I promised to go over the 9 ballot propositions from the recent election, and somehow correlate the outcomes to why 100% of the state constitutional offices were won by Democrats, in an effort to explain to you and me what the hell happened in California. This is a chore.
I’m just one voter. With all precincts reporting, for any given proposition, it seems that about 7,000,000 voters actually voted. In a state of 30,000,000 you might expect more turnout.
Proposition 19 lost, 54% to 46%. This proposition had so many cans of worms, but it may come up again later. The proposition was to legalize the use and possession of small amounts of marijuana. The proposition was clear that it would conflict with federal law, and would not make it legal for you to walk or drive down the road smokin’ a doobie, and it also left it up to the counties to decide how to regulate the production, distribution, and taxation of marijuana. So there’s that door. There was so much confusion inherent with this proposition and with marijuana anyway that individual employment issues were unclear. Still, 46% said yes. What this may mean is that not everybody in California is smoking marijuana, even though they elected Jerry Brown again. Jerry’s 2010 voters are not all pot-heads. And any other silly derivation you care to apply.
Proposition 20 added congressional redistricting to the duties of the recently-created redistricting commission. You have to look at Proposition 27 at the same time, because Proposition 27 would have eliminated the commission and returned the duties of redistricting to the legislature. The whole point of creating the commission was to keep legislators from drawing their own district boundaries. 20 passed 61% to 39% and 27 failed 59% to 41%. While a few voters may have been confused between the two, most of them seem to agree that the commission should do the redistricting, and not the legislature.
TV break. Huell Howser hosts a program on PBS called “California’s Gold,” in which he visits pretty much nothing but state parks. Some are historic, some are natural, and there are 278 of them. They are all staffed by park rangers who tell Huell Howser all about the historic or biological significance of their parks. Pretty amazing.
Proposition 21 was to add an $18 surcharge to everybody’s car registration fees to fund state parks. 58% No, 42% Yes. Looks like California’s Gold will have to get by on what they already are getting.
You have to be part bureaucrat to appreciate Proposition 22. I don’t even know if I can break it down. The state has access to a lot of different pockets where money is kept. If revenues are down, which you know they are, the state has had the authority to redirect and borrow money from different pockets to keep other pockets viable. There is a history of propositions to limit this flexibility. This proposition favors local governments… try to keep that in mind.
Fuel tax revenues are collected at the gas pumps. They use the money to build highways, fund public transportation, and pay debts on transportation bonds that the voters approved. The proposition requires the bond debt money to come from the General Fund instead of from fuel tax revenues. Furthermore, the state has borrowed fuel tax money to beef up the General Fund when it runs low, and that is also forbidden in this proposition. The amount of fuel tax money that goes to local governments is to go up from 1/3 to 1/2.
Property tax is collected by individual counties and distributed variously. The state in the past has shifted more of that money toward schools, when it would have come from the General Fund. This proposition forbids that, too.
Vehicle License Fee, collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles, is mostly distributed to local governments. When the state mandates a local government to provide something, the state has to reimburse the local government. The proposition forbids the use of Vehicle License Fees for that reimbursement.
It passed, 61% to 39%. But if you know bureaucracy, they will find another way to juggle the books. If the options are to spend less or tax more, and the Democrats are running the show, it will soon cost even more to live in California, thanks to Proposition 22, among other things. Arnold always made a good show of opposing new taxes.
We’ll get around to Propositons 23 through 26 some other time. For now, the voters said no pot, no legislators drawing their own maps, no vehicle registration surcharge for the parks, no state pilfering of revenues to pay for bond debt, schools, and mandates, and we’ll tie Jerry Brown up with all this red tape and make him be the governor. So far Jerry has not given up and gone fishing yet.