Over the Hill

Why I’m voting no on Measure G, gas tax repeal — but keeping an open mind

Petitioners deliver 20,000 signatures to ban fracking in SLO County

Members of the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County deliver 20,000 signatures to the SLO County Clerk get a measure that would ban fracking and outlaw new oil wells on the November 2018 ballot.
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Members of the Coalition to Protect San Luis Obispo County deliver 20,000 signatures to the SLO County Clerk get a measure that would ban fracking and outlaw new oil wells on the November 2018 ballot.

We California and San Luis Obispo County voters face making two major ballot decisions on election day, Nov. 6.

One major issue is state Proposition 6. It would cancel the funding for the statewide road-and-highway improvement program that is now underway.

The other major issue facing us is county Measure G-18. It’s complicated but as I understand it, it affects only the unincorporated areas of the county.

Measure G would allow the existing oil fields there to keep producing, but it would prohibit drilling any new oil wells anywhere else. It also outlaws oil well stimulation practices such as fracking.

Election-opinion surveyors have been active this year. They’ve called me so often about my voting plans that I started to feel important. But then I thought maybe I’m just one of the few people these days with an old-fashioned, listed phone number that’s easy to call.

I think I’ve got more of those calls this year than ever before.

One caller this year made a bigger impression on me than any of the others. She said her call would take several minutes.

Her first question was, “Are you between 21 and 30 years old?” I said, “No.” That continued on until she asked, “Between 80 and 85?” When I said “No,” she quickly answered, “That’s all the questions I have for you. Thank you. Good bye.” I chuckled.

I guess her company figures that, at my age, my opinion isn’t worth her time. I’m glad The Tribune doesn’t feel that way.

But in a way she was right. On many occasions, I’ve been wrong. There aren’t many things I feel positively sure about.

I’m planning to vote no on Proposition 6 and Measure G. But my mind could change.

To me, Proposition 6 looks like it would severely cut our vehicle and fuel taxes. But it doesn’t provide any replacement revenue for fixing our badly broken-down roads and highways.

And as for Measure G, the county counsel questions its legality because regulations for drilling may be preempted by state or federal law. If it gets challenged in court, we county taxpayers would have to pay the legal costs of defending it.

But if some new facts are uncovered before election day, I might turn around and vote to approve one or both of those measures. My mind is so open the wind whistles through it, or maybe that’s just my hearing-aid static.

It’s hard to decide how to vote on ballot measures these days. We can just do our best. I’m not recommending you vote the way I do but I have hopes.

The only decision that I was positively sure of was the one I made in 1953 to marry Mamie.

We’re lucky to live in what is still pretty much a free country. So whatever you decide to do, if it isn’t cheating or stealing, it has a good chance of being the right decision — especially if it helps people.

So if the majority of the voters on Nov. 6 make honest, generous decisions, they’ll probably be right.

Phil Dirkx’s column is special to the Tribune. He has lived in Paso Robles for more than five decades and his column appears every other week. Reach Dirkx at 805-238-2372 or pmdirkx@sbcglobal.net.
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