California Special Election Results

May 21, 2009

Predictably, the voters declared their verdict. Some are good while others aren’t in the following manner–

Source: Data from San Jose, Mercury News, May 20, 2009 – Thanks

Prop 1 A – Spending cap and temporary tax hikes for two years with a “rainy day” fund – Failed
Yes, (35.5%) 1.1 million votes defeated by NO (64.5%) 2 million votes.

Prop 1 B – Education funding plan – Failed! (Shocking!).
Yes, (39%) 1.2 million votes thrashed by NO (61%) 1.9 million votes.

Prop 1 C – Borrowing against future lottery proceeds – Failed
Yes, (37%) 1.1 million votes rejected by NO (63%) 1.9 million votes.

Prop 1 D – Redirecting funds from children’s services – NO (Desirable result), therefore good outcome. – Yes (36%) 1.1. million and NO (64%) 2 million votes.

Prop 1 E – Diversion of funds from mental health services – NO (Yet another positive result).
Represented by Yes (35%) 1 million and NO (65%) 2 million votes.

Prop 1 F – No raises for elected officials – Passed (Thoughtful decision).
Yes (a whopping 75%) 2.3 million votes and NO (25%) 765,357 votes.


Prop 1 D, E, F results are welcome and justified.

Prop 1 A and C – Obviously, voters are either confused or caught in the tug o’war between spending cuts and tax hikes opponents respectively. Similarly, 1 C failure attributed to voters’ unwillingness to acknowledge the severity of the crisis.

Prop 1 B – Failure underscores the urgency to fund education, enabling future voters and lawmakers to exercise reasoning faculties within on life choices.

The negative outcome beckons to review the demography objecting the educational funding. In a vigorously competitive global economy, the electorate and the legislators alike discarding educational funding indicative of crisis in the educational system.

It’s a matter of concern when legislators and the electorate prioritize politics over prudence in education and health care.

Recent reports have consistently confirmed the United States’ poor achievements in the International Standardized testing against stellar performance by students from Singapore, Finland, South Korea, China, Japan and India.

Is it the United States’ students fault for lagging behind in the international academic contest?

No, unfortunately the fault lies in the inadequate funding towards K-12 education, community colleges and state universities routinely targeted for political reasons. The public school system is a victim of partisanship prevalent in the state legislature and widespread in the national budget prompting endless debates to defend the programs essential for survival and success in the global economy.

United States as the leader of the free world, economic power and pioneer in many fields is contemplating on investment in education and health care, the two most important aspects of human life. It’s no rocket science to figure out that healthy and educated population are a valuable asset to the economy and national productivity.

Ironically, United States’ sharp criticism against the so-called third world poor literacy rates will be an inevitable reality at home, if the policy makers in the state and federal legislations continue to divert and slash funds from education, the fundamental requirement for productive workforce.

The proof of the pudding visually demonstrated in the famous “Jay Walkers” segment of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In one particular episode, a high school student is unaware of the current “President of the United States,” President George W. Bush at that time and, there were many clueless of the current affairs and events in their homeland during that show. Again, students benefit from quality education by teaching professionals with credentials and that’s only possible with sufficient funding to the school systems.

Contrarily, in another instance, an African student from the Ivory Coast, familiar with the economic struggles was well informed in general knowledge and world events.

Another important reason for education to be a top priority is the bridging of the widening gap between the haves and the have-nots.  Whenever legislators eye on education and health care spending cuts, the worst affected population are the lower income and the poorest of all. School districts with poor academic results often eliminated from funding and they are historically located in poor neighborhoods.

Lack of funding leads to bigger class rooms with skeletal teaching staff juggling between teaching and administrative work.  In some schools, teaching staff expected to play multiple roles as a counselor, disciplinarian, librarian and an administrator.

Even the innovative, entertaining Hollywood is restricted in assigning simultaneous roles for the lead cast in the movies.  Perhaps, these school districts deserve an “Oscar” equivalent for making the most with their host, the teaching staff.

What is severely lacking in the educational system consequently reflected in the decisions made in Sacramento… Washington D.C.?

Critical thinking and creativity are conspicuously missing in the policies and major legislations.
Any recent display of creativity has been paradoxical …for example.

In the past eight years, creativity thrived in the contemporary unprecedented housing, stock market and financial debacles and in national security – the ever controversial Guantanamo Bay, torture, wiretapping, renditions, global insecurity all of the excitement contained in a volcano and pleasantly gifted to the succeeding administration of the President Barack Obama.

Voters on their part have also been creative in more than one respect and that’s exclusive for California with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger representing the golden state in Sacramento and not so long ago President George W. Bush in Washington D.C.

Such representations confirm the thought process in the electorates’ mind while casting ballots in the major elections and legislative matter.

Similarly, the damages are visible in the Propositions 8 (Same Sex Marriage) and 1 B (Educational funding cut) when ideology prevails over logic.

In addition, political and corporate systems benefit from pragmatism against failed applications taught in the basic education, starting as early as pre-school during the cognitive skills development. Curriculum should emphasize and encourage young minds to be visionaries and forward thinkers and help them evolve into swift problem solvers.

How does the educational funding cut affect the poor neighborhood school districts?

Anytime funding is differed and diverted from educational programs, the poor neighborhood schools face shutting down and the venue becomes the fertile ground for gang violence and crime.

When this happens, a sizable youth population fall prey to drugs and violence burdening the jail and prison system. The culmination of such events directly impact the state budget with a substantial diversion from education and health funding and allocation towards criminal justice.

Evidently, the state could avoid the cyclical pattern and invest in education and health care as a rescue scheme to protect future tax payers in the community and national interest.

Poverty and disparity exist as long as failed policies and ideologies persists.

Further, Prop 1A, B and C failure echo the sentiments of partisan politics and special interests, viewed as the nemesis to democratic electoral process and legislative matter.

Funding education and health care is the best strategy for common progress in the state and nation.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant