With a stroke of the pen, Governor Schwarzenegger has added a twelfth proposal to the November statewide ballot... a big ballot that may still grow bigger.
The governor placed a $900 million bond measure on the ballot to provide low-interest home loans to returning veterans of current and recent wars. And in swift order, Secretary of State Debra Bowen then designated the vets bond as Proposition 12.
The backers of Prop 12 say the bonds will be repaid, over time, through loan payments made by veterans. The measure sailed through the Legislature with not a single vote in opposition, and quickly made its way to Schwarzenegger's signing desk in a ceremony in Sacramento this morning.
So that's 12 measures in all, and more are in the hopper. Remember there's a possible water bond (which was the subject of new discussions last week), a budget reform proposal pitched by the governor (with a separate idea on the issue floated by GOP legislators), and a possible reform of the 24-year-old lottery initiative to raise cash for state budget needs.
That would be 15. And even more new voter decisions were mentioned this afternoon by Senate GOP Leader Dave Cogdill in his appearance before the Sacramento Press Club. Cogdill said Republicans may push for balancing the current state budget by borrowing or using money currently earmarked for other voter-approved initiatives.
Such a plan would, you guessed it, require a vote of the people. If all of those "tweaks" could be placed in one proposal, that would be 16. If not, it could mean as many as 18 ballot measures. Wow.
Direct democracy is alive and well in California.