California ballot measures: Kevin Drum explains it all for you

I wasn’t looking forward to writing a post on all the California ballot initiatives, so I’m grateful to Kevin Drum for doing it for me. It will save wear and tear on your brain if you just vote as Kevin suggests.

I wasn’t fully persuaded to vote against the high-speed rail measure, just because high-speed rail is such a great idea generically in terms of congestion, pollution, and stress reduction; Kevin, having telepathically divined my skepticism, provides a devastating follow-up post.

I’m still not sure how I’m going to vote on Proposition 5, the extension of the drug-treatment-instead-of-prison program formerly known as Proposition 36. The proposition is just as bad as Kevin says it is (and in some ways worse [details at the jump]) but if you were to decide that you like cannabis decrime and/or just want to send a dovish message about the drug war to politicians in California and elsewhere I wouldn’t call that entirely unreasonable.

Still, the proposition is a crock, and government by initiative petition is a rotten idea in general. I’ve been wavering on this one, with violent convictions in each direction on alternate days. I may have to flip a coin before I go to vote.

Footnote Now would be as good a time as any to notice what a blessing it is to have someone as smart and sane and calm as Kevin Drum around the blogosphere. If he didn’t exist, they’d definitely have to invent him.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: