Direct democracy, which is what Props 1A-1F are, doesn't offend me prima facie. The success of direct democracy, however, hinges (almost) entirely on a well-informed, participatory electorate. I vote every chance I get and I love reading ballot propositions and discussing the pros and cons with my fellow citizens, and I tell you what -- even I can't find a damn bit of good, straightforward information on what's going on with these proposals. As best I can tell, the "public information" campaigns are essentially presenting the same information ("we're fucked") while coming to precisely opposite conclusions ("so vote (yes | no) on election day").
Naturally, one place one might turn to look, in ceding a bit of electoral independence, is to some sort of prominent proxy institution like the political parties. But literally all you get there are arguments of definition by opposition:
"Republicans have been pushing for state spending caps around the country, and it made no sense for us to welcome one here when Democrats have been fighting them everywhere else."
Get that? Republicans like this, and we're not Republicans, so we don't like this. How nuanced.
"Whatever way the vote goes on the propositions, we can't let it break up our solidarity of the Democratic Party," he said in a speech before the voting.
Party first, comrades.
"Prop. 1A was the ransom (Democratic legislative leaders) were forced to pay to the Republican minority," said Taiz. "Prop. 1A flies in the face of core Democratic values and forces us to live the Republican dream."
My team good. Your team bad. There's no information here; just saying "it's a Republican idea therefore it's bad" is about the worst kind of information out there; if anything it's making the public less well-informed because they think they know which team they're playing for, but they still have no idea what they're voting on. Even the Chron's synopsis of the measures is horrid:
Prop. 1A: Caps future state spending, increases the state's rainy day fund and triggers $16 billion in tax extensions.
Prop. 1B: Provides $9.3 billion in new school funding, but only if Prop. 1A also passes.
Prop. 1C: Modernizes the state lottery and allows the state to borrow up to $5 billion against future lottery revenues.
Prop. 1D: Moves $600 million in 1998's Prop. 10 tobacco tax money to the general fund to help balance the budget.
Prop. 1E: Moves $450 million over two years from 2004's Prop. 63 mental health money to the state's general fund.
Prop. 1F: Bars raises for government officials in deficit years.
What does all this mean?! Help!!