Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Idiots and the Ballot

Arizona is one of the states which allows for referendums and propositions to be placed on the ballot. While I think that this is, in general, a good idea, the implementation in Arizona leaves something to be desired. The problem here is that any idiot who can get enough signatures can get something on the ballot, and there is very little renew before it goes to the public for a vote. This means that there are always a number of these on the ballot each election. This time, there are 19 in all. Whatever the hot button issues are that year, there are ballot measures on it. For example, this year Arizona has 4 on illegal aliens (usually disguised as something else), the almost obligatory ban on gay marriage one, 2 on smoking laws, and 7 on taxes and monies. Let's face it, if I really wanted, I could probably get enough signatures to get a ballot measure declaring a ban on all California drivers or some such nonsense (actually, that one might be a good idea). Would it pass the general election? Probably not. But would it be on the ballot? Quite possibly!

Now, I'm not going to go into my personal view on most of these because, quite frankly, it's none of your damn business. But I will say that it is important that people understand what it is they are actually voting for, which means YOU HAVE TO READ THE DAMN THING! Simply reading the title doesn't cut it, dumbass. For example, did you know that voting FOR Prop. 207 ("Private Property Rights Protection Act") would throw out over a quarter century of US Supreme Court rulings and effective end government directed development and historic preservation in the state, all to the benefit of private developers? (Cartoon is by Herblock, and can be found with more of his work here)

Anyway, as we get closer to the election, be sure to actually know what it is you're voting for or against. It doesn't take much time and you don't have to be a lawyer to understand it. They provide you with handy little book which gives both the full text of the measure and a summary in "real world speak". Read it and go vote!


Feemus said...

yeah--the whole referendum thing sounds great. Direct democracy and all that. But some of the things that get on the ballots--yikes!

In Washington state, there are always all kinds of propositions and referenda that get passed but are then declared unconstitutional. So they end up costing a ridiculous amount of money--first to implement and then to de-implement.

I think you're quite right that a lot of this legislation gets passed because folks don't actually know what they're voting for.

Dorky Dad said...

I don't know if I agree as to the greatness of referendums. In fact, I know I don't. Mostly, I just view them as a way for wussy politicians to wimp their way out of making tough decisions.

Sophie Zankman said...

Ill tell you my opinion on Prop 207...
Finally someone is fighting for my rights. I want my property rights protected not regulated. Vote yes on Proposition 207. Check this out: HopeForArizona.com

RogueHistorian said...

First of all, they are not fighting for your rights. They are fighting to make more money for land developers and speculators (many of whom do not even live in this state).

Second, property rights have always been regualted in the U.S. It actually goes back to English Common Law, where the individual is expected to give up some of their rights for the good of the public. So it's not like the government took something away from you and you now have to get it back. It's something you never had.

Third, 207 will necessitate the creation of absolutely massive amounts of government bureaucracy in order to determine what effect a government action might have on a piece of property.

Forth, with the increase in bureaucracy and having to pay property owners for every government action (including things like putting in road signs, easements, and street lights), taxes and fees will go through the roof.

Fifth, 207 tries to throw out more than half a century of U.S. Supreme Court Rulings which have have always said that Eminent Domain is a legal and justified use of government authority.

Sixth, it will throw out almost every zoning law, meaning that your neighbor in your quiet little back-street suburban neighborhood could tear down their single family residence and build a ten-story condo building.

Seventh, it will effectively end government directed historic preservation.

Eight, the Prop does not actually deal with Eminent Domain - it's taking about Takings, which have also been repeatedly up-help as a legitimate exercise of Police Power by the state.

Yeah, the idea of protecting people from the big, bad government and abuse of power is great. But 207 is simply a tool for developers and speculators, disguised as a protection for the people. Believe me, I work with a real estate lawyer, and he opposes 207 (along with the State Historic Preservation Office, the Attorney General of Arizona, and nearly every level of the state and city government).

RogueHistorian said...

Oh, I almost forgot, since, "Sophie," I can see that you went trawling for blogs which rightly decry 207 and that I was able to track your ip to Milford, Connecticut, (not to mention the fact that your profile was created only this month and you don't actually have a blog of your own), I have to wonder if you are who you say you are.