California Special Election Day

As most of you know, I like to sit in a pub on Election Day and watch the returns come in. Today is November 8th 2005: California Special Election Day. My recommendations for the ballot:

NO. Proposition 73. Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy—State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment). Should the California Constitution be amended to require notification of the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated, pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on the minor?

The Pro Argument is essentially: children are property of their parents. The Con Argument is: “My father will literally kill me. No, really. I need a restraining order and witness protection.” At 17-ye ars old I would not h ave appreciated the entire state of California climbing into a conversation between my doctor and I, and I see no reason that should change.

NO. Proposition 74. Public School Teachers. Waiting Period for Permanent Status. Dismissal—State of California (Initiative Statute). Should the probationary period for public school teachers be increased from two to five years, and should the process by which school boards can dismiss a permanent certificated employee be modified?

Pro Argument: Make it easier to fire bad teachers.
Con Argument: We have a shortage of qualified teachers and schools are finding it difficult to hold on to good new graduates. This proposition will make the situation worse. Prop 74 would end job security for one of the lowest paid professions and increase the time required to land a permanent job. Under the current system, new teachers get moved from school to school, for several years, before they manage to stay in one place for the whole (two year) probationary period. Increasing the probationary period to five years would virtually end any hope of stable employment for new teachers, discouraging new entrants and frustrating recent graduates.

NO. Proposition 75. Public Employee Union Dues. Restrictions on Political Contributions. Employee Consent Requirement—State of California (Initiative Statute) Should public employee unions be required to obtain annual written consent from each member in order to use a portion of that member’s dues for political activity?

Pro Argument: Big Bad Public Unions contribute lots of money to politicians. Make them stop.
Con Argument: Big Bad Businesses don’t like competition from unions when they go to buy politicians, it raises the price. Boo hoo.
If businesses aren’t required to obtain written consent from shareholders, unions shouldn’t be required to obtain written consent from members.

NO. Proposition 76. State Spending and School Funding Limits—State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment) Should Californians make major Constitutional changes to create an additional state spending limit, grant the governor substantial new power to unilaterally reduce state spending, and revise key provisions relating to Proposition 98, school and community college funding, and transportation funding authorized by Proposition 42?

Look: California voters have fouled up the budget process with propositions, and 76 would make it worse. Previous propositions stripped the legislature of control over certain types of spending (eg Educations & Transportation). This proposition would grant power to cut that funding to the governor.
Maybe I’m off on my understanding of the ballance of power in American republic government, but I thought the purse strings were supposed to be held by the Legislative Branch. That’s how we keep the Executive from going haywire, right?

NO. Proposition 77. Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment—State of California (Initiative Constitutional Amendment) Should the California Constitution be amended to change the process of redistricting California’s State Senate, State Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, transferring the implementation of redistricting from the Legislature to a panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders?

What? Instead of redistricting being done by elected officials chosen by party leaders it will be done by unaccountable judges chosen by party leaders? No, I don’t think so. Go away and come back when you have real reform.

NO. Proposition 78. Discounts on Prescription Drugs—State of California (Initiative Statute) Should the state adopt a new state drug discount program to reduce the costs of prescription drugs for Californians at or below 300 percent of the federal poverty level?

Apparently Prop 78 doesn’t require any company to participate by offering bulk discounts to the state. A similar program died a few years ago when companies withdrew their support and refused to offer discounts. Prop 79 is a better option.

YES. Proposition 79. Prescription Drug Discounts. State-Negotiated Rebates—State of California (Initiative Statute) Should the state of California create a new prescription drug discount program for residents at or below 400 percent of the federal poverty level, and change state law to make it illegal to engage in profiteering from the sale of prescription drugs?

Covers more people and requires participation of pharmaceutical companies. The most persistent argument I’ve read against this proposition is that if we offer prescription drug benefits to all these people we’ll soon be providing everyone with free healthcare. …sounds good to me.

YES. Proposition 80. Electric Service Providers. Regulation—State of California (Initiative Statute) Should the state expand its regulation of the electric industry?

We deregulated the electric industry in California and they sacked the state like rampaging Vandals. The Vikings showed more respect. Atilla the Hun could teach Enron/Reliant/etc a few things about fair play. Sorry, Deregulation Dudes, we lifted the rules and your boys couldn’t control themselves. It’s time to bring back the industry oversight.
The extra 1% of renewable in the mix is a nice touch.

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