The following are my recommendations for the California special election on November 8, 2005. Links to other bloggers’ voter guides are here.
- Proposition 73 (Abortion Notification) – Yes. Abortion may or may not be the moral equivalent of first-degree infanticide, but it isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread, either, and certainly not so lovely that the state should allow teens to get them behind their parents’ backs. The only odd thing about this initiative is that it is a constitutional amendment, which seems a little odd – but necessary given the California Supreme Court’s ruling in American Academy of Pediatrics v. Lungren, 16 Cal.4th 307 (1997). Unsurprisingly, the L.A. Times disagrees. What is surprising is how sensible the L.A. Times is on most of the other issues on the ballot this year.
- Proposition 74 (Teacher Tenure) – Yes. If you work in just about any field other than education, chances you don’t have tenure. Neither should K-12 school teachers. Unfortunately, that reform is not on the ballot. Raising the tenure period from 2 to 5 years is a baby step in the right direction, so modest even the L.A. Times supports it. This is a small reform where a bigger one is needed, so let’s take what we can get.
- Proposition 75 (Paycheck Protection) – Yes. No one has a right to dip into anyone else’s paycheck and coerce them into “contributing” to political campaigns they may not support, and in any event have never consented to have their money spent on. Why is this even controversial? Or does the Times endorsement indicate it is not controversial at all? We’ll see come November 8.
- Proposition 76 (Spending Limits) – Yes. Opponents cleverly call this a “power grab” by the governor. Well, of course it is. If the buck is going to stop there (and it should), then dontcha think we ought to give the governor enough power to actually do what voters expect of him? Besides, these nefariously “grabbed” powers only kick in when the fiscal year is half over and over budget. If you support balanced budgets, vote yes. If you oppose them and favor runaway entitlements instead, vote no. It’s really that simple – unless you write for the L.A. Times.
- Proposition 77 (Legislative Redistricting) – Yes. If the California voter initiative process allowed cumulative voting, I’d encourage you to cast all eight votes on this one. As important as the rest of the initiatives are, there’s at least a decent chance that they ought to be left to a democratically elected Legislature accountable to the people, and not by the people directly, by initiative. But that argument only works if you have a democratically elected Legislature, which we don’t. What we have instead is a self-selecting Legislature, which is an insult to the very concept of democratic and republican government. As long as Legislators get to choose their voters rather than vice-versa, the Legislature remains accountable to no one but itself. How bad are the current districts, you ask? This bad. Or, for Times watchers, this bad.
- Proposition 78 (Prescription Drugs Trojan) – Yes. This is a dumb law, but it’s largely harmless. If Prop 79 weren’t also on the ballot, I’d urge a no vote. Since it is, defeating Prop 79 should be the priority. That can be accomplished either by voting 79 down, or by passing Prop 79 by a larger margin. Play it safe, vote yes on 78. As one who didn’t attend the University of Spoiled Children, I thought I’d never say this, but “Go Trojans!”L.A. Times says no to both intiatives, a tempting alternative.
- Proposition 79 (Socialized Medicine) – No. This one is bad all around. Even the L.A. Times doesn’t like it. Vote no.
- Proposition 80 (Ban on Energy Deregulation) – No. The theory behind this initiative seems to be that if Steve Peace, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis were able to find a way to do energy deregulation wrong, no future administration – even one the L.A. Times might approve of – should be allowed to even try to do it right. If that argument makes sense to you, consider moving to Cuba. If it doesn’t, vote no on Prop 80.
The rest relate to local (Orange County) measures. If you live anywhere else, move along people, nothing to see here.
- Measure D – Money Grab by Fire Dept. No. This would force 100% of Orange County taxpayers to pay taxes to an authority that services only 43% of us (and I’m saying this as part of the 43% that would benefit from it), whether they need it or not, at the expense of police and other public safety agencies that don’t get the same dedicated property tax revenue that the fire authority does. If you are a firefighter who cares only about your own salary, pensions, etc., vote yes. If you are anybody else, vote no.
- Measures B,- Measure C, Measure E – None of these are really necessary, but any of them would make a decent tactical vote against Measure D, so why not?
Oddly enough, the L.A. Times agrees with me on all of the Orange County measures, all but one of the Ahnold Amendments, Props 79 and 80, and disagrees with me only tactically on Prop 78. In a typical election cycle, the average conservative voter could do worse than to simply take the L.A. Times voter guide with him to the polls, and vote the opposite. Don’t do that this time, or you’ll end up voting right on two initiatives (Props 73 and 76) and wrong on everything else. If you must based your vote on the recommendations of any newspaper, don’t vote anti-Times this time around. Instead, pick up a copy of the Orange County Register and vote their recommendations on everything, except maybe 78 for purely political reasons (i.e., to help ensure 79′s defeat)