As a citizen of the U.S. I feel my most valued privilege is that of voting, but as with most privileges it does carry responsibilities, in this case attempting to be as informed as possible about the issues and initiatives. I just finished going through my California Ballot Pamphlet, and can readily understand why many people simply take one look at this unwieldly and intimidating publication and just walk away. Who needs it? We all do.
There are a large number of initiatives that have to do with bond financing. This was brought about because of Proposition 4 in 1979, the now infamous Gann initiative and the severe spending limits which it entails. If we are to have the services we have come to need and expect in our relatively civilized society, we do have to pay for them, and so agencies now find it necessary to go the bond route.
In my attempt to analyze the proposed legislation with which we are confronted this November, I discovered a few keys that might make it easier for others. 1) Read who supports or opposes an initiative. This can tell you a lot about what the initiative will do and what special interests either support or denounce it. 2) Notice who sponsors the TV ads. Look for the small print at the bottom of your screen. Again, usually special interest groups. 3) What kind of scare tactics are the sponsors using? Do they make sense or are they merely sensational?
You don't have to vote on every initiative. If you find one that totally baffles you, just go on to the next.
Most important--go to the polls. Don't let the feelings of the few who make the effort to vote legislate for you.
RITA G. COWNIE