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by inoljt

What Exactly Was the Popular Vote in 2012?

8:19 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

I was recently writing a post on how news organizations still haven’t updated their election results. As part of that post, of course, I tried to track down the “real” popular vote. That is, how many votes did President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney actually win, in reality?

Election 2012
I ran into a problem. Apparently nobody knows.Different organizations are reporting different numbers. To find reliable election results, most analysts go to Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections. However, Dave’s numbers differ from those of Wikipedia. Unfortunately, Dave doesn’t provide a source of how he got his numbers. Wikipedia does; it derived its numbers from the Federal Election Commission Report. Ironically, however, Wikipedia’s numbers are actually different from the report’s numbers. Then there is Dave Wasserman, who with great labor added uncounted ballots to the numbers as they were counted. His numbers are slightly different as well. Here’s a table:

Votes Won According to… Barack Obama Mitt Romney
Dave Leip 65,909,451 60,932,176
Dave Wasserman 65,909,191 60,932,015
Huffington Post 65,899,660 60,932,152
Federal Election Commission Report 65,899,660 60,932,152
Wikipedia 65,907,123 60,931,767

The vote counts by private individuals such as Dave Leip are probably the most accurate. Unfortunately, these people don’t say how they got their numbers.

In addition, there is the fact that uncounted ballots are still being discovered and added to the official count. For instance, a stack of ballots was found in New York City in March, after the completion of the Federal Election Commission Report. So the report is probably wrong. Dave Wasserman also has stated that the official certified results in some states are wrong; apparently the states incorrectly added up all the official county numbers.

The best way to find the popular vote is probably to add up individually all the official certifications of the vote by each state, which I may or may not do. Of course, we also have to be aware of the fact that some of these official certifications may be wrong.

We may never actually know how many votes Barack Obama and Mitt Romney won in the 2012 presidential election.

–inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Photo from League of Women Voters of California licensed under Creative Commons

by inoljt

The Socially Conservative State of … California?

11:34 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

California Flag

Does California live up to its socially liberal reputation? Statistics suggest otherwise.

California is generally thought of as a very liberal place. The Democratic Party is certainly doing well; Republicans are at an all-time low almost everywhere in the state.

This applies to social positions as well. The stereotype is that Californians are very socially liberal. California is, after all, home to San Francisco and Berkeley – the natural environment of the godless hippie and homosexual. Hollywood is also located in California, and Hollywood’s not exactly a bastion of social conservatism.

It may surprise some, then, to note that in the past four years Californians have voted against gay marriage, marijuana, and the abolition of the death penalty. These positions were debated in three successive propositions. Each time the socially conservative side won. Here are the numbers:

Proposition What It Proposed Socially Conservative Side Socially Liberal Side
8 No to Gay Marriage 52.2% 47.8%
19 Legalizing Marijuana 53.5% 46.5%
34 Abolishing the Death Penalty 52.0% 48.0%

Each of the propositions had different things going on. Gay marriage was widely expected to win, and it shocked liberals when the people said no. Legal marijuana at first appeared to have majority support. But as the details of the proposition for legal marijuana came out (it was said to be badly written), its numbers plummeted. On the other hand, few paid attention to Proposition 34. The abolishment of the death penalty was never expected to pass, and it surprised few when it didn’t. Yet the end results are remarkably similar for the different contours that the propositions took.

From the numbers, it looks like there’s a socially conservative majority of 52% to 53% of Californians.

Ironically, the social conservatism displayed here might be a side-effect of the same forces behind the Democratic Party’s rise. The growing Hispanic and Asian vote leans strongly Democratic; it’s why the Republicans are collapsing in California. At the same time, Hispanics and Asians (especially immigrants) are – as Republicans never tire of saying – are often socially conservative. South-Central Los Angeles might give the Democratic candidate 80-90% of the vote. That doesn’t mean that it will support gay marriage, legalized marijuana, or the abolishment of the death penalty.

It’s too bad that Republicans can’t channel this social conservatism amongst immigrants into support for the Republican Party.

–inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

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by inoljt

How 2012 Helps Prospects for Reforming the Electoral College

4:07 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

By: inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

The electoral college is one of the lingering undemocratic parts of American politics. Unlike almost every other country in the world, America elects its presidents not via the popular vote but rather via a strange system of “electoral votes” distributed by states. The good news is that this system generally reflects the popular will. The bad news is that it occasionally fails, as last happened in 2000.

Since then there has been a push to reform the electoral college so that all states cast their electoral votes for the winners of the popular vote. Currently half the states needed to implement the reform have signed on.

The reform is mostly pushed by Democrats. This is because in 2000 the popular vote winner but electoral college loser was the Democratic candidate. As long electoral college reform was only pushed by Democrats, it was likely to fail. It is almost impossible to get enough states to sign on with complete Republican opposition.

In 2012, however, something quite interesting happened. The electoral college helped Obama quite a bit. For the final months of the campaign Obama was often behind in the national polls but still leading in the state Ohio. It was seen as a very conceivable possibility that Obama would lose the popular vote but win the electoral college and remain president because of Ohio. Even after the first presidential debate, Romney led in the popular vote but never in the electoral college.

It should be noted that these polls were wrong; they underestimated Obama nationally and put Ohio as more Democratic than a lot of states (Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and Virginia) which ended up more favorable to Obama. But the perception, based on these flawed polls, was what mattered.

So a lot of hard-core Republicans got to see the electoral college really hurting them during the most important campaign of all.

Moreover, the electoral college actually has leaned Democratic for three elections in a row. In 2004 John Kerry was 118,601 votes away in Ohio from becoming president while losing the popular vote. In 2008 John McCain would have had to win the popular vote by 1.7% to win Colorado and become president. In 2012 the votes are still being counted, but it’s very certain that Obama could have lost the popular vote and still remained president.

This is good news for electoral college reform. Hopefully Republicans will not forget how polls showed them leading the popular vote but still behind in the electoral college during October 2012. Republicans now are aware that the electoral college hurts them. It would be in their self-interest to shift to a popular vote.

There are several blue or purple states in which the state Republican Party is fairly strong and has prevented electoral college reform. The hope is that in a few of these states some Republicans will now support a popular vote. It is also possible that Republicans by themselves will enact popular vote bills on their own initiative. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, for instance, has publicly made supportive statements on a popular vote. Of course this is pure self-interest, since she (like many Republicans) recognizes that the electoral college now hurts Republicans.

But a popularly elected president looks closer than ever. As long as it was only a Democratic initiative, it didn’t look like the popular vote would be enacted. Now, hopefully, some Republicans will also see that the popular vote is both something that helps a Republican presidential candidate and (more importantly for American but probably not Republicans) the right thing to do.

by inoljt

The Advantages of Absentee Ballots

4:42 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is part of a two-part series evaluating absentee ballots, which are being used more and more often. The first part will focus on their advantages. The second part will focus on their disadvantages.

Absentee Ballot

Absentee ballots are increasingly being used throughout the United States. They are especially popular in the West Coast; elections are entirely absentee-ballot in Oregon and Washington, for instance.

The general reasoning behind absentee ballots are that they increase voter turn-out. The theory goes that voters too busy on election day can vote before the election. Absentee ballots make voting simpler, people say. If it is true that absentee ballots increase voter turn-out, then this would be a substantial advantage. At least one study, on the other hand, casts doubt on whether this is really true.

There is another great advantage to absentee ballots, however.

In the state of California, at least, voter ballots go on for pages and pages. Voters are asked to vote on a huge array of things which they almost certainly haven’t heard of. Everyone has heard of the presidential race. But very few people know about candidates for the local school board or local bond measures. What if one of the candidates is a convicted felon? What if that local ballot proposal is actually the pet project of a big corporation? Often a voter in the booth will only see four names he or she’s never seen before, or a paragraph-long description of a proposed measure. There’s no way for him or her to know how to vote.

Voters who receive absentee ballots don’t face this problem. They can research the candidates or the proposed local measure. They can look online to see whether the candidate for the local school board has an extremely controversial background. They can look at what the newspapers have to say about that local bond measure.

Absentee ballots enable voters to make informed decisions, especially about local elections and measures which nobody has heard of.

They certainly helped me when I voted. I remember voting for the board members on the local fire protection district. Unsurprisingly, I had no idea who any of the candidates were. The voter information pamphlet seemed to be helpful, and I settled on three candidates who seemed to have the best-written candidate statements.

Then I researched who these people actually were. It was fairly simple: I merely typed the candidates’ names and the word “controversy” in Google.

It turned out that all three candidates I’d picked were close relatives of firefighters! Since the fire protection board must bargain with firefighters about their pay, this was obviously a huge conflict of interest. I immediately changed who I was going to vote for. I’d never have known about this if I hadn’t had the time to research the candidates before filling out my absentee ballot.

This is why absentee ballots are great. But they also have some big disadvantages (actually one big disadvantage). That’s the subject of part two.

–inoljt

Photo by micala under Creative Commons license.

by inoljt

Vote No on California Proposition 39: Multistate Business Taxes

3:31 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is the tenth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

More Ballot-Box BudgetingProposition 39 is a typical example of ballot-box budgeting. Tax X, spend on Y. In this case, X equals multistate businesses and Y equals clean energy.

The proposition raises taxes on multistate businesses in California through a subtle method. Right now those businesses can choose between two ways of calculating their taxes. They can be taxed based on the number of sales, property, or employees the business has in California (the “three-factor method”). Or they can be taxed based only on the number of sales (the “single sales factor method.”)

Proposition 39 changes it so that multistate businesses can only be taxed through the latter method. This would raise their taxes.

Of the money raised, $550 million is given to green energy for five years. In the post on Proposition 34, this blog argued:

This is the type of terrible policy which the proposition system is famous for. One hundred million in spending by Proposition 34, ten billion in spending by a proposition here, five billion in tax cuts by a proposition there – it’s no wonder California has trouble balancing its budget. Ballot-box budgeting like this is disgraceful.

The same logic holds here. This blog would be more inclined to support the proposition if the revenue raised was left for the legislature to direct as it willed. As it is, the proposition’s micromanagement of its funding is just another reason to vote against the proposition.

An Easy No

Fundamentally, California voters don’t have enough information to know whether or not this proposition is a good idea. Is it a good idea to make it so that multistate businesses pay taxes based on the “single sales factor method” rather than being able to choose between the “single sales factor method” and the “three-factor method”? Beats me.

The logic against Proposition 39 is similar to that against Proposition 31, and it’s worth repeating that logic here. If this policy change were proposed in the legislature lawmakers and their staff would probably have access to studies, surveys, and analyses on whether or not it would be better for the general welfare if multistate businesses paid taxes only based on the “single sales factor method” or if they paid taxes based on a choice between the “single sales factor method” and the “three-factor method”. Those studies and analyses would probably run up into the dozens of pages.

But voters just have two pages of all-caps arguments for or against this change (the legislative analysis makes no judgement on which policy is wiser). For such a major change, it’s not enough.

The legislature should be setting tax policy, not the proposition system.

–inoljt

by inoljt

Vote No on California Proposition 38 – Molly Munger’s Tax Initiative

1:09 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is the ninth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

An Unfortunate Proposition…

There are two revenue-increasing propositions before the public. There is Proposition 30, the good one backed by Jerry Brown, and Proposition 38, the bad one. You should vote yes on Proposition 30 and no on Proposition 38. Unfortunately, that’s probably going to confuse a lot of people.

Proposition 38 is pushed by Molly Munger, a well-meaning attorney (funny how so many of the propositions have such well-meaning intentions yet bad consequences).

Basically, it’s an income tax increase. The tax increase is pretty huge; it catches even lower-income residents. Individuals with income over $7,316 and families or joint filers with income over $14,632 will have their taxes raised. The chart below, taken from the legislative analyst, explains in more detail:

Current and Proposed Personal Income Tax Rates Under Proposition 38
Single Filer’s
Taxable Income a
Joint Filers’
Taxable Income a
Head-of-Household
Filer’s
Taxable Income a
Current
Marginal
Tax Rate b
Proposed
Additional
Marginal Tax Rate b
$0–$7,316 $0–$14,632 $0–$14,642 1.0%
7,316–17,346 14,632–34,692 14,642–34,692 2.0 0.4%
17,346–27,377 34,692–54,754 34,692–44,721 4.0 0.7
27,377–38,004 54,754–76,008 44,721–55,348 6.0 1.1
38,004–48,029 76,008–96,058 55,348–65,376 8.0 1.4
48,029–100,000 96,058–200,000 65,376–136,118 9.3 1.6
100,000–250,000 200,000–500,000 136,118–340,294 9.3 1.8
250,000–500,000 500,000–1,000,000 340,294–680,589 9.3 1.9
500,000–1,000,000 1,000,000–2,000,000 680,589–1,361,178 9.3 2.0
1,000,000–2,500,000 2,000,000–5,000,000 1,361,178–3,402,944 9.3 2.1
Over 2,500,000 Over 5,000,000 Over 3,402,944 9.3 2.2
.

a  Income brackets shown were in effect for 2011 and will be adjusted for inflation in future years. Single filers also include married individuals and registered domestic partners (RDPs) who file taxes separately. Joint filers include married and RDP couples who file jointly, as well as qualified widows or widowers with a dependent child.

b  Marginal tax rates apply to taxable income in each tax bracket listed. For example, a single tax filer with taxable income of $15,000 could have had a 2011 tax liability under current tax rates of $227: the sum of $73 (which equals 1 percent of the filer’s first $7,316 of income) and $154 (2 percent of the filer’s income over $7,316). This tax liability would be reduced—and potentially eliminated—by personal, dependent, senior, and other tax credits, among other factors. The proposed additional tax rates would take effect beginning in 2013 and end in 2024. Current tax rates listed exclude the mental health tax rate of 1 percent for taxable income in excess of $1 million.

In contrast, Proposition 30′s income tax only affects individuals with income over $250,000, joint filers with income over $500,000, and head-of-household’s with over $340,000.

The revenue raised goes mostly to education, with the rest to repay state debt. Proposition 38′s revenues go to a new fund called the California Education Trust Fund. There are three ways the revenue is distributed: to schools, to ECE (Early Care and Education) programs, and to state debt. The amount given to each each differs per year, although schools get the majority and ECE gets the least. Of the money given to schools 70% goes to education program grants; 18% goes to low-income student grants; and 12% goes to training, technology, and teaching materials grants. Of the amount given to ECE programs, a minority goes to restoring cuts in current ECE programs and the rest goes to expanding the programs (e.g. 51% goes to subsidized preschool for children aged three to five form low-income families). The rest pays state debt. From the legislative analyst:

Allocation of Revenues Raised by Proposition 38
2013–14
and
2014–15 
2015–16
and
2016–17 
2017–18
Through
2023–24 
Schools 60% 60% 85%
Early Care and Education (ECE) 10 10 15
State debt payments 30 30a a
Totals 100% 100% 100%
Growth limit on allocations to schools and ECE programs a No Yes Yes
.a  Reflects minimum share dedicated to state debt payments. Revenues beyond growth limit also would be used to make debt payments.

It’s all very long and complicated. In the California official voter information guide, the legislative analysis of Proposition 38 is the longest. Reading Proposition 38′s legislative analysis made my head spin (even more than Proposition 31′s legislative analysis). I don’t like voting for propositions that make my head spin.

…Which Might Actually End Up Cutting Education!

Somewhat amazingly, Proposition 38 might not prevent huge education cuts next year. This is because the legislature passed a series of spending reduction called “trigger cuts” that would take effect if Proposition 30 was not approved. These include $5.354 billion from schools and community colleges, as well as $250 million each from the University of California and California State University systems. Tuition would certainly be raised at California state universities under these trigger cuts.

If Proposition 38 is approved and gets more votes than Proposition 30, then those education trigger cuts will still take place.

That means that under Proposition 38, college students at California state universities will still have their tuition raised (as well as their taxes). There will be both huge tax increases and huge spending cuts for education this year. Then next year there will be huge spending increases for education. That’s a terribly unstable situation.

Remember: Proposition 30 is the good proposition, Proposition 38 the bad one. Vote yes on Proposition 30 and no on Proposition 38.

–inoljt

by inoljt

Vote No on California Proposition 37: Genetically Engineered Food

9:29 am in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is the eighth part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

A Badly Written Proposition…

On its most basic level, Proposition 37 has a fairly simple concept. It requires labels on genetically engineered food and prevents genetically engineered food or processed food from being advertised as “natural.”

Unfortunately, in the real world things are rarely that simple. The Sacramento Bee gives a number of examples. Should we include pet food? What about alcohol? What about an animal which ate genetically engineered food but isn’t genetically modified itself? Olive oil is processed; you press olives to make olive oil. Does that mean that olive oil can’t be labeled as “natural?”

Proposition 37′s backers did not attempt to pass the law through the legislature before writing their proposition. In the legislature these complex issues might have been dealt with adequately; after all, that is the legislature’s job. Instead, Proposition 37 attempts to address the complexity of labeling genetically engineered food by adding a number of exemptions.

These exemptions make matters worse. Pet food, under Proposition 37, could be labeled as genetically engineered. Alcohol would not. But fruit juice could. Cow’s milk would probably not be labeled as genetically engineered, even if the cow ate genetically engineered grain, under Proposition 37′s exemptions. But soy milk would probably be labeled as genetically engineered, since almost all soy in the United States is genetically engineered. Genetically engineered broccoli in a restaurant would not need to be labeled, but in a grocery store it would need to be labeled.

And yes, it’s quite possible that olive oil could not be labeled “natural” under Proposition 37. After all, olive oil is obviously processed.

On a Subject For Which There’s A Better Solution

There’s a better way to do things. Producers can, on their own initiative, label their foods as non-genetically engineered.

Photobucket

The same purpose that Proposition 37 attempts to accomplish would then be served. Consumers worried about eating genetically engineered food could decide to only buy food labeled as non-genetically engineered. No need for all of Proposition 37′s messy exemptions. As the Los Angeles Times writes:

…the marketplace already provides ways to inform consumers about their food. Just as some meats are labeled antibiotic-free or hormone-free, and some eggs are labeled cage-free, food producers are welcome to label their foods as GE-free.

That sounds a lot easier and simpler than Proposition 37′s craziness.

–inoljt

by inoljt

Vote No on California Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law

11:31 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is the seventh part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

A Tough Proposition

Proposition 36 is a tough proposition. There’s a strong case for voting yes on this proposition. Out of all the proposition recommendations made in this blog, this one is made with the most hesitancy.

Proposition 36 substantially weakens the Three Strikes Law. This is a famous tough-on-crime California law derived from another proposition (on a side note: there are way too many propositions out there). A serious or violent felon, if convicted of a new felony, gets twice the sentence. A two-time serious or violent felon, if convicted of a new felony, gets life. The Three Strikes Law is one of the toughest (if not the toughest) in the nation.

Under normal circumstances, this blog would unstintingly argue against voting yes on Proposition 36. Voters should never approve propositions that make big changes in subtle, complex things such as the length of prison sentences. Even if a change would be for the better, that is a job best left to the normal process. There is a reason why a legislature exists, after all: to draft laws. Legislators spend their entire lives on these issues. Voters spend a couple of hours or seconds reading a crazily complicated proposition that makes huge changes in the state. Generally, propositions on complex issues should only be approved if they fix a crisis.

Unfortunately, the normal way doesn’t work in this case. The legislature does not have the power to change the Three Strikes Law. This is because the proposition which approved the law explicitly prohibited this. So California voters are left in the unattractive position of deciding felony prison sentence lengths themselves.

There is also something quite wrong with California’s prison system, for which the description “crisis” would not be ill-fitted. They are famously overcrowded and a recent Supreme Court decision ordered California to reduce the population. The Three Strikes Law has certainly contributed to this negative situation. Finally, the proposition would save California several tens of millions of dollars per year – not something to laugh about during a budget crisis.

Nevertheless, there is also something good to say about the Three Strikes Law. California’s crime level over the past decade and a half has substantially decreased over the past two decades after the enactment of the law. Other states in the country have also followed California’s Three Strikes Law, and overall crime in the nation has been steadily declining for the past two decades. Of course, a number of other factors were behind this as well. But the Three Strikes Law’s aim was to reduce crime – and crime has indeed decreased.

More fundamentally, this proposition still would change the very complicated issue of felony prison sentences. That’s an issue that the vast majority of people are not qualified to deal with. The last clause definitely includes this blogger as well. That’s why this blog recommends a qualified “No” on Proposition 36.

–inoljt

by inoljt

Vote No on California Proposition 32: Union-busting

9:01 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is the third part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

What Does Proposition 32 Do?

It kills unions.

Photobucket

It’s pretty simple. Proposition 32 is mainly aimed at weakening unions. It’s billed as a campaign-finance reform proposition, but it’s pretty clear that the main target is labor unions.

One facet of Proposition 32 aims to permit “voluntary employee contributions to employer-sponsored committee or union if authorized yearly, in writing.” California unions mainly depend on automatic union dues. By making those automatic union dues voluntary, this clause would greatly weaken unions. That is, of course, the point of the proposition.

Another part of the proposition prohibits funds deducted from payrolls to be used for political purposes. As it turns out, about the only organizations that use payroll-deducted funds in politics are unions. The legislative analysis states that, “Other than unions, relatively few organizations currently use payroll deductions to finance political spending in California.” Corporations don’t use them. So while Proposition 32 supporters state that both union and corporate political spending will be limited by the proposition, in reality only unions are affected.

There are reasonable-sounding parts of Proposition 32. It limits, for instance, political donations by government contractors, which seems to make sense. Although the legislative analyst notes that those government contractors could be “public sector labor unions with collective bargaining contracts.” So perhaps that clause is just another way to gut unions.

Even If You Don’t Like Unions, You Should Still Vote No on Proposition 32

Most people reading this post, I suspect, are highly in favor of unions. Still, even a person who isn’t a big fan of unions ought to vote no on this proposition.

It is true that there’s a lot to complain about with respect to unions. Unions are very powerful in California, and it’s understandable when conservatives dislike that fact. State pensions seem to have some hard-to-defend practices, for instance (which this proposition doesn’t address). In researching for this proposition, I was shocked to discover that some workers (such as teachers) have to pay union dues even if they hate their union.

But there’s a time and place to address these grievances, and that’s not the proposition system. Propositions are meant for egregious wrongs and things which can’t be fixed by the normal system. This purpose unfortunately has been subverted in recent years by the explosion of senseless propositions. Unions may be bad, or they may be good. But even if they do more harm than good, the proposition system isn’t the place to kill unions.

So even if you’re not the biggest fan of unions, like me, you should still vote against Proposition 32.

–inoljt

by inoljt

Vote No on Proposition 31: Changes to State Budgeting

2:23 pm in Uncategorized by inoljt

This is the second part of a series of posts analyzing California’s propositions:

Jerry Brown - Caricature

(Photo: DonkeyHotey/flickr)

Good Intentions…

Proposition 31 is a well-intentioned proposition. Unlike several of the propositions out there today, it’s not funded by special interests or companies looking to make a profit. It’s a proposition funded by California Forward, a group legitimately dedicated to reforming California’s budget. The folks at California Forward put a lot of time and thought into drafting this proposition; it’s basically a collection of reforms in the budgeting process that they think would best help the state.

Moreover, there are good things in Proposition 31. For instance, the two-year budget cycle contained in the proposition sounds like a good idea.

But I Don’t Understand It!

California has lots of propositions, and they generally do more bad than good. Indeed, a wise voter ought to reject the good majority of propositions that are put forward each year. That’s the philosophy that informs the approach this blog takes towards propositions.

A wise voter ought to be especially cautious with a proposition he or she doesn’t understand. If you don’t understand what a proposition does, or if you’re extremely confused by its wording, you should almost always vote no.

This proposition is both extremely complicated and quite confusing. There are a lot of big changes which have big, unknown effects on the state budget. The legislative analyst writes that the fiscal effects “cannot be predicted” quite a bit in its analysis. That’s worrying.

Take one part of the proposal. The proposition shifts quite a lot of authority to local governments. For instance:

Under this measure, counties and other local governments (such as cities, school districts, community college districts, and special districts) could create plans for coordinating how they provide services to the public. The plans could address how local governments deliver services in many areas, including economic development, education, social services, public safety, and public health. Each plan would have to be approved by the governing boards of the (1) county, (2) school districts serving a majority of the county’s students, and (3) other local governments representing a majority of the county’s population. Local agencies would receive some funding from the state to implement the plans (as described below).

There’s a ton of information packed into this short paragraph.

This change is made under the assumption that local goverments are more efficient. If it were proposed in the legislature lawmakers and their staff would probably have access to studies, surveys, and analyses on whether or not local governments actually are more efficient than the state government. Those studies and analyses would probably run up into the dozens of pages.

But voters just have this short little paragraph on one facet of the many facets of Proposition 31. For such a major change, it’s not enough.

Perhaps all the changes in Proposition 31 would be of great benefit. Perhaps they would be of great damage. I don’t know, especially since I have such a hard time understanding Proposition 31.

That’s why Californians should vote no on Proposition 31, come November 2012.

–inoljt