4 of 5 Statewide Ballot Measures Seem Set to Pass

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - California voters seem poised tonight to pass four of five statewide ballot propositions, including a proposed $4 billion bond measure to fund parks, water-quality and flood-protection projects, while roundly rejecting a move to more tightly control spending of dollars raised selling greenhouse-gas-emission permits.

With more than 40 percent of precincts reporting, there is about 55 percent support for Proposition 68, which would provide funds for purchasing and protecting wilderness and open-space areas, and to maintain and operate local and regional parks. It would also fund construction and repair of flood- control projects, provide local grants to improve access to clean drinking water and fund various other water-quality projects.

Supporters, including Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, say it will help position the state to recover from droughts, wildfires, severe weather and other issues while protecting access to clean water and ensuring the availability of open space.

Opponents, including the Central Coast and Howard Jarvis taxpayers associations, question the viability of the funding, claiming the proposition is misleadingly billed as a parks-improvement measure. The association contend only a fraction of the money is actually earmarked for parks, and the funds would not be distributed fairly across the state.

More than 80 percent of early votes favor Proposition 69, which would amend the state Constitution and require funds generated by the state's SB 1 gas tax to be spent exclusively on transportation purposes, and prohibit the money from being diverted by the Legislature for other purposes. Proponents say it's a vital measure to protect the estimated $5 billion being raised annually by SB 1, while opponents claim SB 1 already contains restrictions on spending.

However, less than 40 percent of votes reflected in early returns support Proposition 70, a plan to require revenue generated by the state's sale of greenhouse-gas-emission permits to be held in a reserve fund. Money could not be used barring a two-thirds majority vote of the state Legislature. Proponents, including Gov. Jerry Brown, say the measure will prevent the funds from being diverted to politicians' ``pet projects,'' while opponents say it will contribute to legislative gridlock and undermine the state's ability to move forward with clean-energy programs.

Proposition 71, which would amend the state Constitution to state that ballot measures approved by voters in statewide elections will take effect five days after the election results are certified by the Secretary of State's Office, has wide support, with more than 77 percent of early votes in favor. Current law states that measures take effect the day after the election unless the measure includes a specific effective date. Proponents say the proposition ensures that all votes are counted before a measure takes effect, but opponents call it unnecessary.

And early returns also show strong support for Proposition 72, with about 84 percent of voters in favor of barring an increase in property taxes related to residents' installation of rainwater-capture systems. Proponents say residents should not be penalized for making an upgrade to their property that helps the environment.

Photo: Getty Images

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