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Defenders of Democracy Fail, Yet Again, to Convince the Polity

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Adapted from the San Francisco Chronicle, here is a chart showing the editorial endorsements of the top 11 California general-interest daily newspapers in advance of today's special-needs election, listed in order of enthusiasm. As you look at this festival of Yes Indeedies, keep in mind that the only proposition likely to pass is 1F, which would deny pay raises to elected politicians when the state is running a deficit (which is to say, every year until Christ returns, amen). I haven't seen such a convincing demonstration of editorial board impotence since maybe Antonio Villaraigosa's first failed attempt at the L.A. mayor's office.

Proposition: 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F
San Francisco Chronicle Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Los Angeles Daily News Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Los Angeles Times Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sacramento Bee Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fresno Bee Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Santa Rosa Press Democrat Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
San Jose Mercury News Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Riverside Press-Enterprise Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
Contra Costa Times Yes No No Yes Yes Yes
Orange County Register No No No No No No
San Diego Union-Tribune No No No No No No

UPDATE: California resident Ken Layne has an altogether more useful voter guide.

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  1. Wow, just wow. You know the state is truly in a dire fiscal calamity when left-wing entities like the L.A. Times and S.F. Chrinicle are endorsing “Yes” on almost everything.

    I’m shocked by the O.C. Register and the Union-Tribune as well. I guess conservatism really has jumped the shark.

  2. See my comment on the death of investigative journalism. These newspapers are going broke because they refuse to get in front of the wave and print what sells. The State of California is going broke. There is so much corruption and incompetance in that state you could run a lead story about it every day for eternity and never tell the same story twice. A newspaper that actually wants to make money, ought to be printing every outragous spending and tax story they can find. They ought to be stoking the fires of all the people angry at the state government. People will buy newspapers if they are interesting and provides them a way to vent and feel like they are not alone in their anger. If you run a daily in California, you should be gutting the state government every day. But to do that would require being mean to public employee unions, teachers, and pro big government politicians. And it would require taking a small government position. These papers would rather go broke than do that. So they just print government propeganda that no one reads.

  3. If Arnie had any balls, 1F would deny pay to legislators when the state was running a deficit.

  4. “If Arnie had any balls, 1F would deny pay to legislators when the state was running a deficit.”

    Give them IOUs like they did with people owned a tax refund.

  5. The real solution in California is to have a constitutional convention and rewrite the whole damn thing from scratch. Make ballot box budgeting harder and make it harder to pass constitutional amendments than the current 50% + 1 standard. What got California in trouble is the proposition and amendment system that fucks up budgeting and forces the state to have two budgets, one that can be changed by the legislature and a second that can’t.

  6. Mike M, I think you read that backwards. No is good. Ask me. I just voted NO, NO, NO, NO, No, and Yes (screw the legislators who gave us this mess).

    Mo, I believe California is ungovernable. There are many reasons for that including the reasons that Ted Balaker’s fab video (hasta la vista, Arnold at Reason.TV) showed us (public employee unions) plus every district in the state is a safe district. Doesn’t matter what happens the jackass will be relected until termed out.

    For all of you GOP leaning libertarians in the Golden Fleece State, keep in mind the fact that EVERY Repbulican in the legislature sold out the taxpayers and bullshitted us otherwise. At least ass hat Democrats are up front about wanting to stick it to us working stiffs.

  7. You know, Matt, someone who started a daily in CA with John’s idea could do well by you know, telling the truth and pissing off the powers that be.

    If you need someone to right snarky editorials about economic and social geography, let me know.

  8. TWC, I think I asked you about a year ago (probably after reading a similar article about CA asshattery) why you and others would ever want to live there. Your answer: the weather. Does that still hold true? There is decent weather in other parts of the world, some places in the US, even.

  9. Judging by all the wine they send us, TWC would like Chile pretty well. How free are they down thattaway?

  10. There is decent weather in other parts of the world, some places in the US, even.

    Needs citation.

  11. Mike M, I think you read that backwards. No is good. Ask me. I just voted NO, NO, NO, NO, No, and Yes (screw the legislators who gave us this mess).

    I don’t live there, but isn’t this kind of biting off your nose to spite your face? Even if these things aren’t going to fix all of the problems, don’t you have to start somewhere?

    If these don’t pass, you guys are probably going to be getting hit with massive tax increases, draconian cuts in services, or both.

  12. I wonder how many of these rags are hoping for a bailout or tax break.

  13. I am convinced there’s a poison pill written into the language of Prop 1F, though I haven’t been able to find it. It only prevents pay increases during years when there’s a deficit. By law, the state budget is always “balanced” on paper, and I don’t see why you can’t meet the June 1 certification deadline by borrowing the difference. I mean that’s how it works now: Each budget legislative session involves the same structural deficit problem, even though the budget in the end is always balanced. Getting the director of finance to certify according to a particular figure could just be another technicality that they can plan around.

    Admittedly, I haven’t found specific language that enables this finagling, but I’m still looking for it. And also for confirmation of the chupacabra coverup.

  14. The real solution in California is to shut down the state government in Sacramento entirely, leaving law enforcement to the county sheriffs, education to the local school districts, and health care to the private sector.

    Californians would save millions just on state legislator salaries — they convene year round and get paid like members of Congress, yet show no competence for governance at all.

  15. I voted this morning and turnout looked pretty high for a special election. The knives are out….

  16. Mike M., I forget whether you’re one of the provocateurs gauches around here (I miss joe!), but none of these initiatives start to solve anything.

    The state has already been hit by “massive tax increases.” The continuance of those massive tax increases and more are contained in Prop 1A.

    The state has not seen any “draconian cuts in services.” But it needs those, desperately. It’s possible if this slate of propositions fails (and I’m less optimistic than Welch that they will fail), we might see some much-needed spending cuts.

  17. TWC, I think I asked you about a year ago (probably after reading a similar article about CA asshattery) why you and others would ever want to live there. Your answer: the weather. Does that still hold true? There is decent weather in other parts of the world, some places in the US, even

    I think I was crackin’ wise. ๐Ÿ™‚ There is something to be said for good weather. But, not all of Ca has good weather all of the time. The winters in So Cal are generally pretty agreeable whether you are near the coast or inland or in the desert. Where I live summers are hot and sometimes hazy and muggy. Not muggy like Mississipi but more muggy than you would think.

    Lots of folks have left Ca for Az, Nv, and points east. In some cases, they have made an effort to turn those places into the California they left behind. Makes no sense to me, but it is, at least, anecdotally true on some level.

    For us there are other factors. We bought our house when the market was in the toilet the last time and we are protected from the massive property tax assessments by Prop 13. That means really low property taxes coupled with a nice home that will be paid for in about five years. We both work at home so we no horrific traffic. My daughter has a fantastic social network of friends who are over-achievers, have parents who are good people, and have been friends since kindergarten. These are solid goal oriented kids and would be difficult to replace. I really can’t yank her out by the roots and plunk her down somwhere unfamilair no matter how much I’d like to. Not at ten. Maybe after junior high, but not now. Plus you get hammered with federal taxes any place you live.

    That said, I kinda sometimes wish I’da sold the house and taken the money and run a couple years ago. ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. I wonder how many of these rags are hoping for a bailout or tax break.

    Well, at least not the OC Register. ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Judging by all the wine they send us, TWC would like Chile pretty well. How free are they down thattaway?

    LOL. Interestingly enough many of the tin foil hat libertarians are agitating for Argentina. Lots of wine, cheap land, no debt (public or private), and cheap goods and services (compared to here). I’ve not been to see but from the pix I’ve seen Argentian and Chile are both beautiful countries.

  20. “If these don’t pass, you guys are probably going to be getting hit with massive tax increases, draconian cuts in services, or both.”

    1A is a tax increase. Draconian cuts in services would be welcome. They are threatening to let non violent drug offenders out of prison without additional funding. The horror!!

    I voted no on everything except 1F.

  21. If these don’t pass, you guys are probably going to be getting hit with massive tax increases, draconian cuts in services, or both.

    We don’t get any services now. Not the services that middle class people grew up expecting government to provide. IE, roads, bridges, police, fire, etc. The state takes the lion’s share of county property taxes and then mandates the county to spend the rest on social services. In my county, the cops ain’t coming unless there is a body leaking fluids into the gutter. Mexico has better roads than we do. In my neighborhood we are assessed to keep the neighborhood streets shaped up. We pay our own trash fees. We take up collections to buy the part-time fire fighters stuff like ‘jaws of life’ and other misc equip. The state does provide the fire wagons, but the firefighters are volunteers. And they will come if you call. ๐Ÿ™‚

    In short, our county property taxes buy us nothing. Our state income taxes buy us even less. Our sales taxes and gas taxes get us nothing but potholes.

    I think there’s a Rand study showing that almost the entire Ca budget goes to schools, social welfare, and tax paid medical care.

  22. Didn’t Harold Meyerson celebrate California is being the great Democratic (liberal) experiment because it was “uniformly under Democratic control” or some such thing? God Meyerson makes me want to choke puppies.

  23. People still read newspapers in California? Huh?

  24. It’s interesting that this chart is in reverse order of the financial stability of California’s major newspapers.

  25. What do the Spanish language newspapers endorse? Are they an insignificant voting bloc? I figure they say the same as the English dailies, but it’d be nice to know if they are equally stupid or less stupid.

  26. Living in a democracy means that the voters have to take responsibility for what the politicians do whether you vote Democratic, Republican or especially if you don’t vote. The mess in California, possibly a preview of structural deficits in Washington, is a result of the voters, not the politicians.

    For years, California and Californians have done anything and everything that either sounds good or feels good, like binging on beer and Godiva chocolates. Now that Californians feel tad hungover and overweight, they want to blame someone else.

    If the rest of the country isn’t careful, we will end up paying for the California mess by bailing them out.

  27. Rush Limbaugh is featuring this story right now.

  28. California’s foreign born population is 26% . How come all that free movement of labor hasn’t brought it prosperity?

  29. How come all that free movement of labor hasn’t brought it prosperity?

  30. wow,a nice work,and thanks for the sharing.

  31. People still read newspapers in California? Huh?

  32. People still read newspapers in California? Huh?

  33. For years, California and Californians have done anything and everything that either sounds good or feels good, like binging on beer and Godiva chocolates. Now that Californians feel tad hungover and overweight, they want to blame someone else.

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