Jeff vonKaenel

I hope that you plan to vote. Our future really does depend on it.

In a short time, Donald Trump will join past political buffoons such as President Warren Harding, Vice President Spiro Agnew and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin—soon to be forgotten relics of American history.

But our roads and schools will long be with us. Our parents, grandparents, and great great grandparents voted to build and maintain the roads and schools that we are currently using. They voted for the future, and so should we.

Voting for the future starts with Measure B, the Sacramento County Transportation Sales Tax, which would add a half cent sales tax to fund transportation projects. It would bring in roughly $100 million a year. Around two-thirds of the money will go to fix roads and add expressways, and one-third will go to public transit.

God, motorists and transit riders know we need it. Admittedly there are questionable aspects, such as the small amount allocated to public transit, but ultimately, this is a step in the right direction. We need to pass Measure B, especially now that there is better leadership at Regional Transit.

Voting for the future also means voting to improve and maintain our schools. Sacramento County has six bond measures on the ballot. San Juan Unified—a $750 million facilities bond; Elk Grove Unified—a $476 million facilities bond; and Roseville Joint High School—a $96 million bond. Sacramento City Unified hopes to add a six-year $75 parcel tax, which would raise between $6 million and $7 million a year for music, counseling and other services. Galt schools have two facilities bonds, totaling $56 million.

We need your vote to build new schools as well as to repair and maintain our current schools. If these all pass, the grand total for Sacramento County would be $1.42 billion. That’s a lot of future.

Then there are the state tax propositions. Prop. 51 would provide $9 billion for building new schools and modernizing old ones. Prop. 55 would continue the current tax on those Californians making over $250,000 a year. Without this extension there would be an annual $4-billion-to-$9-billion hole in the state budget. Prop. 56 would add a $2 tobacco tax, generating more than a billion dollars for the state’s healthcare programs.

If you agree with me that cloth bags are a small price to pay for the good of the planet, vote in favor of Prop. 67 and against Prop. 65. This is the easiest way to push the plastic bag industry out of our state and hopefully, to lead the way in reducing plastic bag waste worldwide.

Finally, these state propositions would bring both common sense and humanity to our great state. Prop. 58 would allow educators to consider increasing bilingual education, banned since 1998 in California. Prop. 57 would make more nonviolent prisoners eligible for parole. Prop. 62 would abolish the death penalty in California, and Prop. 63 would add more background checks and saner gun control laws. And of course we need to support Prop. 64, which would legalize recreational use of marijuana and allow for regulation, instead of an extreme enforcement policy.

There are many reasons to vote, and many ways to make things better for our children and great-grandchildren. Please vote in November.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.