Someone’s Life is In Your Hands: VOTE on November 6
Susan Robison, Assistant Editor Oakland Postal Worker
During every election season we’re besieged by pleas to vote, either for or against some candidate or ballot measure or just because it’s a civic obligation.: Eat your spinach. Change your oil. Floss. Vote. Midterm elections are commonly seen as snooze fests, although, since the president’s party nearly always loses seats in Congress in the mid-terms, somebody must be going to the polls.
California’s biggest races, for governor and for one Senate seat, currently favor the lieutenant governor and the incumbent Senator respectively. There are also eleven propositions on the ballot, at least one of which asks voters to decide on matters of life and death.
Proposition 8 claims that the clinics that administer kidney dialysis are making too much money and need to have their income regulated. Most dialysis treatments are paid for by MediCal or Medicare, since Medicare covers people with end-stage renal disease regardless of age. How likely are these clinics to accept reimbursements even lower than what Medicare provides? Technicians and nurses who work in dialysis clinics are hard to find, since they need extra training aside from nursing school. Clinics are the best places for people to get the dialysis treatments they need to survive. If these clinics cut back or close because they cannot operate profitably, patients will have to go to the ER, a much more expensive way to get dialysis. And if the few dialysis stations at hospitals are in use, patients will have to find another hospital at once, or miss a treatment, with a greatly increased risk of death. Proponents of Proposition 8 say the emphasis should be on making more transplants available. This is an absurd argument. We have a severe shortage of kidneys as it is. People who don’t manage to find compatible private donors often die waiting. Others are not physically able to get transplants. The decisions people make about this measure could end up killing patients.
Propositions are often deceptively worded. A measure banning marriage equality in the state some years ago confused people so much that some voted for the opposite outcome to what they intended. Proposition 10, which would overturn the Costa Hawkins bill of 1995, would allow individual cities to institute some form of rent control and would no longer exempt single family houses or new construction. It’s less likely that large developers would build units knowing that rent limitations would make it harder to sell the buildings down the line. And the owners of single-family houses could very well decide the added restrictions are not worth the trouble and sell their houses or convert them to short-term rentals. In cities like Santa Monica, which has had fairly strict rent control for years, there was a noticeable reduction in housing stock, making it very difficult to find someplace to rent for those who were not already renting when the local ordinance was passed.
And who can say for sure whether a given bond issue is a good idea? Not most voters, who have no experience in finance.
The American electoral process asks us to decide matters that will affect everybody for years to come. Despite all obstacles, voter registration is up substantially in states like Georgia, as are early-voting figures. Know who really wants to vote?-Ex-cons and jail inmates. Felons who have completed parole, and people in county jails awaiting trial, can vote in California. Alameda County alone has registered 425 jail inmates to vote this election season.
As postal workers and retirees, we are free to vote in every election. So vote by mail, vote early, or get yourselves to the polls on November 6.
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