Voters Express Ire Toward State Political Elite With Failed Propositions, Now What? How About A Little Courage

Last night’s election results on the state’s budget provisions offered no suspense for political junkies like me. All the polls told us what...

Last night’s election results on the state’s budget provisions offered no suspense for political junkies like me. All the polls told us what to expect and they were on target.

As a self-proclaimed political junkie, it was a huge disappointment. I am the guy hunkered down with a big bowl of hot-buttered popcorn a steaming pot of coffee prepared to tap away result on my notebook to the wee hours of the morning.

This time around I needn’t bother with the hot-buttered popcorn or fortified java. I didn’t even bother to turn on the TV. At about 8:01 pm, I checked the county’s voter information and with over 56 per-cent of precincts reporting, the contest wasn’t even close.

A visit the Secretary of State’s website moments later mirrored the same results only with bigger numbers – overwhelmingly California voters, those who bothered to cast a ballot that is, turned down five of the six propositions by an almost uniform two- to-one margin.

This election was like looking at the results of a hypothetical Tiger Woods versus the captain of the high school golf team golf match. Game over. In fact I was in bed before American Idol finished

The only proposition to win, 1F, which in reality was a fiscal “gotcha’ message to legislators that they would not get a raise without a budget, was a measure of how angry voters are. It won by a whopping three-to-one margin.

So what can we make from this election? First and foremost, voters all throughout the the political gradient are angry with the manner of how the budget is handled, our legislative bodies and the Governor.

For the more conservative voters, their anger lies in the fact that they oppose any tax increase. They viewed Proposition 1A with a jaundiced eye as they feel any short term tax increase eventually becomes a permanent.

For liberal voters, propositions taking away funding from any social program are anathema for all they stand for. Once a program is removed, the harder it is to get it back.

On a certain level, both are right, yet both are unwilling to reach toward the middle and find compromise solutions. Taxes needed to be increased or services cut or ideally, a compromise somewhere in the middle. Herein lies the problem - there is no incentive to compromise given the ideologue that are selected in the primary and elected in the general election.

Coincidently, a few weeks ago I attended a town hall style meeting in Elk Grove conducted by 10th Assembly member Democrat Allyson Huber. A newly elected assembly member and political newcomer, Huber offered a few common sense approaches to solving the problems.

First, Huber agreed the two-third majority needed for a budget was a major stumbling block in passing a timely budget. The super majority also gives both the majority and minority plenty of political cover for their ideological stances. She also agreed politicians should not draw districts.

Aside from doing away with the two third’s majority, Huber also said the state should convene a constitutional convention and rewrite the state’s constitution as the vast majority of state spending is derived by voter initiatives mandated in the constitution. Huber said that depending on the year, as little as 7% of state spending is flexible, with the balance constitutionally mandated.

The only problem with Huber’s approach is that they suffer from having common sense! If there is one think in short supply in Sacramento, it is common sense and compromise.

Nonetheless, I’ll offer a little advice to members of the assembly, the senate, the Governor or anyone who might influence these people on this – do some reading.

Specifically go back to your high school days and dust of a copy of John F. Kennedy’s “Profiles in Courage.” Our elected leaders can learn lessons from any of the profiles, especially the profile of Edmund G. Ross.

Read Kennedy’s profile on Ross and who knows, you legislators and The Governor can at least become the lion in The Wizard of Oz and show a little “CCourage.”

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1 comment

Anonymous said...

Dan: Nivce piece. I'm reminded of the Argetinians banging on the pots and pans and leaning out of the windows and marchingin the streets shouting: "Out! All of them out!" -- TN

PS I think it is totally ironic that the word verification I had to complete was "rackit." ;-)

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