California Special Election 2005

Since later this week I’ll begin an extended vacation, I completed and mailed my absentee ballot for the upcoming California Special Election this morning. And being in a chatty mood, I’m going to spill the beans and reveal my votes and my thinking. There’s detailed info about each proposition from the Secretary of State.

NO on 73. Would require 48-hour parental notification before a minor could have an abortion. This is a personal issue, the state should stay out of it. Easy vote for me.

YES on 74. Teachers would get tenure after five years instead of two. Makes it easier for teacher to be dismissed for poor performance. I’d prefer to leave this to the individual school boards, but it seems like a reasonable policy.

NO on 75. Restrictions on use of public employee union fees for political purposes. I could vote yes, if it were part of package restricting all unions and corporations from campaigning. But to single out a few unions is unfair.

YES on 76. Restricts growth of state spending and gives governor more power to reduce spending unilaterally. I’m a fiscal hawk, so an easy yes for. If the people want more services, they need to be willing to pay for it with higher taxes.

YES on 77. Legislative redistricting would be done by a three-judge panel, instead of the state legislature. This is important! I believe nothing currently corrupts democratic representation in the U.S. more than gerrymandering (not even campaign finance). There might be better ways to redistrict than this proposal, but this is such a huge step up, everyone ought to be in favor of this.

NO on 78 and 79. I’ve read the voter’s guide on these two, and I’m too confused. A default vote of no on both.

YES on 80. This one is complicated too, but I have no trust in the power industry in California, so if they say no, I’ll say yes. Screw them! (Of course, I won’t be surprised if this comes back to bite us. My free-market instincts are ringing a tiny alarm bell.)

For comparison, the Governor Arnold says to vote yes on 74, 75, 76, 77 (those are his babies) and the Republicans say to vote yes on 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78 and no on 79, 80. The Democrats are the exact opposite. So, my votes are split 4-4 with each party. I’m not a very loyal Pubbie, am I?

Any comments? Di I mess up? :wink: How is anyone else going to (or did) vote?

(I still can’t believe the Democrats are against 77. That bugs me more than the Republicans being in favor of 73.)

Next time post before you vote. You’re as bad as my dad, who calls me after he voted to ask me how I think he should vote! :wink:

I have issues with 76 and 77. I disagree with some of your other votes, but I think these two props are monumentally ill-thought-out as currently drafted. On 76, the standards for declaring a “fiscal emergency” are so vague as to be unenforceable. In other words, it appears to me now that the Governor will have almost unfettered discretion in determining a fiscal emergency that permits him unilateral power over the budget. Whatever else that initiative is trying to do, it needs to clear up that aspect before I can vote for it.

As for 77, it just seems silly: you get to hire three retired judges, pay them some amount of money, and they’ll do the redistricting for you? How is that fair? Why not hire three retired schoolteachers, or set up some panel of people with qualifications? Again, this seems very ill-thought-out.

My two cents. And for anyone playing at home, here are links to the initiatives.

I had such a sense of accomplishment after studying the voter’s guide and deciding each issue, I had to share.

I realize 76 gives a lot of power to the governor, but that doesn’t bother me at this point. I’m happy to allow a governor (of either political party) to reduce spending. I think that the political price of really stupid cuts (as opposed to merely partisan ones) will be high enough to prevent the executive from doing too much. It’ll be easy to blame the governor (not the legislature, not “activist” judges) for specfic cuts.

Prop 77 is better than letting the legislature decide its own districts. That is a conflict of interest that both parties have taken advantage of for far too long. It needs to end.

I plan on voting “no” on all the intiatives. Mainly because I object to:

  1. special elections like this
  2. the iniative process as a whole

The state of California could have an initiative awarding me a grant of $1 million and I’ll still vote against it.

California has a legislature. It should legislate. We pay people to figure out the complicated stuff for us.

Here, here! I might vote for 79 to stick it to the drug companies, but no on everything else. It’s not like the proposition system has led to such good government. Special interest groups (like Arnie himself) get stuff on the ballot, and don’t have to deal with the consequences.

Pleonast, do you think it will be easier to fire a teacher who has been there five years rather than two? If principals pay attention, two years are plenty. The ones we’ve had trouble with have been there forever, so this won’t help. All this one is Arnie trying to get even with the teacher’s union.

As for 75, union members can opt out every year if they wish. Doing it on a per issue basis is just trying to silence them. If corporations had to also get stockholder approval for every donation, then I’d be for it.

We should ship Arnie back to Austria. All we’d lose is … the next Terminator movie.

Ditto. Although I’m still considering Pro 79.

Almost every one of these initiatives was sponsered by a “special interest”; exactly what Scharwzenegger said he was against. What a hypocrite. The teacher thing is ridiculous. It’s very easy to be a bad teacher and keep your job, be it two or five years. I should know–after 15 years in public education in California. The tenure system is not the issue. The best teacher ever will not pass tenure if he or she is not politically alligned with his or her principal. The worst teacher ever will keep his or her job if he or she can kiss the principal’s ass. The problem is not the time to get tenure.

Why do principals become principals? Because they’re bad teachers who want to get more money for doing nothing but pushing paper and towing administrative lines. Well, there are some good principals, but the majority of principals are idiots–paper pushing fools who don’t have a clue about effective education. Every time I had to talk to a principal I had to dumb down my vocabulary. One principal of mine even admitted that the only reason he had his position was for political reasons–he’d donated a lot of money to the school board member of our district. And assistant principals (“vice principals”) are even more lame. When you find out how little time they’ve spent in the classroom–and they typically are the people who evaluate teachers–it’s just ridiculous. Both principals and vice-principals don’t know shit about effectiveness in the classroom. The only thing they know is bureaucratic politics. Anybody who really cares about educating stays in the classroom. I was encouraged to become an administrator and I said, “NO, NO and NO.”

What, Arnold, you think making a teacher wait three more years is going to make a difference? Jesus Christ, you don’t know shit about education, do you? You’re just putting on a meaningless show. You’re trying to make your pointless govenorship meaningful. I’d like to see you in a classroom, teaching poor kids. I doubt you’d be capable. You’d be a complete failure. You’ve done nothing to help this state, and the only reason you’re governor is that you starred in some really bad movies. Really bad, those movies were. Well, you became governor because there are so many stupid people in this state. So I guess an idiotic public deserves an idiot for a governor. Well, maybe you’re not an idiot; maybe you’re just taking advantage of people. Either way, it’s shameless.

Moving thread from IMHO to Great Debates.

Here’s my opinion:

NO on 73. This is a personal issue, the state should stay out of it.

NO on 74. This is a matter of school policy. Why are the voters even being asked to decide this?

NO on 75. Picks on the Teacher’s Union because they’ve been against Arnold.

NO on 76. Way too much power to the governor. I don’t trust a single person to be correct all the time.

NO on 77. There probably is no good way to define districts – only better and worse ways. What is proposed is worse than what we have now.

NO on 78 and 79. Both have serious flaws. 79 has slightly fewer, but is not acceptable.

NO on 80. I can’t understand this one at all. If I can’t understand it, I won’t vote for it.

Wow, I don’t venture into GD very often. I’m even more surprised to have people agree with me.

The California initiative process is one of the state’s worst aspects of government. Instead of bribing the legislators, they fleece people into signing some incredibly complex initiative that they have little hope of understanding.

Is it really democracy when a sizeable percentage of people just sign an initiative petition just to make the person bugging them in the parking lot of Target go away?

Another all-NO voter here … the California initiative process has been totally hijacked by special interests. And it encourages government by sound bite, instead of reasonable deliberation. Turning it into a special election was a spectacularly stupid waste of resources.

I intend to check with my polical activist friends to see if any of the propositions actually *deserves *a yes vote, but I’m highly skeptical.

I’m voting yes on this one. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mandate parental consent, just parental notification. If it was 16 year olds and above, I might vote no, but this concerns all minor children. Parents can hardly care adequately for their children if the state shields them from vital information about them.

I’m planning a NO vote across the board at the moment, just because I’m highly suspicious of anything that comes out of Schwarzenegger’s office these days.

I will also be walking across the street to my neighbor Cliff’s house and voting a straight NO ballot. A good governor would use his well-honed political abilities to work out the best compromise with the legislature. Arnie, being an incompetent hack, is attempting to bulldoze his will over the state. The only solution to this colossal waste of resources in a time of state fiscal problems is to shove it right back in his face.

Thanks, Czarcasm. It’s not often that I rant. It’s just that I really care about this state. And I should have said “toeing,” and “shameful.” (sp?). Well, you get the idea, I hope.

I can understand your point of view. I’m on the fence regarding 73. After all, a parent normally is responsible for medical issues that have to do with his or her child (under 18). If I had a child who was going to have an abortion, I’d like to know, too. I would never force a girl under the age of 18 to have a child against her will. I’m not old enough, but ideally, if I’d like to have enough communication with my child to know what’s going on. It seems this initiative is a purely “showcase” thing.

No, you didn’t mess up, Pleonast. You’ve made your points very well. I would just like to reiterate my points as a school teacher. It’s not the length of time that’s the issue. A bad teacher can wait out the extra three years. Time is not the issue. Politics is the issue. You can be the worst teacher ever, but if you are cosy with the principal, you’ll keep your job. The students be damned.

Thank you for addressing this issue.

OK, I have just now seen an ad in which retired LA County Superior Court Judge Jospeh Wapner (aka Judge Wapner of The People’s Court) believes that retired judges have no business creating legislative districts. That judges, retired or not, have no business dealing in back room politics. The ad ends with him yelling: “No on 77! No on 77! No on 77!”

Proposition’s goin’ down in FLAMES!

Thanks for all the replies!

For those voting no across the board: I understand your sentiments. My default vote is no. But I feel a responsibility to decide each issue on its merits. Just because a proposition is being backed by a special interest does not necessarily make it a bad idea. Only probably; the good ideas deserve to be voted yes.

Voyager said “do you think it will be easier to fire a teacher who has been there five years rather than two?” Prop 74 makes it easier to fire tenured teachers. The third bullet point.

guizot said “Almost every one of these initiatives was sponsered by a ‘special interest’; exactly what Scharwzenegger said he was against. What a hypocrite.” Can’t argue with that. I hoped Arnold would lead the moderate branche of the Republican Party, but he’s apparently decided he prefers the right. Too bad.

Ex_Chemist said “NO on 77. There probably is no good way to define districts – only better and worse ways. What is proposed is worse than what we have now.” Having a panel with no direct interest in the district boundaries redistrict is worse than letting the district incumbents draw their own boundaries? Can you be specific why you think it’s worse?

rjung said “I’m planning a NO vote across the board at the moment, just because I’m highly suspicious of anything that comes out of Schwarzenegger’s office these days.” Keep in mind that only Props 74, 75, 76, 77 are Arnold’s. The rest are from other interest groups.

scotandrsn said “That judges, retired or not, have no business dealing in back room politics.”" Prop 77 has details to keep the redistricting fair. Splitting of cities and counties must be minimized. Party affliation of the residents cannot be used. Public hearings are required. The redistricting must be approved by the voters. Where’s the back room here?

I will be voting YES on 79 and 80, and NO on all the others.