As I went to bed last Tuesday night, it looked like Prop's 73 and 75 would pass, and possibly 74. Props 76 through 80 appeared to be heading for a resounding defeat. When I awoke on Wednesday morning, I was surprised to see that ALL EIGHT PROPOSITIONS FAILED.
This blog, like the Governor, endorsed Prop's 74 through 77, and did not support 73, 78, 79, nor 80, so to look on the bright side, I batted .500 in the election! But seriously, I am disappointed that 74, 75, 76, and 77 were defeated, but if that is the will of the people then I support and accept their decision.
I am not too surprised that 74 through 76 lost, since all directly affected unions, and they spent something like $100 million to defeat them. 76 was the most important of those three, as it would have helped smooth-out spending. The only problem with it, and part that concerned me (and likely was it's ultimate downfall) was it's potential to reduce school funding. It didn't specifically do that, and if the legislature and the governor agreed, funding could go UP, but the minimum school funding guarantees of Prop 98, passed by the voters in 1988.
State spending will still have to be addressed, and only time will tell how the governor and the legislature will figure it out. For those of us who want to see spending brought more in line with revenues, we will have to stay on top of this issue and 'hold their feet to the fire' on spending.
I am mostly disappointed by the defeat of Prop 77, the proposition to change how legislative districts are drawn. Those in power—mainly the entrenched political parties—fought a dirty and outright lying campaign. They ran TV ads that were false and misleading at best, claiming that 77 was a "power grab" and would take the power from the people and give it to retired (white male) judges. Nothing could be further from the truth, and unfortunately, they won.
As I have laid out in previous posts, we need to get politicians out of the business of politics, and the vote on 77 is the best evidence that our current system is broken. Based on the radical proposal laid out in that post (above), perhaps 77 should have been structured differently. Maybe instead of a three-member panel of retired judges, a pool of average citizens could have been assembled to draw up legislative districts. The guidelines for drawing districts laid out in 77 could still be used, and the final plan would still go to a vote of the people.
Would the power structure in Sacramento fight this proposal? I am sure they will. But the only way to return power to the people is to break the grip of centralized power and control on elections, and the only way to do that is by changing how—and most importantly WHO—draws up legislative districts.
If you have a better idea, please add your comments.
California Special Election
California Special Election Results