Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Indigo Red Live-Blog Voting: Proposition 93

My goodness! This so exciting!

Prop. 93:

Reduces the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years.

Allows a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both.

Provides a transition period to allow current members to serve a total of 12 consecutive years in the house in which they are currently serving, regardless of any prior service in another house.

This Prop is a bit tricky, even in presentation. All the other Props have their own full pages in the guide books, but this one is started on the last one-fourth of a shared page and is barely noticable.

Now, that's important because several years ago, California voted favorably for Term Limits. I thought it a stupid idea and still do. There are Legistators in Sacramento who also don't like the limits and have come up with this piece of snookery to hang on to their jobs for like FOREVER. Hiding the prop down in the corner may cause some folks to ignor this one resulting in a favorable result for the conmen in the Legislature like Fabian Nunez, a leader in the reconquesta movement.

On the surface, I think this is a good idea because what we have now is a system that requires office holders to leave their elected office before they become proficient and before they have learned how a bill becomes a law. One new Assemblyman demanded that the Legislative Sergeant-at-Arms take is bill that just passed the Assembly directly to the Governor for his signature bypassing that damned uppity Senate. The Sergeant-at-Arms had to patiently explain that all bills from the Assembly must go to the Senate. It's the law. The Sergeant-at-Ars is having to explain procedure more than ever before.

I think legislators should be able to spend their entire term limited career in the same office. My problem with this Prop is that it would apply the current crop of criminals who are simply using this initiative to increase their terms by upwards of fourteen years. It would apply to about 47 sitting legislators. I would support this prop with this change: all current legislators are termed out under the current rules; only newly elected offials would be able to take advantage of the extended terms.

My vote: NO


Tom said...

By Thomas Jefferson Cares

First, I apologize for the abhorrent graphic to the left. The truth, however, is that it’s pretty hard to think of an analogy which matches the outrageous deceit in the ludicrous policy, known as Proposition 93, which should be titled
The Crummy Legislators’ Accountability-Eliminating Anti-Progress Act of 2008.

Many seem to think that “93 reduces permissible legislative service, EXCEPT for those legislators serving now.”

Of course, it is true that every legislator, currently in office, will be allowed to serve longer, under Prop 93 (the 80 Members of the Assembly could serve 6 years longer; 40 Senators would get 4 more years). What’s considerably much more important, and ignored, are the consequences Prop 93 will have on progress, accountability and quality of legislators, until eternity (or whenever Prop 93 is repealed).

Voters have heard much about the “14 years” legislators can serve, under today’s term limits. What we haven’t been told is that this requires a legislator to win TWO elections without being incumbents. Since we’ve had term limits, only 10% of the legislators, who started long-enough-ago to have been able to reach 14 years by now, were appreciated-enough by their voters to get elected to both legislative houses, and serve the “14-year maximum”; the great majority of more-mediocre legislators get capped at 6 years. And, under today’s term limits, it is impossible for more than 37.5% of legislators to serve 10 years or more. Under Prop 93, 100% of future legislators could serve 12 years, while some current legislators could serve 16-20 years (being realistic, under Prop 93, over 80% of legislators – the not-as-good ones – would serve the full 12 years)

Thanks to Attorney General Jerry Brown, and his disregard for elections integrity, EVERY BALLOT will define Prop 93 as something which:
Reduces permissible state legislative service to 12 years. Allows 12 years' service in one house. Current legislators can serve 12 years in current house regardless of prior legislative service.

Unfortunately, and abominably, those Californians who care enough to vote, but aren’t familiar with our current legislative term limits, will vote the opposite of their true will on Proposition 93.

What Proposition 93 is really asking us to do, is increase the time our not-as-great legislators can serve, by 6 years, for the sake of reducing the service of our best legislators, by 2 years.

This, in itself, would be terrible policy, but it gets worse. In 2004 and 2006, all 116 incumbents, in the legislature, who ran for re-election, won. Effectively, term limits are the only term limits. Because of this, the only thing really keeping our legislators accountable is their desperation to win another election, without incumbency, in 6 or 8 years. Prop 93 proponents have touted that this causes legislators to spend more time thinking about getting elected to higher office, than serving their constituents; in truth: the only way for a legislator to move up, either from Assembly to Senate, or to Congress, or becoming Mayor, etc., is to do a phenomenal job for their constituents. If Prop 93 passes, every legislator will get 12 years, with nothing keeping them accountable.

Even if you oppose term limits (at a time when 116/116 incumbents get re-elected), there’s still a fundamental reason to vote NO on 93. Under 93, we still have term limits, except: instead of having term limits which systematically cause better legislators to serve longer terms, we’ll have term limits which cause better legislators to serve less time. This is because, every legislator would be able to serve 12 years and the only ones who’ll serve less are those who perform well enough to move to a higher office, before they reach their 12-year limit.

The greatest consequence, however, beyond the dilution of Great Legislators and deterioration of Accountability, is how Prop 93 would kill progress in California. First, because legislators get re-elected so passively, we’ll have many who actually represent their constituents from 12 years ago. Second, instead of the not-as-great legislators terming-out, after getting 6 years to have worked on their best ideas, they’ll continue to occupy their seat and prevent a new candidate, with new, possibly great, ideas from getting elected.

93’s Proponents argue that this isn’t worth the loss of experience and legislators’ inability to work on long-term ideas, but the reality is that termed-out legislators have easy access to their successors and can influence things, and push their old bills, long after leaving office. This, of course, isn’t true for new people looking to become legislators. And, today’s term limits allow the best legislators to stay there even a tiny bit longer, than under Prop 93.

Should you even reject all of the above contentions, you should still VOTE NO ON 93.
In 2002, politicians tried to lengthen term limits, but it failed with only 73 voters in favor, for every 100 against. This time, politicians decided to try again, by betraying their public trust and fundamentally deceiving voters about what the proposition would really do.

Our society, and solvency of our every critical problem, is completely reliant on Elected Officials' fidelity to their Public Trust.

The tactic behind Prop 93, with primary participation from our elected leaders, is an abhorrent betrayal of Public Trust.

Proposition 93 is a great opportunity for Californians to send a strong message to people in power, that dishonesty is never a means of getting something done.

Indigo Red said...

Yep, that's it in a really big nutshell, Tom. Cals legislators have held the citizens in contempt for many decades and will continue until we can get real reapportionment reform.

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