The No-on-31 campaign's Google ad cites both California Democrats… (Google.com )
They didn’t go there. Did they? Did the No on 31 campaign, funded mostly by organized labor and backed by the California Democratic Party, really invoke the "Tea Party" as being on the right (right as in “correct”) side of the issue? Did they really cite fringy populist conservatives who worry about a United Nations takeover of California?
Yeah, they kinda did. How else would you interpret the Google ad that says “Learn why California Democrats and Tea Party both say vote No”?
Click on the link and you won’t really learn why the Tea Party says no. What you will find is the establishment critique of the reform measure: budget chaos, unforeseen consequences, funds for “experimental programs.” But nothing really about the supposed Tea Party stance. That’s just a teaser in the ad itself.
ENDORSEMENTS: The Times' recommendations for Nov. 6
This blog played around a bit a month ago with the notion that Proposition 31, proposed by California Forward, the bipartisan, centrist group trying to get the state out of its persistent mess, is actually a plot to overthrow democratic government in the state in favor of unelected regional authorities abiding by the Agenda 21 sustainable development protocols established at a conference in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
I asked, jokingly (I thought), whether the liberal Democrats and labor leaders against Proposition 31 would embrace the tea party. OK, so it didn’t turn out to be exactly an embrace; maybe something like a nod of recognition. But that alone seems a little weird.
Perhaps a campaign takes aid and comfort from wherever it can find it, even if it means a Democratic-labor campaign cozies up to one of the odder theories from the just-beyond-the-far-opposite-end of the political spectrum.
The conspiracy critique zeroes in on the right parts of the initiative, but for the wrong reasons. Throughout Proposition 31 are requirements for performance-based, results-oriented budgeting. Officials must show how their spending plans would promote the purposes of “achieving a prosperous economy, quality environment and community equity.” Those purposes are to be advanced by showing how the budget would increase employment, improve education, decrease poverty and crime and improve health.
Is that so bad? Isn’t that better than a (perhaps more honest) statement that says this year’s proposed budget’s purpose is to paper over debt, protect political patronage and preserve relationships among lawmakers and particular lobbyists, businesses or labor groups?
The problem with requiring the statement is not that in invoking sustainability's three E’s -- economy, environment, equity -- the ballot measure parrots something that came out of the Rio summit 20 years ago.
The worry is, or rather it should be, that these words are essentially meaningless. They sound too much like the current trend in local government contracting: Bidders must require service providers to show in their contract bids how their programs for youth development, say, or homeless services, or drug counseling are “evidence based.” Contractors learn to slap together a couple of studies and write the words “evidence based” in their bids. But do services actually improve?
Likewise, voters probably need not worry that the U.N. is coming to town. The question is whether these new requirements, taken together with a new option for local governments to join forces in budgeting and spending, and taken together with the other various reform proposals, actually provide California any improvement of substance.
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