Munson on the Ballot : No on 14

After reading the Inland Newspapers endorsement of Proposition 14 in the Bulletin and the Sun, I feel compelled to communicate why opposing Proposition 14 would be the best choice. Proposition 14 will do little to change the political climate in California where interests as such as diverse as the Green Party and the Republican Party are against this ballot measure.

Proposition 14 will take rights away from political parties where they will lose the right to select who would be their nominee for the November election. This measure will allow candidates to run under any ballot label or none at all which would confuse voters for political gain. If you do not like the candidates running in a particular contest you will only have a choice between choice 1 and choice 2, write-in choices will be prohibited under Proposition 14, just as well as third parties because people will feel they do not want to waste their vote because only two choices in the general election.

Proposition 14 is just a power grab from the corporate elites, where they are using double speak in order to get people to support their ballot measure. It is not an open primary, it is a “top two” ballot measure, it will not reduce the influence of special interests, but instead make it where only the rich and self funding will have the power, it will not “Reform Sacramento and give more voters a voice in government”. Where in fact, Proposition 14 will actually lead to the delisting of third parties because they cannot get qualified to run in a statewide election and even when we had a blanket primary in 1998 and 2000 there was still acrimonious partisanship in the statehouse where budgets were late for one month and two months consecutively from the legislators who were elected in those elections.

Proposition 14 will take the voice away from the little people and make it easier for big business to control Sacramento and our federal representatives. That is why Governor Schwarzenegger donated over 2 million, the CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings put in 250 thousand, while billionaire Eli Broad put in 100 thousand. They do not like the partisan interests of the advocacy groups that make the Democratic and Republican Parties primary political selection work such as labor unions and anti-tax groups.  These individuals resent that political candidates are not reliant entirely upon big business and moneyed interests, so if you want to win the “top two election” you are going to have to target all the voters in your constituency not just your political party which will make elections more expensive and bring more money into the political process.

I would love to see more moderate Republicans in the state legislature and in congress where they would be more socially inclusive and not as beholden to social conservatism, and I would love to see more business friendly Democrats who would like to reduce regulations and promote job creation. However, Proposition 14 will not do either of that.  The best solution while protecting the freedom of association of political parties is to have an open primary where people would be entitled to the ballot of the political party they want to participate in which would promote voter choice and voter participation.  Another solution is to implement proportional representation and expand the State Assembly to 120 members where 3 members would be elected from each State Assembly District where members would be elected based on the proportion of votes for a political party.

By reducing voter choice with Proposition 14 and limiting political power to the very few will do little to change the culture in politics. According to Richard Winger removing the 2/3rds requirement for passing a state budget might actually be the change that might actually solve California’s budget gridlock. And if the Democratic Party destroys the state of California due to this, we can always vote them out, or recall them out of office and I do agree with him. Proposition 14 is the wrong medicine for the wrong problem and will provide adverse reactions when approved.  And it is intellectually dishonest when the Inland Newspapers refused to interview the opponents of Proposition 14 to help form their opinion on the measure.

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