The Drum Line

Last week I did a post offering some thoughts on California ballot initiatives, which have a way of influencing developments beyond the Golden State. But today I see my esteemed predecessor here at PA, Kevin Drum, is offering a full-service recommendation list for his fellow Californians on the 11 initiatives on this year’s statewide ballots.

I voted (by mail) last weekend, and though I normally don’t like to disclose the contents of my secret ballot (and won’t when it comes to candidate races), I have to say: I was unknowingly following the Drum Line on all eleven initiatives. And this is not an indication of some partisan or ideological groupthink: in at least two or three cases Kevin and I are probably breaking ranks with most California progressives.

If you don’t live here it’s probably hard to grasp how totally initiative campaigns dominate California politics. With the exception of a very competitive county supervisor’s race, initiatives are the only ballot items drawing television ads here in the Monterey Peninsula. And the big tax initiatives–Props. 30 and 38–will probably have a more profound effect on what happens in state government next year than the identity of the governor and state legislators. So I’m grateful for the Drum Line, which you’ll find informative even if you don’t march to his cadence.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.