Gabbard: Vote Yes on 22

(Note: As we did in 2008, Streetsblog encourages the submission of op/eds about the ballot propositions on the November ballot.  Have something transportation related to say?  Feel free to email me at damien at streetsblog dot org.  None of these op/eds should be considered an endorsement by Streetsblog.)

11 26 10 yes

Proposition 22 is the latest salvo in an ongoing war between key stakeholders who have a stake (and straw) in the state’s budget over who gets how much of it locked up for them. Its purpose is to declare an end to the funding raids the legislature and Governor have engaged in repeatedly during this decade to balance the budget at the expense of transit.

Some find the aspect of 22 that benefits redevelopment agencies as a reason to recoil. This was a realpolitik decision the folks working to get 22 on the ballot made as the transit industry needed at least one other major stakeholder supporting the measure to be sure it would have the necessary financial clout behind it to get on the ballot and provide at least a modest campaign on its behalf.

Regardless of the smell factor and any worries about 22 being yet another budget by ballot measure “locking in” funding that help foster a dysfunctional fiscal structure for the state, if you support transit you should vote for 22 for one salient reason: to end transit’s image among insiders and elected officials as being a weakling and therefore able to be robbed with impunity.

It sounds akin to a street fight, with transit as the little guy who finds it necessary to bloody the nose of a bully before gaining a measure of respect and some peace. Frankly the real world of politics often calls for blunt assertive action to stop being pushed around. Also by saying “hands off!” we take one more bit of fiscal hocus pocus out of the mix of flim flam that has allowed the legislature and Governor to evade dealing with the fiscal realties of the state’s situation. Real budget reform would be a happy long-term consequence of the passage of Proposition 22. For all these reasons I urge a yes vote.

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