I am not one who likes to argue much. (Basically I just want to be right ;) ) I also usually shy away from political discussions. When people argue their political views they are saying their way is right and yours is wrong (but in a lot more words than that). The problem with politics is that no one is ever really right. I prefer black and white. True and false. Right and wrong. 1+1=2... The real answers. In English I never picked up the underlying message.
So when I read the voter information pamphlet I was frustrated. Two propositions were on the ballot, prop 98 and prop 99. Prop 98 was basically about protecting eminent domain for homes, businesses, and farms, with an end to rent control. I really don't think the government should be able to take land from individuals to sell to private entities to generate more tax dollars. The rent control issue I am split on. In my opinion people should be able to rent their property to whomever they choose for whatever rent they choose. It is called a free market people. If no one is willing to pay the prices asked the property will sit vacant and the owner makes no money. Then if the owner wants to make money he/she will lower the rent. The protection for the renter comes in the form of a contract. If a renter enters into an agreement with the landlord who agrees to only raise the rent x dollars or percentage each year they are then protected. If the landlord does not want to enter into such an agreement they lose a potential renter. The problem with ending rent control is the solution proponents have come up with to solve the issue of individuals who could no longer afford their homes: don't worry the government will pay for it. People is that really the best solution? Do you realize that we are the government? We are the ones paying for it...
So you see the gray area on that one. Yes, I want eminent domain protection for individual homes, for investment property owners, for farms and for businesses. I don't know what I want for that rent control gray area. I lean toward abolishing rent control, but do I want to pay more taxes?
Then there is prop 99. A straightforward (on the cover at least) proposition that would protect owner occupied homes from eminent domain for reasons besides the expected stuff (highways, schools, parks, to build a dam, police station, firehouse). But this proposition was lacking protecting the rights of farms and small businesses. I read a post this morning that pointed out what this does for low cost rentals. The government can decide they want to use that land for a new condominium project to generate more tax dollars, use eminent domain to take the land, evicting all the previous tenants, but hey in this proposition rent control is protected. So why complain? Grr. Why is there really no such thing as a straightforward proposition.
If both propositions get 50% of the vote whichever gets the greater percentage wins.
This leads me to another gripe about the election yesterday. Last night I tuned into a local news station which was supposed to be giving live updates on the election results. I heard all about the tree that crashed into the Sacramento mayoral candidate’s party, but after watching for nearly an hour and a half found nothing about the results from prop 98 & 99. These were statewide propositions. Yet no one was reporting the results. I figured I just was missing the information. So while nursing this morning, I tuned into a different station to find out the results. They didn't mention either prop in the half hour I watched. So I went to the local newspaper website, nothing on the front page. Grr. I ended up doing a web search and finding out the information from a newspaper out of San Diego. Prop 99 is very likely going to be the winner.
My last complaint about yesterday's election was low voter turnout. Yesterday, I went to my polling place at 7:45 PM. I was the 58th person to cast their vote... in nearly 12 hours (less than 5 people per hour). I know more and more people are choosing absentee ballots, but the list of voters registered to vote at my polling place was quite long and VERY few had voted. So maybe you are like me and you don't really know what is best because it isn't all black and white. But you can try to make the right decision. If you make an educated guess into the gray area you are more likely to end up in a brighter shade of gray. But I guess if you all stay home you are just going to be left with the world that I want because my vote is has more power if no one else votes.
Btw, if you are still reading you are awesome, as this is basically a pretty boring rant, and I don't know that I would still be reading it if I had come across it on someone else's blog.