Monday, January 28, 2008

Prop 93 - Do we have to go there?

We have received two mailers, one from Vote Matters and another from Citizens for Accountability and Legislative Reform, both asking for my partner to vote Yes on Prop 93 but for rather strange reasons.

You see, my partner has a Latino surname and these mailers are asking for his vote because Latino representation is under threat should Prop 93 fail.


Given how gerrymandered the state is, thanks to our Democratic majority seeking job security and the Republican minority seeking relevance, I don’t see how Latinos “lose” representation.

In the Vote Matters mailer, which looks like a Christmas card addressed to “Our Sons & Daughters / Nuestrtos Hijos y Hijas”, we are asked to support our sons and daughters in the State Legislature so they can continue to work for better schools, health care, and jobs. It doesn’t say a word about the proposition or its affects, just that these Latino lawmakers could lose their jobs.

First of all, these people are older than we are so I don’t buy the immediate familial connection, maybe as distant cousins or uncles and aunts. Second, so long as local school boards rule, I don’t know what Sacramento can really do--short of throwing more money at education. Third, State Sen. Kuehl has been pushing healthcare for quite sometime. Speaker Nunez didn’t jump in until late in the game. This calls into question his priorities. Fourth, as for jobs, I think employment is a state issue and not a Latino majority district one. Finally, politicians should spend some time in the real world and not the one they inhabit in Sacramento, with taxpayer paid staff, vehicles, and offices. This way they can get a serious reality check on the state they govern.

In short, this appeal to Latinos strikes me as wrongheaded and a bit underhanded. To quote my partner, if he didn’t know any better he would have tossed it because it looks like a Christmas card sent too late to matter..

As for the Citizens for Accountability and Legislative Reform, this is a standard, 8.5 x 11 sheet letting us know that “Now is the time to be heard.” Given that all but one of the 8 photos on the back are of Latino legislators from Los Angeles, I’m assuming that this is another Latino targeted piece, especially because it’s addressed to my partner. We are told that Prop 93 protects our communities from special interests by electing our leaders, means better representation, and means real reform. Again, nothing is said of what Prop 93 is or might do.

I choked on my coffee when I read this. It appears to me that special interests already elect our leaders and that Prop 93 ensures that those who are bought remain bought for a longer amount of time thereby denying communities the opportunity to elect someone else. So much for better representation. And real reform? By real, do you mean positive? Because I’m having trouble in seeing how gaming the system to extend your term in office represents positive reform.

I was already biased against Prop 93 because of the underwhelming performance of Nunez as speaker. Now, with this “divide and conquer” strategy, as is evidenced by these mailers, in play as a gambit to win, I’m becoming solidly against it.

It obvious to me what is happening. The proponents can’t win on the merits and need to go “racial” to turn the vote out. Which means that those who opposed to the prop don’t have to do much to knock it over.

Way to go, Sacramento. You could say vote yes because it’s about better government instead of keeping our Latino familia in power. I have nothing against the latter argument, but I think it’s the wrong one to make. Even in a targeted mailing.


Anonymous said...

That's why it's a targeted mailing. I don't think TV ads saying the same thing would work. I agree that Nunez doesn't deserve to win this.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we do need to go there. How else will get a "citizen legislature" if we can manipulate voters?