Voting in California is sure a lot more exciting than in Brooklyn. There’s a lot more to vote for here, and the outcome doesn’t seem like a foregone conclusion. (In my Brooklyn district, the Democratic machine just wins, every single time, with perhaps one notable exception when a quirk of election law briefly put control of the nomination in the hands of a murdered city councilman’s mother.) Here in Irvine we get to vote on 14 different propositions.

Of course they’re the statewide propositions. You’ve all heard about Prop 8, I’m sure, but there are 11 others on the ballot. In California various interest groups get together to buy laws with disinformation. For instance, T. Boone Pickens is pushing Prop 10, a measure to give about five billion dollars of taxpayer money to natural gas and trucking companies. Of course, if you phrase it like that no one would vote for it, so instead it’s disguised as an environmental measure. It isn’t. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Prop 7 is another weird one that seems to be about the environment. This one I don’t really understand, but the Sierra Club says no, so I’ll vote against it.

Prop 5 is actually one I support: it tries to eliminate a lot of the nasty effects California’s draconian criminal code has has on folks around the state by reducing incarceration for non-violent crimes. Naturally it’s opposed by the corrections officers’ union, who won’t be happy until everyone in the state is either a guard or a convict. I’m usually pretty pro-union, but the corrections union out here is the best argument I’ve ever seen for keeping unions out of politics. Lobbying to put more people in jail as some sort of perverted jobs program is one of the most sick and twisted abuses of influence I’ve ever encountered. They’ve been doing it for years and now they’re doing it again with Proposition 6, which will take hundreds of millions of dollars away from schools, parks, and communities and give them to prisons. As a fiscal conservative, I believe we need to reduce government spending. However, Unlike the faux conservatives, I don’t believe law enforcement is exempt from cost controls. We spend way too much on prisons and prison guards, and we need to cut that. Step 1 is reducing the inmate population. Prop 5 does that. Prop 6 goes in the wrong direction. It is a massive welfare give-away to a special interest group.

Anyway, that’s just the tip iof the iceberg. There’s some good and bad on the ballot. I really look forward to being the first state to-fingers crossed–explicitly vote in favor of gay marriage. Once that happens, I expect these laws to be relegated to the dustbins of history, just like the miscegenation laws of the past. Within my lifetime I expect to see politicians who supported these laws become as disreputable as the Strom Thurmonds of the last century. But whichever way these elections go, it sure does make for an interesting election day.

In Irvine, we also get to vote on several city council seats in one of the ugliest, slimiest campaigns I’ve seen since I left Louisiana. I really don’t know much about the local politics here, but Sukhee Kang and cohorts have convinced me that under no circumstances do I want them anywhere near the levers of power. They have been running just the worst sort of deceptive smear campaign with fake newspapers, numerous half-truths about measures and opponents; and now the OC Weekly tells me they’ve been trying to finance their smear campaign with taxpayer dollars. My mailbox is filled with deceptive spam you’d have to a complete idiot to fall for. (Just how many complete idiots live in Irvine remains an open question that tomorrow should answer.)

Then of course I start to wonder why anyone would spend so much time, money, and effort to be on the council of a two-bit planned community like Irvine, and the only answer I can think of isn’t pretty. I can’t say I’m particularly informed about the local issues. I don’t even know what parties all these yutzes belong to (the elections are non-partisan) but I haven’t had this much personal distaste for local candidates since David Duke ran for state senate in my old home district (and coming from Brooklyn that’s saying something). Interesting times indeed.

2 Responses to “Propositions”

  1. robert Says:

    Here in Connecticut, the usual gang of idiots (right-wing division) is trying to get us to vote to allow initiatives (by cloaking it as a Constitutional Convention). In the “spirit” of Real Democracy. All of the studies I’ve read, especially about California, conclude that allowing citizen law making (which is what it is) end up doing two things: instituting the tyranny of the majority, and permitting the voters to create explicitly contradictory laws (taxes may not be raised beyond $X, and the state must provide Y services). Nonsense.

  2. Davin Says:

    “Prop 6 does that. Prop 6 goes in the wrong direction.”

    You mean, “Prop 5 does that”, I think?

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