Nix the first six

Vote a straight anti-Schwarzenegger ticket on Tuesday.

The first six are the Schwarzenegger-supported initiatives on tomorrow’s ballot in California.

One (73) is designed to bring out the Right-to-Lifers to vote for the others. Another (76) would make it unconstitutional to provide adequate funding for schools or other public needs. (Each recession would ratchet down the state’s spending limit.) A third (75) would guarantee a bunch of fratricidal Democratic Congressional primaries in 2006 and thus take California Democratic money away from House races across the nation, while building a supposedly neutral apportionment system that would in fact give Republicans a share of seats in excess of their share of votes. (Details here.) A fourth (74) would damage a key Democratic constituency, the schoolteachers, by making them spend longer as probationers and making it easier to fire them. A fifth (75) would tilt the political playing field toward the GOP by making it harder for public employee unions, but not companies that do business with the state, to raise and spend political money. The sixth (78) is designed to protect drug companies from real action to moderate prescription drug prices.

Props. 79 and 80 are from the left rather than the right: 79 is a real prescription drug plan, and 80 would re regulate the electric power industry. Either one might have merit, for all I know, but neither is on an issue that seems to me to justify the extreme step of letting lobbyists, signature-gathering firms, pollsters, and their clients write the laws directly without passing them through the legislative process.

So I’m going to nix all eight.

But it’s the first six that represent what I hope is the last gasp of Schwarzenegger’s attempt to subvert the democratic process in California, and I urge everyone to vote against them all, even those (such as the extension of the probationary period for teachers) that have some substantive merit considered in the abstract. The Gropenfuerher six-pack is a raw political move, and it requires a raw political response.

Update Prop. 80 turns out to be a bad idea on the merits; Prop. 79 is probably a good idea, but not good enough to justify sidestepping the safeguards of the legislative process. Or so I argue here. NIx all eight.

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: