Saturday, October 27, 2007

Local Politics: Rolling for Initiatives

Man, this just keeps going, doesn't it? For a supposed off-year, we have a passel of Initiatives, Referendums, Proposals, and Joint Resolutions. Let's tick them off as quickly as possible, though this is probably the best recommendation for mail-in ballots (as Shelly in Seattle makes clear - you really can't make these decisions while you're in the voting booth, without Internet access).

Initiative 960 is this year's Eyeman Initiative, so named for the initiative maven that regularly launches such proposals onto the ballot. Usually this is an law that sounds good from a "stick-it-to-the-man" proposal but usually ends up sticking it to ourselves. This one required a supermajority (2/3rds) to increase any tax along with advisory votes on all taxes. I think that Groucho may have said it - "Just what the finely-oiled gears of government needs - six feet of sand". Vote NO.

Referendum 67 (R-67) is the "Yeah, a little consumer protection would be a good thing" Referendum, and we covered it earlier. Vote YES to keep this gem on the books.

Engrossed Substitute Senate Joint Resolution 8206 (ESSJR 8206) This creates a "rainy day fund" (which is generally a good thing) which can only be accessed by a supermajority (there's that word again) and further modified by the initiative process (which is, as we know above reproach). Color me suspicious on all this as I Vote NO.

Senate Joint Resolution 8212 (SJR 8212): Allow state contracts for prison labor. Now this one passed the Senate unanimously, and the House also so, but, again, I'll be a nay-sayer. Turning prisons into profit centers reminds me of that Larry Niven story where organs could only be harvested from convicted felons, and soon enough traffic violations carried the death sentence. Vote NO, but only because they asked.

Engrossed House Joint Resolution 4204 (EHJR 4204): Simple majority for school district levies. This one REMOVES the supermajority required to raise funds for schools. It is odd that a candidate that wins by 1% has a mandate, while a school funding proposal that wins by 20% of the vote is a failure. Vote YES.

Substitute House Joint Resolution 4215 (SHJR-4215 - you get the feeling they name these with a table out of one of my old D&D books?) Allows the local universities to play the stock market. Yeah, that trick always works. Still, I'm torn on this on. Haven't made up my mind, but leaning towards NO.

King County Initiative 25 proposes putting an amendment on the ballot NEXT year, which, if it passes, will elect a new County Director of Elections in February of 2009. Because we need more elections. Actually, this is the remnants of the last governor's race, where there was widespread corruption. Actually, there wasn't, but that fervent belief is what is firing this Initiative. There were errors made here as well as in a bunch of counties that DO elect their Directors of Elections, but that's not important. What is important is that we create yet another non-partisan position that we can put people into based on their ability to raise money over their ability to do the job. The Seattle Times gets it right - Vote NO.

King County Proposition No. 1, which is DIFFERENT than Sound Transit and RTID Proposition No. 1, which is to raise property taxes for the Medic One emergency medical services for six years. Yeah, I'm good with it. But didn't we elect PEOPLE to make these decisions, so they don't have to run to us every five minutes? Vote YES.

ST/RTID Proposition 1 was also covered earlier. I am open to other options here. Instead of a balanced approach to the transportation, how about if we just seal off the passes and start spraying Californians at the border to keep them from breeding? The other alternative is to Vote YES.

And someday I'll figure out the differences between Propositions, Referendums, Joint Referendums, and Engrossed Joint Referendums. Until there, stay tuned.

More later,