While the final official vote counts are not all in yet, it’s still a bit of a disappointment for us Libertarians that our Presidential candidates did not fare as well as hoped in this zany election year. At the latest count though, the Johnson-Weld ticket pulled in 4,429,013 votes this time (3.29%). While drastically smaller than the 10% polling touted earlier in the year, still 4.4 million votes is nothing to sneeze at. While we know that some voters chose the Libertarian ticket because of how bad the major party candidates were and will probably vote major party the next time, hopefully a significant number will stick with the liberty movement and vote their conscience again in future elections. Meanwhile Johnson did pull in impressive numbers in some of the smaller states: New Mexico-9.3% (where he was Governor for 8 years), North Dakota-6.3%, Alaska-5.9%, Oklahoma-5.7%, Montana-5.6%, South Dakota-5.6% and Wyoming-5.3%. Statewide Johnson pulled in 478,499 (3.4%), and in San Francisco he got 8,883 (2.17%) as opposed to 4,096 (1.13%) 4 years ago. Also noteworthy is the number of registered Libertarians in the state—about a year ago, it was around 120,000, but the latest official count is 139,805. We’re moving in the right direction!
For the California ballot measures, as might be expected, we have very little good news to report. All bonds and taxes passed easily, proving once again why California has such a high cost of living. Increased gun control (need permission from the government to buy ammunition) and one of the plastic bag bans (the stores get to keep the 10 cents) also were approved by the voters. The voters retained the death penalty and approved the other death penalty measure limiting the length of appeals, even though DNA discovery has vindicated convicted and condemned prisoners in recent years. The only bright spots were the voters’ approval of Prop 54, which requires a 72-hour notice before bills can be voted on; Prop 57, which requires lighter sentences for rehabilitation, “good behavior,” and education; and the voters’ thumbs down (though not by much) of Prop 60, which would have regulated the porno industry by government voyeurs.
When it came to how San Francisco voted versus the rest of the state, there are few surprises: terrible on economic issues but much better on personal issues. On the state school bond (Prop 51), despite many cities and counties voting on local school bonds of their own, as did San Francisco, San Francisco voters voted 66.75% for the state bond, but only 55.2% of the state voters voted YES. On the extension of the “temporary” tax on high wage earners for education and healthcare (Prop 55), 63.3% of state voters voted YES, but 72.6% of San Francisco voters approved the extension for another 12 years. We have no doubt that this tax will be renewed again and again due to a severe case of governmental tax addiction. The $2/pack cigarette tax increase was approved by 64.4% of state voters but by a whopping 81.5% of San Francisco voters. In complete disregard for the Second Amendment, 63.1% of California voters approved Prop 63, but in San Francisco 85.5% of the voters voted to limit citizens’ access to ammunition but not the government’s. On the other hand though, San Francisco voters saw the folly in possibly executing the wrong person by voting to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; Prop 62 was approved by 71.0% in San Francisco but only 46.8% statewide. On Prop 66, which now makes it easier to execute a convicted person who might actually be innocent, San Francisco voted NO by 68.3% while statewide only 48.9% voted NO. So, to change that Mae West quote around a bit, when San Francisco voters are good, they’re good, but when they’re bad, they’re not better but really bad!
On the local ballot measures, as always, all taxes, bonds, and set-asides were easily approved here, except (happily) Props H, M, and K. Prop H would have created another government bureaucracy (Public Advocate Department) to deal with the overblown and crushing bureaucracy we already have. Wouldn’t it make more sense to start getting rid of some of that bureaucracy by laying off government employees rather than hiring more folks? Well San Franciscans aren’t quite ready to go that far (though we could dream), but at least they had the good sense (though not by much) to vote NO on H by 52.24%. Prop M was another attempt to create more bureaucracy by creating the Housing & Development Commission to oversee two new departments (the Department of Economic & Workplace Development and the Department of Housing & Community Development). More bureaucrats doing a lot of nothing. While the cost would have been a drop in the bucket with San Francisco’s gargantuan budget, it was a typical ballot measure touted by those who believe government bureaucrats actually help regular people. These commissions and departments serve only a very small portion of special interests—and themselves. Fortunately there are still some moderates in The City, and Prop M only got the backing of the left-of-center supervisors and received a NO vote of 55.8%. Lastly we are very happy that Prop K (sales tax increase of .75%) went down to a resounding defeat of 65.29%. A similar measure 5 years ago received a 53.87% NO vote. We see two factors at work here. First, statists love it when other people have to pay for their dreams, but when they have to pay for it themselves, as in a sales tax increase, they have to think twice. Secondly, there has been a lot in the local news about San Francisco’s record $9.6 billion budget, which is larger than the budgets of some states and smaller countries. Apparently 8 of the 11 supervisors (and most of them are the moderates) felt no shame about asking the voters to give more money to the government to waste when they already have almost $10 billion to waste per year. The Mayor and Board of Supervisors are now scrambling to “rebalance” the budget because it was passed on the assumption that the sales tax increase would be approved by the voters. We consider that almost 2 out of 3 San Francisco voters put their foot down and said NO to this moderate madness to be a saving grace to this election. Maybe there’s hope for San Francisco after all!