California water bond proposition postponed until 2012

“The making of laws is like the making of sausages-the more you know about the process the less you respect the result.”

The California legislature recently voted to postpone Proposition 18, the $11 billion water bond, until the 2012 ballot. They drop-kicked it into the future after serious outcry arose over the enormous amount of pork it contained, such as cozy deals for special interests, and a sneaky attempt to dump the cost on taxpayers instead of, as is traditional, make those using the water pay for it themselves. That California badly needs to rebuild its creaky, aging water infrastructure is a given. But Proposition 18 in its current form does not seem the best way to do it.

The depressing thing is, rather than being an outlier, this may be how most bills and propositions get written. Ballotpedia says much of Prop 18 was written by a lobbyist and that $1.15 billion was added at the last moment. I’m guessing most of that $1.15 billion was pork to encourage votes and, while your opinion may differ, the thought of lobbyists writing legislation makes me queasy. By definition, they are paid special interests so it’s difficult to see how lobbyists writing laws benefits the public good. They are paid to further a specific interest, not to consider the state as a whole.

Of the $11 billion in the water bond, over $2 billion was pork that lawmakers admit was there to get votes necessary for it to pass in the legislature, whether or not the pork had anything to do with improving water quality and supply. Gosh, what an inspiring example of democracy and transparency.

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