Monday, January 14, 2008

Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters (California Edition)

If you're looking for the CGFYCV for the General Election of 2008, here ya go.

© 2008 - Woody's Woundup


Gather 'round, kids. It's time once again for Uncle Woody's "Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters (California Edition)" This Guide will cover the February 5th Presidential Primary election, in which the Great State of California deludes its collective self into believing that it is somehow relevant to the outcome of the national primary campaign. California hasn't been "relevant" to the national primaries, Young Conservatives, since 1849. That's when California became a state and immediately informed the approximately 15 million Mexican nationals still living in California that they were now "illegal aliens," all of whom voted in the next election.

Perhaps you are here because you searched for "Conservative Voter Guide" in California. Uncle Woody did the first "Curmudgeon's Guide" back in 2006, and you popped in to take a look. Uncle Woody is thrilled that there are so many gullible and lazy politically active Young Conservatives in California, willing to read the rantings of a middle-aged, card-carrying curmudgeon.

Having been thus forewarned, let's get on with Uncle Woody's discussion of California's ballot initiatives for February 5, 2008.

Proposition 91 - Transportation Funds.

Call this the "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" initiative. The Governator, who hates those girly men in the California legislature, has decided that he needs "emergency budget powers" to move money from one fund to another. The problem is, he still hasn't repented for stealing $2 billion from the education fund when he first took office, and the chances of his moving money from the Transportation Fund to the Governator Humvee Fund will increase exponentially if this proposition passes.

Uncle Woody votes "Fat Chance" on Proposition 91.

Proposition 92 - Community Colleges. Funding. Governance. Fees.

For every proposition that we consider, there is always the "noble" argument. In this case, the noble argument is that since California raised it's per-unit cost from $15 to $20, fewer students have been signing up at our community colleges. So someone with letters after their name needs to explain to Uncle Woody how dropping the fee from $20 back to $15 will save the state money when in the same breath they want to increase the bureaucracy supporting the community colleges. Really. The "noble" argument is only a cover for creating "independent" community college "districts" with equally independent boards of governors. Uncle Woody smells more red tape, Young Conservatives. If California is really interested in helping financially disadvantaged students to attend their CCs, Uncle Woody suggests beefing up the grants and loans available to them.

Uncle Woody votes "No Way" on Proposition 92.

Proposition 93 - Limits on Legislators' Terms in Office.

The only good term limits, Young Conservatives, are no limits. Uncle Woody apologizes, but I've never really bought into the whole term limits philosophy anyway. Yes, it's possible to get stuck with a Willie Brown that gets in the way of everything and votes down every piece of legislation that ever makes sense. But it's a shame when we force good legislators out of office. Good legislators are those who somehow manage to find compromise in the face of political adversity, and this skill — in Uncle Woody's opinion — takes time, Young Conservatives. Three terms as an assemblyperson, and two as a state senator is simply not enough.

The real problem with this initiative is not that it limits a legislator's overall service to 12 years (from 14? Give Uncle Woody a break!). The real problem is that this is just a way for legislators now serving to actually extend their overall service because of a loophole that allows currently serving legislators to "restart the clock" so to speak.

Uncle Woody strongly recommends that voters vote Nope on Proposition 93. Uncle Woody also recommends that Prop 93 supporters change their meds.

UPDATE: The Governator buys the bilge (H/T: FlashReport). Key quotes:
I am endorsing Proposition 93, which would lower the total number of years a member could serve to 12, but also allows him or her to divide them between the houses as they choose. I am convinced that this would result in the people of California getting a more experienced, more independent Legislature.
Huh? "more experienced?" By going from 14 years to 12 years? Methinks el Gobernador has taken a few too many hits from movie bad guys. Here's another chestnut:
Former Republican leader Jim Brulte had the right idea when he said he was endorsing Proposition 93 because it will give legislators the confidence to say "no" to special interests.
Here's the "noble" argument I mentioned before. Prop 93 will shackle the oppressive special interests, reverse global warming, and eliminate world hunger. Perhaps there's a reason why Jim Brulte is a former Republican leader. I have absolutely no idea how limiting (or not, as I've noted above) their terms gives these legislators the confidence to say "no" to anyone, much less the special interests that got them elected in the first place. Ahnuld's steroids are catching up with him. Final fantasy:
When Proposition 93 was first introduced, I said I would not support it without a companion redistricting measure. Though some progress was made last year on that issue, we have not been able to agree on a redistricting measure in the Legislature; I'm supporting a proposal that was drafted by reform allies including AARP, Common Cause and the League of Women Voters. But Proposition 93 is good public policy irrespective of redistricting, and on its own, it will go a long way toward improving the quality of state government in California.
Of course, neither the AARP, Common Cause, or the League of Women Voters would ever be considered "special interests."

Now, pay attention, Arnie, because I'm only going to say this once: The primary reason why you haven't arrived at an agreement on redistricting is because it can't be done to everyone's satisfaction. Hasn't this question been around for, what, decades now? You think you'll resolve it before you leave office?

Yeesh. We return you to the Curmudgeon's Guide, now in progress...

Propositions 94, 95, 96, 97 - Referendum on Amendment to Indian Gaming Compact.

Oh, boy. Here we go. Uncle Woody thinks the Indian Gaming people need a new motto. Something like, "Indian Gaming - Creating a More Expensive Welfare State with Your Addiction." Uncle Woody has never been a fan of Indian Gaming (or, truth be told, any form of "gaming" that involves anything even remotely resembling "gambling"). These referenda include the ability for at least four tribes to 1) significantly increase the number of slot machines they operate, 2) set aside certain provisions of the "California Environmental Quality Act" (Uncle Woody had no idea such a thing even existed), and 3) presumably increase revenue into the General Fund by tens of millions of dollars for each tribe.

Uncle Woody sees a billboard nearly every day when he drives home from work. It's for the Morongo Casino. Uncle Woody (who apparently has too much time on his hands lately) has come up with a catchy slogan for this casino: "When Moron get money, Moron go Casino." Call it a cheap shot if you will, but this is to my mind the essence of gambling. Yet here again we find the "noble" argument. The tribes are beginning to advertise, although they do not reference these propositions; the commercials are romanticized notions of how gaming is strengthening the tribes by giving them self respect. What they leave out is that the gaming industry is replete with ruined lives. Gamblers become hopelessly addicted; families are torn apart; gaming workers are underpaid; only a handful of people associated with the casinos ever get rich.

Ask a public educator how much money he or she sees from California's Lotto. Go ahead... I'll wait.

Not very much, you say? Then you can understand why Uncle Woody is less than impressed with the argument that Indian Gaming pumps millions of dollars into California's economy. When you factor in all the costs associated with gambling and its effects on the average family, that revenue pales by comparison.

Uncle Woody votes a very politically incorrect Ugh! on Propositions 94 through 97.

Measure A - Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District

For you Young Conservatives that hang in the north OC (dude!), Measure A is a $200 million bond measure that would raise funds for updating this district's aging infrastructure. Oversight committees are to make sure that the money gets where it's supposed to. It may surprise you to hear that Uncle Woody supports this particular measure. First, Uncle Woody, although a dedicated homeschooler, supports public education. One might argue that Uncle Woody is forced to support it through taxation, but I also support the idea of public education. I hold with Jefferson's argument that an educated populace is a prosperous one. Educated people make (theoretically) better citizens. Beyond that, Uncle Woody is all for local control of education. Hence the bond measure is a good one, and should be supported.

Uncle Woody votes Thumbs Up for Measure A.

So, Uncle Woody, where do you stand on the candidates?

I stand for change, which, according to noted American political expert Dave Barry, means that I can vote for virtually anyone in either party. Well, the Woundup has already come out in favor of Mitt Romney, and Uncle Woody is still hopeful that he can unseat the other pretenders to Bush's throne. It'll be a long slow slog, but Mitt keeps stating that he's in it right through February 5. Uncle Woody plans to throw his vote that way, and keep his fingers crossed.

By the way, the move to hold our Presidential Primary in February rather than June really frosts Uncle Woody's shorts. Not only do we now have to have TWO elections to cover what we used to handle in ONE, but moving the Presidential Primary to February really only points out that California fails to have any real impact on the outcome of the nomination that much sooner. This will have only one salutary effect: Candidates will have to run through California much quicker than they otherwise would. California voters, who have ridiculously short memories, elected Governator Ahnuld Schwarzenstein in the vain hope of saving California taxpayers money. Now, we not only get to pay for three elections this year, but we're still fighting to keep our thermostats under our own taxpayer control in the foreseeable future. Nice work, California voters!

Uncle Woody's Bottom Line

So, Young Conservatives, I hope you're making this Guide only a small part of your own research. Uncle Woody does not pretend to be any sort of expert, political or otherwise, and understands that your opinions may vary widely from his own. This is part of what makes this country great. Rather than take Uncle Woody's word for it, Uncle Woody would much rather you simply participate in the process. Be informed, but make your own decisions.

That would make Uncle Woody happy indeed.

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