A Different Drum


Kent Drum and I step to the beat of different drummers.

At Mother Jones, Mr. Drum decried California’s upcoming May 19th special election, writing, “I loathe the ballot initiative.”

Me? I love the ballot initiative.

Drum is complaining about California’s upcoming vote on Propositions 1A through 1F. For the record, these measures were placed on the ballot by legislators, not initiated by citizens.

Drum is particularly upset that he has to vote on Props 1D and 1E. These two propositions must go to a popular vote because the programs were passed by voters through the initiative process. Legislators want 70 percent of the money voters passed for early childhood development programs and 25 percent of funding for mental health programs to fill their big budget gap. But they can’t snatch those dollars until voters say so.

Says Drum, “I have no idea if [Prop 1E] is a good idea or not, and for a trivial sum like this I’m not about to spend hours poring over ballot arguments.”

The trivial sum to Mr. Drum is $200 million. Who’d get out of bed for a mere $200 million clams, eh?

I would. Of course, I like voting on the actions governments take in our names. I like the idea of citizens being in charge.

I think I’d vote No on every one of these California measures. But I’d like that power: the power to say no.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

2 Comments so far ↓

  1. May
    Dave Shaver

    Paul, when I read the initial explanations for each of the initiatives my immediate reaction was “no, no, no, no, no,…” They were so transparently, obviously, from the legislature it was almost hilarious.

  2. May
    Dan Duke

    You’re right on the money. Governor Schwartzenegger and the California legislature have imposed temporary sales tax increases to offset the shortage of revenue to cover the 2009-2010 California budget. By voting yes on prop 1A; 1B; etc., you’ll be eliminating the “Sunset Clause” and making these increases permanent. That’s why the Sheriffs; Police; Mayors; etc. support these propositions. They want those increases to become permanent. They want that money.

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