Aside from presidential race, tax measure polarizes Auburn voters

Gov. Brown's Measure 30 splits state voters down the middle
By: Jon Schultz, Journal Staff Writer
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Election night brought the presidential election to a close with Barack Obama being reelected for four more years, according to widespread reports, and early numbers showed a close race for Measure 30, a tax raise championed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Other than the presidential race, some of the biggest opinions from Auburn voters Tuesday night circled around Brown’s tax increase measure that had wide ranging implications on California.

In Placer County, Mitt Romney was edging Obama by 59 percent to 39 percent as of 10:22 p.m. with about 44 percent of precincts reporting.

Some Auburn residents polled said by the Journal said they liked Romney’s economic approach, while others simply said they wanted change.

Steven Tresca, who along with his wife and 5-year-old son went to vote at the Placer County Office of Education, said Obama wasted his chance.

“I didn’t vote for Barack Obama, but once he was elected, I figured, what the heck, let’s see what he can do. I’m just not very happy with his performance at all,” said Tresca, a 50-year-old automotive technician at Auburn Toyota. “Our country is in a bad way. And I think Mitt is a good family man. I think he has good values and I think he’s a real smart businessman and I think that we need a new direction in this country.”

For 27-year-old Natasha Riedel, social and health issues were at the forefront of her decision to vote for Obama.

“Being a woman, I wanted women’s right to choose and I like Obamacare,” said Riedel, who also voted for Obama in 2008.

Beyond the national level, the ballot featured 11 measures with a wide range of potential effects on the state level from taxes to food labeling, the death penalty to human trafficking.

Measure 30 would raise taxes for earnings greater than $250,000 for seven years and bump up sales taxes by 1/4 of one cent for four years to fund schools.

Placer County voted against that measure 62 to 38 percent, while the state as a whole was much closer at 52 to 48 percent against it.

Many people polled by the Journal after they voted in the Auburn area said Measure 30 was one of the most important issues on the ballot.

As a fourth-grade teacher at a Lincoln school, Riedel said she voted Yes on 30.

“Hopefully 30 will give some money back to education, so I thought that was important,” she said. “I’m currently laid off as a teacher, so I’m subbing, so I think more layoffs will happen next year if that doesn’t pass. I’m hoping that it will, because I would like my job back.”

Mark Chase, 61-year-old information systems analyst from Auburn, said he was against anything that would raise taxes.

“Even though I work for the state of California, I think they can find plenty of ways to cut down on excess spending,” Chase said.

Measure 38 competed with 30 as a tax increase to help fund schools – the difference being that taxes would be increased on earnings using a sliding scale, not just on those in the 1 percent.

Retired custodian Daniel Hart of North Auburn said he voted against 30 but in favor of 38, because he thought it was better written.

“I read 30 a lot and everything; there were too many hidden bills in there, but he had to keep people happy and so he put all this other junk in there, and that’s what destroys a bill,” Hart said. “But 38 is more straightforward.”

Both Placer County and California were shooting down Measure 38 by a large margin, 83 percent to 17 percent in the county and 74.5 to 25.5 percent in the state.

Another issue raising discussion was Measure 37 that required labeling of food sold to consumers made from genetically modified plants or animals. Placer County was voting 67 to 33 percent against it while California was shooting it down by 57.5 to 42.5 percent.

Christine Barringer, a 44-year-old retail manager from Auburn, said she went against party lines on that part of the ballot.

“I do have grand children who have sensitivities to foods,” said Barringer, who voted at the Auburn Recreation Park. “Traditionally republicans are supposed to maybe vote ‘No’ on this. I voted ‘Yes’ on this because I think people have the right to know what’s in our food. So that was a big one for me to protect our kids.”

Kyleene Headrick, 26, said she wasn’t happy with that proposition. The 26-year-old client representative from Auburn said she thought the fiscal impact on the farmers would be too much to warrant its implementation.

A measure that would create stricter penalties for human trafficking was passing in a landslide in Placer County and California.

Measure 34 that would get rid of the death penalty in lieu of life in prison without parole was getting voted down 64 to 36 percent in Placer County and 56 to 44 in California.

“The thought of trying to repeal something that we’ve already voted on, No. 34, with the idea of repealing the death penalty – I don’t desire to kill anybody, but someone else has chosen to take someone else’s life, it’s a forfeiture of your own,” said James Baird, a 51-year-old truck driver from Auburn.


Jon Schultz can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @Jon_AJNews