State Propositions: Yes on 20; Yes on 25; No on 26; No on 27

Prop. 20
Congressional Redistricting
Yes
This is inside politics that matters. For years, the boundaries of California’s Assembly and state Senate districts were drawn up, every 10 years, by the assemblymembers and senators themselves. That scheme had predictable results: The elected officials created districts that were favorable to themselves and their parties. Essentially, they were able to choose their own voters. And so we get districts which are “solidly Democratic” or “solidly Republican,” making political compromise unnecessary and gridlock inevitable.

Two years ago, California voters did away with that system. With 2008’s Proposition 11, voters approved the creation of an independent citizens commission to take over the drawing of legislative districts. (For more on this, see Prop. 27 endorsement below.)

Prop. 20 expands that commission’s mandate, empowering it to also draw U.S. congressional districts. It’s a good idea for the same reason Prop. 11 was a good idea: Many elected officials in Sacramento today hope to move on to jobs in D.C. someday, and they have their eyes on that prize when they draw congressional districts.

Prop. 25
Majority Rules on Budget
Yes
In some ways, this is the most important proposition on the November ballot. California’s compound fracture of a system currently requires the approval of two-thirds of both legislative houses to pass a budget, a threshold shared only by the great states of Arkansas and Rhode Island (the other 47 require simple majorities).

The result, here in the eighth largest economy in the world, is budgets that are almost always late, a fixed system of minority rule with a legacy of intense gerrymandering to maintain it, suspended services, wasted millions on needlessly high interest payments, and a credit rating nestled snugly between that of the Czech Republic and Greece.

Opponents—mainly alcohol and tobacco interests and Chambers of Commerce—say that if passed, Prop. 25 will allow lawmakers to raise taxes with only a majority vote. That’s false. State law will continue to require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature to raise taxes. What Prop. 25 will do is set the conditions for a realistic public conversation about spending and revenue in California to take place—and that is a necessary first step to recovery.

Prop. 26
Supermajority Rules
No
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which years ago crippled our state by slipping an exemption for commercial property transfers into Prop. 13 (thus making sure that businesses pay ever-lower taxes on their properties by simply shifting them from entity to entity as inflation grows) is sponsoring this initiative. If it passes, its primary funders,  Chevron and Occidental, as well as MillerCoors and Anhueser-Busch, will get their way, as all levels of government, from city councils to the state Legislature, will have to achieve two-thirds vote thr esholds to raise any fee for any activity or any levy for violating any law.

That includes environmental law, which is where this prop got its nickname: The Polluter Protection Act. This proposition is corporate cynicism at its worst.

Prop. 27
‘Incumbent Protection Act’
No
The sponsors of this measure, a group of Democratic incumbents (many of whom we generally support) have named it the Financial Accountability in Redistricting Act. Straight-faced, they claim its intent is to save money, because the state cannot afford to pay a small citizens commission to handle the chore of drawing legislative districts. Its true intent is to make it easier for them to keep their jobs.

Prop. 27 would repeal the voter-approved Proposition 11, which authorized the creation of the independent redistricting commission, and return that responsibility to the Legislature itself, where it would no doubt result in more gerrymandering and more gridlock.

Voters in south Santa Clara County have a stake in the outcome of this decision. In the last round of redistricting, parts of Saratoga, Los Gatos, San Jose and Gilroy were included in a Senate district that stretches down to Santa Maria, which is closer to Santa Barbara than to San Jose. Because the southern part of that district is more densely populated, nobody from our part of California will ever win that seat.

A citizens commission will almost certainly redraw this district more fairly. If Prop. 27 passes, they will not get the chance to do that.

7 Comments

  1. Vote NO on Proposition 27!  Protect the previously passed redistricting reform and stop this naked power grab.

    Proposition 27 Revealed!
    http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2010/09/proposition-27-revealed.html

    Which self-serving California politicians and their party are apparently afraid of free and fair elections?

    CHART: Members of Congress Supporting Prop. 27
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/xx8S5M7OxAh077-BGIPYSw

    CHART: California Legislators Supporting Prop. 27
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/kSlmzhjkJO1HmjI-4kr2yQ

    Which special interests are protecting their multi-million dollar investments in California’s politicians-for-hire?

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/VkTiQdb_s-yqHHJ_V1X7RA

    Which well-connected big-money donors, many from out of state, are funding Proposition 27?  There are at least four billionaires among the list.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/FeeW8ePvBFtVAkfEuEKXTQ
    http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/mvBKZXjSRaG9Zm2YSYcNMQ

    How are they inter-related and what does this reveal about these politicians and their party?

    Those funding Proposition 27 should be ashamed of their efforts that stand in the way of free and fair democratic elections!

  2. Proposition 25: DISAGREE!!

    Politicians have the awesome and dangerous power to spend other people’s money to buy votes. EVERYTHING must be done to ensure that they are constrained to use this power fairly, ethically, and responsibly.

    We are safeguarding the people’s liberty and their treasure. We must protect it from weak, self-serving people who are readily susceptible to temptation.  We must guard EVERY door and window, and have in place EVERY fence, barrier, moat, guard dog and barbed wire hazard we can think of.

    The essence of “democracy” is two foxes and a goose voting on what’s for dinner.  Wisdom, common sense, and the harmony of society all dictate that such things NOT be decided by “majority vote”.

    We are a constitutional republic.  Our founding fathers fully understood and wisely feared a society governed by mob rule.  The word “democracy” is NOT in the Constitution.  Despite what Joe DiSalvo’s government run schools teach, we are NOT a “democracy”, we are a CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC, with specific legal safeguards to protect vulnerable minorities.  In a society steeped in populist greed, one of the biggest threats to harmony and prosperity is populist demagoguery.

    It is pointless and uninteresting whether supermajorites are needed to raise taxes or to approve the budget.  Supermajorities should be required for everything that allows politicians to take or lay claim to the people’s wealth, and especially to the minority of people who are routinely and regularly targeted as “the rich”.

    The greedy populist’s definition of “rich” is someone who has something that they want. 

    If Proposition requires a supermajority to approve the budget, that’s a GOOD thing, not a BAD thing.

    Vote YES on 25!!!

  3. To rectify SJI’s foolish and ill-considered voting recommendations, here are appropriate voting recommendations for all open-minded, intelligent, and sophisticated voters:

    Proposition 19:  NO
    Proposition 20:  YES
    Proposition 21:  NO
    Proposition 22:  YES
    Proposition 23:  YES
    Proposition 24:  NO
    Proposition 25:  NO
    Proposition 26:  YES
    Proposition 27:  NO

    Governor:  NOT Jerry Brown
    Lt. Governor:  NOT Gavin Newsome, NOT Abel Maldanado

    Senator:  NOT Barbara Boxer

  4. Damn straight!

    YES on 23 unless you all want to pay a lot more for gas and driving. This has EVERYTHING to do with California Air Resources Board! Voting YES on 23 will keep them from ramping up all of their new laws and TAXES/FEES (which will pass with no problems if you vote NO on 26 and yes on 25). Seriously. We are slitting our own throats on these and WHO gave a lot of money to the ANTI-23 campaign? 1 guy that was looking to make money on the solar panels that he is having produced in CHINA in COAL-Fire factories with cheap labor and then shipping them over here. He gave 5 mill to the NO on 23. Then you have several other large companies like Microsoft who gave 1 Mil + and where are they located?  Microsoft is in Washington! They are paying to see us burn! And of course by the looks of it they spent their money well. Just because people have the RIGHT to vote does not mean that we SHOULD all vote. Everyone has the right to keep and bear arms, but that does not mean that everybody SHOULD go out and buy a gun… Oh this state is so going down in flames…

%d bloggers like this: