It’s Super Tuesday, and California is one of the states electing our presidential nominees today. In a few hours, the polls will open. Which candidate do you feel will do the best job of protecting our environment, and by environment I mean the water we drink, air we breathe, food we eat, and all the systems of earth that support our quality of life?
Regardless of whether or not you’re a Clintonite or Obamian, how are you Californians voting on Prop 93, the term limits proposition? Many, many environmental organizations are supporting it. Californians Against Waste, a group I support, sent me the following email outlining the reasons they are endorsing this proposition:
On Tuesday, February 5th, you will have the chance to make an important decision about the future of California’s environment.
Californians Against Waste has been helping California’s environment for over thirty years now and we couldn’t have been able to do this without help from the environmental leaders in the state legislature. Currently, California’s legislative term limits are just about the tightest in the country, and remain a barrier to effective governing, which is why CAW supports Proposition 93. Prop 93 strikes a balance that would still stick legislators with tight term limits, but allow legislators more time in one house, greatly increasing continuity and institutional memory necessary to be effective leaders.
The flaw in our current system is that it keeps legislators from gaining enough experience to be effective and to oversee the implementation of often complex, important legislation, including environmental laws.
Additionally, the current system often requires some of our best legislative allies to run against each other when their Assembly terms expire–after just 6 years. Case in point, CAW Legislators-of-the-Year Lloyd Levine and Fran Pavley have carried several successful recycling bills each during their 6 years in the Assembly. Now they are forced to run against each other for the Senate seat of another termed out CAW legislator-of-the-year: State Senator Sheila Kuehl.
Currently, legislators can serve up to three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. Prop 93 would reduce the total amount of time a legislator can serve in the Legislature to 12 years, but allow a legislator to serve all 12 years in the Assembly or the Senate. This limit gives legislators time to gain experience, but still maintains a healthy turnover rate to allow for new issues to be brought up. It also helps drastically reduce the political jockeying that dominates Sacramento and help stabilize our system by breaking the cycle of legislators constantly wanting to move up the political ladder.
Other environmental groups support Prop. 93, including the Sierra Club and the CA League of Conservation Voters.
Sorry I don’t have many of my own words on these election issues. I’m usually more of a “personal is political” type. But we all personally get to vote today. And I’d really like to know your opinions.