Debates about nine scheduled measures ranged from safe drinking water to reduced criminal sentences at the Day of Politics in the Great Hall on Oct. 20.
The event was designed to prepare voters for November elections. Speakers included candidates, organization representatives, and students. It was hosted by political sciences instructor Denise Robb, and lasted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Great Hall was filled to capacity for parts of the day.
Three of the measures that drew large crowds were Proposition 1, a bond for safe, clean and reliable drinking water, Proposition 2, designed to address state’s ‘Rainy Day Fund,’ and Proposition 47 which will reduce criminal sentencing for low-level offenders.
Proposition 1, also known as California’s Water Bond, was created to use taxpayer money to purchase water infrastructure for Northern California.
The proposition would be detrimental in this time of drought, Food and Water Watch organizer Aukur Patel said.
“In this bond, the money will be given out in a competitive process,” Patel said. “This competitive process would leave more room for the water rights to be given out to the highest bidder.”
It would help potential buyers benefit by buying water, saving it, and selling it back in a drought at a higher price, Patel said.
After Patel’s argument, Robb set out nine bottles of water for the four person panel.
Proposition 2 also drew a lot of interest from attendees. Its debate pitted Pierce students against concerned members of the community.
Proposition 47 also got a lot of attention from attendees, and was designed to reduce criminal sentencing for low-level offenders.
Political science students Jack Speeco and Miguel Velazquez debated the pros and cons of minimizing felonies to misdemeanors, and how the reduction would affect the community.
“If you commit the crime, you should do the time,” Velazquez said. “Instead of reducing criminal charges, we should work on removing the criminals from jail altogether.”
The state could save money that could be used to treat drug addicts, and reduce the amount of people that go to jail or prison, Velazquez said.
“We will only be squeezing out a mere $135 million dollars from this proposition alone.” Velazquez said. “The risks are greater than what we’re getting. This proposition is heavily flawed.”
However, Speeco argued that the U.S. has the highest amount of prisoners in the world, and that the system is severely flawed.
“Six out of 10 who get arrested go back to prison because our prison system is kind of a vicious cycle, “Speeco said. “Low-level offenders that go to state prison turn out as hardened criminals.”