It seems that ev’ry Spring they all approach the ring / And cockily keep throwing in their hats

The presidential year will soon be drawing near
The people soon will choose their fav’rite son
I wonder what they’ll do in Nineteen fifty-two
I wonder who they’ll send to Washington

Well, the Presidential Primary in California is coming up on Super Tuesday, I’ve sent in for my absentee ballot… and so I guess that means I need to figure out how I’m voting. Here’s my current thinking — but I’m open to being swayed, within limits. Note that this swaying must be by rhetoric alone — funds do not sway my vote.

  • Presidential Preference. Obama. This has been a hard one. I’ve never been that enamored of Hilary Clinton, for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with sex. First, I think she should stay in the senate as the liberal voice of this generation. Ted Kennedy has got to retire sometime, and we need that voice. I’m also tired of the Clinton-Bush dynasty, and as the campaigning in SC has shown, we should be leery of the “two for one” approach: we’re not reelecting Bill. Lastly, I think Hilary (and Bill as de-facto Veep) are too large of a target for the GOP… and far too polarizing.

    So who to vote for. My daughter has been pushing for Obama, so I took the time this morning to read his position statements (PDF). Although I have a few quibbles, I tend to like his positions. I’m curious how he will pay for all his ideas, and he certainly won’t get them all through Congress, but still it is some fresh thinking.

    I’ll note that I’m not viewing Obama as “the black candidate”. Why? He’s not black. He’s the product of a “black” father and a “white” mother. Does this make him black? Only if you subscribe to the theory that a drop of black blood makes one black. But equally, a drop of white blood could then make one white… or Jewish blood make one Jewish. That’s an outdated notion that goes back to slavery and racial superiority. So in my eye, he’s just a man (gender is something different).

    As for other possible candidates: the field has been narrowing, and I’m not sure any others are viable. If Gore was in, I might support him, but for now, I’m inclined to vote for Obama.

  • Prop 91: Transportation Funds. No. Even the proponents are suggesting a no on this, so why should I dispute them?
  • Prop 92: Community Colleges. No. Right now, I’m leery of anything that will increase state spending, especially when the argument is that “it doesn’t raise taxes, it lowers fees”. I know costs are going up at colleges from salaries and fuel. If there is an increase in funding, it has to come from somewhere. Be that somewhere bonded indebtedness, or at the cost of something else. Right now is not the right time for this.
  • Prop 93: Term Limits. No. If this were written correctly, possibly. But as it is now, this is a grab for term extensions from a number of legislators. If they want to continue in public service, more power to them, but they should broaden their horizons to the municipal or federal level. That will permit them to put their knowledge to good use.
  • Props 94, 95, 96, 97: Leaning Yes. These are a lump; all basically the same, but for different tribes. They will bring more money in for the state than the current compacts provide (a good thing), but are likely riddled with loopholes that will allow them to get out of things (such as when there is competition). They also gore the interests of certain private parties, such as the large Vegas casino operators, racetracks, municipal card rooms, etc. The Indian’s casino growth is their loss. It is also lopsided, in that all the tribes gaining are in Southern California. Currently, the increase in revenue is swaying me towards this.
  • LA Prop S: Communications Users Tax. Leaning No. This is a hard one. It changes the Telephone Users Tax to a Communications Users Tax, obstensibly to eliminate a number of lawsuits due to problems with the former. It reduces the tax rate, but broadens the tax to cover VOIP and similar services. They claim it won’t cover Internet and email, but the only thing I see exempted is digital downloads. It is also unclear what they would charge: hosting services? DSL fees? I think I’m against this primarily because it is badly written: if you are going to have legislation regarding technology, then have folks familiar with the technology write it.

In any case, those are my thoughts. C’mon, convince me otherwise.