Cities Consider Pot, Development, GMO Labeling, Minimum Wage in Local Elections Today

Former Reason man Mike Riggs writes at The
on some
interesting issues to watch for libertarians
in local elections
happening today–vote early and often, if that’s the sort of thing
you enjoy.

After a bunch of stuff on mayoral races, he gets down to the
ballot initiatives where such Reason-y issue as pot, GMO
foods, the hapless aftermath of huge civic spending projects,
public pensions, the minimum wage, and development are being
subject to electoral whim hither and yon across this land of

Marijuana: Question 1 in Portland, Maine,
would remove all legal penalties for possession of marijuana so
long as the possessor is over 21 and has less than 2.5 ounces of
pot. Even if Question 1 passes, Portland law
enforcement can
still arrest people under state law if they so choose
Proposition AA in Colorado asks voters to approve the official tax rates
and regulatory schemes
 for the state’s recreational
marijuana industry. 

Development: Propositions B and C in San
Francisco will determine whether
developers can build luxury condos
 along the water at 8
Washington Street. Proponents say developers will pay into San
Francisco’s affordable housing fund and develop open space;
opponents say the development will be worse than the Embarcadero

GMO Labeling: Initiative 522 in Washington
state would require companies that use genetically modified
organisms in their products to say that on their labels. Most of
Washington’s newspapers oppose the measure, as do corporations like
Kraft and Monsanto. The American Association for the
Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and the
European Union all
agree that GMOs are safe
. The response of I-522
proponents boils
down to
: What’s the harm in a label? 

Minimum Wage: A question on today’s ballot
would allow New Jersey residents to raise the minimum wage from
$7.25 to $8.25 an hour, and enshrine annual cost of living
increases in the state constitution. While business owners have
said the measure’s passage might
force them to lay people off
, the measure had quite
a bit of support earlier this year

Pensions: The passage of issue 4 would
result in a massive overhaul for Cincinnati’s public
pensions. According
to Governing magazine
, Issue 4 “would affect
about 7,500 workers, retirees and their beneficiaries and would
close off the city’s defined benefits plan to new hires and enroll
them in a 401(k) style plan.”

The Astrodome: Years after it was
abandoned by the Astros, today Houstonians will
decide what
to do with Astrodome
. The ballot measure would raise property
taxes by
a half-cent per $100 of home value
; that money would then be
used to turn the Astrodome into a convention center.

Who can build what where on their property, who can smoke what
when, what mutually agreed deals you can make with your fellow
humans, how much you’ll be on the hook for deals government makes
with its workers, what to force other people to pay for for a
“convention center”–all these and more, decided by the whims of a
very few of the people around you. Look around you, America. Do you
trust them on this? Doesn’t matter!

from Hit & Run

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