The Varones voter's guide to the California propositions

California has a mess of propositions up for voting on November 8. Some are a bit confusing. Following are my views on the initiatives. Please correct me if I'm wrong on any of them.

Prop 73: YES. This would require a 48-hour waiting period and parental notification for minors wanting abortions. While pro-abortion groups are going nuts about this, it's a pretty minimal and reasonable hurdle. Teenage girls who just found out that they are pregnant are not necessarily in a calm and rational state of mind. Forty-eight hours to think it over and a discussion with the parents are a good idea. Opponents raise the case of abusive parents, but the proposition allows for the minor to see a judge instead. Groups like Planned Parenthood would obviously facilitate minors applying to judges. Minors need parents' permission for a school trip to a museum or to get a tattoo. It's asinine to say that they should get invasive, and often psychologically traumatic, surgery without parental involvement.

Prop 74: YES. Most teachers are good; some are really bad. The current tenure system makes it very difficult to get rid of bad teachers. Once you teach for two years, you pretty much have to be caught on video molesting kids to get fired. This measure would simply postpone the no-accountability date to five years.

Prop 75: YES. This would require unions to get approval from members before using their dues for political contributions. Unions should be in the business of collective bargaining, not owning the state legistlature.

Prop 76: YES. Schwarzenegger's "live-within-our-means" initiative is common-sense and necessary reform. It would limit spending increases to the rate of revenue growth (trailing three-year average). The California budget was recently a disaster, and is currently kept afloat only by borrowing from the future and reaping a flood of property taxes from the housing bubble. Without reform like this, California will be really screwed at the next economic downturn.

Prop 77: YES. Politicians have gerrymandered their districts so that they cannot lose. In fact, even with an angry electorate in the 2004 elections, of the 153 congressional and state legislative races, not a single seat changed parties. This reform would take redisticting out of the hands of the politicians and put it in the hands of a nonpartisan panel of retired judges. If you oppose Proposition 77, you're either an incumbent or an idiot.

Prop 78: NO. This is a pharmaceutical industry attempt to pre-empt the really bad Proposition 79. If Prop 78 gets more votes than Prop 79, it would void Prop 79. Prop 78 is certainly way less bad than Prop 79, but I'm saying no to both.

Prop 79: NO. This is a large and bureaucratic state drug program. It is probably irrelevant as either the federal government or drug companies will probably overturn it in court. Save the millions of dollars and years in legal costs and vote no.

Prop 80: NO. This is bad re-regulation of California's electricity market.

1 comment:

Mark Wilson said...

Prop. 73 is designed to make abortion harder to obtain. It is not for a doctor or a court to determine whether or not a girl is in the right state of mind to have an abortion. But that's a moral argument. The legal argument against Prop. 73 is that making something difficult to obtain has the same effect as making it illegal.

Prop. 74 is designed to make it easier to fire teachers. In addition to making it easy to fire bad teachers, it would also make it easy to fire good teachers.

Prop. 75 is designed to decrease unions' influence in elections, yes. But it does so without placing similiar restrictions on corporate donations. Unions and corporations are two sides of the same coin, and to place restrictions on one without placing similar restrictions on the other is disingenous. Corporations should be in the business of selling goods and services and making profit, not owning the state legislature.

Prop. 76 is ridiculous on its face, as it gives the governor broad control of the budget. Schwarzenegger has shown that he does not have fiscal control of the state, and he is itching to cut social programs to pay back the $2 billion he borrowed in 2003.

Prop. 77 is not as democratic as it first appears. A careful reading of the text of the legislation -- which would amend the state constitution, by the way -- reveals that, yes, a redistricting plan approved by the Special Masters would go into effect regardless of whether or not voters ultimately reject it, and the politicians already in place under a rejected proposal would serve out their terms, anyway. There are better ways to go about redistricting, like eliminating section (2)(F)(g).

Kudos to your voting no on 78.

But 79 is a different matter. Currently, the very poor are covered by Medicaid for prescription drugs. The elderly are covered by Medicare. The middle class have insurance programs through their jobs. But what about the so-called working poor who are not provided with insurance through their jobs? Prop. 79 covers these people, and it does it better than Prop. 78, since 79 requires drug companies to provide prescription drugs to the state at a discount.

And as for Prop. 80, did you live in California from 1999-2002? The rolling blackouts and the Enron fiasco were direct results of electricity deregulation. Suddenly, the state had no control over the cost of energy, and when an artificial shortage was created, the state was helpless. Public utilities are just that -- public -- and should be regulated by the state, since everyone's demand for power, water, and heat is inelastic.

Happy Super Tuesday!