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Steve Lunetta: The election widget

Right About Now

Posted: May 30, 2010 11:51 p.m.
Updated: May 31, 2010 4:55 a.m.

When I was a kid, my family lived in many exotic locations around the world. My dad worked for the United Nations as a hydrogeologist. Essentially, he found water for people and figured out how to get it to them.

Dad would pull out the old water widget (spruce worked best), walk around a field until the widget pointed down and amazed onlookers by finding the only spring on the property. 

What he didn’t show folks was the hours of painstaking searching, testing and digging beforehand to identify that spring.

With that legacy in my background, I will pull out my widget and voter pamphlet, mumble a brief prayer and allow the widget to point the way to all of our readers.

The one minor difference with my dad is that while he worked for hours to make his predictions a sure thing, I merely shoot from the hip, as any good opinion columnist will do.

Proposition 13 on this ballot has no resemblance to the legendary Prop 13 of the late 1970s. The old Prop 13 caused heated arguments, made bureaucrats shake and taught Sacramento who was in charge (however, briefly).

Today’s Proposition 13 is akin to watching paint dry, passing both the Senate and the Assembly without a dissenting vote, no argument against it in the voter guide and not a peep of dissention.

Proposition 13 prevents the tax assessor from reassessing the value of a property if the owner of said property retrofits for earthquake safety. This makes it far more likely that the owner will improve the condition of a property without fearing a massive jump in assessed values and taxes. It makes perfect sense. 

Vote “yes” on Proposition 13.

Proposition 14 is the usual drivel from people who think that destroying political parties is the path to nirvana in our golden republic. Proposition 14 would create “open primaries” where individuals can select anyone from any party with the top two vote-getters running against each other in the general election.

Let’s get real — our system is broken because special interests (read: public employee unions) have run amok and dominate state politics. If Proposition 14 passes, we’ll get two candidates alright — two Democrats. 

Unions would plow tremendous amounts of cash into the process, knocking out diverse candidates (read: conservatives) who do not agree with their program. So much for freedom and democracy.

Vote “no” on Proposition 14.

Proposition 15 is called the Fair Elections Act, another attempt at reform but it falls short of the mark. A side of me wants to support this initiative, take the money out of politics and get back to good and honest leadership. Then I read the proposition closely.

Public money would be used to fund political campaigns. Are they serious? The state is broke, we’re on the brink of financial ruin and the authors of this proposition want us to cough up money for sleazy attack ads and junk mail for your enjoyment.

Vote “no” on Proposition 15.

Proposition 16 would impose a new two-thirds voter approval requirement before local governments can provide electrical service to new customers. The people opposing this initiative say they want to keep government out of the electricity business. After the energy fiasco of a few years ago, I can see their point.

But the problem here is that government must have the freedom to allocate services to build and grow. Without this freedom, growth in an area could be hindered or stopped.

One of my big beefs with Sacramento is that it does not lead anymore. It doesn’t make tough decisions like building unsexy water-delivery systems. This would be just another way for politicians to pass the buck and not take responsibility for something they should be doing.

Vote “no” on Proposition 16.

Proposition 17 allows insurance companies to reduce or increase the cost of insurance depending on a driver’s history of continuous coverage. Can someone explain to me how this got so out of control? Since when did the government start telling insurance companies what discounts they can offer?

Shouldn’t this be a free market? If State Farm wants too much for their coverage, I can go to Allstate if their price is lower. If Allstate wants to give me a discount, isn’t that between me and Allstate? Why is Sacramento involved?

I suppose when we force everyone to have insurance, Big Brother gets involved. We’ve lost another freedom and no one has seemed to notice or care. But I do.

Vote “yes” on Proposition 17.

Looks like the widget has used up all of its mojo. I’ll need to recharge it for rating the candidates next week. Can someone send me some mojo?

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident, very short on mojo and can be reached at  His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of the Signal.


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