Monday, June 13, 2005

So what if it costs$80 million - we get to vote!

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The life of journalist revolves around people doing largely bad - or stupid - things.

That's why you read headlines that say:
Child dies in crosswalk accident
but never:
50,000 kids made it safely to school
Still, when the governor of the most populated state in the union says he is calling for a special election to vote on some pretty hinky ballot measures, you have to take notice and for a second think it might be positive. Then reality hits.

He calls it a special election. What it really will be is a free-for-all, with money flowing to political consultants so fast it will look like another California Gold Rush.

As a taxpayer, I'm galled at having to pay $80 million for Arnold to try to have his way on a couple of issues, one of them raising the bar on granting tenure for schoolteachers. He says it's to make schools more accountable and strive for excellence. It will do the opposite, I suspect, drive out even more people from considering teaching.

He also is supporting a measure that would make it extremely difficult for labor unions to use union dues for political purposes. He paints unions as sinister forces, whose members are helpless as to how the money is spent. (Quite untrue, actually, in the union I belong to.)

At the same time, he has raised more money than any governor of the state for his own reelection and God knows how much for these initiatives. And in this election you can bet he will be quite helpful in convincing anti-union businesses to contribute even more to get that initiative passed.

As a journalist, there will be lots to write about. As a citizen, it just makes me want to weep.

Eighty million just for the election, while schools don't have books and many school districts haven't given a raise to teachers or staff in years. And think of the money that will be spent battling pro and con.

Maybe it is time to weep, or start a Guvenator recall. We don't need to worry about tying a recall to the November special election ballot - apparently the state has lots of money for elections.

A special recall election in, say, March might be just the ticket. Break out the petitions.

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