The other day, one of my professors offered this definition of the word “crank” – a critic with a poor grasp of the subject matter of their critique.
But, hey, this is Arizona.
So I humbly offer an idiot’s guide to the November ballot propositions, which you are welcome to clip and save. Because it is an idiot’s guide, I’ll start with Proposition 200.
That’s the Protect Arizona Now initiative that purports to stop illegal immigrants from accessing certain government benefits.
Now the “pro” side says this measure will save the state a bunch of money and keep Costa Ricans from showing up to vote for Jim Kolbe (for more information see costaricansforkolbe.org). The “con” side says it will put federal money at risk, cost the state more in legal fees than any savings, and give the state another black eye as a bastion of intolerance.
The vagaries of these arguments are beyond the scope of this guide.
If you want a good reason to vote against Proposition 200, consider the supporters. Two of the seven supporting arguments for PAN submitted to the Secretary of State were written by guys named Randy. And on the list of wienie names, Randy ranks really high. It’s right up there with Terry, Ricky and Carlton. When you consider voting for or against Proposition 200, consider the company you risk keeping.
But if the mere fact that PAN is the choice of men named Randy isn’t enough for you, I suggest you ask yourself how often you misplace your license, your Social Security card, your birth certificate or your passport. As an absent-minded person, I admit that proving my citizenship at any given time would be a struggle. Thus, while one might assume an idiot would be inclined to support a measure like PAN, in actual fact an idiot who votes for the initiative is hurting him or herself. On the other hand, an idiot is much more likely to get confused about what his or her interests are.
So, if your idiot friends – and certain local talk radio hosts – are telling you to vote “yes,” remember you are powerless to resist them and pull the lever for Proposition 200. (Who else are you going to listen to? Grant Woods?). Indeed, Proposition 200: Vote “Yes.” Everybody else is doing it.
This criticism stuff is hard work.
Let’s look at another measure, Proposition 100.
This allows the state Land Department to swap state land for other public lands. It is similar to measures that the Legislature has been putting on the ballot every two years for, like, a really long time.
Thankfully, the idiot’s guide analysis of this measure is quite simple. No, it’s not that state lawmakers are idiots. They’re more like children. And if a child persists in asking for something even after you’ve said no time and time again, you really have no choice but to give in and say yes. Otherwise they’re just going to ask you again. And that’s a drag. Vote “Yes” on Proposition 100.
Proposition 101 requires future ballot initiatives and referendums that propose a mandatory expenditure of state funds to come with a dedicated funding source and allows the Legislature to reduce funding if the revenue source falls short.
This referendum is basically the Legislature saying to voters: “If you’re going to vote for a program, it’s not our job to come up with the funding.” A fool might argue that this is precisely the job of lawmakers. That, in fact, they should be responsive enough to the public’s demands that the public shouldn’t have to turn to the initiative process time and time again in the first place. But, like I said, that is a fool’s argument.
A better argument is that if lawmakers are so dumb, how did they get you to pay them? See. They’re not so dumb after all.
Vote “Yes” on Proposition 101.
Proposition 104 changes the timetable for initiatives so supporters would have to submit their qualifying signatures seven months before the election as opposed to the current three months.
Supporters of this measure say it will give voters more time to consider ballot measures. But the idiot’s guide says “hooey” – we’re not going to read them anyway.
Vote “No” on Proposition 104.
The rest of these measures bore me. So I’ll be brief.
• Proposition 102 has something to do with allowing the Board of Regents to trade interests in technology and intellectual property for stock in companies. Whatever you say, dude. Vote “No.”
• Proposition 103 has something to do with Justices of the Peace. We need to increase the peace. Vote “Yes.”
• Proposition 105 changes the membership of the State Board of Education, particularly to add a charter school representative. Any idiot can tell you the State Board has done a lot to make sure our kids is lurnin. The more the merrier. Vote “Yes.”
• Proposition 300 increases the pay rate of lawmakers from $24,000 to $36,000 a year. If you fall for this one, you really are an idiot. Vote “No.”
Tom Collins (email@example.com) is a law student at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law, a former legislative reporter for the Tucson Citizen and former spokesman for the Arizona Department of Education.