Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I hate democracy

Tomorrow is election day here in California... again.

I wouldn't mind that we seem to have so many frikkin elections if we were voting for important offices. But this has to be, far and away, the most worthless election I have ever voted for. The number of offices that shouldn't be elected for which there are PRIMARIES tomorrow, not even the real election, is insane. Then there are all the "non-partisan" judicial elections.

I definitely follow politics way more closely than the average citizen, but I don't know enough to make an informed choice for who would be the better democrat to be Lt. Governor or Controller or Insurance Commissioner. I certainly don't know enough to pick candidates for judge or school superintendant or county assessor and sheriff, all of which should be appointed positions. And I don't even know what the
"State Board of Equalization" or "Party Central Committee" are, but the latter sounds like something straight out of the Soviet Union.

Following are the offices / propositions I'll be voting for tomorrow, followed by my choices. Note that I will be skipping MOST of these, because I don't know enough to make an informed choice. It's absolutely insane that this is how we run elections. When there's too much democracy, then then entire system gets devalued, including the votes that actually do matter:

-Governor: Angelides. He seems smarter, has more substantive positions on issues that I have seen, his negative attacks aren't as specious, and he has the backing of environmental and education groups. Also, I have been very impressed with his critiques of Arnold Schwarzenegger's budgets over the past few years, in which he has dealt with the painful choices we face in order to balance the budget, invest in education, etc.
-Lt. Governor: This person should be running as a ticket with the governor. I'm not voting
-Secretary of State: Two state senators named Debra (one is Deborah, one Debra). Ms. Ortiz doesn't even have a campaign website, so I'm guessing it's safe to say Ms. Bowen is the more serious candidate, so I guess she gets my vote
-Controller: Not voting
-Treasurer: Only one candidate, the state attorney general looking to switch jobs
-Attorney General: L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo has always struck me as a hack, while Jerry Brown, for all his faults, is certainly intelligent and willing to try new ideas. So why not?
-Insurance Commissioner: Are you kidding me? This is an elected position? No way.
-State Board of Equalization: If I don't even know what it is, it shouldn't be an elected office
-Senator: Nobody serious running against Feinstein
-Representative: Ditto Becerra, who is a good smart progressive anyway
-State Assembly: We have gotten tons of mail and recorded phone calls about this. I guess we must live in a really competitive district. Of the main candidates, Christine Chavez is bragging about her connections to the United Farm Workers, which the LA Times recently revealed has become a machine to keep Chavez family members employed. Kevin De Leon seems to be the typical California liberal controlled by special interests (he works for the teachers' union). The LAT gave Elena Popp a good endorsement that convinced me.
-Party Central Committee: I guess this is our equivalent of the Supreme Soviet. Pass.
-Judge, School Superintendant, School Board, County Assessor, and County Sheriff: pass, pass, pass, pass and pass.
-Bond for public library contruction: Sounds like a good issue to me
-Universal pre-school: In general I like this idea, but enacting social policy by popular vote, and paying for it with a surtax on the rich, isn't a very bright idea. It seems like every election there's a new propsition with a nice sounding liberal policy paid for by taxing the rich. I'm all for taxing the rich to pay for important government programs (within reason), but it has to be done by the legislature in the context of the overall budget. So as I almost always do with propositions that involve spending money, this one is a "no."

Maybe the greatest irony of this democracy overkill is that we still don't elect our president by popular vote. Luckily California may soon be on the cutting edge of a movement to change that. I'll write more about that soon. I need some sleep to prepare for all the voting I'll be doing tomorrow

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