2016 Primary Election Edition

(tl;dr: No on 50)

Warm greetings, Californians! So glad you’ve joined us today. The Mad Props machinery is a little bit rusty and squeaky — it’s been nearly two years since we fired it up — but we can take things pretty easy this go-round, as there’s only one Proposition on the June ballot. If you’ve voted with us before, you’re familiar with our no-nonsense approach; if you’re new here, you’ll probably want to check out our manifesto, which gives you the How and the Why of Mad Props. All right then! It’s time to explain why you should vote no on Prop 50 — or you’re part of the problem!

Proposition 50

Suspension of Legislators Without Pay

You Should Vote: NO

Let’s be clear: Proposition 50 is almost certainly going to pass. That doesn’t mean you should vote for it, and it doesn’t mean the measure is a good idea. It just happens to sound like one.

In 2014, three state senators got into big trouble with the law. Roderick Wright (D–Inglewood) was convicted of voter fraud and perjury in January of that year. Ron Calderon (D–Montebello) was indicted on tax fraud, bribery, and money laundering charges in February. And Leland Yee (D–San Francisco) was charged with bribery, arms trafficking, and racketeering in March.

So with one senator convicted of felonies and two others charged with many more, how did the Senate respond? It could have expelled one, two, or all three, but didn’t. Instead, on March 28, 2014, in not-exactly an act of immense courage, the Senate voted to suspend all three. Wright drew pay until he resigned from the Senate in September to serve a ninety day sentence. Calderon drew pay until the end of his term; he is still awaiting trial. Lee also drew pay until his term ended; he is now serving a five year sentence in a federal prison in Texas, having taken a plea bargain.

If Prop 50 had been in effect in 2014, the Senate could have voted to suspend these three lawmakers without pay. That’s the deal, right there. Sounds good, right?

Bah. It’s a con. The Democrats who currently control both houses of the state lege (and believe they will for many election cycles to come) want a way to cut off pay to bad actors in their midst (like the aforementioned three) without giving up seats until the next election. If you expel a Senator, their paychecks come to an end, but the state Constitution then requires a special election to fill the seat (unless it’s already an election year, in which case, no special needed). Special elections are easily lost. The Democrats sidestepped this in 2014 by merely suspending their scoundrels, but they caught hell for the fact that the paychecks kept flowing. It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation for whatever party is in power, so Sacramento offers us Prop 50, which would give said party-in-power an easy way out: suspend the members without pay.

This is not real reform. It just sounds like it. Prop 50 gives whichever party controls the Assembly or the Senate a way to kick a ballot box reckoning on down the line. So, checking in with the Mad Props manifesto, we remind ourselves that we say nay unless a Prop seems likely to make things better. Prop 50 doesn’t pass that test. (If you’re unconvinced, here, let the Los Angeles Times have a shot at you.) Don’t fall for this cyncical ploy by politicans who don’t want to deal with dirty laundry. Vote no on Prop 50. And be prepared to be on the losing side, having fought the good fight and lost, because we tell you, people, this sucker is going to pass.

If you find Mad Props helpful, you can help us right back by spreading the word about our site, and we’ll thank you kindly. Click one of these shiny ‘share’ buttons! Spam your friends! We’ll love you for it! And we’ll see you back in the fall, when we’ll have at least twelve Props on the ballot. We now return you to the WACKIEST SCARIEST SADDEST ELECTION SEASON EVER. Be strong, y’all.

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Mad Props Readers Speak!

What happened to presumed innocent until proven guilty. Making the families suffer before a conviction is rendered is not in my Americas foundation set forth by our founding fathers. Shame.

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