Commentary: California voters have messy choices to make

I hope that California's 17 million registered lawmakers are paying attention.

You thought that we only had 120 state legislators?

Well, there are the 120 who are paid $95,291 a year and $141.86 for expenses every day they're in session at the Capitol.

And there's the rest of us who have the power to make law, amend the state constitution and bungle things as badly as the politicians.

We don't lunch with lobbyists who seemingly author everything of importance in California government. We're people in a booth or sitting at the kitchen table, marker in hand, facing another ballot with a long list of propositions.

The initiative process is supposed to empower the people (right on!). Instead, it has allowed powerful interests to con voters into legislation bringing unintended consequences, unfunded mandates and Sacramento paralysis.

The trouble is this: Many voters focus on the beauty contests at the top of the ballot. By the time they get to the propositions, they're guessing or relying on commercials for inspiration.

It wouldn't be so bad if the propositions were simply written and honestly marketed. But confusion and deception are the tools of the corporations, public employee unions and political parties who manipulate this system.

On Tuesday's ballot, there are questions that voters can easily answer. Proposition 19 is an example. Do you want recreational pot legalized or not?

Proposition 20 is straightforward. Should California hand the power to remake congressional districts to the new state Citizens Redistricting Commission? Same with Proposition 27. Do you want the Citizens Redistricting Commission killed before it even does its job of drawing up the districts for state Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization members?

To read the complete column, visit www.fresnobee.com.