Tuesday, October 07, 2003
Get out and vote: If you're in California, today is recall election day. If you're registered and want to vote, go out and do it. If you're apathetic and uninformed -- stay home.
Democracies don't have 100 percent voter participation. Never have, never will. Why? Because part of being free is being free not to vote.
Hoystory endorses: When this recall election qualified for the ballot, I was opposed to recalling Gray Davis mainly for long-term political reasons. The people of California had just re-elected him -- and they deserved the government they got. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad.
I believed that Davis and the Democrat-dominated legislature had not caused enough damage to the state to create enough voter outrage to toss the whole lot out. I thought that by the end of Davis' second term, the state would be in such a sorry state that Republicans would not only take the governor's mansion, but the state legislature as well. (That was probably a pipe-dream in this very left-leaning state.)
That was two months ago.
Since then, Davis has signed a measure he once opposed -- giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens. Something that, in the wake of 9/11, is a danger to the security of the nation. Yesterday, he signed another which places a huge burden on businesses in California, requiring those with 50 or more employees to provide health insurance for all their employees.
[An aside: In the previously mentioned article, it's telling that joining Davis on the stage as he signed the bill was Castro-supporting, anti-American actor Danny Glover.]
Davis' full-speed-ahead pandering in an effort to save his political career lost him my "no" on the recall vote. There are times when a politician must take a stand against special interests and for the people. Davis has not been able to make that political calculation. Davis hopes that by signing the driver's license legislation he will get more Latino votes. What is likely to happen is that it will turn many more non-Latino voters against him.
I will be voting "yes" on the recall.
As for the second question on the ballot, I'll be casting a vote for Tom McClintock. McClintock is an intelligent man who knows how Sacramento works. He'll be able to accomplish much -- and do it right.
Originally, I was going to vote for Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante. But his campaign has convinced me that his governance would be too disastrous for the state.
First, Bustamante refused to distance himself from MEChA, the Hispanic equivalent of the KKK.
Second, he held a press conference where he proposed government regulation of gasoline prices in the state -- a truly insane idea. Bustamante hasn't mentioned it lately, but he hasn't disavowed it either.
Third was Bustamante's admission during one of the debates that, yes, the government had spent too much money and his solution was to raise taxes.
As for Schwarzenegger, well, character matters. He's not really a Republican as they are commonly defined (though the "Republican" tent is definitely larger than the "Democrat" tent), instead I would classify him as a conservative, blue-dog Democrat in the mold of Georgia Sen. Zell Miller. If there weren't a real conservative in the race, Schwarzenegger would get my vote as part of the lesser of three evils.
The propositions: Prop. 53 would require a certain percentage of the state budget to be set aside for infrastructure repairs and improvements. The thought is a good one, but it contributes to an ever-growing problem in the state. So much of the state budget is protected by these set-asides that the government is hamstrung when making the budget. Priorities have been set by the public (largely because they believed that the politicians couldn't be trusted to make the right decisions) and it makes tough budget decisions impossible to make.
Vote "no" on Prop. 53.
Prop. 54 prohibits the state government from collecting many different types of racial data. Opponents of the measure argue that the lack of racial data will hurt medical research and efforts to prevent racial profiling by police. I would encourage opponents of the measure to check out this article by Peter Kirsanow of the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on the subject. The most interesting part of the legislation is that it basically has a self-evisceration measure embedded in it. To quote Kirsanow:
But any serious deficiencies (in collecting needed racial data) would likely be completely remedied by paragraph (b) of the initiative - the mother of all exemptions. That provision permits the collection of racial data whenever the legislature determines that to do so serves a compelling state interest and the governor and two-thirds of the legislature approve of such collection. If a deficit of racial data causes a significant health risk, the legislature will quickly determine that collection of the necessary information is a compelling state interest. Indeed, while the prudent inclusion of the "compelling state interest" exception in Prop. 54 makes good sense, it may eventually become the exception that swallows the rule: If Prop. 54 passes on October 7, on October 8 the hundreds of special interests that oppose the measure will be in Sacramento lobbying for their pet compelling-state-interest exceptions - and since Gray Davis, the leading candidates to replace him (excepting Tom McClintock) and virtually all Democrats in the state assembly oppose the initiative, it's a safe bet exceptions will proliferate.
I'm urging a "yes" vote on Prop. 54 for two reasons:
First, it sends a message that we are moving beyond a race-conscious society.
Second, any real, serious, negative impacts from the proposition can be easily exempted by the legislature (and probably will).
"Yes" on the recall.
"No" on Prop. 53.
"Yes" on Prop. 54.