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November 5, 2006 2:54 PM   Subscribe

On November 7th, Americans have much to decide. While the two major parties joust for control of the Senate and House, many a ballot initiative does not recieve the scutiny required. Consider Oregon's Rainy Day Amendment, Arizona's HOPE Amendment, California's Protect Our Homes Initiative or Idaho's Proposition 2. Examine the Taxpayer Bill of Rights in Maine and Proposal 6 in Michigan - weigh them against three bills in Montana. [more inside]
posted by EatTheWeak (20 comments total)
Look for similarities in Missouri and parallels in Nevada. Then find echoes of the same in Nebraska, Oklahoma and North Dakota. You may not see much in common between these and a school choice push in South Carolina at first, but stay with me. With the exception of South Carolina's measure and the alarming vote in Montana on recalling judges, every one of these initiatives concerns either property rights, taxation or government spending. What else do they have in common? The illusion of a grassroots movement and one man's money. New York mogul Howard Rich would like a say in your state's government this year.

Here in Washington, Rich would like us to vote yes on I-933. The gist is that should the state government pass land use regulations that reduce property value, the property owner can then sue for compensation or the waiver of the regulations. The projected cost to state agencies is $2 billion - $2.18 billion, $3.8 billion - $5.3 billion to cities and $1.49 billion - $1.51 billion to counties. While the measure sounds fair on it's face, many consider it very dangerous, including a few decades worth of Washington's Governors.

In 2004 a similar initiative passed in Oregon. Measure 37 once enjoyed large popular support, but today the sentiment is slipping. In just two years, this Rich-backed measure has proven costly, confusing and maybe even a disaster.

It is crucial that every voter examines the ballot initiatives they'll be asked to decide upon this Tuesday as closely as the blustering candidates. Where ever you stand on these issues, it is important to know who you're standing with.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:03 PM on November 5, 2006

I am so afraid to tell people who I'm voting for - not that I have a bias that's towards one party more than the other, just that my views are so awkward and misunderstood.

Also, someone said to me that the more people that participate in democracy, the harder it gets. He said that, but I think he meant more competitive, less clear and more complex. Is this true?
posted by kayalovesme at 3:10 PM on November 5, 2006

The two amendments listed in the FPP for Missouri are not on the ballot for the upcoming election.
posted by zsazsa at 3:13 PM on November 5, 2006

A number of these were struck down by court challenges or signature-gathering issues. I chose to include them all to display the scope of Rich's ambition.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:17 PM on November 5, 2006

Thanks for this post. I remember the confusion around Measure 37 around here in 2004. It was so poorly worded and confusing that I recall the weirdest groups would be for it and against it. Usually props are so straightforward that you can tell if it's a conservative or republican measure but I remember there were farmers for it and farmers against it, loggers for it and loggers against it, which never happens. 37 has been a disaster here -- it basically guts any and all property and environmental use laws and none of the language on the ballot reflected that. I'm not surprised to hear it was engineered by an out-of-state real estate mogul, it seemed so purposely vague.
posted by mathowie at 3:18 PM on November 5, 2006

So the point of this post is really this link about Howie Rich? Interesting. So why did you bury it under all that other stuff?
posted by mediareport at 3:20 PM on November 5, 2006

We're in the same boat up here, mathowie - we've got farmers on both sides hollering at each other, developers, staunch members of both parties - it's a real mess.
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:23 PM on November 5, 2006

The best thing about Washington's I-993 is that it's a license to print money. Just figure out what restrictions there are on your property, sue the city/county/state for not letting you do it, and then cash the checks they'll have to send you.

For example, I worked out that if people voted yes on I-933 and no on Seattle's Prop. 1 (the strip club question), and then the mayor went ahead with his plan to restrict strip clubs to Georgetown and SoDo, then all you'd have to do is announce you're opening a strip club in your house and sue the city. Seattle would have to write you a $200K check on the spot. And you probably wouldn't even have to have a single stripper in your house. Well, unless you really wanted to.

(Vote no on I-933. Please.)
posted by dw at 3:24 PM on November 5, 2006

It is crucial that every voter examines the ballot initiatives they'll be asked to decide upon this Tuesday as closely as the blustering candidates.

We don't have statewide ballot initiatives in Connecticut. It really annoys the anti-gay marriage groups.
posted by smackfu at 3:30 PM on November 5, 2006

No initiatives! No kidding? How does Connecticut make decisions that other states use these ballot items for?
posted by EatTheWeak at 3:34 PM on November 5, 2006

I, too, would have appreciated a less hidden connection to this Howie Rich person. I consider myself a fairly well informed voter and I had not yet heard of the asinine Proposal 6 in Michigan. A little checking reveals that, in fact, there is no Proposal 6 for the above state purposes, although there is a proposal (4) meant to restrict the state's use of eminent domain. Apparently, though, the MIchigan constitution already is at least if not more restrictive than the ballot initiative.

Biggest flap this election season on our ballots is (no, not the mourning dove hunting season proposal) the MCRI to eliminate affirmative action in Michigan. While many agree that ending race based preference in favor of class or economic status basis has somme possible merit, the initiative as written seems like it would hurt rather help. I'm voting no on proposal 2.
posted by beelzbubba at 3:38 PM on November 5, 2006

I had not yet heard of the asinine Proposal 6 in Michigan. A little checking reveals that, in fact, there is no Proposal 6

indeed. dumb post.
posted by quonsar at 3:40 PM on November 5, 2006

How does Connecticut make decisions that other states use these ballot items for?

Most of the stuff covered in ballot initiatives aren't against the CT Constitution, so the legislature can just pass them as laws. Other states have more specific governing articles so they have no choice.
posted by smackfu at 3:44 PM on November 5, 2006

No initiatives! No kidding? How does Connecticut make decisions that other states use these ballot items for?

I know in Iowa the legislature can amend the constitution itself. There's no process for people outside the government to propose amendments that I know of.
posted by delmoi at 3:49 PM on November 5, 2006

Simplify your ballot and avoid silliness/lawsuits/unforseen consequences: vote NO on all ballot initiatives and Amendments to the State Constitution.
posted by ilsa at 9:08 PM on November 5, 2006

I dunno, ilsa, here in RI we have a pretty nice amendment to the state constitution to be voted on which would allow folks on parole to vote. (Really, though, I'm only leaving a comment to say that I'm absolutely ticked to see Bob Healey running yet again for Lt. Governor, with the intention of eliminating the office of Lt. Governor.)
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:32 PM on November 5, 2006

As others have noted, there is no Proposal 6 in Michigan. The lurking budget mess here is Proposal 5, which would establish mandatory school funding levels -- with automatic increases for inflation -- and sticks the state with teacher pensions. It's a terrible idea that sounds so reasonable to the average person that I'm afraid it will pass.
posted by pmurray63 at 10:45 PM on November 5, 2006

New Orleans has an important amendment (naturally, of purely local concern).
posted by Pacheco at 5:42 AM on November 6, 2006

Prop 6 in Michigan is not on the ballot. Looks like just another whiny Rep. way to starve government until it is small enough to drown in a bathtub.

We do have a critical vote on affirmative action, governor is up, a senator and lots of other important stuff (State Supreme Court, State Board of Ed., library millages some places, etc.)

But, stealth attempts to cut taxes for the rich and eliminate social services for the poor, no, I have nothing but a quick no vote for that kind of illogical dreck.
posted by QIbHom at 6:19 AM on November 6, 2006

The initiatives in Montana, though they will appear on the ballots, have been invalidated by the state District court, (ruling upheld by the State Supreme Court) due to significant fraud in the signiture gathering effort.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:32 AM on November 6, 2006

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