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Discussion in 'Elections' started by Smurfquake, Apr 29, 2009.
Well, if you want to consider madness a rational motive ...
Works for me. For reason #1, I usually vote "No" on most propositions...
Bump. There are five propositions on the June ballot, and I've already started hearing radio ads for two of them, so time to update this thread.
The CA Secretary of State web site has a preliminary version of the voter's information guide, but the information on that site is in flux -- there are arguments and court orders linked there, for example, Propostion 14 is under a temporary stay order. Here's the official site with the preliminary info:
I found another site (ballotpedia.com) which, as a wiki, may be unreliable, but it looks pretty good to me -- here are the links to the five propositions:
Proposition 13, Seismic_Retrofitting (not to be confused with Propostion 13 from 1978)
Propostion 14, Top Two Primaries Act
Proposition 15, Public Funding of Some Elections
Proposition 16, the New Two-Thirds Requirement for Local Public Electricity Providers Act
Proposition 17, Allows Auto Insurance Companies to Base Their Prices in Part on a Driver's History of Insurance Coverage
It's those last two that I've started to hear radio ads for. Prop 16 is designed to prevent municipal utilities from forming without a vote of the citizens of the municipality, which sounds totally reasonable, except that Pacific Gas & Electric is spending a lot of money in support of this. See, back when California was experiencing rolling blackouts, the big municipal utilities like LA City Department of Water and Power didn't have any blackouts, while the big private utilities like PG&E were inflicting blackouts on their customers. Some areas want to form municipal utilities to get out from under PG&E, and PG&E doesn't want to lose them as customers, so they are adding an additional hurdle in the form of an election with a two thirds (!) majority vote required in order to form a new municipal utility. Follow the money.
The ads for Prop 17 have these totally reasonable sounding people saying "hey, we just got a longevity discount from our auto insurance company" then complaining that they're not allowed to take the discount to another company because of state law. Again, sounds totally reasonable -- except this proposition is being supported with big money from Mercury Insurance, which has a history of jacking up rates for customers who have any sort of a gap in their insurance history. They are prevented from doing so in California by Proposition 103 (passed in 1988), and sure enough, this proposition will undo that restriction. Follow the money.
I haven't heard much about the other three, but these last two are basically corporations buying legislation to support their own bottom line -- I hope they go down in flames.
I live in Marin, which is ground zero for the reason for this initiative. Marin County wants to create their own power utility, mostly for the reason of using sustainable energy. There are problems with this, however. First, we never voted to have this in any way. Second, everyone in Marin will automatically be switched over to the county utility, and have to explicitly switch to PG&E if that is the utility you want. Third, I don't know that this will actually bring about greater use of sustainable energy. PG&E is already mostly sustainable energy of some sort or another, and is spending heavily on doing better in the future. I don't see how Marin is going to do better than that. And small changes at the state level will do much more than big changes at the local level.
I don't know if the initiative is the right way to go - I don't like supermajority votes. But there should be some sort of vote on things that are going to effect the county so much.
Well, I presume the people of Marin did vote for the officials who came up with that bright idea. Isn't that how our representative system is supposed to work?
Don't get me wrong, I understand why there are problems with the idea proposed in Marin county, but I think that while sometimes resorting to the proposition system ends up working out for the better, in the long term trying to solve our problems by doing plebiscites as we are doing in California is a recipe for disaster. (And in fact it has proven to be so.)
PGE is hardly a green eco-friendly corporation. They lobbied for electricity deregulation in the 90's, which is why our bills are now much higher as we have to pay off the tens of billions of dollars in losses that the state of California took when we got ********ed by Enron. PGE of course didn't lose any money, because as a monopoly, they just pass on any loss to the rate-payers, so they are guaranteed a profit no matter how bad they suck. They literally can't lose which is why they are so afraid of ever losing a customer.
PGE also is in constant trouble for having their transformers blow up due to poor maintenance (this happens annually in the transformers under the streets in SF), including causing major injuries to nearby pedestrians, and they have been widely criticized by the state for not performing preventive maintenance such as pruning around their transmission lines, leading to numerous grass fires and downed lines during storms (which was a constant problem at my last apartment).
But most heinous of all is that PGE takes rate-payer money that exclusively goes to them despite their incompetence (due to their pure 100% monopoly over northern California residents and businesses outside of the few existing public power districts) and spends it on heavy lobbying in Sacramento in order to pervert any energy-related legislation so that all state-funded conservation programs and renewable energy programs are operated by PGE, so that PGE takes all credit for state funded programs as if they are their own, and of course they throw extra rate-payer money at green-washing ad campaigns that detail the millions of dollars being spent on renewable energy (whoopdee friggin' doo) when PGE is currently in failure to comply with California's existing renewable energy generation laws, and of course this spending (our money) is a mere 0.1% of the overall spending that they do on dirty energy and nuclear, or the massive profits that they kick up to their corporate parent. They also lobby against home and small-business owners from being able to generate electricity locally (through solar roofs and the like) and being able to sell that power on the grid. Thus there is a hard cap in place on the amount of renewable electricity that can be shared over the grid by people like you and me, and they don't want that cap lifted, even though there's no justifiable reason for it.
If you don't like any of this, what is your current recourse? Well, you can write PGE a letter. That's about it. Good luck with that.
If you had an alternative (not a mandate, but just the option to provide another supplier of energy, such as a municipal power cooperative), you would 1) at least have a choice, and 2) a public power authority usually has a democratically-elected board of directors that has to be responsive to the needs of the citizens, and also prioritizes their customers over making a profit due to their non-profit nature. Additional benefits include lower rates (hello!) which is largely the case with all of the existing public power agencies such as East Bay MUD and LA Water & Power.
And of course there's their own initiative, Prop 16, put on the ballot by PGE, paid for by rate-payer money (99.5+% of their campaign's donations are from PGE, i.e. you and me) with the sole purpose of further institutionalizing their monopoly, which is already nearly impossible to surmount as it is. And what about the completely deceptive ad campaign for their initiative where they pretend that it's not PGE but a coalition of groups (i.e. complete lies) and that they are doing it out of some altruistic urge to protect voters' rights (LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!).
Sorry for the blue-in-the-face rant, but if there's a single corporate headquarters that I would like to see burn down to the ground and go out of business tomorrow, it would be PGE. ******** those guys.
+1. Plus whenever there is something on the ballot, particularly something complicated, people always complain that it is the politicians' job to make those decisions.
I do agree however that forming some sort of public power district or coop is something that would be a fine topic for a ballot measure, but I think it should be more of a non-binding resolution by the voters either in favor or against, with elected representatives empowered to make their own decisions while taking input from the results.
Of course, those measures always lose because the campaign in favor of grass roots, public power is funded just by a few good hearted citizens (i.e. about $50,000), and the opposition is PGE's tens of millions of dollars in TV ads and slick mailers - again all funded by rate payers and costing them not a cent. In other words, PGE has never lost a ballot measure in the last 100 years. So...
Rarely have I enjoyed voting no on a proposition than on the PG&E measure.
may I say Amen, heartily.
OK, it's time to update the thread for the November 2010 propositions. Californians, here's what you get the chance to vote on this time around. Non-Californians, here's your chance to point and laugh at California (I mean, more so than usual).
Links are to the California Voter Information Guide.
Proposition 19 - legalize marijuana under state law (but not federal law).
Proposition 20 - redrawing congressional districts
Proposition 21 - increase state vehicle license fees to support state parks
Proposition 22 - something about preventing one part of the state government from raiding the funds from another part of state government
Proposition 23 - suspends the implementation of A.B. 32, a state law about climate change which was passed by the legislature
Proposition 24 - undoes some recent business tax breaks which were passed by the state legislature (aka raises taxes on some businesses)
Proposition 25 - removes the 2/3 required majority in the state legislature to pass the state budget
Proposition 26 - redefines certain "fees" as "taxes" and subjects them to the 2/3 majority vote required for taxes
Proposition 27 - undoes Proposition 11 from two years ago which set up a committee to redraw the districts for the state legislature
My thoughts on a few of these in the next post.
OK, here's my initial thoughts on these -- I haven't done a lot of research on some of them.
Prop 19: big yes (and I don't even smoke pot).
Props 20 and 27 are on the same issue. The history is that two years ago (November 2008), voters passed Proposition 11 which set up a committee consisting of equal numbers of Republicans, Democrats and "independents", which is going to take the 2010 census data and use that to redraw the districts for the state assembly and house (the two branches of the state legislature), in a "fair" and "impartial" way. Before this, the districts were drawn by the state legislature itself. I don't remember how I voted on that one -- I can see the conflict in letting the legislature draw its own districts, but I'm not sure how a committee is supposed to be fair about this when it has a bunch of partisans on it, and why the committee should give the two main parties equal representation if the state leans heavily one way or the other.
Anyways, regardless of whether it was a good idea or will work, it passed, and the committee has been set up and is waiting the census data to start to redraw these things for the 2012 elections.
Prop 20 will extend the duties of this committee to include redrawing of congressional districts -- i.e. districts in the US House of Representatives. Under current law, these are still drawn by the state legislature.
Prop 27 will undo Prop 11 and dissolve the committee, returning the responsibility of drawing of all districts to the state legislature.
If they both pass, then whichever one gets more "yes" votes will take effect.
I'm undecided on Prop 20. For Prop 27, I'm leaning "no" -- why undo something before it gets an opportunity to prove itself?
Prop 21 -- I'm probably going to vote yes, since I like our state parks, and I think car users are undertaxed.
Prop 22 -- haven't read up on this one (as you can probably tell from my vague description in the previous post).
Prop 23 -- I'm voting no. This one has big support from out-of-state interests like "Big Oil", etc. who are impacted by A.B. 32.
Prop 24 -- haven't decided yet
Props 25 and 26 are kinda related, in that the folks who favor one oppose the other and vice versa. I am going to vote yes on 25 and no on 26, since the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association is opposed to 25 and supports 26, and whatever they want, I want the opposite. 25 in particular will reduce the amount of time that we spend without a budget every year, and basically implement "majority rules", which is fine with me since I support the majority -- and when the Democrats ******** up and lose the majority, well, they had their shot and I'll put up with what the Republicans put in the budget.
So there it is. You may commence with the pointing and laughing.
I'm still eagerly awaiting the proposition that puts an end to all these propositions.
Because I'm voting yes on that sucker.
This one in particular must pass.
But seriously, why is the public being allowed to vote on such critical laws? These things should be passed by the legislature. I don't trust the voting public enough to do the right thing here.
I think that the guy doing inthenet got bored doing the right wing thing and decided to do the left wing thing and voila....Giancarlo
Governance by ballot proposition. A concept that leads to:
(a) YAY - LOWER TAXES!
(b) YAY - FREE STUFF TOO!
(c) damn. bankrupt state.
I think it was Ben Franklin that said the concept of democracy will die when the public learns it can just vote itself free money.
How do you explain the same phenomena in states without initiatives and the federal government?
And he decided to turn the stupid dial up to 11 during the cross over.
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbVKWCpNFhY"]YouTube - Spinal Tap - 11[/ame]
But I guess Smiley, the ultra-conservative right winger, denounces anything that opposes him as communist... you have a lot of growing up to do, kiddo!
And Vfish back at it posting his irrelevant youtube videos... but I guess that's all wingnut can do!
Same thing, only the special interests are purchasing legislators instead of direct votes. It's the same mentality of wanting to lower taxes without lowering spending that we've seen from the "right" for years.
But CA's problem is worse than other states.
Prop 13 would have been repealed by now if people actually thought that they needed more spending.
So I went through them ...
19 - Yes. I actually think this is a very rare good use of the proposition process. (And I bet it brings out a lot of young voters.)
20 - This is complicated. I was actually opposed to Prop 11. It was, at the time, a pretty blatant GOP power grab. But I'm not opposed to redistricting reform, and in general I have no strong reservations about giving an independent commission control over congressional (or any legislative) redistricting. Further, in some ways I like Prop 20 more than I liked Prop 11 precisely because its language addresses and seems to correct some of my concerns with Prop 11. This is not what the Prop 20 opponents claim. They say that Prop 20's "communities of interest" language will set up Jim Crow style segregated districts. But that is not actually what the proposition language does:
First, the most common "Jim Crow" argument against it is totally bogus because it cites the examples about "similar living standards" and "similar work opportunities" as if those are singular mandates. But that is not at all what the law says, and that is not at all what the word "example" suggests or even implies. Second, the way you set up a Jim Crow district isn't by concentrating voters of one demographic or another into more homogenized districts where they always win, it's by dividing up voters of one demographic or another into different districts so they always lose. So to my mind the opposition argument is completely backwards.
Beyond all that, Dems are usually opposed to this and the Reps are usually for it. Dems think they'll lose seats, Reps think they'll gain seats. But I'm not actually convinced that's going to happen given the "communities of interest" language. Right now, the legislature makes all these districts and they end up carving up safe seats for both parties. Prop 20 will jostle the safe seat apple cart, but it won't topple it. Reality is under Prop 20 you're still going to end up with relatively homogeneous safe districts. And, further, in California the vast majority of those districts will continue to be safe Dem districts -- which has little to do with redistricting, and much to do with demographics.
So I am leaning towards voting yes, but I'm not 100% certain. Just like Prop 11, this thing still rubs me the wrong way. With Prop 11 I think my reservations were justified. With this one? Maybe not.
27 - No. Regardless of the merits of the old Prop 11, it passed. Repealing it before it's even been implemented is stupid, and as far as I'm concerned an abuse of the proposition process.
21 - Yes. I'm actually of two minds on this. On the one hand, I know very well that this is NOT the way to budget. On the other hand, I like state parks. Does my enjoyment of state parks outweigh this abuse of the proposition process? I think it does, but it's not a principled position.
22 - No. Again, this not the way to budget. These matters belong in the legislature, not in the ballot box.
23 - No. This guts existing environmental law. Again, I consider this an abuse of the proposition process. AB 32 passed and was signed into law. This is not the way to repeal it. This is the proposition process run amok.
24 - No. Again, this is just not the way to legislate. It is repealing laws that were passed and signed into law in Sacramento. If you don't like those laws, then vote the office-holders out of office. None of this should be up for referendum.
25 - Yes. Super-majority requirements in legislatures are disasters.
26 - No. Super-majority requirements in legislatures are disasters.
They were pointing and laughing at us Californians even before you posted that ...
After a lot of thought and study, I've decided to print out your post and take it with me to the ballot.
I'd already marked up my voter information booklet with my choices, and they coincide 100% with Knave's!
I ended up voting early, and voted as follows:
19 - yes
20 - yes
21 - yes
22 - no
23 - no
24 - yes
25 - yes
26 - no
27 - no
So that's just like Knave described, except I voted yes on 24. Yeah, it's populist bullshit to overturn a law that was passed by the legislature, and "no" is a more principled position, but sometimes I'm a sheep.
I have to re-register since I moved. Oct. 18 is the deadline?? I hope I make it back to California before that.