November 3, 2005

Take the Initiative

And shove it!

When I first moved to California, shortly after the end of World War II, I thought that the initiative process was wonderful. This was democracy in action. I have watched the process evolve to where it now one more way to hornswoggle the public. Signatures to place an initiative on the ballot are gathered by people who are paid to gather signatures. Who pays them? They are paid by people who stand to make big money when the initiative passes. These same people pay for expensive TV commercials and propaganda mailings. There are exceptions on the local level, but statewide initiatives are bought and paid for by big money.

The upcoming "special election" is not only unnecessary, but it is expensive. What does the public get for its money? Nothing that couldn't have been accomplished during the regular election! It is anyone's guess what Governor Schwarzeneger hopes to gain. Maybe it is the message that "We love you Governor Schwarzeneger." More likely, it is more power for the governor/

When I was much younger I voted for the famous Prop 13. It was supposed to save poor old ladies from losing their homes because the property taxes on it kept rising due to the inflation of real estate value. What I didn't realize was that the fine print, and the whole proposition, was designed to protect people with very expensive property from tax inflation. While I got a got a tax break from it, corporations and large land owners got a real windfall. If a community wanted to tax itself to build a new school, they could only do it with a parcel tax. In a parcel tax, someone who owned a $10,000 piece of property would pay the same tax as someone who owned a $10,000,000 property. The proposition was financed by the rich, for the benefit of the rich.

Things have gotten worse since then with almost every proposition being bought and paid for by big money. They even hire the people who collect the signatures to put the proposition on the ballot.

I started to think about the whole process. We elect and pay legislators handsomely to make wise decisions for us. In theory, at least, they are supposed to study legislation and make decisions for our benefit. Then we essentially say, "you don't know what the heck you're doing. We will make the decisions ourselves." It is like hiring someone to build a house, paying him in advance, and then doing it yourself. George Bernard Shaw described democracy as a government that substitutes election by the incompetent many for appointment by the corrupt few. Add the initiative process to this and it becomes sillier.

I will vote NO on all initiatives and I will continue voting NO until the initiative process is abolished, or I die; whichever comes first.

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