A Modest Proposal or Eight - continued
Before I mention which one that is, let me gloss over the rest:
- Prop. 73: Abortion notification — I just don't support the issue. The right to privacy extends to teenagers. Of course, parents should be involved in their children's medical decisions, but to me, that's an issue of parenting, not legislation.
- Prop. 74: Teacher probationary period — This does nothing to help get more (and better) teachers in our schools. And this isn't an issue deserving of a ballot initiative.
- Prop 75: Public Worker union dues restrictions: I don't like it because it stacks the deck in favor of private industry at the expense of public unions. It's political and economic payback for teachers and firefighters criticizing the Governator.
- Prop 76: State Budget Reform — Allows the Governor to slash and burn the budget more or less at will, even for budgets that have been approved. The California government, like the United States itself, can only exist with a strict adherence to checks and balances, and this bill removes that. I think the issue of whether this should even be a ballot initiative is moot because it violates the principle of separation of powers, which to me is politically repugnant in a representative democracy.
- Prop 77: State Redisticting — This one actually should be a ballot initiative (or more accurately, should be an full-blown amendment), and I agree with the issue itself, but the implementation is really lacking. Ostensibly this prevents gerrymandering, which is an increasingly vital threat. The notion is good, but this proposition has a lot of built-in potential for abuse (even worse than the current system), subverts representational oversight and virtually ensures that voters will be flooded with shrill ads for and against each proposed redistricting whenever it rolls around. The subject is too big to really get into here, but that's the ten-cent version.
- Prop 78: Prescription Drug Bill #1 — Largely pharmaceutical-industry favorable bill doesn't help anyone but drug company shareholders. Plus it doesn't pass the "worthy" test.
- Prop 79: Prescription Drug Bill #2 — A much better prescription drug bill. In fact I tend to agree with it on principle and (so far as I understand how it works) in practice as well. But I'm drawing a line in the sand here: I can't objectively say that this deserves to be a ballot initiative. But it's a pretty good bill in all other respects, so, you know, feel free to vote for it yourself.
So those are the losers. The one I'm backing is:
Prop 80: Un-De-Regulating Energy — This one, I believe, does fit the criteria for ballot initiatives. The original deregulation was (as I recall) created largely via ballot initiative so repealing it requires one. More importantly, energy deregulation was a disaster that allowed companies like Enron to manipulate California's energy market for their own profit by creating totally artificial energy crises which cost us an assload of money and forced us into rolling blackouts which eventually led to the recall of Gray Davis and the election of Kindergarten Cop to the highest office in the state. So, yeah, I think I'm giving this one a thumbs up.
It's pretty hard to get all worked up over an initiative-driven off-year special election held during sweeps, especially only a year out from the last election. But, uh... civic duty and something about not complaining if you didn't vote and yadda yadda yadda. Ah, screw it, I'm going back to blogging about television.