Free Will Voters Guide: California Edition

California is looking more like a state that will avoid any major electoral shake-ups, despite all the talk of wave elections out there. That should really be a warning to GOP officeholders presently measuring drapes. Seven years ago, the state GOP united behind a charismatic celebrity who promised to radically shrink the state government and blunt the power of the public employees' unions. The result of the failure to follow through on this promise can be seen in today's polls, which show hard left candidates Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer holding narrow leads. An 80 seat swing in the House will mean nothing if nothing changes, and the Democrats will quickly get back in the saddle. They are the party of government, after all.

California candidates: for God's sake, please vote Republican. There is no significant third party presence on the ballot. I know virtually all of the candidates on offer from the GOP are moderate Republicans, but we can't enable the consolidation of leftist power over the state.

Prop. 19: this is the "legalize pot" proposition. I find persuasive the arguments that the War On Drugs, at least as against weed, has failed. I am stopped short by marijuana's deleterious effects - it combines the intoxicating effects of drink with the health problems associated with cigarettes, both of which we have spent decades trying to stamp out. I am absolutely unmoved by the idea that legalized pot will lead to a flood of tax revenue. Mostly, I think the current situation, where possession has been decriminalized, and "medical" marijuana is freely available, is just fine in a world where a state law would instantly be pre-empted by federal law. NO.

Prop. 20: redistricting, pt. 2. This would affirm that the redistricting commission set up by a 2008 proposition, one of the few good results from that year, should be tasked with drawing district boundaries. We have to affirm this because state pols have been trying to negate the districting commission. They will never let this go. We still have to vote on term limits, after all. YES.

Prop. 21: would establish a $18 surcharge on vehicle registrations to fund state parks. Supposedly, owners of vehicles that paid the surcharge would be granted free entrance to state parks. Meh. NO.

Prop. 22: a constitutional amendment that would prevent the state from borrowing or taking funds from local municipalities. This is in reaction to the 2009 budget "deal," which balanced the state budget by simply taking funds from the state's counties and cities. At the time, I wondered if that was even legal. Now it won't be. YES.

Prop. 23: would suspend implementation of the state's cap & trade law until state unemployment dips below 5.5%. This should be a no-brainer, but California is distinctly lacking in brains on this issue. Global warming has been discredited, or at least called into serious question. The state's Air Resources Board has been caught grotesquely exaggerating the amount of pollutants in the state's environment. The "No on 23" crowd has been making a big deal about how Prop. 23 is funded by "Texas Oil Interests." (Are you kidding me?) And, Prop. 23 is widely expected to fail. Groan. YES.

Prop. 24: would repeal some tax breaks granted to "corporate interests" This pitiful little effort is one of the few business friendly policies put up by "pro-growth" "fiscal conservative" Governor Schwarzenegger, and of course state liberals can't stand it. NO.

Prop. 25: this year's effort to "reform" Prop. 13, this time by replacing the 2/3rd voting requirement to pass tax increases with a simple majority vote. This is the lone bulwark that gives Republicans in the state legislature any say in tax policy. Lose this, and it's all over. NO.

Prop. 26: would subject the state's multiplying fees and regulatory takings to a 2/3rd requirement, just like regular taxes. Another no-brainer. YES.

Prop. 27: would eliminate the redistricting commission and replace it with our elected representatives. Ha Ha. NO.

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