Friday, October 21, 2005

A Message to My Fellow Californians 

Swingstateproject reports on the poll numbers on the upcoming "Arnold's 5" ballot measures for the California Special Election -- and while the results are nowhere near clear-cut (other polls show the measures losing), there's a contradiction here I can't figure out. Arnold's approval ratings in the state are in the toilet, and it can't have helped with the Republican machine that he basically snubbed Bush as a political face-saving measure. And yet, the ballot propositions the Gropenator supports seem to be passing.

So, I'd like to explain to the voters of California why Propositions 73-77 are really bad ideas -- quoting from the poll's synopsis of same.
Proposition 73 requires that physicians notify the parent of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion. A typical rightwing, Big Brother measure. While, on the surface, it may seem like a no-brainer to vote for this proposition, it's probably both unnecessary and counterproductive. I suspect (although I haven't researched this yet) that minors must get parental consent for any medical procedure, including abortion. Also, absolutes must never be written into law in areas that can become very gray, very quickly. What about cases of rape or incest? What about cases of religiously-insane parents who'd rather doom their fourteen year-old to life of poverty as an unwed teen mother? What of emancipated minors, who legally don't have to inform their parents of anything? For all those reasons above, this measure is just another "make it harder for doctors to do their jobs" law, and it isn't necessary nor good.

Proposition 74 extends the probationary period for new teachers from 2 years to 5 years, and makes it easier to dismiss teachers with unsatisfactory performance evaluations. Again, it seems like a good idea, but I question the motives on this issue, since one of the groups Arnold seems to hate the most is California School Teachers. For that reason alone, I'm voting no on this one. But, also, it fails to deal with the real issue. The problem in the schools is not the teachers. The problem is the administrators and school boards. When Arnold starts proposing laws that will put administrators and board members under long probationary periods, then I'll listen. Otherwise, this is just Arnold trying to piss yet again on the teachers. Screw that. I'm with the teachers.

Proposition 75 prohibits public employee unions from using union dues for political purposes without the written consent of union members. Perhaps the most blatant power-grab, one of the anti-75 commercials nails this issue on the head. Currently, union members can opt-out and not have any of their dues spent on politics. This measure is unnecessary. But, if passed, it will suddenly put campaign spending limits on individuals, via their unions, that don't exist for corporations. This is the most hypocritical of Arnold's propositions, in that it favors his own personal special interests over a group he has declared -- quite wrongly -- to be a bad "spedzhul inteeeerist."

Proposition 76 limits growth in state spending so that it does not exceed recent growth in state revenues. Again, applying absolutes to situations that change. In theory, a good idea. The trouble with these laws is that they tend to backfire when times are good, limiting spending when funds suddenly become available. In addition, and not mentioned in the ballot question, 76 gives the governor carte blanche in budgeting matters -- not the way things should be. 76 is nothing but a blatant power-grab by Arnold.

Proposition 77 changes the way California draws boundaries for Congressional and legislative districts. District boundaries would be drawn by a panel of retired judges and approved by voters in a statewide election. In actuality, not a bad idea. Elected officials should never choose their own districts. I'm just against this one because it has Arnold's stink all over it.
In fact, this entire election has a taint of power-grab all over it. I'm voting "No" on everything, out of principal -- including the bond measures, on which I always vote no for reasons I'll go into at another time.

But, in short, if you don't like Arnold, be sure to go to the polls on November 8th and vote "No." No on everything if you wish, but in particular on the five propositions above.

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