Tragic Sandwich

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Legislate, Already

The L.A. Times has an editorial about yesterday’s special election in California. In it, Michael Finnegan says:

Nearly a century after the Progressive-era birth of the state’s ballot-measure system, it is clear that voters’ fickle commands, one proposition at a time, are a top contributor to paralysis in Sacramento. And that, in turn, has helped cripple the capacity of the governor and Legislature to provide effective leadership to a state of more than 38 million people.

And to some degree, he may be correct. But he misses several other points.

1) If, as he says elsewhere, voters “declined to unlock funds that they had voted in better financial times to set aside for special purposes,” then maybe it’s because advocates did a poor job of delineating the history of these funds.

2) Maybe we’re sick to death of voting. On everything. And maybe we’re sick of voting to give funds to the same causes we’ve been supporting through bond sales. Decades of bond sales. If those didn’t solve any of these problems, why will more money help?

3) Maybe we want the legislature to make decisions–to actually legislate. Isn’t that why they’re there?

Turnout was low. I’m not sure how “voters are part of the problem” is going to improve that.

But once again, it’s a case of reporters and analysts failing to look at more than one angle, or even ask hard questions about what they see from that angle. No wonder newspapers are dying. Too many of them are bastions of incompetence.

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