Tuesday, October 24, 2006

California Elections

Having posted far too often about my health recently, it's time to get back on topic with a little discussion about the upcoming California state election.

First up, this year is a state executive office year, which has all the biggies up for grabs: Governor, Treasurer, Secretary of State, Lt. Governor. We even get to vote for the Board of Equalization, which is the nation's only directly elected tax oversight authority. Having just recently moved here I don't know beans about most of these candidates, so I'm sticking with the blue team for this round.

The one situation where I took pause was Governor. As you may have read in the papers, California is home of the one, and only, Governator. As shocking as this may sound, I debated voting for the man. Whether or not the Democratic party is willing to admit it, Arnold has done many good, progressive things for this country and done so without drawing too much flack from the Republican controlled national government. A Democrat in his position could not have done as much, in my opinion. That being said, I have high hopes for a serious change in the national government this year. I'm also a little upset that when presented with the opportunity to give the world's 6th largest economy universal healthcare the man in the Mansion broke out the veto pen. So I'm casting my ballot for the other guy.

But the real kicker when it comes to the 2006 ballot isn't the candidates, it's the initiatives. There are five state wide measures, eight state wide propositions, and five Santa Cruz city measures. That's 18 major policy decisions decided by the voters. It's no secret I strongly dislike the initiative process... there simply isn't the infrastructure to properly consider complex issues like sex offender policies (because throwing them into prison for longer terms is not the answer people!).

I'm voting yes on most of the bond measures, no on pretty much everything else. But one no vote I'm casting with particular loudness deals with Santa Cruz Measure G, which would increase the City's minimum wage to $9.25. Let me go on record I am in no way opposed to minimum wage laws. They are an excellent way of addressing known inequalities in barginning power between low-skilled labor and big companies.

There are two things wrong with G. First, the State is already increasing the minimum wage this year from $6.25 to $8 by 2008. The impacts of this change alone will be significant and should be studied before any bigger increases are mandated.

Second, the measure would only impact the City of Santa Cruz, creating what the opponents of G have termed an "Island Economy." Essentially, any company who would benefit from operating outside of the economic zone and has the means to do so, will. It's not like when the state increases the wage... it's hard to move out of such a large jurisdictions. But Santa Cruz is tiny, and several major job providers have already stated they will pick up and move down the road to Watsonville should G pass.

So, I'm voting no. I'm also voting no on a parental notification requirement for an abortion by a minor... look folks, if these kids felt safe talking to their parents about this topic, they would do so of their own volition.

1 comment:

srcastic said...

Arnold has done some progressive things, and I agree that is celebrity gives him more leverage. At the same time, being the only governor in the country to have vetoed the first democratically passed marriage equality bill would have eliminated him as an option in my mind.