Voting is too hard / Berkeley ballot silliness

I signed up for an absentee ballot and set aside some time this morning to do some research and fill out the ballot so I could get it in the mail today. It took a really long time to figure out my votes. The issues are pretty complex in some cases, especially when it comes to the state propositions. It’s disturbing to me that so many election decisions will be made based on TV/radio commercials and pithy phrasing on glossy flyers. That being said, I consider myself pretty well-educated and well-informed and although I did some diligent research, I can’t say with confidence that all of my choices were the right ones — but I voted nonetheless.

Now, on to nutty California stupidity. . . .

I’m not a fan of the current presidential administration by any means, but city measures like this one on the Berkeley ballot where I live are just plain stupid and embarrassing:

Measure H: Shall the City of Berkeley petition the United States House of Representatives to initiate proceedings for the impeachment and removal from office of President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard B. Cheney and call upon the California State Legislature to submit a resolution in support of impeachment to the United States House of Representatives?

Oh, please. I voted “no.” Regardless of how I feel about the current administration, I would appreciate it if the Berkeley City Council would focus on things like recycling and fixing street lights, and leave constitutional matters to more appropriate governmental channels. On a practical political level, I can only imagine that Berkeley City Council support for such a resolution would only make it less attractive for the rest of the country, whose support would actually be meaningful.

Despite its frequent stupidity, Berkeley remains strangely loveable. Michael Chabon’s essay “The Mysteries of Berkeley” explains the love/hate relationship one can have with Berkeley far better than I ever could. He really nails it when he calls the Berkeley City Council “that august tribunal of collective neurosis.” Overall, Chabon’s essay is the best single piece of writing on Berkeley I have ever read.

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5 thoughts on “Voting is too hard / Berkeley ballot silliness

  1. Ahh, Berkeley. The only city in America with a foreign policy.

    And what’s with the opposition to Trader Joe’s, in particular because their alcohol is *too* affordable? That store spreads magical pixie dust on any neighborhood it occupies.

  2. TJ’s is spreading some dust, but I think it’s a bit more powerful than the ‘pixie’ strain. It’s amazing what a brand name can do even in Berkeley. So we get a 5-story behemoth (too tall so needs a variance) at a busy two intersections with not enough parking (needs another variance), etc. Some dust! Then TJ’s decides it’s found a better place like the clothing chain that took the place of Edie’s on Shattuck and we’re stuck with a most likely really ugly building. (Stand along side Berkeley High, about at the new swimming pool and look at the new 3-4 story apartments next to the library and tell me that don’t look cheap and ugly.)

  3. re: local “foreign policy”. And how bout that time that Berkeley voted to divest from S. Africa, wasn’t that a hoot!

    Or wait, something’s a coagulating in my mind … weren’t there those silly places a while back, up North, that done voted for those laws saying that you don’t got to return those stinking slaves if they done made it across the border. That was some protesting aginst a ‘foreign policy’, huh?

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