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Election season is upon us and the Las Positas Editorial Board has issued its recommendations for June 6 and November 8.

Presidential Endorsements

The California primary is just weeks away and our editorial board has decided to endorse Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as its Democratic Party candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich as its Republican Party candidate.

Supporting Sanders should be a no-brainer for community college students. Among his campaign promises are free tuition funded by a tax on Wall Street speculation. Free tuition would be a windfall for both students and the economy.

Sanders advocates health care for everyone and wants to let Americans get medicine from Canada. He supports breaking up the largest banks, a $15 minimum wage and guaranteed vacation time.

Unfortunately, this election cycle has become one of poor choices. The presumptive Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton, is seen as both a Washington insider and untrustworthy, in large part due to her mishandling of emails and her unwillingness to be forthcoming about them, which is another reason to back Sanders.

And while Kasich has officially dropped out of the race, his name will appear on the California ballot. Casting a primary vote for Kasich would send a message that a moderate Republican (unlike Ted Cruz, who wants to recreate the U.S. as a theocracy) is the candidate of choice for most voters, Republican or Democrat.

Kasich believes that climate change is real. He supports less prison time for nonviolent offenders, continuing Common Core and undocumented immigrants who otherwise follow the law should be allowed to gain legal status. The one area in which Kasich is anything less than moderate is when it comes to women’s reproductive rights. He’s consistently voted to make abortions harder to get.

Trump, however, is an entirely different issue. Running on a platform of “making America great again,” Trump panders to what many see as the lowest common denominator: blue collar workers, unhappy with the status quo.

Trump’s presumptive nomination has prompted columnist Brett Stevens at the conservative daily “The Wall Street Journal” to call for Republicans to vote for Clinton, saying the GOP can survive a Democratic presidency.

“What isn’t survivable is a Republican president who is part Know Nothing, part Smoot-Hawley and part John Birch. The stain of a Trump administration would cripple the conservative cause for a generation,” Stevens wrote in a May 9 article.

A ballot cast for Kasich, while symbolic, would send a message that the Republican Party will not cave to the pressure of supporting an unqualified candidate who has never held public office.

Support the bond measure

Our editorial board has voted to endorse the bond measure headed to a vote on June 6. Voting to spend nearly a billion dollars deserves serious consideration, but the benefits to Las Positas College and its sister college, Chabot, far outweigh the costs.

The $950 million bond issue would go far toward eliminating the serious space crunch at LPC, which now is cramming classes into spaces not designed for teaching and, in some cases renting space off campus, such as at Dublin High School.

The cost for homeowners would be relatively low: $24.50 for every $100,000 in value. With home prices in the area hovering somewhere near $800,000, that would cost an average of less than $200 per homeowner per year.

The money would, among other things, pay for upgrades including better wireless Internet, build new buildings to relieve the college’s growing pains, replace the modular buildings and make an already attractive campus even more attractive to incoming students seeking a less expensive alternative to a four years college and those who need to improve their skills before moving on.

Two hundred dollars a home is a small price to pay for the benefits that would come from the spending, which could also, as a byproduct, raise home prices in the area.

Legalize marijuana

While November is still months away, our editorial board has decided to endorse the proposition to legalize marijuana in California.

Some of us freely admit that we have fought on the winning side in the War on Drugs. However, we think that marijuana should be legalized for economic reasons as well as removing the penalty for thousands of Californians who already violate the law on a regular basis.

We view the current laws as flawed. Cannabis has legitimate medicinal properties, but with many people getting physician recommendations under the pretense of illness while using it recreationally, it’s a problem. We agree with a 2013 poll that showed 65 percent of all Californians support the legalization and regulation of recreational marijuana.

But the bigger issue is revenue. Legal weed could be a boon to California’s economy. In Colorado, for example, marijuana sales totaled $996 million in 2015, with $587.8 million coming from the sale of recreational marijuana. Colorado also wound up netting $135 million in tax and licensing revenues from the sale of marijuana, while reducing costs of policing illegal grow houses at the same time.

California’s economic benefit would far outreach Colorado’s and could also be a windfall for some of the state’s poorest communities, such as Oakland.

We’d actually like to go a step farther and recommend the legalization of paraphernalia, which is not included in the ballot measure. It doesn’t seem to make sense to legalize weed, but keep the equipment for smoking it a crime.

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