California's 5 Worst Ballot Initiatives
Could you even sleep last night? Do you view your local polling place like a 5-year-old views a Christmas tree on Christmas morning? Can you not wait one more minute to vote the bastards out?
Well, before you go get your teabag on, take a gander at bad initiatives that have gone before California voters in elections past.
When approved by California voters: June 6, 1978
Margin of victory: 4,280,689 (64.8%) votes in favor to 2,326,167 (35.2%) votes against
What it did: Capped tax rate on real property to 1% of the full cash value of such property, rolled back property values to their 1975 value and restricted annual increases in assessed value of real property to an inflation factor, not to exceed 2% per year. It also prohibited reassessment of a new base year value except upon (a) change in ownership or (b) completion of new construction.
Why it sucks: By decreasing the taxation rate, the constitutional amendment decreased the revenue that funded public libararies, police and fire services, and--most significantly--public education (among several other services and programs). It has created a disincentive for longtime owners to sell homes and an incentive for longtime renters to remain in rental housing. It has created a shortage of affordable housing. It has been unequally assessed and applied, hitting minorities and immigrants hardest and the rich and elite the lightest. It's also been a boon for corporations over people.
Why else: It has caused local and state governments to create new new sales taxes, fees and special assessment districts to fill in funding gaps.
When approved: Nov. 4, 2008
Margin of victory: 7,001,084 (52.24%) votes for to 6,401,482 (47.76%) against
What it did: Added a new provision, Declaration of Rights Section 7.5 to the California Constitution, providing that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." This overturned the California Supreme Court's ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
Why it sucks: It legitimizes unequal rights in a state Constitution that is supposed to guarantee freedom for all.
Why else: As the law stands now, it also legitimizes unequal rights among California same-sex couples. Those who married after the state Supremes ruled they could but before Prop 8 passed are now legally recognized as married couples while, say, the lesbian couple across the street can't marry here.