Tuesday, November 21, 2006
If youve paid attention to local and California politics lately, youve probably noticed that weve been voting an awful lot. Since 2003, weve had the gubernatorial recall election, the Presidential election, the special San Diego mayoral election, a special statewide election in 2005, the 2006 primary and general elections. Am I forgetting any? Trust me, Im trying to!
The election this month was remarkable because a new party took over the Congress. On the local level, there wasnt much cause for excitement.
In San Diego, voters passed a couple of government reforms pushed by Mayor Sanders. One, proposition B, requires a vote of the people before city employees can get a pension benefit increase. Of course, the chance of that happening under any system right now is slim to none. A guest on the Editors Roundtable compared prop B to a condom for someone who already has herpes.
Statewide, voters passed more than $40 billion in bonds for a variety of infrastructure projects. Golden State residents will be paying those back, with interest, over the next 30 years. You have to hand it to us Californians... we may not be willing to increase taxes on ourselves, but we can be persuaded to raise taxes on our children.
Taxing others, in fact, is fairly popular in this state. In past elections, weve agreed to tax smokers and millionaires. On the other hand, we did pass up three opportunities to tax others during this months election.
Prop 86 would have quadrupled the cigarette tax to pay for emergency medical services. Prop 87 would have taxed oil companies to pay for production of alternative energy. Prop 89 would have taxed banks and corporations to pay for publicly-funded elections
Why did these measures lose? My guess is that people thought quadrupling the cigarette tax was a bit extreme. Prop 89 failed because people didnt want to raise taxes on anyone to pay for more negative campaign ads. The one I didnt understand was prop 87. Do we like oil companies now? Did we forget about those $3.50 a gallon gas prices we used to pay?
In the statewide offices, the game of musical chairs continued. Bill Lockyer moved from Attorney General to State Treasurer. John Garamendi moved from Insurance commissioner to Lieutenant Governor. Mayor (and former Governor) Moonbeam became Attorney General Moonbeam as Jerry Brown waltzed to an easy win.
Meanwhile, Arnold Schwarzenegger remains the Governator. Californias greatest political chameleon went from bashing unions in 2005 to raising the minimum wage and beating the drum for environmental causes in 2006. As a result, Arnold drove his Hummer to a landslide victory over Phil Angelides, ensuring another four years of political speeches riddled with lame movie jokes. (After being re-elected Arnold told a crowd, I love sequels! Very funny, dude.)
I cant tell you when the next election will be. But experience tells me it will be soon. So keep those patriotic skills sharp. And by the way are you sure that Diebold voting machine counted your ballot???