The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Panel tries to inform voters for election

On Sept. 28, a panel that included local community leaders and a CSUN professor offered their viewpoints of the upcoming election and ballot in November.

Shirley Svorny, a CSUN economics professor, former California Assemblyman Richard Katz, and Scott Harris, an executive director of a non-partisan, non-profit organization, discussed issues such as some of the propositions on the November election ballot and what the people in California need to be thinking when voting.

Members from the community and employees from CSUN attended the panel. Some came looking for insight on how to vote this November.

“I’m looking for a party,” said Mike Saliba, a former executive of the Boys and Girls club, who recently retired.

“On one hand, I’m a fiscal conservative and on the other I’m a social environmentalist, and I came to hear the issues,” he said.

Harris said he wanted people to come and listen in order to make an informed vote.

“I have a strong belief that the people of California will do the right thing when called and my goal isn’t for them to vote yes or no, or right or left, but if they vote as I do that’s great (too),” he said.

One of the issues discussed was the ballot itself.

“What’s going to be so interesting, aside from individual measures on the ballot, is the effect of a ballot this long on voters,” Katz said.

The ballot has 13 initiatives that people will have to vote on.

Katz showed concern based on past figures from voting.

“Normally (what) we see is a 5 percent drop-off every time we go down the ballot from the top of the ballot from the governor to the lieutenant governor, to the controller ? and there tends to be a 3 to 5 percent drop-off per line,” he said.

By the time voters reach the end of the ballot, Katz said there are important initiatives being neglected.

Another ballot-related issue that the panel discussed was the amount of money involved on the ballot this year.

“A lot of money (is on the ballot). There’s $40 billion-plus in infrastructure bonds, between the water bond, transportation bond, levee bond, and the school bond, all around that’s $42 billion,” Katz said. “That’s a lot to put before voters.”

Svorny said all the money is increasing debt and it’s going to have to be compensated somehow.

“I looked at the package of bonds, the $42 billion ? but it’s just that we already have $45 billion in debt, we’ve authorized another $30 billion and on top of that ? some recent studies suggest that we have about $40 to $70 billion in unfunded pension in just the state. That will have to be bailed out,” she said.

Harris jumped in with his ideas about taxes, and who’s running for office and how.

“We all feel like we (are) paying too much for gas. I don’t know why we feel that way, we are paying less than anyone else in the world,” he said. “But we are angry at the oil companies so we tax them.”

Harris also said that most people aren’t informed voters.

“They are going to walk in because they are passionate about something,” he said.

“The rest of the stuff they’re just kind of going through, ‘Yeah I like parks-that sounds good,’ and that’s what they’re taking to the voting booth ? but I’ve always been a fan of not trying to get more voters. I’d like to see more informed voters,” he added.

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