"Quanta...like spit in the dust of a baseball field" - Cody

November 09, 2005

All of Arnold's Initiatives Go Down in Flames

I have to admit it, I'm a voting junkie. You say "ELECTION," I say "smells good." Just the other day, Jay told me, paraphrasing from NPR:

"for the educated, voting is a Pavlovian response--we're programmed to feel responsibility for voting. It's not an instinct, it's not innate, we're taught that this is what is required of us as citizens."

That description fits me perfectly. I've been following the politics behind the raft of ballot measure that Californians faced this November, and while I strongly supported and opposed a number of them, my overall reaction was: Dude, this is not my job!

I'm all for certain aspects of direct democracy and I think large policy direction questions should go to the voters. For example, good ballot initiatives would read:

Should the death penalty exist in California?
Shall the income tax be gradually replaced by pollution taxes?
Shall the right to choose to marry another person be guaranteed to every individual?
Shall abortion be legal?

These are large policy questions that only the people of a sovreign state can answer for themselves. The ballot initiatives we were asked to pass were much more about how policies are implemented. Take the worst example, Proposition 80, the language for this initiative was so confusing that I'm sure most people had no idea what they were voting "no" about.

We've reached a point of disfunction in our state that the legislature stalemates with itself every year on a budget. Compromise and negotiation are hard to find. Something needs to change.

The election just a few days ago sent a clear signal to the Governor and the legislature: these are problems that elected officials must fix, not the general populace. The clear message: It's time for California's politicians to do their jobs!

Posted by cbsisco at November 9, 2005 10:32 PM

Here here! I HATE propositions because they're all way too complicated for Joe-Schmoe Voter to understand all the political, fiscal and social implications of the propositions and the paid endorsements and oppositions in the pamphlets just make things worse. These kinds of detailed proposals should be studied by the state legislature, put through committees that hold hearings and ask important questions. We have representatives for a reason and I agree that they should do their jobs of saving us from knee-jerk reactions to controversial issues and spending measures. Propositions allow them to take credit for their good effects, but also allow them to avoid any responsibility when things go bad.

Another thing I HATE about the California proposition system is that we can amend our state CONSTITUTION by a simple majority vote of a mostly underinformed and definitely over-polarized public, and there's not even a minimum voter turnout required! How can it be the supreme law of our land when it's treated like a rag doll every election? It's just wrong. Plain wrong.

Posted by: Kristina at November 9, 2005 11:43 PM

I agree. They write those informational pamphlets to read like stereo instructions when most newpapers are written at like a 4th grade reading level so the politically ignorant general public turns to the politicians to tell them what it all means. Then the politician proceeds to talk to everyone like they are mentally deficient toddlers (See the homo? Stop the homo! Stop, Homo! Stop!).

Posted by: Clint at November 10, 2005 06:59 AM