Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

California’s ballot measures blow my mind


This election has us all fit to be tied, and not only because of the cage match of Trump vs. Clinton. I finally got the California ballot pamphlet in the mail the other day and learned that there are seventeen propositions to be voted on this time out.

I hate ballot propositions. They seem designed to deceive. On the surface, with a benign title like “Orphaned Puppy Welfare,” a given measure might seem like a no-brainer. Who doesn’t want to help the orphaned puppies out there? But then you look a the pro and con arguments and the organizations and individuals in support and against the prop. Looks like this thing was put on the ballot by “Efficient Euthanasia” and gets a thumbs up from “Future Serial Killers Need Practice!” Whoa.

As I slowly make my way through the pamphlet, I’m wavering on almost every proposition, trying to balance the sober reasonableness of the League of Women Voters against the myopic focus of Californians For the Total Obliteration of Taxes. Bernie Sanders is for Prop. 61, so that one’s easy. And anything George Clooney’s for, I’m for too. If Tom Selleck is for something, I’m pretty sure it needs to be defeated. He stole our water for his tax-dodging avocado farm.

“Don’t be fooled!” the against arguments always say. “This measure isn’t what it seems to be!”

Well, it seems to be an effort by the drug companies to charge the highest possible prices they can, so if it’s not what it seems to be I guess I’m for it!

What I’ve learned over my twenty-eight years living here in the Golden State is that the measures I vote yes on never win. This time I think I’ll use reverse psychology and vote no on the ones I favor, yes on the ones I’m against. That way I’ll come out ahead, even if a year from now I won’t be able to remember how I voted on any of them.

Among the seventeen this year? Propositions to legalize recreational pot and to require porn actors to wear condoms. The juxtaposition is exquisite.

Democracy (I think it was Churchill who said): The worst form of government there is, aside from all the others.

So be careful when you make your voting decisions on ballot measures. Oh, and be sure to tell all your cranky conservative uncles: #NeverTrump!

15 comments on “California’s ballot measures blow my mind

  1. Phillip McCollum
    October 21, 2016

    I’ll be studying the proposals this weekend as I prepare to fill out my mail-in ballot. I always reach the same conclusion as you…madness. :-/

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 21, 2016

      Looks like riveting reading. My eyes are already glazing over …

  2. Woebegone but Hopeful
    October 21, 2016

    Best of luck & good fortune USA (I’m writing from the UK).
    The version I like best is “Democracy is a poor form of government, but all the alternatives are so much worse,”….I don’t think it’s a quote but it sounds so good.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 21, 2016

      Not feeling particularly lucky at the moment … Just hope Brexit wasn’t foreshadowing!

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        October 22, 2016

        Yes, me too.
        The democracies seem to be forgetting the hard lessons of 1939 – 1945.
        (In the words of the old Talking Heads song:
        Same as it ever was
        Same as it ever was)
        Will be thinking of you folk

  3. John W. Howell
    October 21, 2016

    I used to go through the same angst when I lived in California. Seemed like a fair trade for the lifestyle, though. Good luck.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 21, 2016

      Thanks, John. I’ll have to take a quick online law course to understand everything!

  4. pinklightsabre
    October 21, 2016

    I first heard the phrase “sausage-making” when I was at my last job. I found it funny and weird. And I notice it now more and more in politics. It’s a good reason to avoid sausage, they hide things in it.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 21, 2016

      Sad, because I do like sausage. If we could only find a way to make political sausage taste better. Anise?

      • kingmidget
        October 21, 2016

        I like sausage to and because of my job am a regular participant in the sausage making industry that is the Legislature. It really bothers me every time I hear people referring to it that way. But sausage is good!!!

      • Kevin Brennan
        October 22, 2016

        Esp. hot links!

  5. kingmidget
    October 21, 2016

    I’ve thought of writing posts about the many initiatives on this year’s ballot. As frustrating as the ballot is, there are some pretty fascinating things we’ll be voting on and some interesting discussions could ensue. But I’ve decided against it. Not sure how much the boss would appreciate me spending that much time commenting on state politics.

    My general take on initiatives is to begin with a no vote because the vast majority of this stuff involves issues the Legislature should be deciding. That’s why we vote for them. Seriously, why should the voters be asked to decide whether plastic bags will be legal in California? Or to express our revulsion of Citizens United in a meaningless vote that has no impact whatsoever?

    But there are a few that raise issues that are significant enough that I will consider the merits. The death penalty for instance. I will gladly vote to eliminate the death penalty in California. If I could vote ten times to do that, I would. Most of the rest … a pox on the houses of the special interests that spent tens of millions of dollars to fill the ballot with this crap.

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 22, 2016

      I’ve always thought, “Why am I voting on this thing when the legislature should have manned up and passed the damn bill?” Protection, man. They don’t want it on their record.

      Discouraging. Still, I’ll throw in my two cents worth …

      • kingmidget
        October 22, 2016

        The plastic bag initiatives are the worst. The Legislature actually did pass a law on plastic bags and the special interests behind the plastic bag industry funded two initiatives that are intentionally designed to fool voters. The initiative is a great example of a good idea that has been co-opted.

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2016 by in Et alia and tagged .
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