bunt sign

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

There were no nasty phone calls this afternoon, for which I am thankful. In fact, the phone was so silent that I managed to lose myself in one of the big spreadsheets I've been neglecting, the ones that present our financial picture to the accountant. If I can be allowed a few more days like this, I'll have this huge burden off my back earlier than usual. Sometimes it pays to be a pariah. If nobody's talking to me, I don't have to listen.

Isn't it wonderful how work is both the cause of most of my anxiety, and the cure? Life's so much simpler when it revolves around one thing. I kind of wish it was something other than my job, but then maybe that's for the best. I have to have a job to survive, so it might as well be the center of my universe.

Getting through a lot of work that the Boss is waiting for means one thing: tomorrow he'll call and ask when he can expect it. And by that he means all of it, and I can't answer his question because I don't know when I'll have another day when I can get so much of it done. If there weren't so much more left to do, I'd have a better idea of when I could finish.

Alas, life has a whimsical way of throwing a wall in front of me whenever I get up to cruising speed. A peaceful Tuesday can only be followed by a tumultuous Wednesday. If I relax for a minute, I'll be buried for a month. Not to look on the dark side or anything.

The California primary is exactly one month away, and today I got my first three pieces of campaign propaganda — and my absentee ballot. I didn't even have to request it, because it's the only way I can vote. There's no polling place in my area, so even if I wanted to stand in line and have a volunteer cross my name off a list, then step behind a curtain and pull a lever, I couldn't. I have to vote by mail unless I want to return my ballot in person to the county clerk's office or another polling place.

Mine is a Democratic Party ballot, so for governor I have a choice of Gray Davis, the incumbent whom I despise, and three people I've never heard of. I don't know who'll get my vote in November (man, that's a long way off!), but it won't be Davis. I'll have to start trying to find out who these other people are, although there's not a chance in the world any of them will win the nomination.

We seem to have only six statewide propositions to wade through this time around. That's down from the usual fifteen or thirty. I assume I'll be getting a ballot pamphlet with all the text and arguments in plenty of time to make an informed choice. You can't go by the titles and descriptions on the ballot itself.

Proposition 40 (that's the first one listed) is called "The California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks, and Coastal Protection Act of 2002." Wow. On closer inspection, it's a $2.6 billion bond measure. How do they come up with an amount of money like that? I can't even grasp what it means.

Proposition 41 is the "Voting Modernization Bond Act of 2002," while the title of Proposition 43 is "Right to Have Vote Counted." I think I'm for that, on principle. I guess a lot of people have been thinking about these problems since the Florida Fiasco of 2000. Wouldn't it be funny if they had to have a recount on these two? Well, not funny, exactly.

Proposition 42 is "Transportation Congestion Improvement Act." That sounds good until you read the subtitle, "Allocation of Existing Motor Vehicle Fuel Sales and Use Tax Revenues for Transportation Purposes Only." Now it sounds a little restrictive, especially with a huge budget deficit looming. Besides, don't we already spend gas tax money on roads and buses? We do, don't we?

Proposition 44 is "Chiropractors. Unprofessional Conduct." I'm probably against that, but I have a feeling there might be more do it than a yea-or-nay endorsement.

Finally, we have Proposition 45, "Legislative Term Limits." Dearie me, haven't we been here before? Oh, wait. This one allows local voters to petition the state to override existing term limitations for the incumbents in their district. I don't believe in term limits in the first place, but I'm not sure I can endorse a half-assed attempt to override them. This either entrenches the existing law or begins the process of repealing it, depending on how you look at it. I have to decide whether to stand on principle or bow to expediency. Yes, that old bugaboo, the oldest dilemma in politics. I wonder where Gray Davis stands on this one.

I have four weeks to figure all this out, along with all the other statewide and local races. Some people don't get into this stuff, but I'm all over it. I take it just as seriously as I would if I thought my vote actually made a difference. After hanging on every chad for over a month in the last presidential election, I'm not sure it doesn't. Especially if they actually count all the votes.

house and garden

House and garden.

The three advertisements I got today were in favor of three different ballot measures. Proposition 40 seems to be endorsed by every public interest group from the Audubon Society to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. I wonder who's against it. The ad for Proposition 42 emphasizes that law enforcement officials are in favor of fixing roads. Okay. And the other ad is for a local funding measure for Santa Rosa Junior College, to improve and repair facilities. Sure, why not?

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