Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 12

(I should note that while this ends the propositions series, tomorrow and Monday I’ll have a few more election related posts regarding state representatives and local offices, plus one local measure too. You never want to ignore those, wherever you’re at!)

Basic information about Proposition 12 — “VETERANS’ BOND ACT OF 2008.”

(No sites for this one pro or anti, as I’ll explain.)

It’s somehow appropriate that after grinding my way through all these propositions that it wraps up with the one that’s the gentlest, if you like. Instead of high firepower blasts back and forth and millions of dollars of donations and more besides, we’ve got something where pretty much everyone agrees on it.

The Cal-Vet Home Loans program, started in the wake of World War I and still going, has at its base a simple, quite thoughtful approach — if you’re a California resident who’s served in the military, this program helps you with the purchase of a house or similar property. Further, while it’s a bond issue, it’s one where the payments are made not by the state but by the participants in the program — a pretty smart setup.

As you can see in the overall page for this, there is an anti argument as well as a pro, but it seems to be just this one fellow with objections that don’t strike me as that strong. This is essentially just a renewal of something already going, and in a time where folks are all that much more concerned about money, real estate and the like, this seems all the more logical to have around.

And, of course, I’ve got a special connection to military veterans, thanks to my family. So the rest follows. This one’s a slam dunk, and it’s nice to end this series on a positive note.

A happy YES.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Reviewing the 2008 November California propositions — Prop 11

Basic information about Proposition 11 — “REDISTRICTING. INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND STATUTE.”

Umbrella yes-vote site.

Umbrella no-vote site.

Oh BOY do I love deep arguments over redistricting.

Ha.

The thing about redistricting is that it’s one of those key things that has slowly but surely evolved in the course of American political life that is both essential and imperfect. Weird thing, I kinda like it that way.

Partially this derives from the fact that it was America which gave the world the term for shenanigans involving electoral redistricting — gerrymandering, one of those beautiful neologisms that held on over the years. Wikipedia’s entry provides a good enough overview for a casual reader but there’s more out there — this, however, is the legendary illustration of the principle at work, where a district was rather curiously drawn, specifically to favor the political party in charge of such things at the time:

The gerrymander!

It’s probably one of the key political cartoons in American history pre-Thomas Nast, and still relevant today — there are crazily drawn districts everywhere. Texas, notably, has some wacky ones, especially after the last redrawing (which occurs every ten years following the Census). For instance:

Wacky times in Texas

But they’re all around.

Now it may sound flippant on my part to talk about stuff like this in a light tone, I realize. It’s serious stuff, and I’ve no doubt Texas friends of mine are still smarting over the last redistricting, for good reason. Still, some part of me recognizes that perfection is impossible, and that these kind of games will continue in one way or another so long as the process and society continues.

Thus Prop 11, which is one of many attempts to try and make the process of redistricting fair — or at least it’s claimed. Problem is that it makes a complicated process even MORE complicated, and I’m not sure that’s the best approach. The idea of setting up redistricting commissions with set seats for the two major political parties for all time…well, frankly, no. Things can still change, after all, and that limitation alone is enough for me to think this is an imperfect solution to a continuing problem. So no, not this time. Maybe never. But I wouldn’t be surprised if never arrives, stranger has happened — as we can see nationally, after all.

Anyway, an ‘eh…shrug’ NO.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance