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Monday, October 18, 2004

With just over two weeks left before the election, I took my first serious look at the ballot today, and what a dizzying experience that was. I think I counted 16 statewide propositions, three local measures, and two school board races. And thatís without counting the individual races for president, senator, and various legislative representatives. Whew!

We have two measures that would change the primary election system in different ways. We have two different measures that would regulate tribal gaming (as they call Indian gambling) in one way or another. Weíll be voting on collecting DNA samples and funding stem-cell research. Weíre even being given a chance to decide on limiting ďthree strikesĒ laws. Again, whew!

I think Iíve made up my mind on some of these matters without even reading about them. Of course, I will read up on them before I vote, because I take these things seriously. I always vote as if my ballot mattered, because it does, just as much as anyone elseís. And itís even more important in California, where we have a tradition of counting all the votes.

And of course as always Iíll be voting by absentee ballot. I would do this even if I had a choice, but I donít have a choice because I live in a precinct with no polling place. I feel a lot safer with an old-fashioned paper ballot anyway, so Iím fine with this arrangement. Iím sure itís possible they can find a way to keep my vote from counting, the way Republicans are trying to do in Ohio and Florida, but I have faith in California (despite the person we elected as our governor).

You can expect frequent updates of my positions on all these ballot measures and races. If you know me at all, you already know how Iíll end up voting on a lot of things. I hope to work my way through this whole, huge, messy ballot in time to get mine in the mail by this time next week. Thatís going to take some work, which Iím up to, and some time, which I donít have. Somehow Iíll figure it out.

9 October 2004


Hereís a hint: I strongly believe that the initiative process in California is pretty much a farce. That doesnít mean Iíve never voted for a popular initiative, but I just think itís way too easy to collect signatures and get your particular hare-brained scheme on the ballot, where it becomes a crapshoot whether or not a couple of paragraphs scribbled on the back of an envelope in someoneís kitchen can suddenly be written into law.

For example, Proposition 64 is an initiative entitled, ďLimits on Private Enforcement of Business Competition Laws.Ē What it limits, exactly, is the right of private individuals to sue businesses on behalf of the public, if that business uses practices that are damaging to the public. It gives that right solely to the state attorney general and local prosecutors. This smells anti-consumer to me (not to mention anti-lawyer).

I donít think I can vote for a measure thatís opposed by the Consumers Union and other public interest groups, and supported by the Orange County Register, Wal-Mart, Microsoft, and every industry whose profits depend on pollution, price-gouging and underregulation, from insurance companies to drug conglomerates. Iím voting no, obviously.

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Two of the most memorable baseball games Iíve ever watched (and Iíve watched a few) were played today in Boston and Houston. The Red Sox were on the ropes until they tied it in the eighth inning and beat the Yankees, 5-4, in the fourteenth. The Astros and Cardinals took a scoreless tie into the bottom of the ninth, when Jeff Kentís three-run walkoff homer ended it in a 3-0 win for the Astros. The two games started three and a half hours apart and ended about twenty minutes apart. Itís just almost too much of a good thing. (As if that were possible!)

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One year ago: Overtime
"I think that's devotion above and beyond, and I don't care to hear any contrary opinion on that subject. Or any other subject. Ever. But that's another matter entirely."

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