Thursday, October 19, 2006

Question Three + A Frustration

I already have posts up about questions 1 and 2. Both require a bit of thought. Question 3, on the other hand, is straightforward enough that I'm really just making this post for the sake of completeness.

This proposed law would allow licensed and other authorized providers of child care in private homes under the state’s subsidized child care system to bargain collectively with the relevant state agencies about all terms and conditions of the provision of child care services under the state’s child care assistance program and its regulations.

Essentially this is a sort of unionization. I see no compelling reason to vote against it. It gives child care providers collective bargaining powers and doesn't have any discernible negative impact. Feel free to argue this, but it seems like a very straightforward "Yes".

Now my frustration...

Am I alone in being disappointed by the three voter initiatives we have this year? Sure, questions 2 and 3 are for good causes, but they're not especially compelling. Question 1 is a blatant example of businesses using the ballot initiative process for their own purposes. Where are the important questions?

I collected some signatures earlier in the year for Home From Iraq Now. It was a decent idea, introducing what's essentially a referendum on the Iraq war as a ballot initiative. Its goal was to prevent Massachusetts National Guard troops from being sent to Iraq and to try to force the governor to do whatever was necessary to bring back any National Guard troops already there. I think it would have passed easily, had it actually made it onto the ballot.

Unfortunately, it was plagued by disorganization (note the un-updated website). The original voter initiatives seem to have been purged from the Elections Division website, so I don't have the reasoning behind its rejection available now, but my assumption is it lacked enough signatures. On the other hand, the anti-gay marriage initiative (while not on the ballot due to being a consitutional amendment put off by the legislature) got plenty of signatures. Many of these were of course challenged as being improperly collected (if memory serves me right, people thought they were signing onto Question 1), but were still certified by Galvin. Yet Bonifaz lost the primary badly.

Of course it's not easy to collect 100,000 signatures, but c'mon people, voter initiatives are one of the last true bastions of democracy left to us! Surely there must be more well-organized groups here willing to go that extra mile for truly good causes. Has being in one of the bluest of the blue states actually made us complacent?

I only hope that next time around we have something more worth voting for.

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