Updated for the February 5 Primary here.
[As the election looms ever near, I suddenly find that many people come here having searched for a "conservative voter guide" in, I'm assuming, California. No doubt you were looking for a responsible, well-researched, knowledgeable guide. This is not that guide. You could try Flash Report, but only if you understand lawyers. Heaven knows I don't.
This guide is merely my own missive detailing how I - a lone conservative voice in the wilderness - intend to vote this Tuesday. If it provides any entertainment value, you're welcome. If it annoys you, I apologize.]
Election time is upon us once again, boys and girls. I know you all look forward to this election with as much joy and anticipation as that root canal you'll be getting next week, and Uncle Woody wants to share in that joy with you.
Of course, living in California, we have what we call "Propositions" or ballot initiatives. We have propositions because our legislature and governor are incapable of doing their jobs, so they need us to do it for them. There are only thirteen initiatives this year (lucky 13!), so Uncle Woody once again offers his "Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters" for this 2006 mid-term election.
Of course, this is only a guide, boys and girls. You may feel differently about some of these initiatives than Uncle Woody does, and that's okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, no matter how wrong-headed their thinking may be. Uncle Woody should also mention that he has not yet run this guide by Auntie Mrs. Woody, so his own opinions may change before we actually have the chance to vote.
So, boys and girls, pop some Reddenbacher®, sit back, and let Uncle Woody guide you through the mysteries of this year's ballot measures:
1A - Transportation Funding Protection
1B - Highway Safety, Traffic Reduction, Air Quality, and Port Security Bond Act of 2006
1C - Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund Act of 2006
1D - Kindergarten-University Public Education Facilities Bond Act of 2006
1E - Disaster Preparedness and Flood Prevention Bond Act of 2006
Uncle Woody wants to like the 1A through 1E initiatives; he really does. They sound like very important measures that will provide some desperately needed money for our crumbling infrastructure. Of the bunch, though, the only one Uncle Woody can support is 1A. Why, you ask? Because 1A is the only one that doesn't require issuing bonds to fund it.
Uncle Woody doesn't much care for bond measures, because bonds are really just a way of deferring the debt for a period of time, with no real guarantees that we'll have the money to pay them off later. And if investors got cranky enough, they could cause the state a lot of grief. Did you boys and girls happen to read the "Overview of State Bond Debt" in the voter information guide? Well, Uncle Woody did, and for him it reads like the screenplay for "Fatal Attraction." And Uncle Woody never even saw the movie.
Bond measures are, for the most part, evil, boys and girls, and Uncle Woody advises against them. Especially in this election. Uncle Woody really wants to know what the state has been doing with all the money that California voters have been giving or granting them for the past several decades. Until they can reassure Uncle Woody that they're really doing what they promised to do, Uncle Woody thinks they need to sell a few more of their personal Hummers to finance some of these measures, if you get Uncle Woody's drift.
83 - Sex Offenders, Sexually Violent Predators, Punishment, Residence Restrictions and Monitoring
Yes! Yes! Yes! A hundred times YES! Uncle Woody thinks that, in the absence of public castrations, tougher restrictions on registered offenders will have to do. The only thing Uncle Woody could see that would improve this measure is physically welding those GPS locators on some sensitive portion of the offenders' anatomy, but you can't have everything.
84 - Water Quality, Safety and Supply. Flood Control. Natural Resource Protection. Park Improvements. Bonds.
Can you boys and girls guess how Uncle Woody might vote here? NO, of course. Listen, Uncle Woody is all for improving our water quality. Uncle Woody has been purchasing bottled water for years now (since moving to Anaheim, where Disney has done nothing to improve the water in this area!), and will continue to do so for as long as local water tastes like something that should have stayed flushed the first time. Flood control? You bet. Uncle Woody happens to live in a flood zone, and does worry about that. Protecting our "natural resources" (Hollywood does NOT count), and improving our parks? Go team. But, here again, BONDS are required to do all of this. Hey, Uncle Woody has a better suggestion: Let's just add another 3 or 4 dollars' tax onto every bottle of beer sold in this state, and see what that does. You boys and girls shouldn't be drinking that stuff, anyway. You'll thank Uncle Woody in the long run. Really.
85 - Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor's Pregnancy.
The fact that we even need such a measure bothers Uncle Woody. A lot. And the worst part is that it does not deny the performance of an abortion, it only defers it for 48 hours. Abortion is something that makes Uncle Woody very, very sad, boys and girls. Uncle Woody would much rather talk about abstinence, personal responsibility, and improving adoption laws already on the books. But no, we have to decide whether to make teenagers wait for 48 hours before going ahead with an abortion, whether Mom and Dad agree or not.
Uncle Woody votes NO. Not because Uncle Woody thinks his girls should have immediate access to an abortion, but because anyone would think that such an abortion is acceptable under any but the most grievous circumstances. Uncle Woody thinks we should be spending much more energy on helping our girls stay pure until they're old enough to truly decide for themselves.
86 - Tax on Cigarettes
See Uncle Woody's comments regarding such a tax on beer under Proposition 84 above. Of course Uncle Woody wants to tax someone $2.60 extra per pack. Uncle Woody is not altogether convinced that the money will end up where they say it will (Uncle Woody hasn't believed our money ever goes where it's promised since we approved the Lottery in this state), but Uncle Woody will think it's worth it if it drives one more person to for heaven's sake GIVE UP THE HABIT.
87 - Alternative Energy. Research, Production, Incentives. Tax on California Oil Producers
Uncle Woody votes NO on Prop 87, but not for the reasons put foward by the oil industry. Remember Uncle Woody's basic premise: governments and bureaucracies need to be more accountable with the money we already give them. Taxing the oil companies an additional $4 billion with no guaranteed reductions on fossil fuel use is really just pie-in-the-sky thinking. In other words, if Uncle Woody's going to get hit at the pump (and, despite assurances by pro-87 forces to the contrary, we will get hit at the pump), Uncle Woody wants it to be for some actual project. Say, for example, the $4 billion were specifically earmarked for building more hydrogen refueling stations across the state, with a portion used to incentivize car makers in developing lower-cost hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. THAT Uncle Woody would vote for. For now... no plan, no vote.
88 - Education Funding. Real Property Parcel Tax
Uncle Woody is of two minds on this one, boys and girls. Uncle Woody wants you young people to stay in school, certainly, and Uncle Woody would love to know that you boys and girls are in a safe, moderate environment where you get plenty of attention from your teachers. This measure is supposed to raise Uncle Woody's property taxes by $50 a year, which would raise something like $450 million to be distributed throughout the state. Big hairy deal. Uncle Woody is pretty sure that $450 million a year would barely cover the costs of all those whiny commercials that the California Teachers Association put out begging for more money every week.
Still, even though Uncle Woody is a homeschooler and doesn't have union troubles to deal with, Uncle Woody also feels it to be his civic duty to make sure that we have public schools available, and that they are as current and safe as can be. Uncle Woody votes YES for this one. You're welcome.
89 - Political Campaigns. Public Financing. Corporate Tax Increase. Campaign Contribution and Expenditure Limits
Uncle Woody smells dead fish here, boys and girls. Campaign reform laws have not worked at the national level, and Uncle Woody sure as heck can't see them working at a state level, either. Uncle Woody recognizes that holding candidates responsible for their ethics (or, more generally, lack thereof) is very important, but here's the lesson: If you boys and girls want to have a reputation for being honorable and responsible, don't become politicians.
Uncle Woody votes NO. The fish ain't getting any deader.
90 - Government Acquisition, Regulation of Private Property
Uncle Woody supports this initiative. Strongly. For the past several years, Uncle Woody has looked on in horror while people have had their lives turned upside down merely because a city wants to "revitalize" some portion of the town. Uncle Woody thinks that eminent domain has its place, but that place should only be for extraordinary circumstances. Certainly they should have the option of condemning properties that pose a threat to the health or safety of the community. But taking a person's property merely to "develop" that property for revenue is - among other things - selfish, greedy, and unnecessary. Don't be like the government, boys and girls. Care about your neighbors. Uncle Woody votes NO.
That's it, boys and girls. You can cut this guide out and take with you for something to read while you wait in line to vote next month. (Like that's ever happened where you live.) Uncle Woody is proud of you for voting this year. (You are voting this year, right??) Uncle and Auntie Mrs. Woody want you to be responsible voters. Of course, where candidates are concerned, you boys and girls are on your own. Whichever sex-scandal-plagued, ethically-breached candidate or party you belong to, you have your Aunt and Uncle's condolences. Do your best, and Uncle Woody will still love you.
Unless you vote against Uncle Woody. Then you're out of the will.