By Garen Yegparian
The dust hasn’t settled from the last batch–nor have bruised egos recovered–and certainly lessons haven’t been learned–or at least fully absorbed–and guess what–there are more voter initiatives on California’s horizon.
Those living in other states might be smirking broadly–thinking–"There go the kooks again." But–guess what–given that California’s a political trendsetter–this is their future.
So let’s nip it in the bud.
It’s not that I don’t agree with some of the proposals–increasing taxes on cigarettes to support medical needs and making the overly rich crowd fund universal preschool–but this just isn’t the way to run a representative democracy. Besides–if I’m going to tolerate good proposals–I’ve also got to stomach the moronic ones–such as one that may be coming along to create a state border patrol to fight the "scourge" of illegal immigration (look before you leap on this one–how many Armenian illegals are here?). We’re nowhere near Switzerland where people might vote many times a year–it’s a small country.
We elect supposedly intelligent–competent–and conscientious people to work for us–the citizens–and produce order out of the chaos of our deman’s. Legislation-by-ballot-measure just doesn’t work. It’s too blunt an instrument.
The voter initiative was meant to–and ought–only be used when legislatures are recalcitrant and unresponsive. Plus–it has become so distorted through abuse and complication that many people don’t even trust it. Special interests have hijacked what was meant to be a defense against abusive government. Now–if you’ve got the money–you can get anything you want on the ballot–just pay the signature gatherers.
The solution is astonishingly simple. Credit goes to Tom Hayden–to whom I heard this idea is attributed to. Let’s get a measure on the ballot that requires all future voter initiatives to be qualified through VOLUNTEER signature gathering–none of this paid stuff. This way any idea that does make its way onto our ballot is truly a child of the people. And this is beneficial to any cause–no matter what end of the political spectrum it inhabits. This also gives our relatively-more-politically-active Armenian community an edge in future participation.
There–now that I’ve solved that electoral problem–how about that Randy "Duke" Cunningham–the crook–er Republican ex-Congressman from the San Diego area? He took some $2.5 million in bribes and skipped out on paying another mil in taxes. There’s that corrosive money-in-politics factor again. But hey–let’s be happy–this is another chink in the armor in the cabal that’s been misruling this country. What’s Karl Rove going to argue now–that the evil-D (Democrat–not devil–of course) led Randy to temptation.