Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mid-Term Elections: Oh Well...

The cat stood on the keyboard and inadvertently expressed my opinion about our election results.

What hurts most? In our little town it could be the loss on Measure C, a modest request for school funding. Having spent 30 years in education washing cars and icing cupcakes to raise funds, I feel the pain of those still in it. It’s quite demoralizing when a community backs away from its schools.

I know, I know, I know. The economy. And of course, each voter has a personal reason for saying yes or no. It’s just that when you’re on the front lines, slogging through the mandates and the muck, when so much depends on what a school does for its students and its town, when so many people seem to be standing on the periphery watching, clicking their tongues and shaking their heads, but not offering $5.00 a month to help…it’s hard to take.

Of course that required 2/3 majority made a heavy anchor, too. But my not-too-scientific calculation says that in our little town, only 306 more affirmative votes could have carried the day. Who stayed home, darn it! Students and teachers in every town and district need help.

Maybe we should consider a measure for Benicia similar to statewide Proposition 25, lowering the required majority to a simple 50%+1. I notice some other cities require a 55% majority to pass certain types of fund raisers. Sixty-two percent of Benicia voters approved Measure C – but it wasn’t enough. How is it that 38% of the voters get to tell 62% of the voters how it will be?

Proposition 21’s failure is deflating, as well. Funding for State Parks and Wildlife Programs at a buck fifty per month was just too much. No matter all the analysis or rationalization I employ, this decision eludes me. Perhaps if the measure is re-written asking for only $10 per vehicle registration, it would carry. Maybe the DMV could put a voluntary donation option on the registration renewal form, similar to the option to donate to the Presidential election campaign on our federal tax forms. More people might be encouraged to give something to our parks and wildlife, the essence of beauty and well-being in our state.

Oh, good news in the election? Sure! Proposition 25 passed! Perhaps we will have a state budget complete and on time since the legislators’ paychecks now depend on it. I heard a concern that they might pass a hurried and therefore flawed budget under these circumstances. That could be true. But we will only notice that it’s on time. The flaws we’re already used to.

With the passage of Proposition 20, we took redistricting out of the chicken house, so the foxes will have to find more legitimate means of bolstering their election results. That’s good.

On a national front, no witches will have a seat in Congress. That can only be a good thing, though sometimes an incantation might still be in order.

The President got a message he seemed to need to hear. I hope he makes the most of it. I hope his opponents don’t get caught up in gloating, or make his mistake of forcing legislation just because they can. It’s such poor form and so far off point.

Any more good news? Sure! The San Francisco Giants won the World Series of Baseball! They did it on a budget of $98million dollars, about $40million less than a certain unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate.

Through 160 torturous regular season games, and a jubilant post season with sports heroes and characters aplenty, they prevailed. Whenever I grew weary of political rhetoric, and dubious of the candidates’ claims, all I had to do was tune into Tim Lincecum v. Chris Lee, or Edgar Renteria at bat, or OOOO-ribe, or Posey behind the plate.

It gives you hope. If that ragtag bunch of talented individuals could come together as a team, setting their egos aside to reach such a pinnacle, maybe our elected officials could do the same.

The Giants gutted it out through a gauntlet rivaling any political minefield or caucus, and emerged victorious, not just for themselves. Okay, maybe they did it for themselves, but their victory elevated us too.

Politicians could take a lesson. They could focus on our common goals, put their heads down, sacrifice for the team, and make something really big happen for our state and our country. Go Democracy! Go Giants!