Here are our opinions on the ballot questions for Tuesday.
- We support Question 1, allowing supermarkets to sell wine. We’ve yet to see a convincing argument why they shouldn’t.
The danger to mom-n-pop liquor stores is vastly overstated. As is the case in many other less tradition-bound states, specialty wine stores will continue to exist because they offer selection and services supermarkets cannot match. Capitalism is not a zero-sum game; a bottle of wine bought at a supermarket does not necessarily mean a bottle of wine not bought at a liquor store. In any event, it’s not up to the liquor stores to tell us we have to buy from them.
In fact, this measure may increase consumption of wine, which as we recently found out, is not such a bad thing at all — and would be endorsed by The Editors even if the scientific evidence were less compelling. Raise a glass to question 1.
- We support Question 2, which introduces the futuristic sounding “fusion voting”. No, this is not voting for Jaco Pastorius vs. Chick Corea. It simply means that small parties can get on the ballot and endorse candidates who just happen to have been endorsed by major parties as well.
The argument that this causes confusion cuts no ice with us. People in New York State seem to get along just fine. (Interesting fact: Bill Weld’s chances to get on the ballot for Governor of New York were hurt pretty badly when he didn’t get the Conservative Party’s endorsement. Take that for what it’s worth.)
This measure would introduce some new faces and “brands” to the ballot; indeed the measure is being pushed by the Working Families Party, a liberal group that vets candidates based on a particular agenda. If you’re a Dem and don’t support strong health care reform (for example), you don’t get their imprimatur. So WFP’s endorsement actually means something substantively, unlike … say … many Democratic endorsements in Massachusetts.
Furthermore, the specific vote count under a third party’s label might quantify the amount of support there is for a particular agenda. If a candidate got 2,000 votes under the WFP (for example) line, then they’d know exactly how much the WFP’s agenda matters.
Naturally conservative groups would form small parties as well. One can envision a Taxpayer’s Party or Right-to-Life Party. And why not? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Bottom line: Fusion voting is not confusing; it’s benign at worst, and at best gives folks more choices in the voting booth. Hey, why not?
- Question 3: We don’t really agree on question 3, which would allow child care workers who get vouchers from the state to unionize.
- Charley says: It really kills me to go against labor, and the cute kids on the websites, and the care providers … Seriously. But this is actually a ferociously complicated issue, not a slam-dunk for better or more widely-available child care, or even for better wages and health benefits. While it seems to be true that child care workers don’t get reimbursed adequately via vouchers from the state, it would seem that forcing the state into collective bargaining for those vouchers would indeed use up the available funds faster, making child care less widely accessible. Furthermore, there are other, potentially more effective and more appropriate organizing tools available to family child care providers to improve working conditions.
We should have a discussion about making child care more widely available and improve benefits and wages, but enacting subtle and far-reaching legislation like this seems a bit much for a ballot initiative. Let’s let the legislature and a hopefully progressive governor handle it, with care.
- Bob says: if child care providers want to join a union, the state should have to negotiate with it, just like any employer. Vote yes on question 3.
- David says: I’m generally with Charley on this one. Some issues don’t lend themselves to being resolved by ballot question, and Question 3 is an excellent example of that. The issue is complicated, and the ramifications are difficult to tease out and require a far deeper understanding of how the state-supported child-care system at issue works than most voters — including the three of us — can hope to have. Moreover, the fact that this whole thing is underwritten by a single union (the Oct. 20 OCPF report for “Campaign for Our Children’s Future” shows a beginning balance of $443.19, and receipts of $750,000, in the form of two donations from SEIU in Washington, DC), which obviously expects to become the exclusive representative, makes me a tad uneasy — is it really for the children, or is it instead for the union? At the end of the day, although I understand Bob’s position and generally agree that people should of course be able to form unions if they want to, I’d prefer to see this worked out through the legislative process rather than by ballot initiative, because I just don’t think we the voters have enough information. So I’m voting “no.” Leaving this one blank is also an acceptable option — and note that enough blanks will result in the measure failing, since in order to pass, an initiative must be approved not only by a majority of the “yes” or “no” votes, but also by at least 30% of the total votes cast at the election (including those that blanked a particular question).