Saturday, July 10, 2010


The Impatience of Voters

There are some gifts that should be used sparingly. I am thinking of the gift of direct democracy, the initiative, referendum, and recall that were introduced into the governance of California in the days of Hiram Johnson. These were and are still precious gifts. However, we do not use them sparingly or wisely.

As an example, there will be two initiative propositions on the ballot in November, both dealing with the plan to have legislative districts of Assembly and Senate members and the Board of Equalization drawn by a redistricting commission rather than the Legislature. One, proposition 20, would add the Congressional districts to the process. The other, proposition 27, would completely eliminate the redistricting commission and return the task to the Legislature. These are both on the ballot in November even before the redistricting commission has done its first redistricting. Why eliminate it before we even know how it will work? Why add to it before we even know how it will work? Why not wait until after the present redistricting has been done? If it's a bad job, we can then change the process, abolish the badly drawn districts, and return the job to the Legislature. If it's a good job, then we will be able to add the Congressional districts to the mix.

Americans have always had a tendency to solve a serious problem by passing a law. Do poor people who beg for their livings bother you? Pass a law against begging. Do people who have to sleep in the street bother you? Pass a law against sleeping in the street. Do Mexican workers who lack valid visas annoy you? Pass a law against them. Passing a law to "solve" a problem is easier and cheaper than implementing a program that will address the causes. The program will cost money (i.e., more taxes) and nobody wants that. Or, the program will involve diplomacy and assistance to Mexico to help solve its unemployment problem. We Americans are too impatient to practice diplomacy and too stingy to spend money to improve Mexico's economy.

My thought for the day. Good Night!

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