I did not get to my examination of the candidates and measures on the ballot this year. I know Al is off somewhere trying not to cry. So, I thought I would tell you how I voted, and talk a little about some of the ballot measures that really ticked me off. Warning, this could go a little long.
The first thing I noted was that there was no line to vote for the first time I can remember. Apparently, Alameda didn't get the memo about surging turnout. According to the strangely old fashioned ballot scanner (which looked like a strange combination of an old juke box and a paper shredder..) I was the 27th person to vote there by 9AM.
I don't know how it is with y'all, but every time I have voted there has been a different procedure. A few years ago it was cool touch screen voting machines (ah, the innocence of my pre-Diebold youth. Complete with hokey "I touched the future" sticker, which I saved.) then it was punching things out with a little pin, and last year it was coloring circles in. Now, we have graduated to drawing a line to complete an arrow. I wonder if this one will last?
After Edwards dropped out, I was totally up in the air. I decided to let the last debate decide my vote, although it turns out my decision was affirmed by the news yesterday. I thought Hillary was the more substantive candidate throughout the debate, and pretty soundly won it. The good news is, I would not be upset if Obama or Hillary were our next President (and one of them almost certainly will be) so either way it's a win for me. Still, I had to vote for someone. So, I colored a little arrow for Hillary
I was the angry voter this year, voting No almost exclusively. This was a terrible year for ballot measures, with all sorts of special interests trying to get theirs.
Prop 91 – an interesting case, since the backers of it had already asked people not to vote for it. I was glad to oblige. No
Prop 92 – A measure to increase the funding of California's community colleges. Actually, it was really a measure to force the legislature to give the community colleges the funding they had already been promised. A 1998 proposition earmarked a certain portion of California funds to each level of education, with community colleges supposed to get 11 percent of the total. They have not received that amount once. Community colleges fall through the cracks as neither fish nor foul. They aren't K-12, which always gets emergency funding, and they aren't the State Universities that have all sorts of revenue streams. Seeing the fiscal problems our community colleges are facing was enough for me to suppress my usual dislike of earmarks and vote yes for this measure. Yes
Prop 93 – Anything that republicans and democrats agree on is worthy of further examination, and this is no exception. Prop 93 tries to undo some of the (admittedly draconian) term limits that Californians voted for in 1990. I'm actually okay with that so far. Then we get to the fine print (that the For camp is trying it's best to gloss over) that would allow 50 or so long time legislators to run for re-election next year that would extend their terms far above and beyond even the Prop 93 term limits. Strangely, thos legislators include most of the democratic and republican leadership. That is not something we need. No
Props 94-97 – I wrote a little about these pro-Indian gaming measures earlier (and the commercials were even more omnipresent this week.) The For side spent over $100 million dollars on their campaign. That is insane. The Against side spent a just as crazy $40 million. The funny thing is that I wanted to vote No on this one just out of my distaste at gambling in general, but the people backing the No campaign were all intimately involved in gambling as well. There was no anti-gambling vote here. Still, these 4 measures would dramatically increase the overall amount of gambling available in California, so I'm going to listen to Iron Eyes Cody and vote No
I wanted to talk about one of the local measures that might have pissed me off even more than the indian gaming ones. Measure A would ask every homeowner in Alameda county to pay a parcel tax to help rebuild Children's Hospital, a great research hospital that also gives care to any child. I had already voted for a somewhat similar measure a few years back to save the Alameda Hospital, and I have no problem voting for increasing taxes in general. Should be a slam dunk, right?
Alas, Children's Hospital has done everything it can to chase me away. Whether it is threatening local neighbors with eminent domain seizures of their property if they don't sell, or trying to get the county to pay for their private rebuilding, ignoring that all the county hospitals have to be retrofitted by 2013 or shut down. The final straw was the awful "debate" ads that they put out. The mawkish hiding behind children, and threatening that a no vote was a vote against kids really turned me off.
The ad has kids standing in for Hillary and Obama (and an Edwards who never gets to speak), each talking about children's healthcare, and then it cuts to a kid moderator (strangely dressed like Larry King) who tells us that if "we mean it" we can save kids by voting yes. We then cut to several sad eyed waifs asking us if we mean it. What I mean is No
Last 5 posts by Ezra
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