California Voters Impose Adult Supervision

Women Rule, Incumbents Drool

That was the general sentiment of the voters in the Golden State yesterday as the aftermath of the Primary election results are digested.

Barbara Boxer vs Carly Fiorina for US Senate. Senator Barbara Boxer easily won the Democrat primary but will face former HP CEO Carly Fiorina in the November General Election.  This promises to be a cat fight of major proportions as every haughty dressing down of a military officer, corporate executive or energy advocate by Senator Boxer over her career come back to haunt her in Fiorina-funded sound bites.  You will want to bring popcorn to watch this race and paper towels to clean up the mud.

Meg Whitman vs Jerry Brown for Governor.  It cost Meg Whitman $71 million out of her own pocket but it proved to be a better investment than leaving that money in the stock market as she trounced Steve Poizner.  Jerry Brown does not have the money to match her spending potential for the General Election but he is a known quantity and entertaining to watch.  The big question for voters is whether Whitman will be any better at taming Sacramento than Arnold who promised much and brought his Terminator skills but proved no match for the entrenched political establishment. Oh how we wanted Arnold to be the ‘Governator’ who finally fixed the way California works, but California’s progressive Constitution just does not give the Governor any authority over things important.  Jerry Brown was a wacky governor the first time but as he matured and faced the real world as Mayor of Oakland he did a great job there.  The question is which Jerry will we get?

Play Fair! That was the voter sentiment for Proposition 13 (no property tax reassessment for seismic retrofits) and Proposition 14 (open primary election).  These measures were never really contentious and expected to win.  Prop 13 resulted from some country assessor whacking people with higher tax bills when they made after earthquake improvements.  That it got labeled with the famous Prop 13 tag did not hurt. Prop 14 was forced on the ballot as the price Senator Abel Maldonado charged to change his vote to pass the state budget.  It combined the primary elections with the top two vote getters regardless of party advancing t0 the general election.  Theoretically two Democrats or two Republicans could face each other.  The voters are tired of the polarization and generally said “a pox on both your houses”.  We’ve passed this measure before only to have the courts throw it out so that is likely the next step by the old pols to undo the will of the voters.

Get Real! What part of NO Do You Not Understand! Proposition 15, 16, and 17 flamed out with the voters saying forget it we figured out the trick in this stupid measure.  Prop 15 would have set up a “pilot program” to publicly finance the secretary of state election but was seen as a trial balloon for state financing of Democrats to offset the mega spending of candidates like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina who’s supports along with the rest of the voters trashed it.  Prop 16 was sponsored by PG&E and sought to limit public power. Voters saw through the ruse.  Prop 17 sponsored by Mercury Insurance was sold as a measure to allow the insured to switch insurance carriers and take their discount with them.  In fact it allowed insurance companies to jack up rates for those who had any lapse in coverage.

Reality Therapy! The real shocker for the night was that San Francisco voters approved Measure D by 78% which forces the unions to raise their retirement contributions and changes the way benefits are calculated.  Now there is a change to believe in since that issue will squarely face the next Governor.

California voters proved the theory that in the collective the voters act wisely and often discipline the miscreant politicians and provide adult supervision on crazy ballot measures.  That happened again June 8th but a lot can happen on the way to November.