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Friday, May 22, 2009


Wayne Fiebick

Ken, I am the opposite, I moved to Cal from South Dakota in 1982. I find the blame the voters for the ballot resolution a little erroneous. On any given ballot, about half of the propositions are placed there by the legislature. You call that "passing the buck" for unpopular measures and then blame the voters if it passes. Other ballot measures are brought by politcal groups to either promoted their pet projects/issues or to counter some other groups ballot proposition. I can't remember any proposition that was truly brought forward by the voters. (Prop 11 before my time)

Timothy Fountain

Appreciated the post, Ken. I was born in SoCal and spent 40 years there. But Wayne's comment has merit and is the view of the major paper in San Diego:
Anyway, am sad to see a once "golden" state turn into such a mess. L.A. is pretty well on as a Third World hell hole - overcrowded, infrastructure stressed or broken, gang violence among the worst in the world, enclaves of gaudy oppulence looming over poverty stricken, gang infested turfs, etc.


Wayne and Timothy:

Thanks for the comments. I don't doubt for a moment that the legislature is up to its elbows in responsibility, and I know well that most initiatives originate in interest groups. However, whatever their origin, they are decided on by the voters. California is a democracy, if a dysfunctional one. That means the voters have to shoulder the ultimate responsibility for everything their government does.

Timothy Fountain

Ken - I would agree with your description of voters wanting all the services but none of the bills. I think that's more widespread than just CA (it is the way of my Baby Boom generation), but what you describe is certainly in the mix in CA. NIMBY (not in my backyard) problems for locating public facilities have been one symptom of this.


Thanks again, Tim.

I emphatically agree with you that voters "wanting all of the services but none of the bills" is not a problem confined to California. I note that this is one of the basic functions of representative democracy: legislators have to produce a whole package of bills, and have to figure out how to pay for them. By contrast, when voters are presented with a proposition, they just have to say whether they like this one idea or not, without considering how it will affect the rest of the government or the economy.

Keep reading and posting, if you have time. I especially appreciate reasonable commentary.


It is hard not to wonder if this has broader implications. Many Republicans have begun leaning toward libertarianism lately. If I understand it correctly, they believe that the federal government has become too intrusive and that states and individuals ought to have more freedom. But if we had more freedom, would we end up
doing as a country what California has done as a state?



That's a very good point. State governments can be just as inclined to irresponsible fiscal policy as the Federal Government. California is the poster child. But, thanks be to God and James Madison, states can't print money. Nor do they have the same ability to run up debt as the Fed. California wants a Federal bailout. President Obama would like to give it one, I am guessing, as he has yet to see a bailout he doesn't like. I am also guessing that one isn't coming. State's rights won't get the U.S. out of its mess, but it might get California out of its mess, eventually.

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