Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Election Season

It occurs to me that one major flaw of democracy is that intelligence is not additive. Two morons with IQ's of 80 each do not add up to one smart person with an IQ of 160. Decisions made by millions of voters are not better than those made by a few.

Nevertheless it is not the object of democracy to make the most intelligent decisions possible. It is to give people some semblance of control over decisions that affect their lives. The object is to achieve individual sovereignty, not to make the best possible decisions.

I am trying to figure out what to do with my absentee ballot which came in the mail yesterday.

California Ballot Measures to Consider:

Measure 13 - Limit on Property Tax Assessment of Seismic Retrofitting of Buildings

Private homes are almost never retrofitted to withstand earthquakes because most homes are wood frame construction which are generally fine during earthquakes. Which means that this measure benefits only big businesses. So this is yet another scam to transfer the tax burden from the rich to everybody else. Screw 'em.

Vote 'NO' on Measure 13.

Measure 14 - Permits Voters of Either Party to Vote in Primary of Other Party. Top Two Vote Getters to Run Off in November

This is a loathsome trick. Since the GOP is in a minority in California, this would enable them to elect Republican candidates by running them in the Democratic primary. Republicans could cross over and help the Republican pretending to be a Democrat get the Democratic nomination. Even if their fake Democrat lost, the faker would still come in at least second. Since there are so many more Democrats than Republicans, the Democrat and the Republican pretending to be a Democrat would come in first and second. In the runoff, some of the Democrats and all of the Republicans would vote for the Republican pretending to be a Democrat.

The whole measure is a trick to elect Republicans using Democratic votes.

Vote 'NO' on Measure 14.

Measure 15 - California Fair Elections Act

Restores public funding of state elections if the candidates agree to limit themselves to the public money. Put taxes on lobbyists. This is a terrific idea and more likely to pass than my proposal to stand lobbyists against a wall in front of a firing squad.

Vote 'YES' on Measure 15.

Measure 16 - Imposes Two Thirds Voter Approval to Take Over Local Power Companies

Utilities are natural monopolies. There is no way for two or more companies to provide electricity in the same area. Without competition there is no free market, no risk, and no justification for capitalist profits. Power companies owned by the cities they serve, work just fine in such hotbeds of socialism as LA, San Diego, and Sacramento.

Measure 16 is just the private power companies trying to put a rock in the road in the way of municipalizing more local power companies. Power from the People!

Vote 'NO' on measure 16.

Measure 17 - Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Base Their Prices in Part on Whether Driver Had Insurance Coverage in the Past

One does not have to get much beyond "Allow Auto Insurance Companies to...." to realize that this is an insurance-companies-paid-for piece of squat. Talk about entitlement! This is an attempt by insurance companies to charge premiums retroactively of people who did not carry insurance at some time in the past. Talk about greedy despicable swine! Feh!

Vote 'HELL NO!' on Measure 17

Measure D - Issues $380 Million in School Bonds for West Contra County Unified School District

Measure D is a difficult one to decide. Obviously local to west Contra Costa County voters.

According to County Counsel analysis it is a bond issue which will sell $380 million worth of bonds for the West Contra Costa Unified School District. The bonds are to be paid for by an increase in ad valorem real estate taxes. Over the life of the bonds, it will cost me personally an additional $3000 above what I am paying now.

Ordinarily there would be no question of what to do. One always votes money for schools, for parks, for hospitals. But the West Contra Costa Unified School District is consistently the most incompetent and corrupt school board in the state, possibly in the country.

They are still operating under the authority of a trustee imposed on them by the State of California when they went bankrupt a few years ago. There has never been an accounting of where the money went. It certainly did not go to the schools. The WCCUSD schools are all rundown and ill-maintained and the teachers poorly paid.

We seem to wind up with crappy under-funded schools whether we vote them more money or not. On one hand Measure D seems like a waste of $3000. But voting against school bonds seems inconceivable to me.

Maybe the best solution is to vote for Measure D myself and hope that my fellow voters will vote it down anyway. It isn't much of a solution but it's all I got.

Reluctantly vote 'yes' on Measure D but hope it fails anyway.

In summary, vote 'NO' on every measure except Measure 15. Vote 'maybe' on Measure D.

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