Fri 20 Oct 2006
If you’re like me, about two days before the absentee ballots are due, you’ll grab about five pounds of paper propaganda, sit down with a wet one, and try to sort out the nonsense in the course of an hour or two.
This year, it’s going to be different. I’m going to try and get this thing in the mail ASAP.
You may ask “Why should I bother with absentee ballots, rather than the standard electronic method?” My pal Amacker sets the record straight:
WHY VOTE ABSENTEE ?
1. It ain’t done on a Diebold machine !
2. It is a “paper ballot” and can be recounted.
3. You don’t have to wait in line in the rain/sleet/snow/firehose stream/rain of bullets to vote.
4. It ain’t done on a Diebold machine !
5. There is no #5
So, I’m going to mail my ballot this week, and I hope you’ll do the same.
There’s a couple of places where one can get a good overview of the propositions:
Project Vote Smart - extensive nonpartisan information on elected officials’ voting records and candidates’ positions. Covers federal and state offices nationwide in the United States.
Easy Voter Guide – one-page, non-partisan, plain-language summaries of statewide ballot issues, including pros/cons for each measure.
Speak Out California Special Election Voter Guide- a good overview for progressives.
So, I took a look at the choices, and here’s what I came up:
Governor’s Race – Based on the way things are shaping, the Terminator will be re-elected. Phil Angelides could be a better governor, but he’s running a terrible campaign, and nobody in his campaign office can be bothered to acknowledge my specific suggestions. It’s really too bad the Angelides campaign is so lame, but as the old cliche goes, you can lead a horse to a water, but you can’t force ‘em to drink, although their actions can certainly encourage others to do their share of drinking…
The Terminator is married to a Kennedy girl, is embracing a “token environmentalist” position and has the support of late-night TV talk show hosts looking for more comedic material. He’s been in some entertaining movies, and California loves their celebrities…. yawn….
Secretary of State – Debra Bowen wants verifiable voting standards with a paper trail. If that was the only issue she’s running on, then that would be good enough for me, as it should be a no-brainer. Luckily, she also shares my beliefs in an open accountable government, consumer privacy laws, protecting the environment, and campaign finance reform.
Debra Bowen is the only political candidate I feel strongly about during this election cycle that I can actually vote for in my district facing serious opposition. I am voting Democrat because I want accountability in government. I believe in fairness, rather than the unrestricted power of the almighty dollar!
So it’s ….
Governor – Phil Angelides (or Elmer Fudd)
Lieutenant Governor – John Garamendi
Attorney General – Jerry Brown
Secretary of State – Debra Bowen
Treasurer – Bill Lockyer
Controller – John Chiang
Here’s how I’m voting on the propositions:
Proposition 83 – NO! Sometimes the best intentions are poorly served by ill-conceived laws. Proposition 83 is designed to “protect the children” by restricting where former sex offenders can live, making sure they can’t reside within 2,000 feet of schools, parks and other locations chosen by local governments. As many communities don’t have ANY neighborhoods that are outside of 2,000 feet of such institutions, the ramifications of such a law would be an absolute nightmare to enforce. As this vaguely-written law could apply to all 90,000 past offenders that have already served their time, it would cost untold millions of dollars to enforce, and push the previously-punished to more desperate, underground means to survive. The Los Angeles Times has an excellent editorial on this proposition, and other papers such as The Orange County Register, the Fresno Bee, and the Sacramento Bee have come out in opposition to this bill.
This is a law created under hysteria, with little regard for the actual logistics of actual law enforcement. We absolutely need to protect our children, but that is no excuse to support poorly-written legislation.
Proposition 84 – YES! I support intelligent environmental management, clean water, and flood control. Wasn’t Hurricane Katrina enough of an incentive to pay attention to such things?
Proposition 85 – NO! I support a woman’s right to choose! America should not return to the era of rusty coat-hangers and back alley abortions. Perhaps parents should be involved in the major decisions of their children, but what does this bill say about cases of incest or rape? The bottom line is that every woman (or even girl) should be able to make decisions about their own body without government interference. This is a highly personal issue that should not be politicized.
Proposition 86 – probably YES! Smoking is one of the most retarded habits that anyone can indulge in. If higher taxes on cigarettes means more people may quit paying for this stupid habit, I’m totally in favor of that. While we’re at it, let’s tax politicians for every blatant lie that comes out of their mouths! (Disclosure: my father died from emphysema)
Proposition 87 – YES YES YES! California is the ONLY petroleum-producing state in the United States that does NOT charge oil companies a fee to extract oil from their state lands. Proposition 87 would change that by forcing the petroleum companies to pay their fair share to California. Money collected by the state would be spent towards the development and research of alternative fuel sources. By allocating this kind of money, California would be investing in future technologies, and making the United States more secure by not being dependent on any foreign oil resources.
It’s no accident that the petroleum companies are spending obscene sums of money to stop this proposition. It’s also no secret that petroleum companies had record profits in the past 6 years when their pals took control of the federal government, and doubled the price of gas. (Remember $1.50 for a gallon during the Clinton era?) The sad thing is that these companies could actually be entitled to even more subsidies and long term profits if they actually embraced alternative fuel development. Once again, short-term greed continues to rear it’s ugly little head.
Proposition 88 – NO! If a school is “under-performing,” then this law makes it even harder to improve things. This proposition rewards schools with honor students, and makes it even harder for those struggling on the bottom of the scale. This law widens the gap between those “with” and “without.”
Proposition 89 – YES YES YES! California deserves fair elections. I’m tired of the irresponsible slander that takes place during every election cycle. If you are tired of commercials that insult your intelligence with absolute nonsense, then you should support this proposition.
Proposition 90 - NO NO NO! Using the “eminent domain” threat, big businesses are behind this effort to avoid responsible land use. This new law would make it difficult to enforce any environmental, land use, or zoning laws.
Suppose “Super Mega Corporation” wants to build that stinky 10 acre fertilizer farm right near your home? Thanks to this new pro-business law , you’ll have to put up with this crap without any real recourse. On top of that, the tax payer would have to compensate “Super Mega Corporation” for whatever inconveniences they would have to deal with… This is a very irresponsible law.
Outside of California, I can only hope that people vote for accountability, and that fair voting takes place in spite of the defective balloting devices.