On Nov. 8, a highly disputed and extremely expensive “special” election will take place. The election is part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s personal revolution for California, an attempt to get the rest of us on board and think we are taking part in the democratic process. However, if one reads their voter information guide, one can see that if the initiatives Schwarzenegger is pushing win, the democratic process will be safely out of the public’s hands, giving him unprecedented power over the state.
There are only eight initiatives on the ballot, most of which serve to push Arnold’s agenda and piss off the democrats. How do we justify spending $45 million on issues that could easily wait until June 2006 for the next scheduled election?
Prop. 73 makes it illegal for unemancipated minors to get abortions without parental notification. Prop. 74 requires teachers to be on probationary status for five years instead of two. Prop. 75 forces public employee unions to have permission from each of their members before giving any political funding. Prop. 76 gives the governor unilateral power to slash budgets. Prop. 77 gives the drawing of district lines to three retired judges. Props. 78 and 79 compete to lower the cost of prescription drugs. And prop. 80 does away with the last of the electricity deregulation that caused California’s energy crisis.
Aside from props. 78, 79 and 80, the special election is full of initiatives that take the power away from the people. Props. 74, 75, 76 and 77 are Schwarzenegger’s personal attacks on the public employee unions and the legislature that has been fighting him since he took office.
If these initiatives pass, Arnold will take over more power in California than the voter information guide lets on. Prop. 76 allows him to cut money from people who need it in order to make up for budget shortfalls. Who’s he going to cut from first? Our money is on public employees, especially after last year’s budget cuts to nurses and teachers.
Prop. 73 has caused an uproar on campus. Students have organized phone banks to call and urge voters to vote “no” on 73, and they are right in doing so. The proposition’s advocates claim it will help parents protect their daughters and keep them from making bad choices. Advocates also hope Prop. 73 will prevent underage abortions. But for many young women, getting an abortion is not something they would willingly share with their parents. Passing this initiative could have disastrous consequences: California could return back to the times before Roe v. Wade, a time of unprofessional abortions, infections and deaths.
On the surface, the proposition seems like a good idea. For the parents of the girl who gets pregnant by consensual sex, may be. But what about the girl who is the victim of rape by a family member? The consequences could go beyond physical harm. Doctors are forced to notify parents when dispensing aspirin to minors and performing minor surgeries. An abortion is not a minor surgery, but it is a private one. And for young women whose parents might harm them if they knew, it is better not to report.
Even if Prop. 73 isn’t a hot- button issue for you, all of these initiatives are important and need to be voted on. Don’t think about how ridiculous it is that Schwarzenegger has the power to call an election with only one initiative on the ballot, think about the effects of each initiative if passed. These are important issues, not to be ignored because of your animosity towards the governor. To not vote in this election is to hand him victory on a silver platter. Don’t let these issues slide under your radar.