We just had an election in California, and once again, in my humble polling place, we had more poll workers than voters.
If Justin Bieber were there, then we’d have a crowd. And then the state’s future would be dictated by the tastes of 12-year olds—which might be an improvement. They know what it’s like to live on an allowance.
Still, just 23.4 percent voted in San Francisco. Los Angeles County was lower yet at 19.6. Maybe if we could jump up those numbers by allowing voting while texting AND driving the state’s numbers would go up. Voting by IPhone? There’s got to be an app for that.
Who voted the most? Little Sierra County, northeast of Sacramento, population around 4,000, had a turnout of 73.3 percent! (I’m checking if a few goats weren’t allowed to cast ballots to pad those numbers).
I imagine there’s not much to do in Sierra County but wait for an election to have an excuse to get out of the house. Does that mean those of us in slightly less rural areas have too much to do to value democracy?
We show up when it counts, of course. Like for a general election when the presidency is at stake. But all politics is local, remember. This is the stuff that hits home. And not many showed up.
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY
The big lesson in California is that money is still everything in politics—if you have more than $30 million. That’s roughly what Steve Poizner spent on his campaign and he didn’t win one county. So let’s revise the adage. You need almost $100 million to be victorious like Meg Whitman, the GOP’s first female standard bearer to run for governor of the state. She along with Carly Fiorina, who won the GOPs senate race, are the party’s new public face: The twin towers of estrogen. You can talk about diversity if you’d like, but Democrats have had women, gays, lesbians, Asians, Latinos, blacks for years. Why praise the GOP for something it should have embraced a long time ago?
But here’s why you should be suspicious: Anytime you hear someone say they want to run “California like a business,” run away. Fast.
That’s not what we need in this state. Arnold’s already tried and look what he’s done.
After Tuesday, the state finds itself with two failed CEOs who have used their parachute money to enter politics (remember, they’d still be CEOs if they were really successful).They now want to do something useful with their lives besides make money. They think because they ran a business, they can run a government.
As Arnold found out, it’s trickier than it looks, mostly because government isn’t about dollars and sense nor bottom lines and profits. It’s still about people and services that make up a community.
A CEO of a major corporation, whose trick to raise revenue include off-shoring, laying off older workers, and generally trimming human beings to show profit, just doesn’t have the skill set for the kind of government that fosters community. But whose to stop the vanity of Whitman and Fiorina who have the money to put their business skills to the test. You want to be the guinea pig?
Tell me how smart it is to spend nearly $100 million for a 4-year job? Where’s the fiscal responsibility in that?
PUBLIC FINANCING and MCLEOD
The only way to get good people to run is to eliminate money as a factor. And unfortunately, Prop.15, which called for a public funding experiment failed.
Money is the reason why American Filipino Rod McLeod’s run for Superior Court judge in San Francisco was notable. Spending less than $2,000, he was trying to buck the trend in an office that should be above money. His opponents , however, spent about $100,000 each.
McLeod took the high road and finished third.
It counts. But what does it mean with just a 23% turnout?