(If you want to understand Arnold, you have to see “Pumping Iron.” It’s all about winning and using psychological warfare to do so. Even when Arnold could win a bodybuilding competition (for which prize money was negligible, by the way) on his own physical merits, he felt both a need and compulsion to “psyche out” the other participants. Guess it’s not working so well these days, but what the hell.)
Forget the neighbor’s garage, a couple blocks down, with plenty of parking. Instead, for the “special election” we had to find a new polling place, in a largish apartment building’s rec room. Not all that far away, but not much parking, either, so Ilene and I piled the girl into her stroller and hiked it over there first thing in the morning.
Just as we got there, a woman was in a tizzy about her pre-marked absentee ballot, on which she “made a mistake,” as she said. Did she confuse Propositions 78 and 79? Easy enough to do. But did she have to get in front of us? Yes. And was her name in the same part of the alphabet (and same book of registered voters’ names) as ours? Yes.
The other drama concerned the County-issued cell phone that the precinct workers couldn’t get a signal on.
Anyhow, we Inka-Voted (we had discussed the issues on the 10-minute walk to the polling place — about all the whole slate of issues merited) and left.
Even though I’m in “the media,” I was surprised to find that Proposition 80 would have re-regulated the state’s electric-power industry. I hadn’t heard a thing about it, but considering the problems we’ve had with Enron and rolling blackouts (which, thankfully, didn’t affect the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power), I figured some re-regulation would be a good idea.
Well, Prop. 80, along with everything but the LAUSD school bond, was defeated. I’m just shocked that there was a proposition that flew so far under the radar that I had no idea it was on the ballot until walking toward the polling place.
As to how I voted on everything else, I’ve been registered as “non-partisan” ever since I’ve been in the news business. Now I don’t think that’s a requirement, or even some kind of high moral ground on which to stand, but I just feel more comfortable that way as both a journalist AND a private citizen because I’m not happy with either the Democrats or Republicans. And the way our system is structured, minor parties are virtually shut out of any role in actually governing. Makes for a different kind of democracy than in Europe. Not better or worse, just different.
I could go on about how the collective political consciousness in the U.S. produces two parties that encompass the blended ideological soup of the electorate, pleasing a few and causing indifference or disgust in the rest, but I won’t.
Can’t say I’m a fan of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’d hoped for less big-money pandering on his part, but I can’t see Gray (or is it Grey?) Davis or Cruz Bustamente doing any better. And I thought Arnold’s close connection with former Gov. Pete Wilson was a plus. Not that I’m a fan of anti-immigrant measure Prop. 187, because I’m not, but I have a great admiration for Wilson due to his dogged determination more than anything. When I worked at the Glendale News-Press in the ’90s, he’d come by on a regular basis, roll up the shirt sleeves, answer any question and plead for whatever was on his mind. Just the fact that he came to those little papers and wasn’t full of BS stuck with me. I hoped Arnold would emulate Wilson more than he has, but what can you do?
Again I digress.
Nobody can think the California Legislature is working. I’m not sure if it was better before or after term limits, but anything that could be done to make the seats in the Assembly and Senate less safe for either party is OK by me, so I voted for Prop. 77. Had to go along with Prop. 79 (and against 78) because something has to be done about prescription drug costs. The whole buy-drugs-from-Canada thing is just a symptom of a system that’s horribly out of whack, and, again, better to do something rather than nothing.
And even though I’m now a father, the whole Prop. 73 abortion-notification measure just isn’t right. You hope a girl will tell her parents in such cases, but you don’t have to have a law about it.
Love to tell you about the rest, but even I’m bored.