Tuesday, May 19, 2009

California Special Election - How I Voted

California today held a special election with six ballot initiatives as part of the compromise which broke our budget stalemate in February. It was anticipated to show record low voter turnout, and indeed at 9:30 am I was only the 40th voter (this at an urban polling station where in November I had to wait in line nearly a half hour). Since I didn't bother campaigning online about these measures you can tell I'm just as excited about them as my fellow Californians. Here's how I voted.

1A - No. Would raise taxes temporarily to balance the budget and establish a rainy day fund. At some point, you have to cut services and feel the pain, and we're at that point. Next time you create a budget, don't spend money you won't have. (Update: state voted no.)

1B - Yes. I can't compain about education and then not support it at the polls, can I? Education is one of the areas where I strongly support state-run (and to some degree -mandated) institutions, because it's a direct investment in our future economy and security, and that's more true with every day that passes. California's public schools are largely a disaster, owing to lack of funding-per-student. (Update: state voted no.)

1C - Yes. Lottery modernization - increases sales and lottery revenues so the state can use it or borrow against it in the future. Essentially, taxed gambling. I'm all for it, because it's essentially a sin tax. (Update: state voted no.)

1D - No. This measure would have protected childrens services, including health, against pay cuts in hard times. Unfortunately there are limited resources, and the creation of children is something that is absolutely under the control (and therefore resopnsibility) of the individual. To paraphrase Minnesota's ex-Governor Jesse Ventura - don't have enough money for kids? Don't have any. Not the rest of our problem if you do. (Update: state voted no.)

1E - No. Would transfer mental health services funds to other areas of the budget. Another legitimate area of government spending is taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves. The mentally ill fall into this category. Therefore I'm against this proposition. In the interest of full disclosure, I would like my medical specialty to be psychiatry, so I can't be expected to vote against my own interests. If you disagree with me, it's your job to vote against my position. (Update: state voted no.)

1F - Yes. This prevents pay increases for elected officials during budget deficit years. I noted that the argument for was co-signed by Abel Maldonado (R), a center of the aisle deal-maker who was villified by the CA GOP's circular firing squad for actually helping to get a budget passed. The only guy that would write an argument against it was an activist whose argument boiled down to "All it'll do is make you feel good". Sorry, Charlie; basing your employees' salaries on their performance - which is exactly what this measure does - is more than just symbolic. (Update: state voted yes.)


Susannah said...

I'm probably just setting myself up here, but I don't think your rationale for supporting mental health services and not protecting children's services matches up.

"Another legitimate area of government spending is taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves."You state that the mentally ill fall into this category, but children do not, ostensibly because the parents weren't responsible enough to use a condom or some such to prevent the creation of the children in the first place. First off, the children can't take care of themselves either -- they're dependent upon someone. Yes, that's typically the same people who created them in the first place, but that's not always the case.

My disagreement mainly comes from the fact that preventative care and intervention when kids are young will undoubtedly prevent any number of problems from progressing to more acute stages.

So: not your problem if people have kids. What IS your problem: kids having kids of their own and putting MORE burden on government services that you (reluctantly) pay for, teenage hoodlums stealing your car, undereducated kids -- later, undereducated adults -- being too stupid to serve you in positions ranging from McDonald's cashier to legislator, those damn kids on your lawn... the works.

I'm not in favor of throwing money hither and yon for anything under the age of 18, but kids didn't choose to be born any more than mentally ill people chose to magically contract a raging case of the crazies.

mklasing said...

Okay, based on your votes I put you at a 7 on the conservative scale maybe a 6.5. I'm happy to see that your State voted all of these down (and voted yes to the payraise initiative). I think the vote was a message to your State Government--the message? "Do a freakin' budget by cutting out all of the crap and leave your hands out of our pockets." Good job California--I salute you.