Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In Happy Local News 

California mostly avoided the bad propositions -- while sucking shit on a few of them. Every proposition from 85 through 89 went down to failure. Prop 90 also lost out, which I think was a big mistake. But... Parental Notification for Abortion, Cigarette Tax, Oil Tax, Educational Property Tax, and (flawed) Campaign Reform all bit the big one.

85, Parental Notification for Abortion, was just a sucky, stupid, intrusive law, and should have gone down in flames, which it did.

86, Cigarette Tax -- what can I say but "Fuck You" to the people who voted for this one. Besides which, had it passed by anything less than a 2/3rds Margin, Big Tobacco would have been sucking money out of the state in a major lawsuit on Wednesday. You know... Prop 13. and certain pesky requirements on raising taxes. But, it's really kind of simple. You don't like a behavior? Get fucked if you think you can regulate it through taxes. Honestly, had this one passed, there would have been a major increase in cigarette theft from mini-marts, 7-Elevens, etc. There would have been a major increase in cigarette smuggling and/or "illegal" importation. The sponsors of this bill just got greedy and, as noted in campaign ads, only 10% of the money would have actually gone to anti-smoking campaigns. So, a 26 cent increase might have passed. But, $2.60 a pack? Suck my fucking left nut.

87, Gas Tax -- good idea, problematic. In theory, I'd have loved nothing more than sticking the oil company bastards with a major tax hit, seeing as how Exxon/Mobil posted the highest corporate profit per quarter ever. But there's the rub -- while the law claimed that said taxes could not be passed on to consumers, it was also applying those taxes to the entities with the most expensive lawyers. Meaning that, um, yeah -- this tax would have been passed right on to the consumer, one way or another.

88, Property Tax Increase for Education: the biggest "Fuck You" of the Election, and rightfully so -- especially given Prop 1-D, the School Facility Bond Act. Personally, I consider Property Taxes of any kind to be theft of the highest order; living proof that, in America, ownership of private property is just an illusion. Hey, if you own it, why should you have to keep paying for it? For example, you buy a $1,200 computer, and pay roughly a hundred bucks in sales tax. That should be it, right? Well, in the real world, yes. But, if computers were taxed the same way property was, you'd have to pay that hundred bucks (constantly increasing) to the state every year, or else they'd come and take your computer away. It makes no damn sense at all. But, more proof that Californians really don't get it -- they reject an up-front tax increase by dumping 88, but approve a hidden tax increase by passing 1-D. Idiots...

89, Public Funding of Campaigns -- actually, probably a good idea, but badly written. The ideal law would prohibit any campaign contributions, and force all candidates to accept public funds -- with said pool of funds being divided equally among all the parties that qualify. In other words, if there are six parties running for office and $6 million in public funds available, each candidate would receive the same amount, one million. This law wasn't that. It was just another "Maintain the status quo but trick the people into paying for it" attempt. Good call, California.

90, Eminent Domain -- sadly, voters bought the "OH MY GOD, LAWSUITS!" bullshit on this one. Hey kids, guess what? Developers want to buy up your land at discount prices and put up cheap-ass Condos and Mini-Malls. This prop was the "fuck the developers" law that was desperately needed. Lawsuits? Not so much. And, in this case, Californians bought the BS and screwed the pooch on passing a very necessary law.

As for the other screw-ups...

1-B through 1-D, you blew it big time. You passed all of these measures, adding bond-debt that has no guarantee of ever going toward what it's allegedly being raised for, and increasing property taxes as well. Anyone who voted against 88 but for any of these measures has their head firmly up their ass.

Prop 1-A, which passed, probably a good idea -- gas taxes only go to repairing roads, no-brainer.

Which brings me to Prop 83, the biggest mistake of the election. Titled "Sex Offender Reform", it was one of those unfortunate knee-jerk measures -- the sort of thing that, were you against it, would equate you with a puppy-killer. Sadly, this bill was based on overblown hype -- the image of the drooling kiddie molester drooling on every street corner.

Trouble is, that's just not true. Over the last several decades, this country has become so fucked up on the concept of "sex offender" that this bill will just create a new underclass; people we don't want in our neighborhoods. So, riddle me this: where are we going to put them?

"Sex Offender" has become far too broad a definition. In all honesty, it should be limited to this: rape someone? Mess with a kid? Then yeah, you're a sex offender and should be segregated.

Trouble is, "Sex Offender" also covers things like, "Got drunk, pissed in an alley and someone saw your unit?" "Mowed the lawn in your backyard naked and a neighbor didn't like it?" "Had consensual sex with some drunken broad who changed her story when she sobered up?" Etc., etc.

The people in that above paragraph are not sex offenders. The trouble with this stupid law is that it accepts the legal definition without making distinctions. Rapists, kiddie-molesters, child-pornographers? Sure. Keep them away from our kids forever; stick them on some farm a hundred miles from any other people. But... drunken frat boys, guys with vindictive girlfriends, people whose only broach was to have dropped their pants in front of the wrong witnesses? NOT FUCKING SEX OFFENDERS.

Until we can make the proper distinctions, Prop 83 is just a load of horse-shit witch hunt. And seventy percent of you morons fell for it. For shame.

Still, for the most part, California did much better on the Proposition thing this time around. They suffered major amnesia in re-electing ArNOld -- or have you forgotten how down in the dumps he was last December, and how little he's done in the mean time? But, on the bright side, he's such a political opportunist that he has no real party, and no politics. At least, in this case, we've elected a politician who only goes which way the wind blows.

This wind blew damn hard to the left. So, at the very least, the Governator may just blow his Austrian ass that way as well...

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