Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Post-Election Post

In the grand tradition we started in the 2008 elections, I'd like to offer some reflections about some of the results.

The first issue on the agenda is the meaning of Jerry Brown's election for governor, especially if accompanied by Kamala Harris as Attorney General (an outcome which is still uncertain as I write this). As we said earlier in the race, while there are plenty of corrections-related reasons to be relieved that Meg Whitman will not be commanding our ship, Jerry Brown's platform in these matters is not particularly innovative or efficient. Some have made much of his personal distaste for the death penalty and have predicted that, as part of a team with Kamala Harris, the institution may be abolished or at least halted de facto. Brown's behavior during the countdown toward Albert Brown's execution does not appear to predict such an outcome. It remains to be seen what sort of relationship Brown forges (or rekindles) with CCPOA, and what his position might be on Plata/Coleman, which he litigated fiercely against petitioners as Attorney General.

We then have the failure of Prop 19, which I decline to read as stemming from fear or demonization of marijuana users. Much of the feedback I received after publicly endorsing Prop 19 had to do with people who in principle supported legalization but thought the initiative was poorly designed and would lead to chaotic local regulation and, possibly, to "corporatization" of pot. I found it curious that the concerns about possible "corporatization" exceeded, for some, the concerns about racist oppressive enforcement, but to each their own. The lesson to be learned here is, perhaps, that the initiative process is not a good place for such reforms, and given the broad public support for the idea of legalization, creating an appropriate legal framework should be left to professional legislators.

Finally, a municipal disappointment was the disheartening passage of Prop L, the sit/lie ordinance. We blogged extensively here, here, here and here about the punitive and classist animus behind this initiative and are dismayed to see it come to life. Our hope is that the police will act sensibly in enforcing this measure.

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