The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 August 2005

Damned old democracy

The bill — well, it's a California measure to monitor convicted sex offenders. Governor Schwarzenegger has suggested that if it doesn't pass, he'll support a voter initiative to enact it. But that's not what perturbs me.

This is:

State Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco and a member of the Senate's public safety committee, called the new bill "a brutal, cookie-cutter approach" to criminal justice. It's the job of the Legislature, she said, not the voters, to deal with complex, emotional issues like this.

"If the people should vote 'yes' or 'no' on every bill, the next (initiative) measure should be to eliminate the Legislature,'' she said.

Translation: "We're the government and you're not, so shut up."

(Via Miller's Time.)

Posted at 8:46 PM to Political Science Fiction


On one hand, I agree with you. We could use a few more props in Oklahoma.

But California's government is now almost unmanageable because of this kind of plebiscitary democracy.

On the third hand - If Sen. Migden is opposed to " a brutal .. approach" toward sex offenders, what kind of approach does she suggest? A flowered one?

Posted by: Dan at 12:27 AM on 20 August 2005

It's the job of the Legislature, she said, not the voters, to deal with complex, emotional issues like this.

I wonder how many e-mails and phone messages she's gotten now, saying essentially, "Then DO your @#$!ing job, you useless @#$@!##$@!!!"

As a former resident of California, I can tell you that having a fulltime legislature has not resulted in more and better legislation -- quite the opposite. Blaming the state's problems on the initiative process is simply wrongheaded, the initiatives are a response to the failure of the government, not the cause.

And frankly, eliminating the California Legislature for, say, forty years -- to be followed by the restoration of a part-time legislature -- might just help alleviate the effects of a similar amount of time with the fulltime version.

Posted by: McGehee at 8:48 AM on 20 August 2005

I gotta agree with Dan and in part with McGehee: two sources of legislation are not better than one, I'd suggest they are four times as bad.

Posted by: Fûz at 10:37 PM on 21 August 2005

If the people should vote 'yes' or 'no' on every bill, the next (initiative) measure should be to eliminate the Legislature."

Considering some of the incredibly stupid people who have been elected to the California legislature, that's not a bad idea.

Maybe we could do the same thing here in Washington, which is almost as bad as California. They have the S.F. Bay area and LA, and we have Seattle.

Posted by: timekeeper at 3:48 PM on 22 August 2005