California rest in peace.
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
Whether or not you’ve recovered from the 2008 election season - aptly dubbed The Two Year Root Canal by The CultureGhost - there’s a special election next Tuesday May 19 here in the great state of California. Six ballot measures promise to save the state from fiscal armageddon.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told legislative leaders Monday the state's annual income tax collections are expected to fall this year for the first time since 1938, punctuating a budget shortfall that he said will reach $21.3 billion if voters reject a slate of ballot measures next week.
With passage of the measures appearing unlikely, Schwarzenegger announced that he would release plans Thursday -- five days before the May 19 special election -- to show Californians the devastating consequences for government if the propositions fail.
When an authority figure comes to you and says “We must do this now or else [fill in the blank]” it’s best to question their motives.
Think back to fall 2002…Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and is determined to annihilate U.S. cities! We must take out Saddam before he and his Al Qaeda friends attack us with unmanned aerial drones and anthrax-tipped pen guns! Or just last fall…Henry Paulson needs $700 billion or else the entire global economy will collapse and we’ll have human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together...mass hysteria!
This is all so comical. Californians seem to have forgotten that six years ago we recalled our former governor due to a $30 billion deficit. Budget deficits are an annual thing in this state. Get over it. Gray Davis must be laughing his ass off, as his successor has been unable to tame the spending beast.
So the Democrat-controlled legislature and Republican governor created our fiscal mess. Now they want Californians to fix it. Fuck that. I’m not voting in your stupid election. Fix your own damn problems. I’m not going to buy into your shock doctrine electioneering tactics.
Typically, my disdain for ballot measures leads me to vote “No” on everything. But next Tuesday I’m going to sit this one out. My wife’s union, the CTA, is pushing hard for “Yes” on everything. She already told me she will do as her union commandeth. More power to 'em.
Good ol' Progressive Governor Hiram Johnson instituted California’s ballot initiative process. These were the same Progressives who advocated eugenics. Today, ballot measures waste millions of dollars in ad campaigns and are often hijacked by out-of-state special interests. Proposition 13 has been bankrupting the state since 1978. Last year's Proposition 8 gave the general public the power to decide who gets constitutional rights and who doesn't...and they voted to deny constitutional rights! American Idol has better standards than this shit.
Direct Democracy is impractical - not to mention a failure. It may have worked in 5th century B.C. Athens but it can't work in a state with over 40 million people, let alone a country as large as the United States.
As The Great IOZ summed up recently:
One could make the case, perhaps, that elections are a reasonable scheme for a city-state somewhere, but a hundred million harried citizens making hazy decisions after two years of propaganda isn’t qualitatively different from the happenstance of heredity or the rolling of dice. And George W. Bush, god bless him, is the proof.
California legislators are representatives. We live in a representative democracy, remember? They are paid over $116,00 per year (the highest in the nation) to write legislation and agree on an annual budget. Instead, they have decided to foist their workload onto the California voter. The good news is that polls show all of these ballot measures headed for defeat.
The only solution for this insanity is to 1) vote out every single incumbent in the CA State Senate and Assembly and 2) campaign to repeal the 2/3 rule. Being able to pass a budget with a simple majority would alleviate the annual song-and-dance between the governor and legislature on crafting a budget. Hmm, perhaps I should write Mark Leno’s office if I really care about this.
Number 3 would be campaigning for a ballot measure to end all ballot measures. Hell, I would devote my time to gathering signatures for that.
Democracy is a failure! Repeal the ballot initiative process! Vote "yes" to repeal your suffrage!
Ok, who's with me? Any takers?