I wouldn’t do this if one of you hadn’t actually asked me to, but one of you actually did, so here’s how I think you Californians and Floridians should vote Tuesday.
Floridians: Vote YES on Amendments 4, 5, and 6. The sugar billionaires are doing everything they can to mislead us. I have absolutely nothing against billionaires per se; I actually know a couple. But these particular billionaires, on this particular issue, are not acting in the public interest. The Everglades are worth risking a penny-a-pound sugar tax. The real question is why we continue price supports for sugar. That’s why it costs more than it should.
Vote NO on Proposition 211. It’s the Bill Lerach-financed proposition that is so bad, so pro-lawyer that even President Clinton joined Bob Dole in coming out against it, despite Democrats’ traditional ties to trial attorneys and Lerach’s huge personal contributions to the Democratic party. Basically, Prop 211 would make it even easier to bring frivolous and extortionate lawsuits against companies whose stocks have dropped sharply. Trust me: it’s too easy to do this in California right now; Prop 211 swings the pendulum further in the wrong direction. It aims to repeal at the state-court level what Congress overwhelmingly recently passed at the federal level, over the President’s veto. (Joining in the override were not only every Republican on the planet, but such Democrats as Ted Kennedy, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Mikulski.) I could take a lot more space to describe what I see as the ins and outs of this, but the short form is: don’t let Bill Lerach buy himself a law. It would help him, hurt California and investors.
Vote YES on Prop 215 and allow medical use of marijuana. All sorts of serious people, from George Soros to countless doctors and nurses, have come out in favor of this — if you’re interested in some of the reasons why, click here.
Vote NO on Prop 213. In truth, if you’re an insured motorist, it’s in your short-term self-interest to vote YES, because if it passes (and unlike 211, it probably will), your auto insurance premiums will probably drop 3%-5%. But it’s mean-spirited and the wrong solution. Tomorrow I’ll tell you why I think so.
A lot less clear to me is Prop 209. Ward Connerly makes a sensible and principled argument for ending affirmative action (to put it in short-hand). I believe the opponents’ argument is stronger. If I were a California voter, I’d vote NO — but I’d hope policy-makers take seriously the “mend it” portion of the President’s “mend it, don’t end it” line.