12 Oct 2005

A Very Special Election

We have been getting a lot of emails and phone calls about the special election coming up here at the beginning of next month. It seems fairly obvious to everyone that it's a power play by Arnold – there is nothing on the ballot that couldn't have waited until next year, but there is no stopping it now. So, how should we vote?
Well, most of my choices are right down the Democratic party's recommendations – except for one. To the angst and possible gnashing of teeth to be had by many Democrats, I have to support Prop 77. More about that in a minute, for now, here is how I'm going to vote and some resources to help you decide for yourself :
Title Vote Title Vote
Prop 73
Waiting Period and Parental Notification.
NO Prop 77
Prop 74
Public School Teachers. Waiting Period for Permanent Status.
NO Prop 79
Cheaper Prescription Drugs For Californians Act.
Prop 75
Public Employee Union Dues.
NO Prop 80
Affordable Electricity & Preventing Blackouts Act.
Prop 76
School Funding. State Spending.
Prop 78
Prescription Drugs. Discounts.
Resources :

Why YES on 77?

Now, as for my ‘yes' vote on Prop 77. It's simply a good law. A while back I blogged about a report on redistricting that mentioned the “Drawing Lines” report – well, the law was amended to fix almost all of the problems that were found there, and now it is a really good law.
The truth is that incumbency reelection rates are unbelievably high – which is what I suppose you get when the elected officials draw their own district lines. You might get districts that look like this. Non-competitive districts result in ideologues in office and moderates unable to compete – it is bad for democracy and bad for government.
The only reason the Democrats oppose it is because they will lose seats. The only reason the Republicans support it is because they will gain seats. We argue that we should not draw districts based on old census data, that we should wait until the next Census, and I agree, but the districts we are currently voting in are based off of 6 year old Census data, so new ones based off the same data can't possibly be worse. It is not ideal, but that's not enough to not vote for it. Neither is party self-interest.
I support this because our state is nearly as badly gerrymandered as Texas under DeLay – we wail and cry about the injustice there, but turn a blind eye to our own district drawing corruption because it benefits us. I don't think that is a good reason, and honestly, I would rather have moderates of both parties in office that favors our side slightly less, than ideologues and districts that discourage participation.
In the end, it is about hypocrisy. If the Republicans controlled the state and this exact same law was to be voted on, I don't think there would be a protest to be heard from our side. It's a good and fair law, and every state needs to pass it's equivalent – it is healthy for politics, even if it's painful for politicians, or painful for my party.
We need to control the legislature because we honestly speak for the will of the people of California, not because we've worked the system better. Vote ‘Yes' on 77.
And ‘No' on everything else that self-centered, grandstanding Governor of ours is endorsing. Jessica is a public school teacher, so I'd like to post about our thoughts on some of the other Props later.
For good arguments for and against 77, please read the League of Women Voter's Letter to McCarthy, saying that they would endorse the bill if they removed the immediate redistricting clause.
Update 10/13: I made a big, yet ultimately inconsequential mistake in this post. I had the wrong bill in mind. I thought that Prop 77 was McCarthy's redistricting bill, which is what Arnold was originally backing. It is not – it is apparently the Costa one. I was not aware that Arnold had switched his endorsement.
The amended McCarthy bill was better, I thought – so that is too bad. However, having now read through the actual text of 77, so as not to mistake myself again, I am still endorsing and voting for it. There are some big differences – there are only 3 judges (as opposed to 5), there is no competitive requirement (though that doesn't rule it out), and there is an additional public vote (which may actually be a good thing) – but overall, I think it is far better than the current system.
I apologize for the mixup, and I have crossed out the sections that are no longer relevant. If you have any comments, please leave them.
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