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California Votes With The Lobbyists
Maybe it's Schwarzenegger hatred, or maybe people are just dumb, but California voted against every single one of the ballot initiatives last night (I voted weeks ago by absentee ballot). The stuff they voted against includes giving union members a say in where their dues go, restricting California legistlators from spending money they don't have, and making teachers more accountable. Here's an article about it by Charles Burress on SFGate:

Schwarzenegger has been a frequent target of criticism from unions, which waged a vigorous campaign against the measure.

...Proposition 77, also supported by the Republican governor, would have transferred the redistricting power over California's heavily gerrymandered legislative districts from the Democratic-controlled state Legislature to a panel of three retired judges.

Other failed measures included two for drug prescription discounts -- which saw the pharmaceutical industry pour in the most money ever spent on a ballot issue in California. Both Proposition 79, a consumer and labor-backed initiative, and Proposition 78, a counter measure from the drug industry, saw voter support drop dramatically in the polls as the election drew near.

Voters also soundly rejected Proposition 80, which would have repealed key parts of the state's 1996 energy deregulation and restored regulatory authority to the state Public Utilities Commission.

One of the closest measures, which I was not for, was Prop 73, which would have required doctors to notify the parents of a teen seeking an abortion. What I am for, however, which was not on the ballot, was comprehensive and responsible sex education.

Posted by aalkon at November 9, 2005 12:38 PM

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I have been pleasantly surprised with the job Schwarzenegger has been doing.

These proposals were, for the most part, smart, fair, and fiscally responsible. It gives me a headache to know that special interests derailed something that could have been really good for the state.

I'm a registered democrat (with strong libertarian leanings), but at this point, I'd vote for that man. Unfortunately, it looks like most of CA wouldn't...

Posted by: Arin at November 9, 2005 3:56 AM

I voted for him, and would vote for him again. Why do you think California is so against him? Is it thinking prejudice, or are we a state of dummies swayed by a bunch of union and other propaganda? Fiscal responsibility: how can you argue against that? Allowing union members say over how their dues are spent politically: that's bad? I could go on and on.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at November 9, 2005 8:10 AM

I heard someone describe it as an example of "wag the dog." The unions spent over $150 million on their propaganda campaign. Every freaking newspaper in the state of California came out in favor of Prop 77. but the union's slick advertising campaign won out.

Posted by: nash at November 9, 2005 8:40 AM

Yes, but given the absurd flap over the cervical cancer vaccine, can you imagine the fate of a proposition which would require comprehensive sex education? And back to the vaccine, can you imagine a teenage girl thinking, "Oh, I'm vaccinated against cervical cancer, now I can have rampant sex with no consequences"? I was probably the most well-informed teenage girl ever about sex (I wrote a lengthy guide to birth control for my high school newspaper which was censored when I was a junior, but I managed to get it published as a senior), but I don't think I had a clue about HPV until many, many years later. And yes, I found out the hard way, so my daughter is going to be first in line for that vaccine.

Posted by: Pat Saperstein at November 9, 2005 1:35 PM

I don't have nearly as many problems with Schwarzenegger's political philosophy as his shockingly poor execution thus far. He cost us unnecessary millions in a special election, during a time of deficits, and I think he used this approach because he can't get his agenda through Sacramento. I viewed his propositions as a power grab, and I think many other voters did as well.

In fairness, Sacramento is pretty recalcitrant and probably relishes opposing him, but that just meant he needed to be particularly aware and strategic. Instead, he's been fairly arrogant about how to go about implementing his agenda, and that probably increased opposition from the legislature. They might have cooperated more if he'd taken a different tack, if only because of Schwarzenegger's initially huge popularity.

I suspect his attitude is because he's been able to do exactly what he wants for most of his career, and probably has no idea how to play well with others and persuade, rather than simply dictating.

Posted by: Melissa at November 9, 2005 1:54 PM

The CA ballot initiative process is out of control. A lot of the measures that make it on the ballot are poorly written and conflicting, and often people have no idea what they're voting for.

Posted by: deja pseu at November 9, 2005 4:34 PM

I've applauded every plan and initiative that I've ever heard Schwartzenegger come out with. This includes his use of popular referendum to try to push his agenda through. That an initiative to remove redistricting from Congress and give it to anyone else failed just boggles my mind.

I live in PA, and I wish desperately for referendums (we don't have referendums period) for something as positive and monumental as that. Ed Rendell, our D-gov, just conspired with the legislatures and the state supreme court to give themselves 50% pay raises (and unlimited undisclosed expense accounting; this bill passed at an unannounced midnight session without prior discussion) which are legal only because of a technicality, but written in such a way that it increasingly looks like the state constitution would need to be amended to repeal them.

And people in California don't like Schwartzenegger 'cause he beats up on the NEA? I interviewed an NEA rep. when I was in College and was completely surprised to discover that they're the fucking enemy.

Amy, a lot of the people in your state really don't know what a gem you have there in the Pumping Iron guy. That might be a good next business card campaign.

Okay, that's a bit cheesy.

Posted by: little Ted at November 9, 2005 11:11 PM

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