2018 Primary Election Edition

Cheat Sheet

Greetings, Golden Staters! It’s that time again! The state legislature has placed five initiatives on our primary ballot this spring. If this group of proposed laws seems a little on the uncontroversial side, that’s to be expected: Since 2014, only legislature-backed propositions appear on primary election ballots. The juicier ones — props that arise from the citizenry — get held in abeyance until the general election in November, when there are a lot more voters.

Still, it’s worth getting acquainted with (and voting on!) this batch of five; their effects could be felt for a long time to come. If you are a longtime Mad Props reader, you’re familiar with our approach; if not, maybe check out our manifesto before diving in. All righty then, enough of our boring opening shtick. Here’s how you should vote on the props — or you’re part of the problem! read more about 2018 Primary Election Edition »

2016 General Election Edition

Cheat Sheet

We would really love to provide an entertaining, pithy introductory paragraph for you here, California voters, but we just can’t. We’re spent. Bleary-eyed. Shot-out. We’ve been burning the candle at both ends, you see, researching the 17 propositions on this season’s ballot so you don’t have to. Below you’ll find our recommendations, along with plenty of links to further information, in case you think you smell something fishy in our writeups. We doubt you will, though: Mad Props is proud, every election cycle, to make our biases very clear, and to show our work, just like we had to in math class. Nothing sneaky here. Just independent guidance to California’s propositions, as we’ve been providing since 2008.

If you’re new here, you might want to read our manifesto before you dive in. If you’ve voted with us before, welcome back! And no matter who you are, if you like what you see here, please do hit one of those Share buttons at the end of this edition. We aim to reach more voters every cycle, and we depend on your help to make that dream happen.

Happy Voting! read more about 2016 General Election Edition »

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! read more about 2016 Primary Election Edition »

2014 General Election Edition

Cheat Sheet

Greetings, stalwart citizens of the Golden State! The November 4 election draws nigh, there are six propositions in your Voter Information Guide, and you seek counsel, yes? You’ve come to the right place. New initiates, you’ll probably want a look at the manifesto, which briefly tells you how we are about what we are about. Old friends and fans, welcome back. Let’s give y’all what you came for. On to the Props! read more about 2014 General Election Edition »

2014 Primary Election Edition

Vote Yes Twice!
41 - YES
42 - YES
Hiya, Golden Staters! How have you been? Mad Props misses you in those long spells between elections, but we’re heartened by the fact that you always come back around to pay us a visit when the ballot draws nigh. For this June’s primary election, we’ve got just two statewide propositions up for consideration. We’ll plow through ‘em with a quickness and let you get on with your life. But first, a quick rehash of this site’s principles, just so you know where we’re coming from.

Mad Props holds that California’s initiative process has more or less evolved into a recurring nightmare. The measures that reach the ballot are all too often funded by (or opposed by) obscenely well-funded special interests, which tend to fill the airwaves with misrepresentations and outright, damnable lies. Couple that with the fact that most Californians know very little about how their government actually works, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster: all too often, We the People, through the initiative process, pass laws and constitutional amendments that only add to the dysfunction of our beloved Golden State. Mad Props does its level-headed best to beat back the forces of ignorance, greed, and hate (yes, hate: remember Prop 8?) by providing straightforward, no-bullshit commentary on statewide ballot measures (with plenty of references, so you can double-check our work), and we start from a stance that any given initiative deserves a NO vote by default unless it is more or less crystal clear that a YES vote will leave us all better off.

All right then, the monologue’s over; let’s get on with the show. Here’s how to vote in June 2014 — or else you’re part of the problem.

2012 General Election Post-Mortem

How It Went Down
Prop Mad Props
Said
The People
Said
30 YES YES
31 NO NO
32 NO NO
33 NO NO
34 YES NO
35 NO YES
36 YES YES
37 YES NO
38 NO NO
39 YES YES
40 YES YES

Well Californians, the results are in, and y’all did a rather splendid job. You followed Mad Props’s suggestions on eight of the eleven measures. That’s about 73% correct, folks, which would normally earn you a “C” grade, but we’re grading on a bit of a curve this time, and are awarding you a “B”. The main reason for this is your wise and proper vote to pass Prop 30, which pulls our beloved Golden State back from total fiscal ruin (and thus deserves some extra weight in our grading). This vote might also portend an end to the era during which the Howard Jarvis zombies consistently got the voters to put the state’s schools directly into the shitter for the sake of lower taxes. We’re hoping those days are finally over. Along with teachers and all other manner of state workers, Mad Props rejoices in this historic vote!

2012 General Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
30 - YES
31 - NO
32 - NO
33 - NO
34 - YES
35 - NO
36 - YES
37 - YES
38 - NO
39 - YES
40 - YES
Greetings, fellow Californians! How was your summer? Looking forward to the holidays? The new year? Ready for this bedamned election season to be over at long last? Us, too! The freakin’ suspense is killing us. So let’s power on through this stuff. We’ve got eleven state propositions to get through. I’m afraid we’re gonna need more than two minutes’ worth of your reading time, folks!

A refresher or an intro, depending on if you’ve voted with us before: Mad Props believes that California’s initiative process, now largely driven by obscenely well-funded special interests — many of which have no idea at all what it takes to run a decent government, or believe there is no such thing as decent government in the first place — has become something of a cancer to our dear Golden State. Around here, we feel any given initiative deserves a NO vote by default unless it is more or less crystal clear that a YES vote will leave us all better off. The burden of proof lies squarely with a measure’s proponents.

With no further adieu, here’s how you should vote on the statewide ballot initiatives in 2012 — or else (as we like to say) you’re part of the problem!

2012 Primary Election Post-Mortem

How It Went Down
Prop Mad Props
Said
The People
Said
28 YES YES
29 YES NO

It took more than a couple of weeks, but the results are finally in, and California voters get a “C” grade from Mad Props. Y’all did the right thing with Prop 28, altering our state’s term limits to make them a little less destructive. But by the smallest of margins (well, not exactly the smallest; some of us still remember the 2000 election), the tobacco industry’s will was done, and there won’t be a new tax on cigarettes.

Take care of yourselves this summer, and check back with Mad Props before you go to the polls in November! read more about 2012 Primary Election Post-Mortem »

Mad Props: 2012 Primary Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
28 - YES
29 - YES
Welcome back, California voters! It’s been a year and a half since we saw you last. Are you ready to go to the polls? What? This primary election has sorta snuck up on ya? Well then, thank heavens for Mad Props, your 100% independent guide to California’s ballot propositions! We’re always here for you.

A reminder if you’ve voted with us before, a brief introduction if you haven’t: Mad Props labors under the belief that California’s initiative process, now largely driven by obscenely well-funded special interests, has become more harm than help to our beloved Golden State. In our eyes, any given initiative deserves a NO vote by default unless it is patently obvious that a YES vote will leave us better off. The burden of proof, in other words, lies with a measure’s proponents.

This June’s primary election brings us only two propositions, and for once we can breathe a sigh of relief, for neither of them spells doom for California, whether approved or rejected. But of course we still have opinions! Here are our suggestions for how you should vote, and why. (Don’t forget: By “suggestions” we mean “vote this way, or you’re part of the problem!”)

2010 General Election Post-Mortem

How It Went Down
Prop Mad Props
Said
The People
Said
19 YES NO
20 YES YES
21 NO NO
22 NO YES
23 NO NO
24 YES NO
25 YES YES
26 NO YES
27 NO NO

Now that the 2010 election is (blessedly) behind us, let’s see how the People of California did on their ballot measures. The People got it right five times and got it wrong four times, with none of the misses being anywhere near as awful or destructive as a Prop 13 or a Prop 8, although see below.

Notes: The rhetoric from the pot legalization folks seems to indicate they’ll be back with a stronger proposal in two years. They might not succeed then either, but can legalization at the state level possibly be any farther off than ten years? … Kudos to the People for totally grokking the redistricting props, approving 20 and shooting 27 in the head. … Do not worry, your state parks are not going to close because of 21’s defeat. … The passage of 25 is absolutely fantastic news that is going to change the entire dynamic in Sacramento starting early next year, but the passage of 26 is going to make things really rough on some of our state’s cash-strapped communities; look to see that one rescinded by the people a decade or two down the road when circumstances basically force us to. read more about 2010 General Election Post-Mortem »

Mad Props: 2010 General Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
19 - YES
20 - YES
21 - NO
22 - NO
23 - NO
24 - YES
25 - YES
26 - NO
27 - NO
Howdy, voters! It’s election time! Time to get informed! Time to offset the votes of the ignorant, the greedy, and the mean — hopefully coming up with a few votes extra on this side so that We the People collectively pass up the opportunity to inflict grievous harm upon our beloved state.

Mad Props is your 100% independent guide to California’s ballot propositions. Here are our suggestions for how you should vote, and why. (And remember, by “suggestions” I mean “vote this way, or you’re part of the problem!”)

  • Proposition 19: The Peter Tosh Memorial Initiative (Legalizes Marijuana Under California Law). (info @ Ballotpedia)
    You Should Vote: YES
    Why:
    It’s difficult to believe this day has arrived this soon, but here we are: With a vote, Californians may finally follow Mr. Tosh’s advice and just “legalize it” already.

Mad Props: 2010 Primary Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
13 - YES
14 - NO
15 - YES
16 - NO
17 - NO
It’s election time! Once again, the people of California have an opportunity to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state through the initiative process, and once again, Mad Props is here to stand in the way. Confused by the ballot propositions? I’ll cut through the bullshit and tell you which box you should check—and why.

Mad Props: 2009 Special Election Edition

Cheat Sheet
1A - NO
1B - YES
1C - NO
1D - NO
1E - NO
1F - NO
Oohwee! Look, folks! It’s a Special Election! Meaning, in this case, the people of California have a special, bonus chance to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state via the initiative process. Is this your first time with Mad Props? Then just know that as a native Californian and lifelong student of politics, I’ve come to view statewide ballot measures as something of a menace. In several elections, I’ve voted NO on every single proposition; any given measure has a very steep uphill climb to convince me it’s worth a YES.

Mad Props: 2008 General Election Edition

It’s election season, which means the people of California once again have the chance to inflict grievous harm upon their beloved state via the initiative process. As I explained in the first edition of Mad Props, as a native Californian and lifelong student of politics, I’ve come to view statewide ballot measures as something of a menace. In several elections, I’ve voted NO on every single proposition; any given measure has a very steep uphill climb to convince me it’s worth a YES.

Mad Props: 2008 Primary Election Edition

I write about politics (and love doing so) for a simple reason: I am a lifelong student of the subject. This is partly due to circumstance. My father is a professor of political science — meaning, for instance, that back in the 80s, when I was wee, come a Friday night, the household’s singular television would spend half an hour tuned to PBS’s Washington Week in Review before we could move on to the “good stuff” (like Night Flight). But over time, dammit, political and current-events programming became the “good stuff” as far as I was concerned, and so it was, when I got to college, that studying literature wasn’t enough; I had to study literature and political science — thus leading to the unforgettable moment on the phone when dear old dad laughed and noted that I had chosen “not one, but two completely useless majors.” Ahem.