So 17 of the 28 items on my ballot are propositions. Twelve of them are state and five of them are local propositions. First, shouldn’t the elected officials we elect be dealing with a majority of these issues? The answer is yes.
Second, do voters really spend that much time dissecting the nuanced details of every ballot proposition? The answer is no. A lot of times it is a cursory review at best and at other times a simple gut feeling. I know that when I am reviewing some of these propositions I ask myself why am I even voting on this thing? Another reality is that a good number of our elected officials are full time and have a full time staff to review this stuff. Thus, it is highly likely that they will have a better understanding of an issue. So why am I being asked and/or almost required to render an opinion? I doubt I would miss voting on something like Prop 1A, the “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.”
Third, can you pay to get almost anything on the ballot? The answer is yes. The initiative process is an idea that has noble intentions but has turned into something that is completely perverse in practice. I do believe that we need to have some sort of initiative process but not to the extent that it is being utilized today. The people that gather signatures are nomadic in nature and travel from state to state in search of the $1 per signature, not in search of good public policy. A lot of times they know very little about the proposition that they are gather signatures for and in reality could care less. Sad but true.
Another example is the simple majority requirement to pass amendments to the state constitution. Amendments to the state constitution should be focused on government structure and civil liberties, not policy issues. Just take a look at what we have in there now. There are policy issues in the state constitution that should be handled by the state code instead.
One of the solutions I propose is that amendments to the state constitution should be restricted and focused on governance and civil liberties. My second solution is that policy propositions should be restricted in scope and length so that the idea that they propose are clearly understandable. There is a man I know in our community who has always told me that it is his dream to pass a ballot proposition to abolish ballot propositions. My dream is not that extreme. I want to pass a ballot proposition to fix the ballot proposition process.