CALIFORNIA STUFF….Here in California we’re not just voting for presidential candidates on Tuesday. We’re also voting on a couple of initiatives. So what do I think of them?
From my point of view, there’s an easy one and a hard one. The easy one is Prop 93, which changes our term limits law. Currently, you’re limited to 14 years: three terms (6 years) in the assembly and two terms (8 years) in the senate. The problem with this is that a limit of three terms in the assembly, for example, means that the Speaker of the Assembly never has more than four years of experience before taking over the top spot. This is dumb. The point of a term limits law should be to prevent people from making careers out of a single political office, not doing away with experience altogether.
The new law is simpler: it limits service to 12 years total, in either house. This is how I would have written the law in the first place, and it’s a good compromise between limiting legislative service while still allowing politicians to gain enough experience to know how to run things. This is one of those rare initiatives I’m in favor of.
The harder one is Props 94-97, a series of identical referendums that allows an expansion of slot machine gaming by four California Indian tribes. Basically, though, I don’t have a problem with it. The governor negotiated the deal, the legislature approved it, it would bring in a fair amount of new revenue to the state, and the opposition comes primarily from (a) other gaming interests who don’t want increased competition (Nevada casinos, other tribes, and horse racing interests) and (b) the teachers union, which is unhappy that the additional revenues aren’t specifically earmarked for education. Since I don’t care about increased competition, and I’m actively opposed to earmarking revenue via initiative, their opposition doesn’t carry much water with me. There’s also some opposition from unions, who are unhappy that the tribes refused to accept their collective bargaining terms in the new compacts.
But I’m fundamentally in favor of letting the legislature and the governor run the state (which is one of the reasons I default to No on most initiatives), and none of the opposing arguments seems quite strong enough to override the deal as approved by the legislature. Unless I hear something more persuasive in the next few days, I’m inclined to go ahead and vote Yes.
There are also a couple of bond measures on the ballot. On those, I have no particular opinion.
UPDATE: Props 91 and 92 aren’t bond measures. Sorry about that. I wasn’t paying attention. From SteveK in comments:
Prop 91, the transportation initative has been made obsolete by statute. No one, not even the people that qualified it for the ballot, is supporting it.
Prop 92, the community college constitutional ammendment, makes some sense, and remedies historical funding gaps for the CCs, but is just too damn expensive. And it’s one of those crappy initiatives that locks funding percentages in the constitution.