More Election Thoughts and a Little Re-Thinking: Props, Initiatives and Some Great Candidates


Published originally in LA City Watch, November 3, 2016 – the charts were inadvertently omitted in original post and are included here, below.

Recently I wrote in support of Proposition 62 to repeal California’s death penalty in the name and memory of my murdered son, Matthew Benjamin Butcher (March 17, 1983 – June 24, 2010). The support and love I have received as a result of this expression of opinion, This Mother of a Murdered Son Says: ‘Repeal the California Death Penalty’ by Voting YES on Prop 62  is surprising, humbling, and overwhelming.

Within the Butcher family, there is deep division of opinion on the topic of the death penalty. I love that! Don and I are both originally from New York and New Jersey and we raised our kids to argue as a way of life.

Since publishing my recommendations for the state initiatives, my son Steven Butcher has changed my voting recommendations on two of the props. I should have asked him about Prop 54 to begin with — he’s more knowledgeable than I about these things these days. His winning argument? I said “gut and amend.” Really? When he said, “Yeah, but good stuff sometimes happens at end of session that otherwise might not if it had to wait 72 hours.” He raised several other points that made good sense, closing with, “Plus, Jackie Goldberg’s against it.” The kid still knows how to win an argument with me!

No on 60, he says, as well. The industry is already closely regulated, and the San Fernando Valley is in danger of losing jobs to New Hampshire. Good points. I’ve changed my recommendation on that one as well.

On Prop 51, I easily convinced him that while $9 billion in school bonds would be a great thing, it’d be better if they pass locality by locality rather than statewide (like Measure CC in LA and Measure O in Riverside, for instance.) That way the wealthier districts don’t get funding ahead of more needy school districts likely disadvantaged by a seemingly fair “first come, first served” schema.

We have joyfully survived “the Move.” Note that I’m writing now from La Crescenta, 10.7 miles from “the kids” and “the baby.” Fifteen minutes up the 2. That’s us, here in Grandparent Heaven.

Who knew there’d be ancillary political benefits fun enough to make me smile when I our absentee ballots arrived just as we did?

First, I know Ardy! Ardy Kassakhian is a sincere, good man and I couldn’t be happier to cast a vote for him for Assembly. Ardy and I got to know each other as cohorts in Coro’s 2011 Executive Fellows program. He is driven by love, by service, and by the love of service and I know him to be thoughtful, visionary, and genuine. Plus I always love those candidates originally from the localest of government.

I’ve known Anthony Portantino for a long, long time and he’s gonna be a phenomenal State Senator. The union formerly known as Local 347 vetted, tested, and supported Portantino like a Brother, and he worked hard for workers in local government and in the Assembly. Anthony Portantino is one of those few rare birds – an honorable, decent, and wise elected official. We’re happy to cast two Butcher votes for him here in our new home. (Never moving again, not ever!)

Casting a gleeful YES vote for LA County Measure M, hoping LA can begin to fix its past transportation snafus. The word “infrastructure” is my own personal drinking game word. Imagine tons of infrastructure and transportation spending? Cool, huh?

And finally, I was delighted to vote for Kathryn Barger for LA County Supervisor.  (Photo above.) When I was briefly assigned to the County part of the Union, Kathryn, personally and formally, welcomed and helped me. She’s smart – a badass who knows how to get things done. She will be an amazing part of Los Angeles County’s Board of Supervisors!

The financial data on my Butcher voting recommendations chart has been updated as of October 28, 2016, thanks to Ballotpedia which also provides good information about local LA City and County measures here; LA Magazine also publisheno on RRRd an interesting piece on many of the municipal measures as well.

Ya’all know what I think about how wrong is Measure RRR!

* Proposition summaries from
the brilliant haiku explanations of Damian Carroll!

+ Spending for Propositions 65 & 67 are reported as combined campaigns.

** Measures 58 and 59 were put on the ballot by the legislature so there’s no ballot access cost data.


Summary * $ spent for $ spent against Cost per signature for ballot access

Butcher voting

51 Nine billion dollars

Of bond funds for school buildings

Term: thirty-five years

12,014,339 0 $ 3.42 NO
52 A hospital fee
Matched with federal dollars
Funds Medi-Cal boost
60,252,185 $ 11,562,866 2.72 YES
53 Bonds for big projects
(Like high speed rail and Delta)
Would need people’s vote
6,015,131 15,268,397 4.56 NO
54 Bills must be posted
On the web, for three days straight
Before they are passed
10,857,886 27,279 11.31 NO
55 For high-earning folks
An income tax that funds schools
Would remain in place
57,340,638 3,000 7.24 YES
56 The cigarette tax
Would go up, two bucks a pack
E-cigarettes, too
34,994,440 71,009,220 7.73 YES
57 Earlier parole
Of prisoners serving time
For non-violent crimes
13,734,302 1,367,035 8.23 YES
58 Kids learning English
Won’t need a waiver to take
Bilingual classes
4,693,970 0 N/A ** YES
59 Asks to overturn
Citizens United, but
Shucks, it’s non-binding
422,771 0 N/A** YES
60 Adult film makers
Would have to require condoms
Or risk a lawsuit
4,997,809 532,288 3.85 NO
61 In theory, lowers
The cost of some state-bought drugs
(But it could backfire)
14,855,484 108,979,074 3.36 NO
62 Vote for this one if
You want to eliminate
The death penalty
9,623,646 12,464,461 8.73 YES
63 Requires a permit
Issued by the DOJ
To purchase ammo
4,525,492 867,343 6.09 YES
64 Legalizes pot!
Also raises some tax funds
(Perhaps a billion?)
22,038,383 2,073,203 5.72 YES
65 Plastic bag makers
Put this one on the ballot
To punish grocers
6,144,383 + 0 5.84 NO
66 If you want the state

To execute more people

This one is for you

13,284,144 13,196,471 8.38 NO
67 To ban plastic bags

Vote “yes” on 67

“No” on 65

3,655,646 6,144,383 + 5.77 YES



Summary *

(from the brilliant Damian Carroll!)


A Modest parcel tax

Maintains parks and rec centers

Rivers and beaches

M A half-cent sales tax

Funds transit infrastructure


JJJ Building in L.A.?

Add affordable units

And hire locally

SSS Lets airport police

Into the same pension plan


RRR Gives greater power

To DWP’s Board

To hire and set rates

HHH One point two billion

In bond funding will provide

Safe homeless housing

CC Three point three billion

For community college

Repairs and upgrades



(Julie Butcher writes for CityWatch, is a retired union leader and is now enjoying new La Crecenta home and her first grandchild. She can be reached at or on her new blog ‘The Butcher Shop- No Bones about It’ Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.

[Let’s face it: La Crescenta isn’t easy to spell! I had to look it up!]



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