The primaries are two weeks away, and while we’ve been inundated with speeches and platforms from presidential hopefuls, there still remain issues that haven’t been discussed. Yes, it’s important to vote, but it’s more important to be an informed voter.

Although most of you may have a pretty good idea of who you’ll check off for president, there’s more than just one bubble to fill in on the Feb. 5 ballot. In fact, there are a total of seven more decisions you’ll need to make, one for each of the 2008 California Propositions.

To make your choice a little easier, I’ve broken down each of the issues with my own two cents thrown in.

Prop 91: Transportation Funding Protection Act

This ballot measure seeks to amend a previous law (Prop 42), which contained a loophole where sales tax on gasoline could be used for non-transportation needs. However, the passage of Prop 1A in November 2006 has already accomplished this goal. Therefore, Prop 91 is redundant, and I urge all of you to vote no.

Prop 92: Community College Governance, Funding Stabilization and Student Fee Reduction Act

This is a subject that hits close to home for many of us, with the threat of future tuition increases for the California State University and University of California systems. Although this act will only affect community college students, it’s a step in the right direction. If passed, student fees will decrease from $20/unit to $15, and a separate governing board will be set up for California community colleges.

Those who support this measure argue that reducing the cost of college will increase accessibility for more students. Independent studies have shown that for every dollar invested in California community colleges, there is a $3 return for the state.

On the other hand, by limiting the amount of money that comes out of pocket from students, the government is left to make up for the rest – about $70 million dollars annually. Interestingly, the California Teachers Association, UC governing board, CSU trustees and the California Faculty Association have all announced their opposition to Prop 92.

As a student, I believe passing this act will set a precedent for funding other types of public higher education such as the UC and CSU systems. It’s time that we show our support of everyone’s opportunity to pursue college.

Prop 93: Term Limits and Legislative Reform Act

Currently, members of the state assembly can serve six years, and eight years in the senate – a total of 14 years in the California State Legislature. Prop 93 would scale back the maximum number of years to 12, but all 12 may be served in either the assembly or senate or a combination of the two.

This bill is backed by two incumbents who will lose their positions if it is not passed, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and Senate President Don Perata. Gov. Schwarzenegger has also offered his support, saying that term limits are too strict already.

Although the two legislators pushing for the bill are Democrats, many liberal newspapers across the state have voiced their opposition. To some extent, I agree that Prop 93 is aimed less at reforming term limits and is really just a way for politicians to weasel their way back into office for a few more years.

One thing that the critics seem to be forgetting though is that legislators still have to win the vote to be able to serve. As a result, I think passing Prop 93 is a way to ensure experienced and dedicated politicians are able to continue their work without being hindered by outdated term limits.

Prop 94, 95, 96, 97: Referendum on Amendment to Indian Gaming Act

Propositions 94 through 97 would allow four Indian tribes to expand the number of slot machines they operate in exchange for higher profits allocated to the California budget. It is estimated that annual revenue would increase by tens of millions of dollars to the state.

Supporters argue that passing these amendments would create more jobs, and the increase in revenue would help balance the budget.

However, providing more jobs and money isn’t the whole solution, as the opposition points out. The four tribes affected by these propositions have a history of poor treatment of their employees, and there’s nothing in any of these bills that stipulate where the money should go.

Many smaller tribes are adamantly opposed, saying it will give an unfair advantage to four out of the 108 tribes throughout the state.

Honestly, I still don’t know where I stand on this issue. Yes, California is in need of more funding, but we also need to make sure it goes into valuable resources like education or healthcare.

Regardless of whether you agree with or disagree on the aforementioned propositions, these issues affect each of us. As residents of California, it is imperative that we demonstrate our willingness to participate in this process. Get registered, get informed and go vote.

Erica Janoff is an industrial engineering senior, the president of the Cal Poly Democrats and a monthly Mustang Daily liberal columnist.

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