November 3, 2010

Colored Blue

It's harder to vote in California than anywhere else I've lived. Not the actual voting process (vote by mail, yeah!), but what I'm required to know in order to vote the entire ballot. As an impassioned high school student studying the US Electoral system, I thought I believed in direct democracy. What's this stupid electoral college business?! Power to the people!!

Well, California has it and it's a mess!

Based on reading a few brief paragraphs (with rebuttals printed alongside) and a list of who supports or opposes a measure, I'm supposed to decide whether to legalize pot, continue to support clean energy, fund a project in my neighborhood, allow a simple majority to pass a budget, expand or contract the Congressional Redistricting group (measures in both directions were featured), restrict pensioning for government employees in my neighborhood, allow an $18 surcharge on car renewals to fund state parks... and those are just the ones I can remember off the top of my head. That's not even touching WHO to vote for!

I hate that when it comes to city council members, I'm literally picking people based on their last names. "Ooh, that sounds Japanese, let's get some diversity into this rich, white board." I vowed to never be that person, but here I am. Sigh.

Anyway, watching Jerry Brown and Meg last night as the results came in, I thought about why he won. Disregarding all facts about California as a blue state, there were other elements. I've been buried alive in Meg mailings. One even had pictures of her with smiling Asians that had Korean translation alongside the English. She felt slick, wealthy and naive. After hardly ever voting, she promised her commitment to California. While spending MILLIONS, she preached fiscal responsibility. I don't even know what the housekeeper incident was (anyone?), but that obviously played into it. Jerry felt crusty, edgy and unscripted, but in this era, I think authenticity sells. His campaign managers were himself and his wife; Meg had 60 consultants.

Actually, I think that's part of the energy in the tea party campaigns. Authenticity. Not that they're right, but they are expressing a genuine passion through honest-feeling words that seem earthy and 'real'. We'll just see what they choose to build after all their tearing down speeches.

Anyone else have reactions to this election? Did you vote?

Just remember, someday YOU might want to run for governor and if you don't vote while you're an ordinary business tycoon, you won't look so good . . .


Rachel said...

I hate the propositions. Even if you are reasonably well-educated and well-informed, they are confusing. And there are so many unintended consequences.

I voted for Jerry. I'm a liberal, but even if I weren't, I think I would have been turned off by the way she thought she could buy our votes. She had not even bothered to vote in the past. Re the housekeeper, she employed an undocumented immigrant to clean her house. Whitman says she didn't know, but I have a hard time believing that.

Inkling said...

I can't vote in Canada yet, but I finally found out how to find out info on city council members that is actually helpful. Find a good construction designer who is trustworthy and ask him what it's like to try to pull permits and appear before city council members with various requests. The guy my husband does construction for has given me way more info than I ever wanted to know about the local city council folks, but if I could vote, I definitely would send some of them packing and keep others.

It will be interesting to see what transpires in the States after this election. I confess to actively ignoring news articles about the election and turning off the radio station out of Washington when they'd have an ad on. I think the thought going through my head was, "Why are they talking so much about all these political guys? Obama has only been President for a couple of years. Can't they just play music and tell stories about what it happening in the world?" Oops. So obviously, I forgot to write in for my absentee ballot. I'm sure my mother will let me know about it if Missouri falls apart in the next two years. ;)

At least you were responsible as a citizen. =) But hokey dinah, it sounds like you need a course to know how to discern what to vote for in California!

OTR sister said...

Yeah, the initiatives and props are painful. By the time I got to the people it was a relief.

It used to be helpful in the Voters Manual looking at who the supporters were for an initiative, e.g., Sierra Club and the Washington Conservation Voters - I tend to agree with them. But this year both sides of any given issue had supporters like Joe Smith, teacher or Paul Jones, police officer. Not helpful!

otr mama said...

I love voting by mail. It's one of Oregon's perks. You can take your time and ask around. I did manage to vote for something they sneakily put in though - aparently the portion of lottery funds put aside for parks (sounds good to me) was actually put in so city council can realocate the funds to what ever they want - like bonuses. Oh well. Your Dad's commentary on this year's election was esp. helpful to me. He should try for a spot on PBS as commentator.

Aimee said...

We don't have props in WV, but it's been one political mess since Sen. Byrd died.

I've decided I'm not party loyal. If they're not doing a good job, I have no qualms voting them out, period.

I think if people who are part of the Tea Party will adhere to that and not buy in to a political party, they may be able to create change.

But that's all I've got... it's after midnight and I can't think any more. :-)

Mizasiwa said...

Our elections run totally differently here - you stand in long cues to register about 6 months before the election. When we vote once again after standing in a long cue we vote for the local and muncipal ppl as well as future president its all pretty much pointless. But hey thats also part of being a so called democracy

Anonymous said...

On the issues, we have an excellent web site in Seattle, Protect Washington. The site is
It tells what money backs each initiative.

For example, this year, the state of Washington voted on a 2/3 legislative vote requirement for tax bills. Project Washington warned: "I-1053 would impose a California-style two-thirds requirement on the legislature, giving just 17 extremely partisan legislators the power to block the majority from taking action. BP is pouring money into this Tim Eyman initiative because they want to keep their tax loopholes. We cannot let these special interests take away our ability to invest in education and health care. Vote No on 1053.

"Special interests bankrolling Initiative 1053
Conoco Phillips Oil
Kemper Holdings LLC
Washington Bankers Association
Washington Beverage Asssociation
Tesoro Oil"

Unfortunately, the state of Washington voted in favor of the 2/3 requirement. So, now we're becoming as disfunctional as California.

The excellent tip above recommends talking with an experienced construction designer about city council members. Anyone who regularly attends council meetings can give good advice. I remember when the public affairs rep from Community Chest told me that the nine-member Cincinnati City Council currently included two and a half adults.

Get a trial lawyer to tell you about the local judges, and an appellate lawyer about the candidates for the state supreme court and courts of appeal.

Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

Anonymous said...

And I'd like to say a good word for the electoral college.

George Will made a convert of me. I too used to regard the electoral college as a useless anachronism. However, if our President were elected by the direct vote of the people, with a majority required, at least five of our elections would have been thrown into the House of Representatives.

How'd you like to have the House choose your President?