November 2006 Voter Guide

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The right to vote is one of the most important rights granted to U.S. citizens. Voting allows your voice to be heard by our nation’s leaders.

Our elected officials make important decisions that directly impact our daily lives. They manage everything from the laws that control immigration to the taxes that we pay. Their decisions affect all persons living in the U.S. – including permanent residents, temporary visa holders, and undocumented immigrants.

We believe that voting is one of the keys to improving our quality of life and protecting basic civil rights, while also cultivating our own political leaders and building our collective political power. We encourage you to carefully review the information included in this guide and to share it with others. Thank you for your interest!


This information guide is produced by the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC) and the Korean Resource Center (KRC).

Sources: Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Center for Community Change, Easy Voter Guide Project, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, New American Opportunity Campaign, People for the American Way, Secretary of the State of California, U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

Contents

Ballot Measures of Interest

This November 7, there will be thirteen statewide propositions on the ballot, in addition to local propositions specific to cities across Los Angeles and Orange Counties.

However, the Korean Resource Center has identified three key ballot propositions – two statewide measures, and one just for voters in the City of Los Angeles – that we have included information for on this page.

KRC Endorsements

YES! ON PROPOSITION H (CITY OF LOS ANGELES ONLY)

YES! ON PROPOSITION 1C (STATEWIDE)

YES! ON PROPOSITION 86 (STATEWIDE)

City of Los Angeles Proposition H: Affordable Housing General Obligation Bonds

THE BASIC FACTS:

  • The City would issue $1 billion of bonds to provide about 10,000 new homes and rental units over ten years. These funds would be placed in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to be used as follows:
    • $250 million to help working families buy their first home
    • $350 million to build rental housing affordable to low-income working families
    • $250 million to build housing for homeless people
    • $150 million to be allocated for rental or homeless housing based on future needs.
  • A citizen’s committee and an administrative oversight committee would monitor how funds are spent.

WHY WE SUPPORT PROPOSITION H:

  • Will provide safe and affordable housing for low-income, hard-working individuals and families.
  • Will provide safe and affordable housing for the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless, such as battered women and their children, veterans, seniors, and the disabled.
  • Will create new construction jobs and a boost to the state economy.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 1C: Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006

THE BASIC FACTS:

  • Funds may be used for the purpose of providing shelters for battered women and their children; clean and safe housing for low-income senior citizens; homeownership assistance for the disabled, military veterans, and working families; and repairs and accessibility improvements to apartments for families and disabled citizens.
  • The state shall issue bonds totaling $2.85 billion paid from existing state funds at an average annual cost of $204 million per year over the 30 year life of the bonds. Money shall be appropriated from the General Fund to pay off these bonds.
  • Requires reporting and publication of annual independent audited reports showing use of funds, and limits administration and overhead costs.

WHY WE SUPPORT PROPOSITION 1C:

  • Will provide safe and affordable housing for low-income, hard-working individuals and families.
  • Will provide safe havens for women escaping violent environments and people with mental illnesses and/or disabilities.
  • Will create new construction jobs and a boost to the state economy.

STATE OF CALIFORNIA PROPOSITION 86: Tax on Cigarettes, Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute

THE BASIC FACTS:

  • Imposes additional 13 cent tax on each cigarette distributed ($2.60 per pack), and indirectly increases taxes on other tobacco products.
  • Provides funding to qualified hospitals for emergency services, nursing education, and health insurance to eligible children.
  • Revenue also allocated to specified purposes including tobacco-use-prevention programs; enforcement of tobacco-related laws; and research, prevention, and treatment of various conditions including cancers, heart disease, stroke, asthma, and obesity.

WHY WE SUPPORT PROPOSITION 86:

  • By making cigarettes more expensive to purchase, the number of smokers will decrease.
  • Will fund tobacco education programs that can prevent young people from smoking.
  • Will provide essential funding to health programs and services throughout the state.

How to vote

After registering to vote, you may choose to submit your ballot by one of three different ways:

VOTE-BY-MAIL 
You may vote by mail-in ballot – also known as a permanent absentee ballot – each election. These ballots allow you to vote at your own convenience. Here’s how submit your ballot by mail:
APPLY
to vote by permanent absentee ballot. Contact KRC at (323) 937-3718 for assistance.
RECEIVE 
your ballot in the mail prior to Election Day (delivery dates vary). As long as you do not fail to return an absentee ballot for 2 consecutive statewide general elections, a ballot will automatically be mailed to you for each election in which you are eligible to vote.
COMPLETE 
the ballot and mail at least 3 days prior to Election Day to ensure on time delivery OR drop off at any polling place on Election Day. Ballots must be received by 8 PM on Election Day.
VOTE EARLY
Early voting is available at a limited number of locations. Please contact the LA County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (1-800-481-8683) or the Orange County Registrar of Voters (1-714-567-7600) for a list of early voting dates and locations in your county.
VOTE ON ELECTION DAY 
You may choose to vote at your assigned polling place on Election Day.

What's at Stake

IMMIGRATION - Who can visit, live, and work in the U.S.
An estimated 1.5 million Asian Pacific Islander American U.S. citizens & lawful permanent residents wait years – sometimes decades – to reunite with their family members from Asia in the U.S. The number of families stuck in the immigration backlogs increased by 59% from 2002 to 2004. Furthermore, there are approximately 1.5 million undocumented immigrants from Asia living in the U.S. (including 18% of the Korean American population) who work hard, invigorate local economies, and enrich the culture and vitality of U.S. society. These same immigrants are driven underground as second class citizens while being denied basic rights and civil liberties.
HOUSING - Who can afford to live in a safe and affordable home
Affordable housing is scarce throughout Southern California, and particularly in the City of Los Angeles. More than 88% of City residents cannot afford to buy a median-priced home. Nationwide, only 40% of Korean Americans own homes – compared to the national average of 66%. Rent is also rising at an alarming rate;

almost half of City renters pay rents that the federal government considers to be unaffordable.

HEALTH CARE - Who can get health insurance and how much prescription drugs cost
Without health care coverage, it is difficult for most people to access necessary medical care and prescription drugs, and conditions may worsen significantly as a result. More than 46 million people in the U.S. – including more than 8 million children – had no health insurance in 2005. 18% of APIAs, 33% of immigrants, and 52% of Korean Americans do not have health care coverage.
SOCIAL SECURITY - Who is eligible to receive social security benefits and who pays for it
More than a quarter of Korean American seniors in California receive social security benefits, and Korean American seniors are more likely to live in poverty than Korean Americans as a whole. However, undocumented immigrants are ineligible for such benefits even though they contribute an estimated $7 billion towards social security each year. Also, recent proposals for social security reform raise concerns regarding the long term stability and effectiveness of the program.
ECONOMY & JOBS - Who can get a decent, living wage job and support their families 
Since December 2000, the national unemployment rate has risen 17%. Despite recent minimum wage hikes in the State of California, thousands of hard-working Californians who make minimum wage still will not earn enough to adequately support themselves and their families. Korean Americans’ per capita annual income is more than $3,000 less than the national average, and 16% of Korean Americans fall below the U.S. poverty line.
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