On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, California voters will hit the polls to choose their Party’s presidential candidate for the November election and to decide on state and local ballot initiatives. They’ll also select their choice for congressional representatives and state representatives for the November ballot. I’m not sure what you’re thinking (or feeling) but I’m taking Nancy Reagan’s advice: Just Say No! (i.e. No to any bond initiatives and no to every candidate listed on the ballot)
Recall that Nancy Reagan’s campaign was against drugs. It can easily apply to a campaign against political graft and incompetence. [graft: an acquisition of gain or advantage by dishonest, unfair, or illegal means, especially through the abuse of one’s position or influence in politics, business, etc.]
Presidential, Congressional, and State Legislative Candidates
Each election continues to degenerate into a massive slander-fest. Candidates rarely talk about real issues. They devote time and energy to dissing their opponents: discredit, disparage, and dismiss. These are the tactics that dominate campaign agendas. They are the vices of little boys and girls who want to be somebody in the world. Yet we keep electing these school-yard brats to federal, state, and local offices, arguing that they are the lesser of the evils. Key point: we acknowledge they are evil.
This election I intend to Just Say No! I will enter NLA (No Leaders Available) into the Write-In portion of the ballot for each candidate who fails to communicate leadership qualities. Incumbent, career politicians will receive the same stamp of disapproval
It’s time to identify the size of the special interest groups who are manipulating these elections for their personal agendas. If responsible voters vote NLA (or something else or nothing at all) in the Write-In portion of the ballot, we can begin to identify the size of this group of irresponsible, self-indulgent brats. If 1000 ballots are registered and 500 do not select a particular candidate, the remaining votes will represent only half of the active electorate for that election. Both political parties will begin to get the message: their candidates are not the elected leaders of the majority but are the pawns of political and social minorities that have no interest in the common good of their communities at the local, state, and national level. In the words of James Madison, these groups are factions that are a threat to the republic.
By a faction I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.[The Federalist Papers No. 10, James Madison]
Clearly, a responsible vote on any spending measure is NO! A quick check of the California State Auditor’s Fiscal Health of California Cities makes it clear that most cities in the state cannot afford more debt.
Consider Porterville, my final residence/resting place. Porterville’s Measure L is a bond measure to fund school renovations. The campaign supporting this initiative identifies many facility improvements that are essential (but are all of them critical?) to day-to-day operations. The requested funding level is $31 million. But the real cost must be closer to $62 million since Measure L will “qualify the District to receive over $31 million in state-matching funds” [Porterville Unified School District Measure L flier]. In addition, the cost to the property owner is $36 per $100,000 assessed value.
Sentiment says vote yes, but fiscal health says NO! The city’s high risk with respect to future pension costs as well as for OPEB (Other Post Employment Benefits) and it’s moderate risk in revenue trends leads me to justifiably vote NO
The state’s Proposition 13 initiative for $15 billion for capital expenditure across the California educational system is completely irresponsible. The total cost of $26 billion (principle + $11 billion in interest) will generate annual payments of $740 million.
To begin to get a feeling for the magnitude of California’s debt problems, I Googled Ca Debt and found Can California’s Economy Withstand $1.3 Trillion of Government Debt?. Although the article was published in January 2017 by the California Policy Center, it paints a sobering picture of the fiscal disaster that is California. In January 2019, the Editorial Board of The Orange County Register weighed in with California’s massive debt should caution against big spending.
Again, this provides sufficient evidence at this time to Just Say No! (I will be digging deeper into this and other issues before the November election.)
As always, in the words of Edward R. Murrow, “Good night and good luck.”