Sample Ballot II: Initiatives Ahoy!

I’m too late for Professor Bainbridge’s spreadsheet of California blogger endorsements, but what the heck, I still need to make up my mind on this damnable list of plebiscites. Below the fold: my ballot! Before breaking to Calicentric tedium, though, a few notes:

Okay, on to the fun:

President and Vice President: Kerry/Edwards

Actually, I’d still accept an offer for a last-minute vote-swap with a Cobb supporter in a swing state… but I’m sure all such individuals are utterly deluged with calls from anxious California lefties already. And if John Kerry makes one more pandering remark about sacrificing civil rights to make federal law conform to his invisible sky-friend’s dictionary definitions, I might make up my own invisible swing-state sky-friend and vote Cobb. But even in the heaviest artillery Jesus-fire, Kerry is still the best at Not Being Bush.

United States Senator: Barbara Boxer

Oh, I want to have Barbara Boxer’s feisty liberal love child!

United States Representative, 29th District: Maybe Philip Koebel

Adam Schiff is a good guy and deserves reelection for his acceptable record on the environment, labor, and civil rights, but he’s also a centrist shoo-in.

State Senator, 21st District: Jack Scott

Oh, no, the conservatives and miscellaneous third parties are consolidating all their opposition into Libertarian candidate Bob New! Eeek! However shall I choose?

State Assembly, 44th District: Carol Liu

I live in a household of two independent voters. It’s always fun to see what other people think we might vote on – apparently many independent voters are inordinately fond of law enforcement, and there are a number of bullshit political pay-for-endorsement organizations with big shiny sheriff stars on their pamphlets. Independent voters are also supposed to be fond of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who keeps leaving messages on my answering machine asking me to vote for Carol Liu’s opponent.

In what universe is “God dammit I wish Arnold Schwarzenegger would stop leaving all these messages on my answering machine” not part of an absurdist play?

Anyway, I have news for the Governator and all those law-enforcement-esque political endorsement gravy train operators: registered independents vote along party lines. Democrats for Assembly, woooo!

Proposition 1A: Arcane Fiscal Circus Fight Consensus Strategy: Yeah Sure Whatever

This is one of those things I pay a full-time legislature for; I don’t want to worry my pretty little head with the optimal allocation of property taxes. The parties involved seem to have done their job and forged a compromise that most people like okay, so sure, whatever, good for them.

ON SECOND THOUGHT: I like Mark Kleiman’s arguments on the propositions generally, and “fuck you Arnold” is pretty convincing. The more I think about this, the more I just don’t give a damn. Maybe I’ll leave it blank.

Proposition 59: Open Records: Yes

Everyone is voting for this one. There’s no credible opposition, and much as I’d like to see someone propose with a straight face that the meetings of the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards are vital national security secrets, so I could bust out laughing, I’m just as glad no one is.

Proposition 60: Primary Elections I, the Status Quo Initiative: No

I vaguely like the current primary system, but don’t think it needs to be enshrined in a constitutional amendment.

Proposition 60A: Surplus Property Budget Fetters: No

Having a statewide garage sale to pay off bonds isn’t a bad idea, but I’d rather not tie our legislators’ hands to it. However, I won’t cry if this passes.

Proposition 61: Children’s Hospitals, Pie, and Puppies: No

Now is a bad time to incur more debt. Why should the decaying children’s hospital infrastructure be privileged above decaying schools, decaying highways, and decaying everything else? Sick children are adorable enough to raise their own damn money for their own damn puppies and seismically sound construction, I’ll give my share of tasty tax-pie to the ugly and unlovable (see also Prop 63).

Proposition 62: Primary Elections II, the Louisiana Crawfish Fry: No

Supporters are all “oh let’s bring back the old competition!” which is cute and all, particularly when they form barbershop quartets… but the reason there’s no competition in 90% of elections is that districts are gerrymandered to a fare-thee-well. The correct answer, the one that would bring back ye olde competition without screwing over third parties, is to stop the gerrymandering.

Proposition 63: Mental Health: Yes

Eat the rich! EAT THE RICH! I mean, um, tax them. Much as I dislike enacting nonsensical budget constraints through plebiscite, community mental health care is necessary both out of simple human compassion, and as a key to reducing homelessness and the welfare rolls – and it gets consistently shafted. If the only way to care for the mentally ill is to hitch their fates to an undercurrent of populist resentment of the rich, then populist resentment we shall have!

Proposition 64: The Whistling Innocently When Someone Mentions Barristry Act: sweet jesus NO NO NO NO NO

Yeah, shit happens, and sometimes it happens in the form of lawyers. That’s why we have laws against filing frivolous lawsuits, and a professional code of ethics for members of the bar. If this code isn’t being enforced effectively enough (and the members of the Trevor Law Group, the most infamous source of extortionate examples in the Yes on 64 literature, have all been disbarred), then we can and should fix it. We can and should make it easy for people to fight back, if they’re “shaken down”. We can and should reform the unfair business practice code so that minor infractions are only punishable if the business fails to reform after legal notice, or displays a pattern of violation.

We shouldn’t limit our ability to go after the real offenders. I’m just angry that we would let a few bad lawyers be a reason to take away our ability to enforce our rights through civil action.

Local district attorneys just don’t have the budget to put together a complex case against, say, an environmental offender – and by the time someone has standing to sue the operator of a leaky underground storage tank because their well has been polluted, it’s really too late, the aquifer is fucked. By the time someone has standing to sue because they’ve been made sick by expired, relabeled meat, it’s really too late. We depend on private entities to catch what the DAs can’t; without a substantial increase in enforcement budgets, Prop 64 is just a de-toothing of consumer protection laws.

Proposition 65: The We Changed Our Minds Vote For 1A Instead Measure: No

Like they say, we should all vote for 1A instead.

Proposition 66: Three Strikes Reform: Yes

Honestly, I just can’t get excited about locking someone up for life because they burgled an empty home. Prison is just too expensive and too shitty (no crime deserves punishment by prison rape), and the effectiveness of three strikes laws in reducing crime is too debatable.

Proposition 67: Emergency Medical Services Phone Tax: Yes

This is a stop-gap measure and I hope no one relies on it as a long-term solution (how shitty that it’s a hard-to-repeal constitutional amendment!), but it does pay for itself through taxes, not bonds, as is wholly appropriate for non-infrastructure spending. If anyone doesn’t like it they can jolly well use email instead.

Proposition 68: Gambling I: No

Fuck you, ballot initiative system, I don’t care about slot machines.

Proposition 69: DNA Sampling from Randomly Arrested Innocent People: No

People who are arrested, but not convicted, shouldn’t generally be asked to go through an irritating “opt-out” process to retain important parts of their privacy, beyond what is needed to process them through the court/custody system. I’m not sure if DNA is particularly more important than fingerprints or not; in theory it could be, in practice I’m not too worried. We do need a proper discussion of when and why to put DNA samples on file, but this isn’t that discussion.

Proposition 70: Gambling II: No

Blah blah blah blah blah I can’t hear yooooooo!

Proposition 71: Stem Cell Research: No

This one hurts. I think stem cell research is important enough that someone should fund it; if the federal government is too boneheaded then that someone may as well be the state of California. We can afford it, too. But – we need to retain some control over how the money is spent. Prop 71 as written amounts to a blank check for industry; the money’s controlling body is exempted from open government laws; we’re obliged to keep spending the money even if the research leads to a dead end.

I’m voting no, but I’ll also write my state representatives if the measure fails, asking for a more controllable initiative to support stem cell research in California.

Proposition 72: Fuck You Wal-Mart: OH HELL YES

Health care is a right, not a privilege.

So there you have it… vote early and often, kids, and have a very merry Election Day.


  1. Rana wrote:

    Well, I have different _people_ on my ballot, but it looks like we’ll be voting along identical lines otherwise.

  2. yami wrote:

    Wow! I actually expected you to disagree about one or two of the propositions.

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