October 20, 2005

Craigorian Chant Voter Guide

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.


Laura said...

My problem with 77 is this idea of the panel of retired judges. Who picks these judges and what sort of qualifications will they have to be making these decisions?

I agree that competition is generally good for politicians, and that the threat of losing their jobs tends to make them work harder. (With the possible exception of Feinstein and Boxer who have no trouble getting re-elected and still do a fabulous job.) But, taking something as important as the way congressional districts are drawn out of the democratic process and placing the power in the hands of three people...that just doesn't sound like a good idea.

If it's time to redraw the districts, then fine let's do it. But give the people the power, not three retired judges picked by our idiot of a governer.

jess said...

my understanding is that 74 is a bit scarier than that.

currently, if a principal/school district wants to fire a teacher after they're tenured, it definately can be done, but there is a hearing process.

with 74, the teacher can be fired, even after tenure, and the hearing process is after the fact, more like an appeal. only the recently fired teacher no longer has income while they're fighting.

larry said...

The selection process of the people who will draw the boundaries is nothing if not complex. However, the governor has no participation in it.

The Calif Judicial Council, the policymaking body of the Calif courts, headed by the Chief Justice, picks a list of 24 retired state or federal judges who have never held political office and who meet other qualifications. There can be at most 12 from each political party.

Then, each of the top four state legislators, two from each party, selects three from the list. Each of these legislators is then given one peremptory challenge to knock out a choice of any of the other three legislators.

The final panel of three is drawn by lot from the remaining 8 to 12 judges, with a minimum of one and maximum of two from each of the largest two parties.

You can read the whole thing here - it's reasonably understandable.



Actually, doing this analysis has led me to my decision to vote no for this proposition because it further entrenches the power of the Republicrats at the expense of other parties that actually offer some alternatives to our current corporate-owned government.