Recent California Election
Woops, my cynical prediction may have actually come true. The inmates are running the asylum in California. The recent California special election was completely controlled and the outcome dictated by government employees. They may work for all of us, but they also get to approve what goes into law.
About ten years ago, I had an epiphany. I noticed that real jobs kept disappearing and government jobs just kept on growing. What I realized was… groups of motivated voters win elections and money is the best motivator of all. So I thought, “When government gets big enough, won’t government workers turn out in droves to protect their turf, and start voting, unchecked, for bigger, better government?”
I think that day may have arrived. The most motivated voters in California are definitely those who stand to make or protect a buck. As the size of government grew, government workers, contractors, and their family members turn out and regularly vote in favor of themselves, and why not?
The recent California election was decided by a strong turn-out by unions who were mad at the governor for trying to institute a few toothless reforms. The reforms seemed so mild that the average voter couldn’t see how they would help. Since most voters were not excited, they didn’t show up at the polls.
The cheerleader for the defeat of the reform initiatives was California Teachers Assn. President Barbara Kerr who joined with other unions to pump 0-million into defeating Schwarzenegger’s initiatives. She easily out-wasted the governor who she says “wasted million” in calling the election.
She also said “he does not have the courage to apologize”. Apologize for what? He was elected as a reformer, we just didn’t realize how hard it would be, or should I say, how bad he would be at doing it. As a parent, I wish she would apologize for taking million dollars out of the teacher’s pockets and spending it on thousands of marathon ads that nobody watched.
The direct spending on the election and election advertising was well in excess of 0 million dollars. The cost disturbs me but what I really can’t get over is the evidence it gives me that the citizens of Californian have lost the ability to govern. We never talk about or vote on big changes, but we spend enormous amounts of energy fighting over small, incremental improvements in provision serving special interest.
In addition to this election, here are some additional examples. When the 2000 energy crisis showed the real incompetence of the legislature, nobody was fired. The blame was shifted to the Fed. When the budget crisis rose in 2003, Californians fired their governor. They were especially incensed as he continued to honor his reelection commitments to special interests while the state was in crisis. But, he was not the only offender, and the electorate did not fire a single incumbent member in the State Legislature; not one, go figure?
Californians also rejected a proposition to change the way political boundaries are drawn. The legislature raised several million to crush this move. They like it the way it is now – nice and predictable. The legislature has drawn district lines in a way that completely eliminates contestable elections. If you get nominated by the controlling party, you always get elected. If you are an incumbent, you always get re-elected.
We have a constitution that demands a balanced budget, yet there hasn’t been one in years and none are on the horizon. We put no energy into fixing a broken budgeting process, yet we spend billions on legitimizing bookkeeping tricks to keep the state afloat for another year.
Californian’s replaced their governor with Schwarzenegger, when they got angry,. But in this recent election, the unions were easily able to defeat his mild reforms. Why? Because there is more of them than we realized, and perhaps he didn’t tackle the states problem’s in any meaningful way. It seems like he got advice from his own special interests, and he got bad advice.
He asked voters to change rules for the political use of public employee union dues, and teacher tenure – as if any of these really would solve the state’s problems.
I am a member of a very small minority. I don’t belong to any of the powerful special interest groups currently buying favorable state laws. Will I ever again see a piece of legislation that serves the general good of the state?
Aw come on, teachers, police, firefighters, gun-owner, casinos, etc.; how about throwing us a bone before you tip the cow over. How about doing a little something to fix our schools. Or perhaps we could improve a few roads, patch up the health care system, or make a dent in our border issues.