It's April, which in the real world generally means... screwing!
In California, it means political TV advertising. Poor, poor California.
In early June, Californians get to vote in two competitive Republican primaries and for (or against) several ballot propositions. The non-competitive nature of the Democratic primaries for governor and US Senate will assure higher GOP turnout for all the other junk on the ballot.
The highest-profile ballot initiatives is Prop 16. Why does it have the highest profile? Because it's a massively-funded, totally-obvious corporate action by Pacific Gas & Electric. And it's a big no-win situation for voters and good governance.
Here's the core of Prop 16: If passed, it would add another fucking page to the state constitution which would require a two-thirds vote before a local government could get into the energy business.
Now, I'm generally against "public power." Power is a 100% no-fail requirement for modern society, and PG&E does a pretty great job of it. The very idea of handing over the responsibility of producing power and maintaining the grid to a San Francisco city agency... um, no. In fact, Bay Guardian publisher Bruce Brugmann got public power on the SF ballot a few years ago, and it lost. We know better.
Prop 16 would effectively end new public power projects, which have had successes and not-successes in various municipalities and counties. So here's the deal with the Devil that a voter has to sign if she wants to put a stop to public power across the State.
1. Do the bidding of a corporation's shareholders, whom you already pay every month. PG&E is the sole contributor to Yes on 16, to the tune of $23M. You can't watch local TV or open your mailbox without being touched by this (and Meg Whitman's particularly steamy brand of bullshit).
2. Amend the state constitution again. State government is broken because the constitution is a zillion pages long, because special interests con voters at the ballot box over and over.
3. Take political power away from localities.
4. Endorse slimy gimmicks. Here are just a few examples of how PG&E is trying to fool all of the people.
a. They've branded this amendment... you ready for this?... The Taxpayers Right to Vote. Are you against taxpayers having the right to vote, Generalissimo?
b. Direct mail that's covered with solar panels and sunflowers. Oh look, it's a clean power initiative!
c. A core message that's couched as a quote from the California Taxpayers' Association and California Chamber of Commerce. (Who knew that two organizations of people could say one thing at the same time?)
"It's hard to believe but right now voters have no say when local governments spend billions of dollars to get into the business of providing electricity."
Yes, it's nearly inconceivable that people could elect representatives to decide how to spend their tax money. WHAT KIND OF SYSTEM IS THIS???
Prop 16 is, like "Do you think my best girlfriend is pretty?", a question that has no good answers. But NO seems slightly less terrible than YES.