Well, now that he’s
the Governor, and the state is in an even bigger mess
on every measurable level, he’s re-examined
his philosophy and determined that it was really all
the fault of … well, everybody else. The state
legislature, school teachers, police, firemen, nurses—frankly,
I’m shocked he hasn’t raged against googy-eyed
puppy dogs and kindly old candy shop keepers. Yet.
Arnold decided shortly after taking office that the
only way to deal with these pesky n’er-do-wells
was a big, costly special election. Of course, now
that its time has come, and his has passed, his association
with the various would-be laws has done enough political
damage to ensure that even the few welcome reforms
probably won’t pass. Arnold's propositions,
like so many he's made before, are being met with
a brusque slap in the face.
Given my unique opportunity here, I feel a certain
responsibility to share my takes on the variouspropositions,
even if it won’t be of much interest to those
living outside the Golden State.
Or maybe it will. California politics have certainly
provided more than a few chuckles to the rest of the
country since Schwarzenegger came onto the scene.
Prop. 73: If you’re anti-abortion,
and pro-suicide, this is the law for you. Prop. 73
seeks to require teenagers to notify their parents
48 hours before getting an abortion. Proponents indicate
that the law wouldn't require parents give permission,
but ignore the fact that parents of a minor can stop
them from doing pretty much anything simply by preventing
them from leaving the house.
I can’t join in the hysteria of those claiming
that this law would have our dumpsters overflowing
with newborns. Clearly there are tremendous differences
between a zygote, embryo, fetus and baby, and any
girl seeking an abortion is clearly aware of those
differences. (I also won’t argue with the many
guaranteed commentors who will no doubt argue that
a late term fetus, which is not even covered by Roe
v Wade, is a baby—so don’t try. To
these people I say read more, write less, and please
let's agree to disagree. In other words, leave me
the hell alone.)
What I will say is that girls who choose not to
tell their parents do so because they can’t—their
parents would either force them to carry an unwanted
pregnancy to term, or cast them out of their care.
This isn’t just an attempt to limit access to
abortion, it’s another attempt by the right
to present women who get abortions as wrongdoers.
And, in this case, to make sure they're properly punished.
It serves no logical purpose, other than
to punish. The idea that teenagers are walking around
thinking, “Hey, no big deal if I get pregnant.
I’ll just get an abortion and never have to
tell my parents,” is too absurd for argument.
Runaways, suicides and backyard abortions are the
only possible outcomes of this “pro life, pro
family” law. Please join me in voting no on
Prop. 74: “Whip the teacher,
and the students will work harder.” This law
buys into the great Dickensian mentality that abusing
the employees will somehow increase the quality of
their work. In this time when budget cuts are already
steering more and more away from the vocation for
reasons of economic security, The Governator wants
to dump the two-year tenure plan for teachers in favor
of a five year test drive. I’d agree that a
two year tenure program would be very fast indeed…
if more than half of teachers made it that long. But
this is no time to discourage people from entering
the field of teaching.
California pays its teachers so little that, frankly,
we should be groveling to keep even the mediocre on
board. If this state wants quality classrooms, it’s
going to have to do something even crazier than this.
It’s going to have to pay for them—raises
to lure capable teachers in, more classrooms and teachers
for a greater focus on learning and less time and
energy put into student herding, safe and clean campuses
for a healthier learning environment, and, yes, even
incentive raises are far more logical solutions.
Please join me in helping defeat this repugnant
attack on some of our State’s finest.
Prop. 75: It’s no surprise
that Arnold’s team hatched this shamelessly
evil plot, but the fact that they had the nerve to
take it to the voters shows how out-of-touch their
contempt for the people who actually make this state
run (news flash Schwarzenegger—you’re
not one of them,) has become.
Public employees already have the right to stop
their union dues from being spent on political ads.
Arnold’s problem is that this hasn’t stopped
them from taking our formerly heavyweight Governor
back down to the amateur league. Arnold’s solution
to the resulting image crisis is to make the same
mistakes, but bigger. This is nothing more than an
attempt to complicate the process, and hinder union’s
abilities to fight back when he goes round two with
them. And this isn't a fight he'll win, now or come
time for re-election.
Once again, he’s targeting people far more
important—and sympathetic—to this state
than he is. And once again, he’s telling voters
that big businesses aren’t special interests;
the essential servants of this state are. Please join
me in voting no on Prop. 75, and in spitting
twice on the ground (preferably with a look of disgust,)
every time we say the name Schwarzenegger.
Prop. 76: This law, which would
allow Arnold to bypass the state legislature to cut
school funding, is such a colossally bad idea on every
level it boggles my mind that the star of "Twins"
wasn’t punished—physically—by aides
for suggesting it. This can pretty much be summed
up as the "Last Action Hero" of his political
career. Please join me in laughing heartily as we
cast our “no” vote on this one.
Prop. 77: Legislators in this state
have drawn their own districts specifically to avoid
any change in power that the crazy voters might deem
necessary—a “gentleman’s agreement”
between Republicans and Democrats that is, quite simply,
not democracy. To be fair, the fact that Arnold Schwarzenegger
is our Governor does indicate that maybe
they have a point: Maybe democracy just doesn’t
Democrats are right when they suggest that this
is an attempt at handing the Governor a legislature
that will give him more of what he wants. But the
reality is that he’s never going to get that.
There just aren’t enough conservatives in California
to be gerrymandered into a majority. And, even if
there were, that kind of scheme would never get by
voters who have to approve the new districts.
Prop. 77 is written to avoid gerrymandering and
skewed districting. If passed, judges would be selected
by random drawing from a pool of 12 Republicans and
12 Democrats. If the drawing doesn’t turn up
at least one judge be from each party, the third seat
is selected again, until there is at least one representative
from each party. It requires that these retired judges
hold public hearings before drawing the map. Finally,
when it’s complete, all three must agree on
the new map, not just the two from the majority party.
Most importantly, it requires that this final map
then be approved by voters. Does that sound like a
partisan power grab to you?
Let’s compare this to the current system, where
lawmakers get to decide for themselves who’ll
be voting for their re-election. Prop. 77 is an imperfect,
but infinitely better system than what we have now.
Democrats oppose this measure not for any moral or
true reason, but simply because they're scared that
if we rock the boat, they'll lose power.
The arguments against 77 can be placed best on a
scale from misleading to despicable. It uses old census
data, yes; but so does the current scheme. It uses
retired judges, yes; but California has used panels
in the past to draw districts, including the map drawn
in 1991. What, exactly, do California Democrats have
to be in a tizzy about? Oh, yeah—some of them
might lose their jobs when the districts are drawn
Well, I’m a liberal Democrat, and as such believe
in democracy. I’m voting yes on 77,
and if the panel comes up with a map that’s
unfair, I’ll vote to reject it when the time
comes. But for now, I’d like to encourage California
Democrats to be loyal to their ideals and sense of
right and wrong all the time—not to the political
ambitions of people who happen to be in the same party.
Prop. 78: Proposition 78 is a discount
prescription drug plan backed by drug manufacturers.
Smell something strange? That’s the scent of
drug money wafting up from Schwarzenegger’s
pockets. This serves only to combat the real drug
plan for the needy—Prop. 79.
Prop. 79: This would allow the
state to negotiate discounts and rebates with drug
makers that would be shared by businesses, small employer
purchasing pools and unions, among others. Furthermore,
a state advisory board would be created to oversee
the industry’s dealings in California. This
is good for the working people of the state, and the
poor. It’s good for everybody, really, except
for drug companies that have time and again proven
they only do good things on accident.
If you vote no on 78 and yes on 79, I’ll wash
your car, do your dishes, make you dinner and walk
your dog. Okay, I lied. But I will send you a polite
thank you note and, if you live locally, firmly shake
your hand or politely kiss your cheek. No “turnarounds”.
Prop. 80: As much as Republicans
loved to scream that former governor Davis was responsible
for the California energy crisis, de-regulation under
the prior Administration had far more to do with it
than anything he could have possibly done in office.
Prop. 80 repeals that de-regulation, adds modestly
to our investment in alternative energy, and attempts
to curb energy market manipulation.
Will it all work? I have a feeling power companies
will manage to continue screwing more than just the
dim bulbs, but this is most certainly a move in the
right direction. I’ll be voting yes on Prop
80, and if you live in California, I’d encourage
you to do the same.
Avery Walker is a Managing Editor of RawStory.com.
He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.