Spinning California's Props (Or When Smart People Do Stupid Things)

This is my last post before what I laughingly describe as my ‘going on vacation’- I’m moving out of my three bedroom rental house and into a Winnebago RV on my property. Until I can figure out how to tether without using too many gigs or getting caught, I’ll have to find wi-fi hot spots to post, so I may be writing less for a bit. But before I go, I wanna tell everyone else in America about the stupidest way to run a state- California- and that’s by ballot initiative…Props, they call em out here. As near as I can tell, it works this way:

You get an idea like, “Gay Marriage Should be Illegal” or “Pot Should Be Legalized And Taxed” or even, “Everyone Should Wear Red Underwear on Valentines Day”…it doesn’t matter what the idea is, as long as you can collect enough signatures on a petition to get it put on the November ballot for a vote. So in effect, any short term, hot button issue that captures the imagination of Californian’s for a time can be put to a vote and be made a law…no political debate, no reasoned discourse about the long term effects.

Now, people here will say, “Of course we have discourse and political debate, you East Coast asshole.” To which I answer, “Don’t call me an asshole, shithead; and you do not. What you have is a bunch of hysterical television commercials that completely misrepresent the issue, going so far as to word the title of the Prop to sound like voting yes on it means you’re actually against it (see Gay Marriage in the ’08 election). Then you have whatever politicians up for election cravenly either supporting it or saying they’re against it, sometimes both at the same time, depending on who they’re talking to.”

Remember, these Props are usually sweeping in nature; you can’t raise property taxes above a certain level for any reason or you have to fund something and can’t not do it without another Prop vote…like that. To a New Yorker, it’s the silliest thing I ever saw. In theory it sounds great- governance by the people. But I’ve been spending a lot of time in this state for several years now and although Californian’s are nice enough, they’re just not qualified to be lawmakers. It’s a pretty knee-jerk society, just like the rest of America. And what sounds good this year may look pretty stupid next year, but the law will still be there. To change it, you have to go through the whole process again or file a lawsuit challenging it’s constitutionality because as I understand it, lawmakers can’t amend a Prop law.

The system has left California with a bunch of things that legally need to be funded with absolutely no legal way to pay for them, not to mention a bunch of time and money wasted on legal challenges to various laws… The Gay Marriage ban is the latest one.

Oh, there’s one more idiotic thing here…in order to vote for anything, you have to have registered in time to vote in a gubernatorial election first, so if I’d wanted to support Gay marriage (which I did) I couldn’t have because I’d have had to wait till this year to register to vote for Jerry Brown, then I’m golden. But if I moved here in December of this year, I’d have to wait four more years to participate in any ballot initiative. That seems not only unfair, but blatantly illegal. The purpose of that is to stop New York assholes from racing into California, registering to vote, then voting for or against something, to which I answer, “Would you fucking stop calling me an asshole, you twerps?”

So there you have it- probably the main reason California is in the fiscal mess it’s in. I miss the way we do it at home…you get an idea, pay off a politician to write a bill, then pay off a bunch more to vote for it. It’s quick and simple. Of course, New York is in no better fiscal shape than California, but at least we know why- graft, corruption and lack of foresight. That’s the American Way.