate? Only time will tell.

Until then, sit tight; we're in store for a wild ride.

2000 ELECTION Guide

The views expressed in this section represent a majority vote of the editorial board. The editorial board consists of Vincent Gragnani, Editor in Chief; Bill Burger and Alison Norris, Managing Editors; Jeffey White, Copy Editor; Tom Vu, Opinion Editor; Lauren I. Coartney, News Editor and Robert Fulton, Sports Editor. The endorsements are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff.

or the position of President of the United States, the Guardian editorial board endorses Texas governor and Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush. This endorsement meant different things to different editorial board members, with some asserting an affinity for Bush's plans and record, while others put forth their endorsement strictly as a vote for the lesser of two evils.

The jewel in the crown of Bush's record in Texas is his history of reforming defunct school systems and the equitable way in which he has made these changes. When Bush took office in Texas, children in his state ranked close to the bottom in every educational category, including being rated 51st in the nation, behind Puerto Rico, in many. Since his election, Texas students have made greater strides in reading and mathematics than any other state in the nation.

Bush's plan for the country's education reform includes giving public schools a finite amount of time to make strides toward improvement. If schools do not show this improvement in a certain period of time, the parents of the children who go to these schools will be given the option to send their children to another public school. Bush also wants to move education control to a local level to avoid bureaucracy. Unlike Gore, Bush gives the school districts the power to decide what to spend their funds on. Gore uses a formula that, in our opinion, is too inflexible to be effective.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Texas' educational reform under Bush is the manner in which it has undergone those reforms. Improvement in reading and mathematics has keyed Texas' overall improvement, with African-American and Hispanic children showing the biggest improvements. These improvements to minority education levels show the importance Bush puts on equality, something that most members of his party do not, and something that the Guardian feels is of utmost importance.

The Guardian also feels that Bush's tax plan is one of great forethought. He calls for a tax cut across the board, putting more money back into the pockets of the people and bolstering consumer spending. His plan does not ""squander"" the surplus, as some allege. Rather, he plans to return one-quarter of the surplus to the taxpayers that earned it.

Although Gore has attacked Bush for allegedly planning tax cuts for the richest Americans, further inspection of the Bush tax plan shows that the rich receive the smallest percentage cut, while the majority of the cut goes to the poorest Americans. About six million of America's poorest families will have their taxes completely alleviated under Bush's plan.

Tax cuts of this nature have historically been shown to kick off economic booms, with Lyndon B. Johnson's original 30 percent tax cut standing out above the others. Many point to President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts and the deficit they allegedly caused. On the contrary, Reagan's cuts did not cause the deficit; his exorbitant defense spending, something that Bush does not endorse, caused it.

One thing that seems to separate Bush from the other members of the Republican party, a group whose candidates rarely get the endorsements of news publications, is his desire to make Washington a bipartisan place. Currently, partisan politics dominate legislative action, frustrating Americans to the point of exhaustion. In Texas, Bush worked with Democrats to institute tax cuts and overhaul the defunct Texas educational system. We are not naive enough to believe that he can be as successful at breaking down party lines in Washington as he was in Austin, but any attempt to destroy these seemingly indestructible barriers would be good for Americans.

Although Ralph Nader, the Green Party's presidential nominee, brings a breath of fresh air to this campaign, the Guardian feels that he is a one-dimensional candidate lacking expertise broad enough to run the most powerful nation in the world. We could not endorse Nader for the post of president in good faith.

Gore is the other major choice in this election. He has been a proponent of the environment since his time in Congress, so if the health of the environment is of primary concern, looking further into Gore's credentials would be warranted. However, the Guardian feels that his strong environmental record does not come close to making up for his shortcomings.

Gore will say anything and everything he can to try to sway the vote in his direction. From the well-publicized ""I invented the Internet"" quote to a claim that he did not know that a trip to a Buddhist temple was a fund-raiser, Gore has lied throughout the campaign in order to attempt to win votes.

The Guardian believes it is time for this deception to come to an end. Perhaps it is naive to believe that Bush will be any more honest or uphold the integrity of the office of president. It is impossible to know how Bush will react if he is voted into office, but the Guardian editorial board believes that this chance is one worth taking.

The post of president of the United States was never intended to be so glorious and powerful that people would say or do anything to get there. It was intended to be a representative post of the thoughts and beliefs of the American people. George Washington was elected not because he lied to mix up the issues at hand, but because the people believed him to be the best man for the job.

Gore wants to be president too badly. In the process of striving for it he has alienated the people whom he is relying on. This was the primary reason the Guardian was unable to support the vice president, and instead supports his opponent, George W. Bush.

House of Representatives: tied

The views expressed in this section represent a majority vote of the editorial board. The editorial board consists of Vincent Gragnani, Editor in Chief; Bill Burger and Alison Norris, Managing Editors; Jeffey White, Copy Editor; Tom Vu, Opinion Editor; Lauren I. Coartney, News Editor and Robert Fulton, Sports Editor. The endorsements are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff.

California State Assemblywoman Susan Davis is the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray in the race for the 49th Congressional District, which surrounds the UCSD campus.

The contest between these candidates is being closely watched by both parties, as Bilbray's last Democratic challenger, Christine Kehoe, lost by a narrow margin in 1998, earning 46.6 percent to Bilbray's 48.8 percent.

The 49th's swing-district status is further confirmed by the fact that it encompasses voters with a wide array of political ideologies -- its borders encompass everywhere from traditionally conservative areas such as La Jolla and Coronado to traditionally liberal cities like Pacific Beach and Imperial Beach.

This year, our diverse district deserves the change it so clearly indicated it was ready for in the Kehoe-Bilbray election of 1998. Davis' refreshing, informed and well-balanced opinions on the main issues prove that she would serve as an outstanding representative of this multifarious district.

It is Davis' legislative record in the state Assembly that proves her unwavering dedication to improvements in education. She has authored legislation to decrease eighth grade class sizes to 20 students and to raise minimum standards for retaining teachers. Furthermore, she was named 1999 Legislator of the Year by the League of Middle Schools and has twice been honored as Legislator of the Year by the California School Boards Association.

On health care, Davis again has an intensely attractive record. For example, she authored a bill -- which then-Gov. Pete Wilson signed into law -- that allows women to access obstetric/gynecological care without first having to attain approval from gatekeepers. Her bill was the only piece of health care legislation that Wilson signed into law while in office. In addition, Davis' bills have supported patients' rights to privacy and the right to obtaining a second opinion. Equally important in this election is Davis' consistent support for abortion rights.

Davis' stance on crime also shines. For example, she supports programs such as the Community Oriented Policing program, which is designed to help put more police officers on the nation's streets. She also participated in securing funding for after-school programs that target juvenile violence. Additionally, Davis supports hate crimes legislation.

Regarding environmental concerns, which some tout as an issue on which Bilbray cannot go wrong, Davis is a serious candidate, unbiased by special interests. She received a 100 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters and was named a ""Friend of the Environment"" by the Sierra Club.

By and far, Davis has proven her ability to lead the changing, growing populations of the 49th Congressional District while serving in the state assembly. For her outstanding and impressive record on education, health care, and other key issues, the Guardian endorses Davis and encourages voters to pay close attention to her exciting campaign in the closing days of the race for the 49th.

United States Senate Tom Campbell

The views expressed in this section represent a majority vote of the editorial board. The editorial board consists of Vincent Gragnani, Editor in Chief; Bill Burger and Alison Norris, Managing Editors; Jeffey White, Copy Editor; Tom Vu, Opinion Editor; Lauren I. Coartney, News Editor and Robert Fulton, Sports Editor. The endorsements are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff.

The Guardian endorses Rep. Tom Campbell for the U.S. Senate. Completing his term in the House as a representative of California's traditionally moderate Silicon Valley, Campbell is a socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republican who is not afraid to buck the party line.

Campbell, like his opponent Sen. Dianne Feinstein, is a committed advocate for women. He completed his doctoral dissertation at the University of Chicago, writing on how women earn less than men in the federal government, and he served on the White House Task Force on Women.

Campbell advocates abortion rights. He firmly supports the Roe v. Wade decision and opposes its reversal in the Supreme Court or by means of a constitutional amendment.

Campbell also has always been a supporter of clean air and water. He voted to protect the Land and Water Conservation Fund, opposes oil exploration and drilling off California's coast, and was ranked No. 1 in Congress by Green Scissors for cutting the budget in ways that helped the environment. He supports research of cleaner burning fuels and less dependence on crude oil.

Campbell is for local control of education and for giving vouchers to the 10 percent of California's students in the worst-performing schools to attend nondiscriminating private schools. He is also in favor of the expansion of California's charter school system.

In contrast with Feinstein, Campbell has taken great care in spending taxpayers' money.

In the most recent ratings by the Citizens Against Government Waste, Campbell was awarded the status ""Taxpayer Hero,"" its highest category. The same organization rated Feinstein as ""Taxpayer Hostile,"" its lowest category.

The National Taxpayers' Union rated Campbell the member of Congress least willing to spend taxpayers' money in 1992, 1997 and 1999. Last year, Feinstein was No. 2 in the Senate in willingness to spend money.

Campbell supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution mandating that the federal government maintain a balanced budget.

During her 1992 Senate campaign, Feinstein promised she would vote for a balanced-budget amendment -- and did, when Democrats controlled the Senate and the amendment had no chance of passage.

When Republicans took over in 1995, Feinstein switched her vote on the amendment, claiming it needed language to ""protect Social Security,"" even though the version for which she had previously voted had no such language.

Campbell opposes partisanship and has voted for a balanced-budget amendment every time it has come up in Congress, no matter which party happened to be in control.

Campbell wants drastic reform of the bloated, unfair and loophole-laden income tax system.

He recommends immediately cutting the capital gains tax in half. By nature, the capital gains tax discourages the selling of assets that have appreciated in value such as homes, real estate and stock. Historically, every capital gains tax cut has resulted in increased economic activity that has more than paid for the cost of the tax cut itself.

Campbell voted to repeal the unfair marriage penalty and death tax. He supports permanent research and development tax credits that allow companies to write off a certain amount of their research and development expenditures. This gives American companies incentive to continue to develop new technologies that will keep the United States at the forefront of innovation, keeping our economy rolling in the future.

The Guardian feels that Campbell is the kind of thoughtful, no-nonsense representation California deserves in the Senate.

Although Feinstein has long been an admirable fighter for women, her wildly exorbitant spending tendencies and partisan behavior, and Campbell's own commitment to women, make Campbell, in the opinion of the Guardian, the correct choice.


The views expressed in this section represent a majority vote of the editorial board. The editorial board consists of Vincent Gragnani, Editor in Chief; Bill Burger and Alison Norris, Managing Editors; Jeffey White, Copy Editor; Tom Vu, Opinion Editor; Lauren I. Coartney, News Editor and Robert Fulton, Sports Editor. The endorsements are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff.

San Diego Mayor: Dick Murphy

The Guardian endorses Judge Dick Murphy for San Diego mayor. His environmental record, plans for traffic management and overall vision for San Diego makes him the most qualified candidate.

He has laid out a specific traffic plan combining wider freeways with an expanded mass transit system.

Murphy's opponent, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, has ideas similar to Murphy's. However, he is a career politician, and we feel San Diego needs someone with a clear vision for San Diego that extends beyond the next election.

California State Senate: Dede Alpert

The Guardian believes State Sen. Dede Alpert, a proponent of education and transportation solutions while in the State Senate, deserves to be re-elected.

As senator, Alpert has helped to develop a new Master Plan of Education framework. She also fought for lower electricity rates in San Diego over the summer.

We believe that her opponent, Judge Larry Stirling, does not have the wide-ranging vision for our city and state that Alpert has. We therefore endorse Dede Alpert for the 39th district of the State Senate.

California State Assembly: Christine Kehoe

The Guardian endorses City Councilwoman Christine Kehoe for State Assembly. Kehoe has a strong educational and environmental record, and supports a variety of solutions to our traffic problems, including increased mass transit. Kehoe is also a strong proponent of gun control.

Kehoe's opponent, Michele Nash-Hoff, has very specific plans, but the Guardian feels the issues Kehoe addresses are more crucial to San Diegans, and endorse Kehoe for the 76th district of the State Assembly.


The views expressed in this section represent a majority vote of the editorial board. The editorial board consists of Vincent Gragnani, Editor in Chief; Bill Burger and Alison Norris, Managing Editors; Jeffey White, Copy Editor; Tom Vu, Opinion Editor; Lauren I. Coartney, News Editor and Robert Fulton, Sports Editor. The endorsements are not necessarily those of the UC Board of Regents, the ASUCSD, nor the entire Guardian staff.

Veterans' Bond
Prop 32: Vote Yes

The Guardian endorses Proposition 32, the Veterans' Bond Act of 2000. Sponsored by Gov. Gray Davis, the bond act would approve $500 million in low-cost, low-interest home and farm loans for Californian veterans. The loans are aimed at California's Vietnam veteran population.

Despite recent criticism of California's Department of Veterans Affairs by two state watchdogs which stated that the department is grossly inefficient and is not offering attractive loan programs, the Guardian believes recent major reforms to the department are moving it in the right direction.

Supporters say the program is self-sufficient, with bonds being solely funded by the vets themselves with their mortgage payments. Without the passage of the bond issue, Cal-Vet loan programs will run out of funding by 2002.

The Guardian feels we owe it to our veterans to compensate them for interrupting their lives and risking life and limb for their country. All too often, veterans of war have a difficult time readjusting after war, and they deserve all the help they can get.

With low-interest loans with low down payments, more of them will be able to afford homes, and many would be able to afford better homes in safer neighborhoods.

With the armed forces increasingly struggling to meet recruitment goals, it does not help to see war veterans and their families living in unsafe neighborhoods, unable to afford homes. Therefore, the Guardian believes it is essential for morale and recruitment numbers that we treat our veterans like the heroes they are, and help them to improve their lives and the lives of their families

Legislative Retirement
Prop 33: Vote Yes

The Guardian endorses Proposition 33, which would allow members of the state legislature to receive the same retirement benefits as part of the Public Employees Retirement System as any other state employee, without any additional perks. If passed, the proposition would provide incentive for ordinary citizens to serve in the legislature.

Proposition 33 would also reverse aspects of Proposition 140, passed by California voters in 1990, to discourage career politicians. Proposition 140 enacted term limits of six years in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate, and also excluded members from receiving pension through PERS.

Legislature members should receive the same benefits as other state employees. Retirement benefits should not be considered a ""perk;"" they should be considered a privilege that every state worker has the right to take advantage of.

Opponents of Proposition 33 argue that legislative members receive $99,000 salaries and should invest in a 401K on their own instead of receiving what opponents feel to be underserved benefits.

Although Assembly members serve only six years, they may serve up to 14 if they also serve in the Senate. This is a long time to go without accruing basic retirement benefits.

Through the plan, legislature members would get benefits according to standard procedure. They may opt to set aside up to 5 percent of their paycheck. If the investment portfolio does well, members will receive interest. If it stays the same, the member's 5 percent will be matched.

The costs to the state are relatively low, expected to weigh in at just $1 million. The measure would also eliminate the $121 members receive per day to cover personal expenses, which add up to approximately $25,000 in tax-free money per year.

Giving members of the legislature a pension instead of play money is a more sound approach to taking care of their financial needs.

In addition, a vote against Proposition 33 will most likely mean that few but the rich will be able to hold a job in the legislature. Most members are part of a retirement plan with their existing job before they come to serve on the legislature and must forfeit up to 14 years of benefits. Public office holders should not have to do this.

The Guardian endorses Proposition 33 because it is not about further accommodating members of the legislature, but rather, about treating them the same as everyone else.

Campaign Finance
Prop 34: Vote No

Sen. John McCain from Arizona campaigned hard for the issue of campaign finance reform while he was running for president. Proposition 34 brings campaign finance reform to the forefront in California. While the proposition has good intentions, the details show the inadequacies of Proposition 34. Therefore, the Guardian cannot endorse this proposition.

Briefly, Proposition 34 would set limits on the amounts individuals and companies contribute to state politicians' campaigns. The limit of $6,000, primary and general elections combined, for legislative candidates would be implemented with the 2002 elections. A limit of $40,000 will be set for each election cycle for gubernatorial candidates and limits of $10,000 per election cycle will be imposed on all other statewide elections, such as Treasurer and Secretary of State.

While Proposition 34 looks attractive standing alone, compared to an earlier campaign finance reform proposition, Proposition 208, it is much weaker.

Proposition 208 is much more stringent with the imposed limits -- $2,000 each election cycle for statewide candidates and $1,000 each election cycle for legislative candidates who agree to limit their overall campaign spending. If passed, Proposition 34 would nullify the earlier Proposition 208.

Another argument against Proposition 34 is that it does nothing to stem the flow of soft money. Soft money is a contribution made to a political party and then distributed to the candidates of the same political party. Considered a loophole in current campaign finance laws, soft money unlimited and unregulated and is the main problem facing campaign finance.

Proposition 34 does not supply the type of campaign finance reform that California needs. It nullifies the earlier, more stringent Prop. 208 (still battling through the State Supreme Court) and does not address the huge problem of soft money. For these reasons, the Guardian opposes Proposition 34.

Public Works Projects
Prop 35: Vote Yes

The Guardian supports Proposition 35, a measure that would allow the state to contract with private entities to provide architectural and engineering services in the construction of public works projects. The measure imposes a competitive selection process in awarding engineering and architectural contracts.

Currently, services provided by state agencies generally must be performed by state civil service employees. Contracting to private firms is only allowed if services are of a temporary nature, not available within the civil service, or are of a highly specialized or technical nature. This measure would allow the state government to contract construction-related projects in any case, rather than just on an exception basis.

The Guardian supports this measure because we do not believe the government should have a monopoly. California has serious traffic problems, and when the government decides to expand our infrastructure, there is often a backlog of projects. CalTrans cannot do it all alone.

When there is a short-term surge in construction activity, contracting for services could be faster than hiring and training new employees. While the fiscal impacts to the state are unknown, we believe that this new competition will save the state money.

We are frustrated with traffic problems in this state, and urge a ""yes"" vote on Prop. 35 so that the private and public sectors can work together more efficiently to improve our infrastructure.

Drug Treatment
Prop 36: Vote No

Drugs are a serious problem in the United States. Drug abuse poisons our society, increasing violent crimes and creating a debilitating addiction for anyone who falls prey to narcotics. Something needs to be done to deter the crime and help the addict.

We at the Guardian feel that Proposition 36 on Tuesday's ballot is not the answer, and that a ""no"" vote is suited at the voting booth.

Proposition 36 ""diverts certain drug offenders from incarceration to treatment and probation, applicable to those convicted for the first and second time of drug possession offenses and most nonviolent offenders who violate parole using drugs. The measure would allocate $120 million a year for treatment.""

Instead of going to jail, under Propsition 36, convicted drug users would be sentenced to rehabilitation. Rehab alone is not a solution to the drug problem. The fear of spending time in prison is required to deter criminals no matter what the crime. Punishment for breaking the law needs to be doled out. Drug rehab can be done, but it should be done behind bars while the criminal serves the necessary time for his offense as required by law.

Proposition 36 is not just one ""get out of jail free"" card. It is a pair of ""get out of jail free"" cards, for ""first and second-time convicted drug possessors."" How many second chances can someone get? Knowing that there will not be a suitable punishment only encourages drug abuse. It does not in any way deter it.

The Guardian feels that addicts do need help in breaking their habit. Proposition 36 means well, but because of lenient consequences, it is not the solution.

Vote Requirements: Taxes
Prop 37: Vote No

Proposition 37, a state constitutional amendment to ""redefine certain regulatory fees as taxes,"" is opposed by the Guardian. We feel that, if the proposition passes, it will allow large, polluting companies to avoid paying for wastes.

Proposition 37 changes some regulation fees to taxes. While a simple majority in the California Legislature to impose a regulatory fee on companies, taxes require a more stringent two-thirds majoirty to pass. In addition, local taxes require a two-thirds majority of the electorate. Fees do not require voter approval.

While it may seem like this proposition would make it more difficult for the government ""to slap a regulatory fee on businesses,"" it also allows large companies to get out of paying for the pollution they cause. If the proposition passes, it would be harder for the government to financially regulate companies' pollution. Instead of the simple majority required to impose the regulatory fees, it would require a two-thirds majority. The taxpayers would then be left to pay for the clean-up.

The list of supporters of the proposition seems to be comprised of the usual big-business corporations: The proposition was placed on the ballot by alcohol, tobacco and oil companies. These types of business have spent millions endorsing Proposition 37 to ensure its passage.

Proposition 37 is a suspicious act propagated by big businesses that want to avoid paying for their pollution. It is bad for California and the Guardian opposes this proposition.

School Vouchers
Prop 38: Vote No

Proposition 38, if passed on Nov. 7, would authorize minimum annual state payments of $4,000 to any private educational institution to which a parent chooses to send his child. Although it is intended to diversify and embellish the academic experiences of California students, the initiative is rampant with flaws and is not supported by the Guardian.

Although Proposition 38 states that private schools wishing to redeem state-issued vouchers cannot ""advocate unlawful behavior"" or ""discriminate on the basis or race, ethnicity, color or national origin,"" the proposed amendment does not protect Californians (students or not) from enduring the violation of one essential concept upon which our nation was founded.

According the U.S. Constitution and a handful of U.S. Supreme Court decisions, the state cannot entangle itself in the affairs of religious institutions, such as religiously based private schools. That Proposition 38 could annually channel $1.1 billion of taxpayers' money toward religious private schools proves that the initiative is inconsistent with the rhetoric of our national identity and one of Americans' most cherished rights -- freedom from state-endorsed religion.

Not only does Proposition 38 make an obvious leap over the church-state boundary, but it also restricts state and local authorities from demanding that private schools receiving voucher money meet state academic requirements.

Furthermore, the proposition establishes significant new restrictions on the ability of governments to adopt new regulations regarding private schools.

Specifically, local governments could not establish new health, safety or land use regulations for private schools unless they attain a two-thirds approval of the local governing body in addition to a majority vote in an election held in the affected area.

These burdensome restrictions would make it nearly impossible for local citizens to demand that private schools adhere to important changes such as updated health codes, bans on expansion due to environmental issues, or even improved fire and earthquake regulations.

Overall, Proposition 38's authors may have meant well by attempting to increase students' educational options and trying to eliminate economic barriers to the private school experience, but we believe the initiative they have placed on the November ballot is not only unconstitutional, but also unfair to the students who may end up stuck in schools that cannot be forced to meet state academic standards, local health ordinances, or even environmental regulations. The Guardian refuses to endorse this risky initiative and encourages voters to vote no on Proposition 38.

School Facilities Bonds
Prop 39: Vote Yes

California schools are in an awful state of despair. Overcrowded classrooms are the norm and the buildings are run-down. Students are packed like sardines into dilapidated buildings and are expected to receive a proper education.

The Guardian believes that Proposition 39 can be a solution to the problem and deserves a ""yes"" vote.

According to the Voter Information Pamphlet, Proposition 39 ""makes it easier to get voter approval of local bonds for school construction, which are paid off though higher property taxes. The current requirement that bonds be approved by two-thirds of voters would be lowered to 55 percent.""

This is the best thing that can be done to help schools. Institutions of learning are important to our society and need the money, and they rely on bonds to provide the necessary funds. Because of today's stringent two-thirds rule, it is sometimes impossible for a well-meaning bond to pass. Nothing gets accomplished, and it is the children that end up getting hurt.

Some bonds do not pass because homeowners refuse to give back to the community in which they live. Many older citizens often do not feel it is necessary to help out the younger members of the community. In reality, the burden to a homeowner on paying back bonds comes down to a few dollars a month, and Proposition 39 would free up this much-needed money.

Lowering the required votes to 55 percent shields well-intentioned schools from being denied funds to build new classrooms. At the same time it does not make the law too lenient, which a simple majority vote would do.

Our public schools need drastic help. Proposition 39 is a step in the right direction.