The California so-called “Open Primary” Election is here for a visit next Tuesday. Fortunately, this time we have only five ballot measures to deal with so it’s not as bad as usual.
Before we get to the propositions and what to do with each of them, let’s talk about our ill-conceived primary system.
Six years ago the voters of California bought a “pig-in-a-poke,” promoted by then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, called the top-two primary system.
The seismic shock changing the rules for legislative and congressional primaries promised to tone down the extreme candidates from either spectrum and produce more moderation in our elected officials.
In the 2016 primary races for 80 assembly seats, we got 20 (25%) where two Democrats were on the November ballot, in addition to six races where two Republicans faced off.
Voters of all persuasions choose from a single list of candidates, no matter the party. The two who receive the most votes, even if from the same party, move on to the general election.
I’m not sure that’s what we hoped to accomplish with what some call the “Jungle Primary.” What we did accomplish was we now appear to attract many more candidates to get into the fray, and maybe that’s a good thing.
In a state where one party overwhelms the registration numbers, this system will never work. It was a system conceived in theory with too many practical pitfalls to achieve its goals.
It has helped diminish the strengths and role of the political parties, which I think is counter-productive to a functioning democratic system.
It has attracted a much longer list of candidates that may seem like a good idea, but practically with all the costs and all the candidates, it’s hard to find a candidate you want to support.
The bottom line is this top-two primary system has not led to more moderate candidates or increased voter turnout.
This year, the top two vote getters for governor who will face off in the general election may well likely be both democrats.
Now let’s go on to the propositions.
Keep in mind my predisposition in all ballot measures is to vote no, unless I see a definite need.
Prop 68: Authorizes $4.0 billion in bonds for parks, resource protection, climate adaptation, water quality and supply, and flood protection. Vote: YES.
Prop 69: Requires new transportation revenues be used for transportation purposes—legislative constitutional amendment. Vote: YES.
Prop 70: Requires super majority legislative vote to approve use of cap-and-trade reserve fund—legislative constitutional amendment. Vote: YES.
Prop 71: Sets effective implementation date for ballot measures—legislative constitutional amendment. Vote: YES.
Prop 72: Permits legislature to exclude newly-constructed rain-capture systems from property tax re-assessment. Vote: YES.
That wasn’t too bad. Wait until November when we see more propositions and perhaps the most hair-brained scheme of all time. It’s called Cal 3 and proposes to carve California with the fifth largest economy in the world into three separate states; California, Northern California and Southern California.
Suffice it to say, it will be a huge waste of time and money. We’ll talk and explain more about it in the fall.
So, be sure to vote next Tuesday.