Prop 31, Too Good to be True - Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

Proposition 31 has a nice sound to it but it adds more problems than it solves. Proposition 31 is not what California needs.

We have all heard the saying, “Do not judge a book by its cover.” An inferior book can be made more saleable by a glitzy and flashy cover, but the contents of the book are none-the-less inferior. On the other hand, some of the classics do not rely on such gimmicks.  The author is well known and it is clear that those books will be good literature. 

This fall voters are asked to approve a new amendment to the California constitution. While the California Republican Party has endorsed Proposition 31, I cannot in good conscience do the same. While this bill sounds good and there are many good points, I cannot endorse this proposition for three main reasons:

  1. This proposition creates more government bureaucracy;
  2. This proposition will make it next to impossible for the legislature to ever decrease the size of government; and
  3. This proposition will add new rules that will not make our government more transparent.

Proposition 31 promises to: increase public transparency, impose fiscal oversight by putting constraints on any new government spending, increase local control and flexibility, require a two-year state budget instead of the annual budget circus, and require performance reviews of government programs.

There is much more to Proposition 31 then the short statement that appears on your ballot. In fact, Proposition 31 is just shy of 9,000 words long. Any amendment to the California constitution needs to be clear, concise, and limited.  We already have one of the longest constitutions in the entire world.

Compare Proposition 31 with the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. These first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution contain less than 500 words. A Constitution is not supposed to be long and verbose; it is designed to set forth the frame work of good government. Proposition 31 is long, verbose, and does not lead to good government.

Bob Balgenorth, former member of the organization that started Proposition 31, says “…it contains serious flaws…and will further harm California.”  In his letter of resignation from California Forward, he stated that he was “disappointed that California Forward submitted signatures to the Secretary of State without correcting the flaws in the initiative.”  Other sponsoring members have also resigned in protest over the present form of Proposition 31.

As mentioned, there are several problems with Proposition 31.  It is poorly written and contains contradictions which will almost certainly lead to confusion and lawsuits rather than reform.  The state cannot increase funding unless it raises taxes or cuts some other program---even if monies are available. More alarming, Proposition 31 actually prevents the state from cutting taxes unless it raises taxes in another area. For the last 40 years, politicians have been promising voters to cut the size of government. This proposition will make it practically impossible for a group of politicians from ever fulfilling over 40 years of broken promises to the people.

Proposition 31 adds another layer of government to oversee a government that is supposed to be working.  This new layer will add more costs and produce less saving than the proponents will admit.  The new regional government will be unelected, and by definition, unaccountable to the voters.  Why listen to the voters if you do not have to run for re-election?

Why do we need another set of laws and regulations to ensure that our state legislators and county officials do the right thing in their jobs?  Rather than hold these elected officials accountable for good and proper government, it is assumed that if we only make another law, this time our public servants will really serve with integrity and honor.  It is a pleasant thought, but new rules will not change the unacceptable way some politicians act.  It makes more sense to vote out unresponsive and ethics-breaking politicians and replace them with individuals who will be responsive to the needs of the people rather than the wants of special interest.

Do the good intentions or even some desirable portions of Proposition 31 outweigh the bad results?  Absolutely not!  It would be another matter if this amendment were a step in the right direction. However, the cost of forfeiting local control of government and transferring it to nameless regional appointees is a giant step backward. A regional redistribution of local taxes and wealth will not keep our local economies growing or solvent. The best form of government is found at the point closest to the people. This is why I strongly support city councils and county commissioners.

Proposition 31 has a nice sound to it but it adds more problems than it solves.  This cumbersome set of rules and regulations will make government even less responsive to the needs of citizens due to the inherent ambiguities and accompanying bureaucracy. Proposition 31 is not what California needs.

Mark Meuser is a candidate for State Senate District 7. You can follow him on Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Alan Heckman September 28, 2012 at 05:44 PM
Does or could Proposition 31 lead to the de-facto creation of appointed regional school boards, transferring power from local school boards?
Smedley Butler September 29, 2012 at 04:37 AM
That's all we need is more wasteful gubmint to spend more of us into slavery and help undermine the middle class even further. When stats show the average government employee is worth more than your average citizen, there is something wrong. As you say "proposition 31 is verbose" and you hit a political nail on the head with this.... MOST laws are obscure and verbose meant to be so -part of a system that; when called government can force a person to do something they would never do in a truly "Free" society. When Voltaire iterated the famous quote; "where there are many laws, there is much lawlessness" It could be most poignantly applied in our time. The last thing our country needs is more government and layers of overpaid bureaucrats that really have no function other than searching for belly-button-bunnies. The true demon in this country IS THE federal reserve system, which is not a branch of the Federal Government, but instead is a private corporation that loans us our money and charges interest on the loan. They create "money" [sic] as keyboard strokes on a computer and we borrow it into a "debt" which we repay in labor, in effect making us slaves to this "debt" they have created out of thin air, lent to us and further; charged interest on! In the Constitution it says the Congress & the treasury are to coin the money, NOT a Un-Constitutional illegally-founded cartel ushered in two days before Christmas Dec 23, 1913-when all the good men were home with their families!
Roger V. Tranfaglia September 29, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Here here!!! ABOLISH the Federal Reserve!
Brash Brazen October 01, 2012 at 09:46 PM
This non-paid political advertisement is sponsored by the Patch,doing their part to further the political ambitions of unqualified & underfunded Republican candidates like Mark Meuser everywhere ! How much longer are we going to be subjected to the specious & repudiated extreme right-wing propaganda of such a non-competitive candidate for public office during his mystifiying & rudderless campaign ? Buy a yard sign for Christ's sake you skinflint ! I know you Republicans are all about frugality,but you're just an embarassment,even to your own party at this point ! If you must write something now would be a good time to start on your concession speech & it would be really nice if you recognized my efforts at that time ! Vote for the only qualified candidate in State Senate District Seven - State Senator Mark DeSaulnier !!!
Tom October 01, 2012 at 10:06 PM
@Brash. Of course we must silence any voice that questions the union power grab. That is what a free country does right. I am sure the Patch has no issue allowing local politicians form both parties have their say here. BTW bought and paid by union democrats great job managing the fiscal concerns of this once great state, but of course we know that everything bad is Bush's fault, Foxnews and the evil Koch brothers.
Tom October 01, 2012 at 10:08 PM
This is very simple. If the teachers uinion is for something it is best to vote against it. Follow the never ending public employee unions thirst for our money. They will soon be asking for pension bailout. Watch your wallet while you can. Bernie Madoff would be so proud.
Brash Brazen October 02, 2012 at 02:39 AM
You put the blame in most of the right places,except you left out the repugnant right-wing Republicans & we refer to them as those stupid Koch suckers ! Look for the union label & support decent wages & benefits for all American workers !
Tom October 02, 2012 at 04:11 AM
I know, your talking points are quite predictable. I am NOT a GOP stooge as I find PLENTY of fault for that party but the DNC also has huge problems. You partisans who support your party no matter what (on either side) are killing this country. This is NOT about party it is about people.
Frank Mockery October 02, 2012 at 08:15 AM
Democrats have grown tired of trying to play nice with our Republican adversaries & now is the time to beat them about the head,kick them while their down & steal their lunch money ! President Obama's re-election will be a mandate for Democratic policies & a repudiation of the party of the gullible,privileged & annoyingly pious !
Tom October 02, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Of course, the party that has led this state to fiscal disaster wishes to lead the country just as it now leads this state. What could possibly go wrong here? BTW I do not the use of thug comparison, your words not mine but quite telling indeed.
Frank Mockery October 02, 2012 at 05:09 PM
Don't blame the Democrats for the economic disaster caused by Republican policies,blame the extreme right-wing faction of the GOP for driving moderates out of the party in droves ! As long as divinely delusional values voters & anti-government tea-party zealots hold the Republican Party hostage they'll never be competitive in a race for the White House again no matter who they nominate ! The unholy alliance of the rich,the gullible,the angry & the pious made up almost entirely of older white men has already lost it's clout & will certainly lose,leading to denial & finger-pointing as to who was ultimately to blame for their demise ! As conservative commentator (& baseball writer) George Will said "A Romney loss under these circumstances will be the death of the Republican Party,with the two factions blaming one another & ultimately going their seperate ways" ! I for one can hardly wait !!!
Tom October 02, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Hey Frank, please explain how the republicans mis manage the state of california. Last I checked the democrats do not even need to include the state republicans in a meeting to pass whatever they want. See how well this works for the state? The GOP has huge issues I do agree but so do the democrats. It is easy to win votes when you promise the dumb free things. There is no free just others peoples money. George Will also said the As would go nowhere this season.....
Frank Mockery October 02, 2012 at 10:08 PM
So did everyone else (myself included),but I did make it to 17 games (including tomorrows) & I have my tickets for the Wild Card Game & Division Series ! Here's hoping the A's stymie the Rangers Wednesday afternoon & Obama stymies Romney on Wednesday night ! I don't hate rich people,hell I'll even pay to see them if I can drink beer & they're entertaining enough !
Bong Sativa October 03, 2012 at 08:33 AM
You're obviously some sort of stooge,so if you're not a GOP stooge what kind of stooge are you Tom ? Nyuk,Nyuk,Nyuk !!!
Tim October 05, 2012 at 05:24 AM
Hey Frank... what happened to your dear leader in the debate? Do you agree with Al Gore that it was the altitude that had Obama fumbling and stuttering all night LOL? It was so bad for Obama I had to flip on MSNBC afterwards... it was like a funeral LOL. Chris Matthews was beside himself, hahaha. Looks like your side might be the ones needing that suicide prevention hotline on November 7!!!! "Mr. President, you don't pick the winner and loser, you pick the losers" LMFAO!
Smedley Butler October 10, 2012 at 03:26 PM
The "parties" were created by the very group that still controls us by simply dividing us. We are hobbled by a system for this exact aim. George Washington's party was the best for this Nation, and always was, that party is NONE. We are AMERICANS. Period. We should dismantle the very system that divides us. As Sun Tzu said in his epic book: "The Art of War" "-when overwhelmed by an enemy vastly greater in numbers, divide to conquer". Folks it's as simple as that. We have been divided, and usurped by the very powers we as a new nation had just escaped a little over two-hundred years ago. And just like most every country that has had FIAT CURRENCY foisted upon it, they go down in flames in about 200 years!!! The moneyed power that now controls our Military, Fiscal, Medical, Educational, Industrial, and Political institutions are exactly what Eisenhower warned us of in his farewell speech and JFK died for, by outing in his speech contending: " we are opposed around the world by a RUTHLESS AND MONOLITHIC CONSPIRACY that relies primarily on covet means to expand it's power. He was referring to the owners of the Federal Reserve and their powerful network of "franchised corrupt" individuals, that basically are useful idiots, doing their compartmentalized "job" as one of the cogs in the machine. This central bank owned by just a FEW families and is exactly what Jefferson warned of; "a central bank is more dangerous than a standing army" and now Americans are waking up homeless.
Smedley Butler October 10, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Daniel Graham October 10, 2012 at 07:39 PM
@smuttybutter: Take your liberal garbage and conspiracy nut craziness somewhere else. We don't want it here!
Smedley Butler October 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM
@ Daniel As a life long Republican, I have come to find that this "liberal" garbage is not liberal as much as it is subversive. You also may want to research my fictitious name and find out the real conspiracy that you may think doesn't exist actually does, and you actually may learn that our founding fathers would side with me and would probably suggest you move to a less liberty-minded, free-thinking, and free-speech area like N. Korea.
Daniel Graham October 11, 2012 at 12:05 AM
@smutty: regardless of whether or not your views are liberal or subversive, all it is here is annoying.


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