California 2005 Propositions

Governor Schwarzenegger called a Special Election to decide an especially urgent issue. A bunch of other propositions jumped onto the ballot, and now no one even remembers which was the original Super Special Urgent one.

I admit a strong bias to vote NO on all of them, just because the whole Special Election thing is so stupid and wasteful. We're spending $45 million on this thing! I've also considered a NO vote on anything Governor Schwarzenegger recommends. However, because I'm a sap, I'll look at the actual issues.

Election Day is Tuesday, November 8th. You can also vote before then at Early Voting locations. Check with your county's Registrar of Voters to find out where. For instance, in Alameda County you can vote at the Registrar's office in downtown Oakland.

[73] [74] [75] [76] [77] [78] [79] [80]

Prop. 73: Waiting period and parental notification before termination of minor's pregnancy.
Another attempt to restrict women's access to safe reproductive health care. Absolutely not.

Prop. 74: Public school teachers; waiting period for permanent status.
Quoting Sam Seaborn from The West Wing:
Education is the silver bullet. Education is everything. We don't need little changes. We need gigantic, monumental changes. Schools should be palaces. The competition for the best teachers should be fierce. They should be making six figure salaries. Schools should be incredibly expensive for government and absolutely free of charge to its citizens, just like national defense. That's my position. I just haven't figured out how to do it yet.
Well, this proposition won't do it. All of its provisions are about getting rid of teachers. Did I somehow miss noticing that our schools are suffering from a massive surplus of teachers, so that we need a new state law to get rid of them? I don't think so. The only one suffering from a surplus of teachers is Governor Arnold, who has repeatedly butted heads with the teachers' union. I think perhaps there are simpler ways to solve the Governor's head-butting problems.

Schwarzenegger is in favor of this one.

Prop. 75: Public employee union dues; restrictions on political contributions; employee consent requirement.
This one would require unions to get the active consent of each member before using any of their dues money for political advocacy. The proponents call it the Paycheck Protection Act, but that's bull. It's union-busting, pure and simple. I'm not that interested in unions, so I'm abstaining. If you are in a union you should definitely vote NO. And if you don't like the way your union is spending your dues money, then take it up with your union's leadership directly!

Schwarzenegger is in favor of this one.

Prop. 76: State spending and school funding limits.
This is billed as Arnold's attempt to fix the annual deadlocks in the state budgeting process. What it will actually do is make those deadlocks permanent. See, if a budget doesn't get delivered on time, then this proposition authorizes the state to continue operating on the previous year's budget - which is fine - but it also authorizes the Governor to invoke his new Fiscal Emergency superpowers. Because of this, if the Governor has even a tiny minority of friends in the legislature, they will be able to purposely delay the budget and intentionally invoke the Fiscal Emergency powers. Every year. What a stupid idea.

76 also specifically targets education funding for reduction; see above quote about education being the silver bullet.

Actually, the real fix for California's budgetting process is quite simple. Currently the budget must pass both houses by a 2/3rds majority. Change it to a simple majority. Bada-bing, bada-boom, end of problem. Of course we already tried making this change last March as Prop. 56, and it failed 34%-66%. Maybe people like the deadlocks.

Schwarzenegger is in favor of this one. I think it might have been the original cause of the Special Election.

Prop. 77: Redistricting.
This will change the way political redistricting gets done. What happens now is, after every ten-year national census, the legislature re-draws congressional districts to match the changes in population. If Prop. 77 passes, a three-member panel of retired judges will draw the lines instead. The judges are picked by the legislature, so it will still be a political process but at one step back. I think the panel of judges will certainly be no worse than the legislature, and might actually produce a reasonable set of districts.

There's a realpolitik argument to be made for rejecting this. The fact is, the current redistricting setup favors the status quo. In California at the moment that gives the Democrats an advantage in Congress. If you are a Democrat then perhaps it would be foolish to throw away this advantage in the name of fairness. Can you imagine the current crop of Republicans doing the same thing in, say, Texas? That would never happen. However, California hasn't always been a Democratic stronghold, and it may not be one forever. Making the redistricting system fairer now might prevent the Republicans from getting a permanent lock on the state in the future.

Schwarzenegger is in favor of this one.

Prop. 78: Discounts on prescription drugs.
This one is a pair with Prop. 79. If both 78 and 79 pass, then only the one with more Yes votes goes into effect.

Both 78 and 79 will provide discounts on prescription drugs. 78 is backed by the pharmaceutical industry, and they are spending over $80 million to pass 78 and defeat 79. I don't think they actually want 78 to pass; they'd rather see both of them defeated. But I'm sure they realize that people very much want action on health care costs and one or both of these measures will pass. The $80 million is to try to limit the damage.

Prop. 79: Prescription drug discounts.
This one is a pair with Prop. 78. If both 78 and 79 pass, then only the one with more Yes votes goes into effect.

Both 78 and 79 will provide discounts on prescription drugs. This is the real one; the other one is backed by the pharmaceutical companies to cause confusion and limit the damage. Don't fall for their tricks! Vote NO on 78 and YES on 79.

Prop. 80: Electric service providers; regulation.
This may be the most important proposition on the ballot, and I have no idea what it will do. Neither do you, and neither does anyone else. It's just too complicated an issue.

I do know that if it passes, then the utilities will say it's the reason they're not building any more generators in California. If it doesn't pass, they'll have some other excuse. Either way we're fuxx0red.

I will probably vote NO just on the basis of this being too complicated for a ballot issue. "Pete Rates The Propositions" has a very long analysis and dis-recommends it,

Secretary of State's voter information page.
Another propositions rating page.
More political opinion at
My recommendations for the 2004 propositions.
Back to Jef's page.