Election 2012 – California elects a democratic supermajority

Posted on November 7, 2012

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As you can imagine being the political activists we are we’ve have had our hands full for the past couple of weeks.  Now that decision 2012 is behind us, let’s look at what has been accomplished.

The first item is a democratic supermajority. For the first time in eighty years, the opposition is irrelevant and just going along for the ride in Sacramento. For democrats, it is a watershed moment to prove that they’re more than tax and spend politicians, that they can effectively govern without driving business out of the state or country, that they can solve the budget and pension issues without kicking the proverbial can down the road with budget gimmicks and phantom revenue. For republicans, they’re just sitting back in disbelief chanting election armageddon has paid a visit to California and that taxes, regulation and unemployment are poised to skyrocket.

Let’s prove them wrong.

Item two, Proposition 30. Call it a love/hate relationship. Most of us know the money isn’t going towards education and that for the next 7 years while this bill remains in effect that tuitions at our community colleges and universities will continue to rise. What it does do is that it provides breathing room for the state to get it’s fiscal house in order. While only the 1/4 cent sales tax will have any effect on any of us here at JCW, our objection to prop 30 was mostly philosophical. If the patient walks into the doctors office weighing 500 lbs, the doctor isn’t likely to proscribe a high calorie diet, smoking and no exercise as a cure.  What this bill means to the judicial branch is that we won’t be getting anymore or any less money. Will that stop the massive layoffs looming on the horizon for courts that are literally running out of money? Hell no. That requires a legislative cure that funds the trial courts directly bypassing the Judicial Council and the AOC.

Item three, Proposition 31 – State Budget. This was the two year budgeting initiative that had some serious flaws in it. It was also the initiative that used CCMS as a poster child of why two year budgeting is necessary. It was rejected by the voters probably for the flaws.

Item four, Proposition 32. The billionaires and corporations didn’t win this time either but they’ll be back. They want to make California a right to work state. A suggested PR strategy to ensure that tens of millions of dollars of union dues are not wasted fighting them off the next time that they come back is to empower unions as the vanguards of the public trust. Instead of focusing on government transparency and accountability only at contract renegotiation time, make protecting the public trust a well publicized, well orchestrated full-time mission. That investment made now would save tens of millions in union dues fighting off this kind of initiative later when the taxpaying public and dues paying union members becomes your largest advocates.

Item five, Proposition 33. Car Insurance. What insurance company executive is really going to spend 17 million of his own money to extend discounts to persistently insured drivers? Few. Most of them will look at the riches of lapsed coverage as a way to make up for any and all discounts. Given the economic situation and insurance being one of the first items to go when one has to cut back, this would have been a windfall for insurers and it was soundly defeated.

Item six, Prop 34. Repealing the death penalty. There would have been lots more people who bought in to the savings of this initiative had there been a whole lot more savings for the first 4 years. As the initiative was written, money saved would have been diverted to local law enforcement and that turned out to not be much of a savings in the first 4 years. We’re speculating that this is the primary reason the initiative failed to gain support and was rejected by the voters.

Item seven. Prop 35 – Human Trafficking – passed by a landslide.

Item eight, prop 36 – Three Strikes reform passes easily.

Item nine, prop 37 – Genetic food labeling. If you are going to have genetic food labeled, make sure it is all all labeled and that you’re not creating a regulatory minefield where suddenly everything is labeled “may contain GM”.

Item ten, Prop 38 – would have raised everyones income tax for 12 years to fund education.  Soundly defeated.

Item eleven Prop 39 – Business tax – The voters chose to modify a law that had our own home based companies moving out of state to take advantage of this billion dollar tax loophole.

Item twelve Prop 40 referendum on senate redistricting – The people spoke and passed prop 40 reaffirming the work of the redistricting commission.

Item thirteen – Pete “Fortney” Stark went down in flames as Maryland’s oh, I mean the east bay’s 21 term congressman. One less loon to worry about in a leadership position.

Item fourteen: Make that two less loons. Our east bay shoplifter, assemblymember Mary Hayashi was shot down in flames in her bid to become an Alameda county supervisor. Really Mary, Crime. Doesn’t. Pay. (or get you elected to office)

All in all, twas a good night and a healthy exercise of our democracy.