The past few years, I have tried to put my thoughts down on the state-wide ballot measures here in Washington. With ballots arriving in people mail boxes, one of my friends actually poked me and asked if I was going to get that done this year. Since it’s nice to be appreciated, here goes:
Statewide Ballot Measures
Initiative to the People 1185(Save the 2/3rd Vote for Tax Increases(Again) Act. Back in 2007 and again in 2010, The People of Washington have approved initiatives that would require a 2/3rds majority vote to allow taxes to be raised. The Legislature has gotten around these by filling lawsuits claiming it’s an ‘Unconstitutional Limit on the Power of the Legislature’. I’m not sure why we think they just won’t find a way to ignore this a THIRD time, but at least in doing so, you will force them to show their true colors. I’m voting in Approval of this initiative.
Initiative to the People 1240(Washington Charter School Initiative). This would allow for 40 public charter schools to be created over the next 5 years. To decide whether you want to vote for or against this, I guess you should first understand what a ‘charter school’ is. To my understanding, a Charter School is one which operates outside the jurisdiction of a school district. This allows them to get around some of the restrictive rules , regulations and statutes of most public schools, in exchange for a promise of creating documented results of improvement. I’ve got NO problem with that, since I’m an ‘ends justify the means’ type of guy. Previously, the voters in Washington voted down charter school initiatives in 1996, 2000 and 2004. Hopefully, the 8 year break has given folks a chance to figure out Public Schools are broken the way they are running now. I am voting in Approval of this initiative.
Referendum 74(Same-Sex Marriage Referendum). Early in 2012, the Washington State Legislature passed a bill giving same sex couples the right to now just enter into ‘civil unions’, but to get married. Hours after Governor Gregoire signed that bill into law, a referendum was filed which would essentially let the voters of Washington State overturn that law. An Approved vote supports the bill, a Rejected vote would repeal the law.
Once upon a time, when I was an ignorant 17 or 18 year old, I would have voted against this one. Now…this is not to say that you are ignorant if you are against gay marriage. I understand some folks have religious beliefs that lead them to believe save sex relationships are wrong in their gods eyes. I don’t have that…I would have just been against it because I used to think ‘gays are icky’, and this is ignorant. My opinion has changed. This world is full of unhappiness. If someone feels they can decrease that amount of happiness by getting ‘married’ to someone they love instead of sharing a ‘civil union’, then more power to them.
Initiative to the Legislature 502(Washington Marijuana Legalization and Regulation). Slightly different than an Initiative to the People, the State Legislature could have adopted this as law earlier in the year, OR it could have modified it and let the people vote on it. Since, in the end, most members of the Legislature are soulless creatures who don’t want to get in trouble for doing the WRONG thing, they did nothing, which now means The People get to vote on. Well, of course, putting on my libertarian hat, I’m behind this. My only reservation against legalizing marijuana has always been ‘how do you track/punish people who are driving under the influence’? The proposed measure would make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with more than 5 nanograms of THC/ml of blood in their system. I’m not sure how that compares to a .08% BAC, but…it’s a start.
Legislatively Referred Constitutional Amendment SJR 8221(Washington State Debt Amendment). A proposed state amendment that would change the cap on state debt over the next three years from 9% to 8%. That sounds good. BUT, it also recalculates and redefines the term General State Revenue to include Education Fund Money, which means that while the percentage of debt is going down, the total amount would go up…voting no on this one. Nice sneaky try though.
Legislatively Referred Constitutional Amendment SJR 8223(Washington Public University Investments Amendment). Currently, there are very limited places that the State is allowed to invest its money…most notably, stocks and bonds of individuals, associations, companies or corporations. This amendment would remove that limitation for University of Washington and Washington State University. Most realistically, they could say ‘We are researching in this area, and so it would be smart to buy stock in companies that work in that area, since our research break through will cause said stock value to increase.
Good call…not seeing how this can go bad baring a total collapse of the stock market. Gulp. I’ll still vote for it…gotta roll them dice sometimes.
Advisory Vote 1 and 2. I almost don't want to talk about them...they make me mad. Essentially, the State Legislature made some decisions and votes to cut some tax breaks, and delay the expiration of funding for the pollution liability insurance agency. Poopy. Both of these decisions have already been made, and basically, this is a non-binding advisory vote to see how much the pissed people off by making these decisions. I'm highly curious how much money it costs to add these 'advisory votes' to the ballot. How's about you get off your asses and visit with your constituents to figure out how they feel about the job you are doing.
Governor: The choices are former Congressman Jay Inslee(D) and Attorney General Rob McKenna(R). Inslee is an 8-term Congressman with 1 failed attempt at running for Governor in 1996. There isn't a whole lot you can say bad about Congressman Inslee, but there isn't a lot of stand-out good either. He's one of those guys who made a living off of voting the party line, and not screwing up(although, to give him props, he did break from the party in November of 2011 and voted FOR the Balanced Budget Amendment. Rob McKenna has done a fairly fine job as Attorney General, and really the only thing the Democrats can throw at him in the commercials is 'Rob McKenna...he's a Republican.' I voted for McKenna, because to me Inslee represents the ineffectual archetype that has given us the most un-approved of Congress in DECADES.
Senate: This one is tough, because the greedy government contractor side of me acknowledges that putting Maria Cantwell in for a 3rd term gives me the best chance of long-term financial support at work. However, she is a Real Democrat. She supported Obamacare, and will DIE to protect social security and all manners of Government spending.
Michael Baumgartner, her opponenant, is an up-and-coming Tea Party Republican. He frequently speaks about bringing our troops home, and has proposed a 1 cent per gallon gas tax to provide funding for support for returning troops. It's easy for me to vote for him, and I did, but I really don't think he has a chance in Hades of winning.
Other State Offices:Yeah, the truth is, Washington is doing pretty good, so if an imcumbent was running for 'Insurance Commisioner' or State Auditor...I voted for them. The only 'other' candidate I had an opinion on was Clint Didier, running for Public Lands Commisioner. He opened for Ron Paul here in Richland, and seems like a good guy.