Home > Uncategorized > Yes on Prop 28 (Eric’s Endorsement)

Yes on Prop 28 (Eric’s Endorsement)

It’s kind of a no-brainer to me, because I think that term limitations for legislative positions are a dumb idea anyway.  It’s particularly ironic that the whole concept was cooked up by conservatives often opposed to what they call the “nanny state” and yet feel compelled to save voters from themselves.  So anything that weakens term limits and restores electorate choice is fine with me to begin with.  If anything, I’m annoyed that the proponents felt compelled to actually lower the maximum potential from 14 years (and the big whoop “loophole” that allows up to 17 years if someone comes in after a legislator kicked the bucket during his/her first year in office) to 12 years.

On a more practical note, term limits in California have really hurt rural areas.  Those darned “career politicians” representing the lower population zones used to bide their time, get into the right committees, and toss some money our way.  But now that everyone has to think in terms of lateral and upward movement before they’ve even really learned how to legislate, the emphasis is on the concentrated population centers – where the voters are who will send the more clever pols to a statewide position.  This is why school bus funds are so easily cut.  It’s also why San Rafael road widening takes precedence over Willits Bypass (not that I necessarily disagree with that priority in particular).

Also, with the decline in institutional memory and information, legislators are increasingly dependent upon information provided to them by lobbyists.  And sometimes legislation is bogged down because of collective inexperience, where some legislators are forced to leave just as they’re figuring the job out.  And they’ve brought on a slew of other problems.  Here’s a pdf report by some policy think tank I’ve never heard of which outlines in what seems to be a responsible manner a number of problems with term limits in Arizona.  It’s a good read, worth your time unless you’re really convinced that our own legislature works better in 2012 than it did in 1990.

Okay, so what does Prop 28 do in mitigation?  It doesn’t end term limits.  It doesn’t extend them.  It’s actually kind of lame.  But it’s something.

Currently a pols time in the legislature is limited to three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate.  You can serve in both, so basically you can serve for a maximum of 14 years.  The proponents are lowering the time to 12, and yes, that’s misleading.  The opponents, mostly from the perennial tax posse and the free market/property rights extreme, are justified in their screeching about it.  Well, sort of.  It does actually shorten the time professional pols will stay in office.  But many Assembly members don’t make it into the more elite Senate, so the overall years in office for incumbents will be extended.

Basically, you have 12 years in office, if the voters will have you.  You can do it in any combo.  Six terms in the Assembly, three terms in the Senate, or four terms in the Assembly and one term in the Senate, and so on.  And if you are appointed because someone died or left office, those years count.

So 12 years in the Assembly might help rural areas out, a little bit anyway.  Of course, it doesn’t apply to anyone in office on or before June 5.

It’s not enough, but it will be a moderate improvement.  That is if the voters have the sense to pass it.

Posted by Eric

  1. Ponder z
    May 19, 2012 at 6:25 am

    I have not read this initiative, but in general would be in favor of term limits. I am, however, opposed to poorly written initiatives and redundant initiatives wasting our time. Law enforcement should be applied more often. The career politicians like Wes, need to move on.
    All long term legislator do is build a good ol boy networks and line selective pockets. Insider trading and pork projects. Why should high population ares have more power over rural areas? Lobbyist need to have more transparency if not more regulation. And no lobbyist should be a former offical. Committee selection also needs to be looked at. All the issues that give power to an person should be suspect. Everything Wes does and touts about in the TS is suspect.

  2. High Finance
    May 19, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Makes sense to me.

    Six years isn’t enough time. By the time you get good at your job you are already faced with leaving office and out of work.

  3. May 19, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I’m ambivalent about term limits. There is certainly something to be said for institutional memory but we should all remember “…getting good at your job…” is relative.

    Anyone know the last time the state budget was passed on time? It was the 2000/2001 fiscal year when the state was overflowing with cash from the dotcom boom. Plenty of money for everyone, so nothing to argue about.

    They spent all that money and more on permanent expenditure increases, including hiring 20,000 more state employees. That was the budget that busted the bank. Had they only increased spending to account for population growth and inflation, they would have come out with a $10 billion surplus. As it happened, we have the mess we have now.

    That budget was passed before term limits had kicked in. Nearly all that voted for that budget were seasoned legislators.

  4. A-nony-mouse
    May 19, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Term Limits assumes two things. First; there is no ‘learning curve’ for the job. Second; good people can just take a chunk out of their working lives and just jump back in when they’re done serving.
    I don’t want career ‘do nothings’ either but that’s why we invented the ballot box. Has Term Limits made things better in Sacramento? Not that I’ve noticed.

  5. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 8:14 am

    I’m undecided on the subject, but term limits also fuel the “pass the buck” mentality that makes for an easy blame game. As if four years later, suddenly the whole country is going to change because there’s a new president, that all the problems of the now were created by the last guy, bla bla bla. People can be career politicians without ever getting elected, they just have to campaign, raise money (then they’re of proven corporate value), and their business worth exponentiates. I don’t think stacy lawson thinks she stands a chance, just like so many other candidates of the past thought they stood a chance, but their fame goes through the roof, they get guest speaking spots, book deals, lecture tours, tv appearances, consulting etc. etc. etc.

    It’s all screwed up because it’s so easy to bullshit your way in.

  6. SNaFU
    May 19, 2012 at 9:27 am

    1) The reason congressmen try so hard to get re-elected is that they would hate to have to make a living under the laws they’ve passed.
    2) Politicians are like diapers…they both need changing often and for the same reason

  7. anoni-worried
    May 19, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Yikes! I find myself in total agreement with Hi-Fi. Is this a sign of the Apocalypse?

  8. May 19, 2012 at 9:52 am

    The reason congressmen try so hard to get re-elected….

    Prop 28 doesn’t apply to congressman. They aren’t subject to term limits, anyway.

  9. Anonymous
    May 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Inexperienced legislators are forced to rely on lobbyists for the bulk of their legislation. Whether you think that is good or bad probably depends on your political ideology.

  10. May 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

    Agree with HI-FI //

    -an experienced legislator could shun lobbyist–do they. ..’…. …… … //

  11. jr
    May 19, 2012 at 11:15 am

    The late writer Ernest Callenbach wrote a short book entitled “Citizen Legislature”. His thesis was that the State Assembly would be made up of citizens that would serve a term in the same manner as service on a jury. Citizens would be randomly selected to serve in the Assembly and could accept or postpone that service if it would be a hardship to do so. (The State Senate would remain as an elected body.) This book was written in the 80s and I believe is out of print. It may be found in used bookstores, however. It is an idea worthy of revisiting.

  12. What Now
    May 19, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Regular elections werve as an opportunity to limitt terms. The catch is relying on a well informed and involved citizenry, neither of which exists in this country.
    If we had a system that allowed for dissolution of the legislature and executive during times of crisis or lack of support we wouldn’t have politicians, their patrons and lobbyists monkey wrenching the system.
    Term limits are a simple solution to a complex situation and have only served to create more problems.
    Excellent editorial, Eric. I agree with you on this issue.

  13. 69er
    May 19, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    The term limit experiment has turned out to be a miserable failure, conditions have only worsened since implementation. I agree that the ballot box is the place to get rid of those that do not perform to our liking. The voters are the ones that have created the problems that exist, Everyone wants their piece of the pie with no concept as to where the money will come from. If we want it we must be willing to pay for it.

  14. Black-Flag
    May 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    Anything put on a ballot should have the option of None Of The Above. If NOTA wins over the other choices, they are tossed out and can’t run again.
    I’m tired of having to make a choice between a douche and a turd sandwich, None Of The Above can save us all.

  15. walt
    May 20, 2012 at 5:52 am

    Term limits haven’t solved the problem, but they aren’t the cause, either. Remember, they were invented to get Willie Brown out of power, and they succeeded in that. The problem, though is sheeple: America obeys its television. . .that’s how we got Ronald Reagan and Ahnold. The more money is added to the equation, the easier we are to control. Big Daddy Unruh said “Money is the mother’s milk of politics,” and time has proven he was not only right, he was clairvoyant. Advertising is the 800-poumd gorilla that no one sees. . .when you watch or hear ads you are programmed. Now, with an unlimited advertising budget, America will do as it’s told.

  16. Eric Kirk
    May 20, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Remember, they were invented to get Willie Brown out of power, and they succeeded in that.

    And what has that brought us exactly?

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s