bunt sign

February 20, 2000

It just rained today, steadily. All I did was read, surf and watch videos. David came by with the wolf he's babysitting, and we hung out for a while, but that was the extent of my connection with people. Mom and I had planned to see Topsy-Turvy, but neither of us felt like it, and I think the weather was a big part of the reason.

Most people might have tomorrow off for Presidents' Day, but I'll be working as usual. It could even turn into one of my more productive days, since I won't be interrupted by as many phone calls. We do a lot of business with the State, and there's no way any state worker is going to be at the office on anything remotely resembling a holiday. Since we don't have snow days in California, we don't have to work holidays to make up for them.

Eric is trying to organize a trip to a Rockies game during the week we're vacationing in Colorado this June. We found out the team would be playing at home in Denver, and he's taking the initiative and making contact with all the family members, from Iowa and California, who are going to be there. I hope it comes off. Besides a couple of visits to Dodger Stadium when I was in college in Santa Barbara, I've never been to a major league game outside the Bay Area.

Continuing the endless, meandering trek through the California primary ballot . . .

I'm trying desperately to find a reason to like Proposition 1A. It would amend the state constitution to allow slot machines on Indian lands. I should be in favor of a measure that would make Indian tribes more self-reliant, and that's what the supporters of 1A say it would do. On the other hand, gambling is big money, it's not taxed, and the tribes contribute heavily to the politicians who are promoting this new law. That just leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. I'd like to be convinced that 1A is a good thing, but I'm leaning the other way.

Proposition 1A is a response to the state supreme court's overturning of Proposition 5, passed in 1998, which expanded Indian gaming. The court said that the law created Nevada-style casinos, which are unconstitutional in California. The real Nevada casinos put a lot of money into fighting that measure, and the voters seemed to have a clear choice: Indian tribes or casino owners. The proposition passed by a wide margin.

This time around, the Nevada interests are not working against Proposition 1A. In fact, they have agreements in place to run casinos for various California tribes. I don't have a problem with the concept of gambling, and I don't buy the argument that we need to regulate it in order to protect our citizens from themselves. But I do think that an activity that generates this kind of revenue for so few people can become a threat to the delicate balance between money and power.

Incredibly, there are two other gambling-related measures on the ballot as well. Proposition 29 is the converse of 1A. It would ratify earlier agreements between the state and the tribes, keeping Indian gaming at pretty much its current level. I guess if you vote one way on 1A, you vote the other way on 29.

Proposition 17 would allow charities to conduct fundraising raffles, which are now illegal under the state constitution. I can't see anything wrong with this one. A raffle seems to be a legitimate, low-risk way for nonprofit groups to raise money to keep operating. If we're serious about reducing tax burdens for public welfare, we should probably encourage groups that help people in need to find ways to fund themselves. Does this contradict my reluctance to embrace Proposition 1A? It just seems that 1A puts too much money into too few pockets.

Meta Notes

Sometimes I feel schizophrenic about what I write on this page. I try to expose as much of myself as I feel capable of releasing. I'm trying to write every day, without doing "laundry lists" of routine daily activities. Sometimes I feel that I've said something worth the time it takes to read it. Other times I wonder if I've given anyone a reason to come back the next day.

All I can do, I guess, is keep on going, trying to make my life more interesting so that my journal will have some substance. Believe it or not, in some ways this experience has already had a positive impact on my life, even beyond the obvious. I've made some new friends here, and I've opened myself up to more in the outside world.

I started this with no expectations except to write about who I am and what I know. So if I go on about baseball or politics, it's because those are topics that interest me. But I'll try to write about them in a way that shows their connection to the person behind the words. A daily journal means a glimpse into the up and down, the good and bad. I'll just keep throwing stuff up here and see what sticks.

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