My 2016 Massachusetts and Washington DC Voter Guides

There are a few November 2016 ballot measures in Massachusetts and Washington, DC, and below are my suggestions on how to vote on each of these for those seeking some guidance. But first my thoughts on the Presidential Election …

President: Dr. Jill Stein. I’m with her. I’d love to see a woman for President, and she has many of the best features of Bernie Sanders without the sad DNC party allegiance that brought him to his knees despite the DNC working aggressively and arguably illegally against him throughout the Primaries. I will not be constructively disenfranchised by being made to feel hopeless that a 3d party candidate cannot win and that a Democrat or Republican candidate is inevitable. I vote my conscience. Dr. Stein opposes the offshoring and outsourcing of businesses and jobs; supports minimum wage hikes; supports tax increases on the 1%; supports stronger environmental protections for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the soil that produces our food; and supports criminal justice reform including supporting better schools and greater access to college, ending police brutality, and closing gun loopholes. Her platform in full is published on her website. Have a look, and vote your conscience. The more people register and vote for the Green Party, the more funding they’re able to receive and the more prominence they’ll have in the Presidential electoral process. Our current system is a corporatocracy, and our sham options maintain the status quo. They promise us change, but we know better. Don’t be essentially disenfranchised by the hopeless 2-Party system and its false promises. (As an aside, I strongly recommend watching the September 2016 premier of South Park which hilariously satirizes and parodies this election cycle as a sham choice between “Giant Douche” and “Turd Sandwich”.)

Washington, DC

Statehood Referendum: Yes, if only so that DC can update its license plates to something less curmudgeonly than “Taxation without Representation.”

$15/hour minimum wage Initiative: Yes! That is so little money to make per hour regardless of what you’re doing to earn it, and this minimum wage sets a very low floor on acceptable wage practices. If a business is going to lose its shirt because it can’t afford to pay its employees this wage, then apparently they’re not charging their clients enough. We live in a first world country, and that means we should expect to pay for goods and services at a commensurate rate. Not only do we vote for the society we have: we also must pay for it. “Freedom isn’t free” – this axiom works best in this context, I think.


Add an Additional Gaming Slot License: Yes. We’ve seen what happens when you outlaw gambling, and we’ve seen what happens when you regulate and tax it. If people want to lose their money and time throwing metal into a machine, I say let them, especially when a percentage ends up in state coffers that can be used for beneficial societal purposes.

Ability to Authorize up to 12 new Charter Schools: Yes. Let their be charter schools! The public school system needs alternatives for those who are left unsatisfied with its offerings. Apparently there are many, and they want charter schools. Who are we to deny the education of their children by methods they find more becoming? And as a society, one of the few roles our government actually should play is to help fund the education of its citizens. We’re not a one-size-fits-all society. This measure seeks to bring us more choices.

Prohibit Constrictive Farm Animal Containment: Yes! This is a no-brainer. I’m eagerly waiting for laws that mandate organic farming and organic animal husbandry practices to sweep the nation.

Legalize Marijuana: Yes, and again here I defer to Peter Tosh for analysis.

As an important aside, New York State residents failed to certify any ballot measures on this November 2016 ballot, ironically one of the failed efforts being a fantastic proposal to bring an Initiative and Referendum system to NY’ers just like Californians have enjoyed for so long. Direct Democracy is suffering in NY, and that needs to change, People! Come on NY’ers, get with the program – get some measures on your ballots in time, jeez!

– Ali Shahrestani


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