Proposition incentives weighed 6-8-10
- 14 nonpartisan primary to two candidate general
- 15 lobbiest subsidized secretary of CA state election, partisan
- 16 2/3 voter approval for local energy ventures
- 17 insurance no longer forbidden from changing rates for continuity of coverage across companies
- 13 retrofit tax dismissal
All citations are to the California Statewide Direct Primary Election Official Voter Guide. If your household didn't receive one, any post office or library will have a box of free pamphlets. Of course, you are on the internet. I moved proposition thirteen to the end because it is the least important.
Currently our elections are exacly as you will experience them. We registered for a political party, or didn't. Said party offers a few candidates (depending upon volunteers and the office's import) during this primary election, to dedermine who the party will support in the general election against the other parties. Some are making noise that this 'disenfranchises' voters who declined to state. (Independents, as distinguished from California's American Independent Party.) However, page 4 explicitly states that these voters can request either party's primary election ballot. I'm not sure whether this has to be done ahead of time or if the pollsters are prepared for the possibility in situ next week.
Consequences of Approval
Political parties would be outlawed in California at the state level. Yes, I am serious and wish I were exaggerating. Turn to page 66. Starting on the ninth line down from the top of the page, the law (section five of Article 2) would be updated to read, "A political party or party central committee shall not nominate a candidate for any congressional or state elective office at the voter-nominated primary." They also can't nominate candidates for nonpartisan offices. Their only remaining options are Presidential candidates, local candidates, and their own party administrators.
Instead, a voter's registration to a party is converted into a 'stated preference for a party' or none at all. Anyone, including prospective candidates, can change their preference. Since primaries don't select party nominations, all qualifying candidates will compete in the primary election together. The two who received the most votes proceed to a general election between only them. That's it. There are no provisions for a tie for the second place (or a three way tie).
Instead of choosing between a handful of party candidates and then a handful of partisan candidates during the general election for some state office, this bill ensures everyone has the 'right to vote' on thirty candidates to narrow it down to two for the general election. That represents a terrible system that, frankly disenfranchises a great many more people. We will never see a minor party candidate on the general election ballot again. I'll grant that they don't need to be there anyway because they never win state offices. However, I am deathly afraid, as a Republican in a Democratic state, of having to choose between two Democratic candidates come November. That would be a tremendous slap in the face to 'increas the right to vote' for 'independents' when they already have the right to influence the party of their choice in the primary election, including tomorrow. As noted above, they can ask for a party ballot at the polls tomorrow. Nothing is gained.
We will lose a harrowing amount of representation instead. Consider the far lower proportion of people who vote in primary elections. The 'top two' of the general election will likely be decided by people who are the least partisan, not the most moderate. Competing against thirty people at a time for the largest one thirtieth of the turnout instead of the largest sixth of my party demands the candidates distinguish themselves. Radicalization, ie speaking to the base, not the middle, is likely the stronger strategy. Granted, everyone will only be declaring their 'preference' so we can't tell who anyone really is.
In addition, the bill's authors wrote only the minimum. There is no guidence for how to handle a two or three way tie from the nonpartisan primary. That means either an expensive runoff or the decision is taken to court like after the 2000 presidential election. Sure, it shouldn't happen, but when running all the Republicans against all the Democrats, the winners are bound to be separated by only thousands of votes.
Currently, California prohibits any public campaign funding as consequence of a bill and ballot measure circa 1974. This and other aspects of election law are overseen by California's Secretary of State and the Fair Political Practices Commission. The only states with subsidized campaigns are Maine, Arizona, Connecticut, North Carolina, New Mexico, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts. Additionally, lobbyists must individuallly register and pay 25 dollars every two years for the privilege.
Consequences of Approval
First and foremost, this repeals the ban on any new public campaign financing program. Whether these need to be approved by their constituents isn't clear and likely depends upon the relevant constitution.
As an example of a new program, this bill establishes a new fund for candidates aspiring to the CA Secretary of State. The program has a sunset provision so it will only apply to the next two elections for the office. To fund the eventual expenditures, this increases the registration fee for each lobbyist to 500 dollars every two years. In addition, to qualify to participate, candidates for major parties (x > 10% of votes during last election) must amass 7500, min five max one hundred dollar, contributions, minor party candidates must gather 3500 contributions. Should the contributions exceed 75000 dollars, the candidate must surrender the excess to the election fund. This "seed money" can be gathered and spent 18 months before the primary election until 90 days before the election. Unspent money is surrendered into the fund.
Those who qualified can now receive a 'base level' of public funds during the primary and (if applicable) general election. These are one million for major candidates during the primary, two hundred thousand minor candidates during the primary, and one million three hundred thousand for major three hundred twenty-five thousand for minor candidates during the general election. Should a minor candidate or an independent candidate gather fifteen thousand seed money contributions each is eligible to receive the same general election base level as a major party candidate for CA Secretary of State. A political party can contribute less than 5% of the base level of funds that a candidate qualified for during either election,
In addition, should a nonparticipating candidate or another group spend money to influence the campaign, the state must match the total amount to a maximum of four million for each major candidate during the primary and five million two hundred thousand during the general election. This is separate from the guaranteed base level. Should the fund not have enough to pay each candidate or match the nonparticipating candidate's campaign expenditures, the state will divide the fund proportionately. In addition, the participating candidates in that scenario may solicit new contributions totaling the difference between the potential funds and the amount supplied. Minor candidates who didn't gather 15000 contributions are not eligible for matching funds. The applicable table is on page 22. All these amounts adjust with inflation.
Participating candidates have to publicly debate at least once during the primary and twice during the general election. Additionally, on page 73 under article 11, "the commisssion shall issue the candiate a [debit] card [...] entitling the candidate and members of his or her staff to draw from the Fair Elections Funding the candidate has received.. (b) Neither a participating candidate nor any other person on behalf of a candidate shall pay campaign costs by cash, check, money order, loan, or by any financial means other than the Fair Elections Debit Card."
A candidate for Sec of State can raise money in accounts outside the Fair Elections account for a legal defense over campaign conduct, for an inaugural celebration, or for expenses while holding office. Individual contributions for any of those accounts can not exceed 500 dollars in a calendar year. Nor can a candidate amass more than 50,000 dollars toward office expenses.
Because this proposition deliberately defines major and minor parties and assumes our current partisan elections, should both 14 & 15 pass the problem will need to be resolved by the legislature again or judicial judgement.
Despite the increased registration fees on lobbyists and potential qualifying contributions, the legistative analyst who prepared this section of the Voter Information Guide projected only an income of six million dollars each four years. She or he then estimated the program could cost between five and eight million dollars, ten percent of which could be used to administer the fund.
I understand why it is popular to hate lobbyists. However they aren't just the villainous mouthpieces of evil conglomorates out to establish monopolies and secure no bid contracts. Every argument page in this guide has a little blurb that says 'LA Unified Teachers [union] and Temecula Policemen support Prop 92.' They are represented by lobbyists. So are firemen, AARP, NAACP, ADA, environmentalists, the Catholic Church, your city council, the disabled, the Women's League, Scientologists, small businesses, Pot legalizers, and hundreds of other groups. Sure, the prison guard's union collects enough contibutions that increasing the rate per lobbyist by six hundred eighty dollars won't hit them too hard. However, this may price out some of the smaller groups. Sure, none of us is going to register as a lobbyist for our current employer and head up to Sacramento. But at today's price we can. I thought people generally wanted to lower the influence of money on legislators' decisions. This fee increase achieves the opposite.
The bill's supporters offer the sickliest bromide to support the repeal of the public campaingn ban: "California is choking in a debt eating contest. If only our legislators weren't forced on pain of blackmail to solicit funds for their future campaigns every thirty days, then every bill would have unanimous votes within hours." Obviously, I'm insincere, but I can't take the basic argument seriously when it is so perversely naive. Fundraising and horse-trading are the very soul of politics. Choosing candidates who have less practice convincing other people amounts to choosing directionless ninnys or unskilled bloviators. (This trend in my writing means it is very, very late for me to be arguing.)
At least, if a candidate accepts thousands of dollars from the Don't Tread on Me Foundation, I can understand something about him/er. If these candidates are beholden to the Election commission, since it holds all their money in a debit account, their indiscretions are more likely to favor bureaucrats instead of economic entities. Which suggests the question, why make the test election for the only office that oversees election policy? Sure, a public fund for California Senate would be wildly underfunded, but isn't that the sort of office that the foolish argument suggests we are 'empowering' to ignore the contribution distraction? If voter approval has Capitol Hill quaking in their loafers, why did they approve this proposition at all?
I would love to go as in depth with the next three but it is not only very late by the clock, I waited far too long to write this. I'll stick to the minimum.
3 electricity providers: investor owned utilities, publicly owned utilities, or electric service providers p26; POUtil & ESProvid in annexation creating new & current approval for creation
Consequences of Approval
2/3 local voter approval for starting, expanding, or cca (contracting) a new utility provider. More consequences.
Look, when have you seen your local voter population pass anything with 2/3 approval? Never, that's when. Congress reserves a supermajority vote for sensitive issues, like breaking a filibuster or approving a Constitutional Amendment.
Plus, we lose a tremendous amount of flexibility by establishing a veto over our local government. If the five member Tustin City Council wants to annex North Tustin for an electicity project, someone submits the plan. Then, during the meeting, they quibble over its failings and that someone promises to take the suggestions under review and drafts a new proposal. Ostentibly, this results in a halfway reasonable body of policy. Putting an improbable barrier in front of any electric project - with no feedback on its shortcomings - solidifies our current state into the forseeable future. Also, like proposition 17, the largest contributer is one of the companies that stands to gain the most from its passage, A&E. If I were CEO, I wouldn't send a dime because conflict of interest is the most obvious argument against approval.
Changing rates based on continuity of insurance coverage, across providers, is currently forbidden.
Consequences of Approval
Insurance companies would be allowed to increase or decrease rates based on how long a customer has had any specific type of insurance. The type noted in the packet is bodily injury insurance.
Do you have bodily injury insurance? Have you had it since forever? Then you are fine, for now. Otherwise, you will have a new incentve to include it in your coverage. Likely, this will encourage providers to offer discounts on still more types of continuous coverage. The question to ask in that case is whether the cost of paying for unlikely additions to your policy is more than the discount offered several years in the future. Don't forget, if insurance companies wanted to lower their profit margin by offering universally applicable discounts, they can do that today, without this proposition. Newspapers' business model doesn't cater to offering crystal clear information about events across the world. They are in the business of selling paper with stuff that people like to read printed on it. Some days, that is inciteful analysis of a political contention. Some days, that means a fulff piece on overcrowded animal shelters. Insurance companies are no different.
All earthquake reinforcement refits are free except for brick which incurrs a reasessment fifteen years later. However most assessors aren't keeping track.
Consequences of Approval
No earthquake reinforcement incurrs a property tax adjustment
First I thought to be contrary since no one submitted an argument against it, but there was no point.
When I became an adult, I was jazzed that I get to affect policy and study a proposed law. Nowadays, I consider it a foolish exercise in overpromising placation. This isn't becaue I think I am so much smarter than everybody. The people I work with could come to the same conclusion I do - if they had the time. I know they don't (and are representative of California's voters) and won't crack open the voter guide. However, they will see the disingenuous titles of these propositions: "Right to vote act" indeed.
Also, you can see the measures summarized
1 Comment: by Nicholas P
Votes have mostly (80%) been counted by now. It looks like
So, if you want to have any real effect on state elections from now on, you had best vote in the primaries.