A handy guide to the propositions now before the good people of California (or at least the ones that show up and vote.
Prop 73 This mandate a waiting period and parental notification for minor’s seeking abortion. This is support to be an abortion restriction even pro-choice voters can embrace. You may want abortion to be legal but at least we can all agree that a minor has to notify her parents. Of course, this is mandating a Leave it to Beaver kind of world. If it’s ok for a minor to tell her parents, then she will, regardless of the law, and for situations where it’s not safe, then it’s really not safe and this law will only make things worse. The Chant recommends No.
Prop 74 This increases the time that a teacher needs to teach in order to get tenure. Personally I think you can tell a teacher is bad or good in two years and not five. What this really amounts to is the Govinator trying to give the teacher’s union a kick in the groin because of all the trouble they caused him. I say why try and make teacher’s lives harder? The Chant recommends No.
Prop 75 Restricts unions so that they have to get permission from individual members in order to use union dues for political purposes. Fine, sounds reasonable, till you consider that the corporations don’t need shareholder permission to spend money on politics. Doesn't make for a very level playing field. This is an effort to hurt unions because they have been doing too good a job of opposing the Govinator’s agenda. The Chant recommends No.
Prop 76 Spending limits. California has a screwed up State budget situation. This situation is mainly the fault of propositions that were approved in the past. Limits on taxes, spending mandates, a super-majority to pass a budget and so on. So here comes still yet anougher proposition to mess with the budget process. This one limits spending and in a dumb “only what we spent last year” way. There is a great article from TAP on Colorado’s experience with a similar measure. Short version – when the schools and roads start to fall apart, this measure is going to start to look pretty stupid. The Chant recommends no.
Prop 77 Redistricting. This is the interesting one. Currently the legislature draws the boundaries for the district from which they are elected. They are drawn in such a way as to be overwhelmingly partisan in one direction or the other. Thus, no races in California for the State Ledge or U.S. Congress are competitive. No seat change hands and no incumbents lose their job. Prop 77 is designed to take redistricting away from the Legislator and gives it to a panel of retired judges. The hope is that they would draw more competitive districts. Now the Govinator is very much in favor of this, but it should be a good idea anyway. Some are worried that this is all a ploy to increase GOP power in the State. But I doubt, given the rather overwhelming partisan advantage the Dems currently have in California, that the Donkeys will lose control of the State anytime soon. And more competitive seat will be a tremendous boost to the running of the State government. If you can lose your job, you do a better job. The Chant recommends Yes.
Prop 78 and 79. Prescription Drug discounts. Both of these measures claim to decrease the price of drugs. Of course, 78 is sponsored by the drug companies, so they make the discount program voluntary. The drug companies can end it at any time. It’s a limited time promotional offer, not a law. If you really want cheaper drugs go with the measure backed by consumer groups. That would be 79. The Chant recommends no on 78 and yes on 79.
Prop 80 Electrical Reregulation. Because electrical deregulation worked so well for the State. It brought higher rates, rolling blackouts and the current Governor. That said, I’m really not sure if this is they way to fix it. It’s a long and complicated law and I don’t want to read it. And I shouldn’t have to. Seriously, this is why we need a Legislature, with staff, research and public hearings. That’s the way to take on something as complex as energy regulation. The Chant recommends No.
What do you think? The guild will be reissued right before election day for easy reference. If you think I’ve made a terrible mistake, speak up now and it might be corrected.