Monday, March 10, 2008

California Propositions I Wish I Could Refuse

I hate propositions.

California propositions, that is.

In California our legislature punts on deciding any controversial issue, so then some so-called group of “concerned citizens” qualifies a proposition for the ballot that really screws things up.

Legislative inaction on run-away home appreciation causing run-away property taxes led to the ongoing nightmare that all Californians and their legislative representatives have been stuck with ever since, Proposition 13, by far the dumbest and most costly of the many dumb, costly propositions Californians have passed.

Our courts sometimes “save” us from propositions we pass by declaring them unconstitutional. Unfortunately, the courts don’t rid us of any really dumb and costly propositions, like Proposition 13, only the ones that the people really support that make sense.

For example, California Proposition 187 was supported by 59 percent of the voters, and only required that California employees follow the law: 1) Any person arrested who was suspected of being an illegal alien would have had their immigration status verified, and 2) no one could receive public benefits until they demonstrated that they were in the country legally.

These laws were already on the books, but weren’t being enforced. Proposition 187 said, in essence, “enforce our laws.”

The federal courts placed a hold on Prop. 187, diddled it for four years, and then the infamous Ninth U. S. Circuit Court was about to finally take it up, which would have eventually ended up with the Supreme Court of the United States overturning yet another of the Ninth’s liberal misadventures. Unfortunately, at that time Democrat Gray Davis became governor, quickly fiddled 187 into mediation, then withdrew it from appeals, thereby effectively killing it and laying a plank for his eventual recall.

The recall of Gray Davis was the only good thing that came out of the Proposition 187 farce, but it took five years and more instances of arrogant disregard for the will of the people before Californians finally couldn’t take any more.

As I mentioned, the courts only see fit to save us from laws that make sense, not the idiotic ones.

Proposition 13, for example, almost immediately removed local control over property taxation, making local governments and school boards totally subservient to the whims and mismanagement of the budget by the amiably incompetent California legislators. The California education system fell from being ranked amongst the best in 1960 to being saved from rock bottom only by the greater incompetence and indifference of Louisiana, Mississippi, and of course, Washington, D. C.

For a long list of Prop. 13 negatives, go here.

One of the finest examples I have seen of the misuse of the proposition to make California law, and the perversion of the Constitution by the courts to make the unconstitutional the law of the land, was Proposition 20, The Coastal Initiative, which established the California Coastal Commission in 1972. Similar to the current stink over the Kelo decision, The Coastal Initiative gave California the power to take property rights from private owners and give them to other private parties, and worse than Kelo, to do it without just compensation.

Indeed, to do it without any compensation.

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