Good Riddance!

This was a bad idea anyway and I’m surprised it even got as much support as it did.

 

Burt LikkoBurt Likko is the pseudonym of an attorney in Southern California. His interests include Constitutional law with a special interest in law relating to the concept of separation of church and state, cooking, good wine, and bad science fiction movies. Follow his sporadic Tweets at @burtlikko, and his Flipboard at Burt Likko.

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43 thoughts on “Good Riddance!

  1. It was a frickin’ horrible idea. I mean not splitting the state apart exactly — you could do that (I mean, obviously, much smaller states exist!) but the proposed split was lunacy.

    I’d love to be filthy stinking rich, but not sure I’d want the obvious bubble mentality — obviously no one told this man what the likely results would be, and the problems with his preferred split.

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  2. Most of the secession or split-the-state movements these days are rural areas trying to get away from the cities. This one at least had the novelty that the sponsor appeared to be motivated mostly as an urban guy trying to get away from the poor rural areas :^)

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      • Even more after I found that some of the supporters actually knew how badly separation would gut their school, roads, police and social services funding, absent very dramatic tax increases. In the case of the Colorado 51st state movement, no Medicaid, no unemployment insurance [1], no state funding for higher ed, were all considered features, not bugs. At least by the organizers — the man in the street seemed to me to think that other than no gun laws, no gay marriage, and full freedom for the oil and gas drillers, nothing would change. I now take the position that anyone putting such separation plans on a ballot ought to be required to provide the two-page version of the new state’s first year budget.

        [1] UI is peculiar, since if the new state didn’t operate a conforming program, the feds would collect high UI taxes and — in theory — run a program for the state. If the state runs a conforming program, most of the federal tax is waived. The tax is high enough that all states run a conforming program, in most cases with a tax rate well below the federal level. IMO, poor rural areas that think they’ll be better off absent the urban/suburban subsidies haven’t looked at just how expensive it is for a state to stay in line with federal requirements. Which says something else, doesn’t it?

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  3. Ungovernable is a such a loosy-goosy concept that it shouldn’t be given serious treatment. Japan is the same size of California but has around 130 million residents and its decently run. Simply because you have a lot of people doesn’t make government bad.

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    • If I were to play Devil’s advocate, I would argue that Japan is more homogeneous than California, and that makes governance easier, and perhaps any entity the size of California might benefit from being able to control their own monetary policy. But neither of those arguments are rock solid, and even if we accept them they don’t evidently get us to the type of proposal at issue here.

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      • There lots of very populous homogenous countries that aren’t well governed or at least not to the extent that Japan is. South Korea, Vietnam, Italy, and the Philippines (for certain values of homogeneity) come to mind. I’d argue that Japan is better governed that California because its government institutions make more sense and are better organized.*

        *One of the real big disappointments in American federalism is that all the states are roughly organized like the Federal government and local government within states often follow the same county/municipality pattern with a few exceptions. If we’re going to have federalism than it would be nice to have more variety between state governments with some following the Parliamentary system and others the Madisonian one. We could have a state with many appointed officials and others with more elected ones, etc.

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      • …local government within states often follow the same county/municipality pattern with a few exceptions.

        I’d be interested in hearing about alternatives to the standard home-rule cities and counties-as-agents-of-the-state models. Some of the difficulty with using something other than the standard arrangement can be laid at the hands of the feds. Some large federal agencies will only deal with the state government — and sometimes only a single agency within that state government — and holds the state responsible for failures. That limits the amount of actual authority that can be delegated.

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      • What I meant is something like a state experimenting with more appointed officials rather than elected officials in jurisdictions. The geographically smaller and less populous states like Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware, and Conneticut coudl be a lot more centralized than they actually are. It might make more administrative sense to have the state government run more than delegate responsibility like they do in bigger, more populous states. Basically, run the state government like a centralized European state. Maybe even try a parliamentary form of government.

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  4. Well, I’m ambivalent on the idea of splitting up California, this specific proposal was one by a technolibertarian to shield the “good” rich people in the Silicon Valley from having to send their tax money to the poor parts of the rest of the state.

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  5. Yeah, well, all I’ll say is after following a local county referendum through the process, watching the politicians and business interests work to sabotage it, it finally got to the courts, only to have the court pronounce that everything the elections board did was legal. The whole think was wired to fail, and even the think veneer covering something pronouced “legal” still let’s the stink of corruption through.

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  6. As with most stunts, the point was not to actually get this to happen. The point was to have all the Good People of the state stand up and say they were just fine with the way things were, no changes needed, what’s happening now is exactly how they intended it, and if they had it to do over again they wouldn’t change a note.

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    • That’s some serious 11-th dimensional chess you’re talking about there, . Given that of the six proposed states, only “Silicon Valley” would have been better off after the proposal than it was before as part of the whole, I’m gonna go ahead and disagree with the notion that this was a pro-status quo effort. If you’re a rich silicon valley dude you don’t dump millions of your own dollars so people can reject your vanity political proposal and then sit around telling themselves how great things are now so they didn’t really need that silicon valley dude telling them how to do things anyway. No, I think the proposal was made with sincerity, born out of a combination of frustration with Sacramento and a high degree of cultural and economic insularity.

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      • It wasn’t a pro-status-quo effort. That’s the point. It was a way for Rich Silicon Valley Dude to get the people in Sacramento to publicly declare their support for the status quo. Which is, in his estimation, thoroughly rotten and insupportable, and now he has further support for his claim that the people in charge of California are corrupt when they aren’t incompetent and his business (and its tax money) would be better off someplace else.

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      • …and his business (and its tax money) would be better off someplace else.

        The man owns and operates a VC company, he could move it in a heartbeat. Well, except for two pesky facts: (1) in many ways California is a nicer place to live than the alternatives (38M people and growing can’t all be wrong), and (2) so many of the kinds of businesses he wants to invest in are California companies (some of which is, of course, due to (1)). I’ve always thought it amusing that VC conservatives seem to be offended by the fact that most start-up hotbeds are located in areas that are at least local maxima of liberal sentiment.

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      • Or at least liberal window-dressing. Remember Brandon Eich?

        ****

        I’m looking at this as the equivalent of Oscar Zeta-Acosta setting a judge’s lawn on fire in an attempt to get disbarred. “Look at what an awful person I am. And yet I’ve still not been disbarred. Remember that next time a California lawyer tells you he deserves respect due to his accomplished position as a member of the bar.”

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  7. Rest assured, , no one will laugh louder than I the “next time a California lawyer tells you he deserves respect due to his accomplished position as a member of the bar.”

    An active California bar card and $4.29 can get you a tall latte at Starbucks.

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    • How is it that in today’s world, “tall” = “small”? I have a deep aversion to using Starbucks’ lingo when I go there. I’ll purposely ask for a small coffee, and when they ask “you want the tall,” I’ll reply, “is that your smallest one?”

      It’s not fair to the baristas, of course, but somebody’s got to take a stand for decency.

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      • I’ve discovered that some Starbucks are cool with standard English but others strongly insist on using the tall-venti-grande lingo. Starbucks does have what is called a “short” which might be the equivalent of an extra small or small but it is not listed on the board.

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      • I agree. It’s preposterous. The smallest size should be called a “small”.

        The other annoying thing is places that have a small, medium, and large, but also a “kid’s” size that’s the actual size – thereby dissuading you from ordering an actual small item because it’s for “kids”.

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      • It’s called a “short.” but in reality it’s their super-small. It’s not a regular size.

        I’ve never dealt with one that insisted. Clarified, yes, but not corrected, much less insisted.

        Nevertheless, I eventually just gave in and went with it. I think everyone initially has the aversion to the lingo.

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      • I’ve gotten the barista shaking one of the cups and asking, “You want this size, right?” and they are under pressure to get the drink made in a hurry so I don’t want to hassle the employee because corporate chose strange lingo and insisted on “educating the customer” to adhere to it. Well, now I’ve been “educated” and sometimes I even remember to use the correct phrase on those unusual occasions when I’m ordering a fancy expensive coffee drink there.

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      • They’ve brought back “small,” but for years McDonalds labelled their fry sizes Medium, Large and Extra Large.

        It gets even more interesting when you try to play their game. An amusement park in my area had only “large, extra large, and extra extra large” drinks and I wanted the smallest one, so I ordered a large. The woman behind the counter quite sensibly assumed that I wanted the biggest one and gave me an extra extra large, which looked to be about 96 ounces of Pepsi.

        At least the Starbucks system doesn’t introduce namespace collisions.

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      • “I have a deep aversion to using Starbucks’ lingo when I go there. I’ll purposely ask for a small coffee, and when they ask “you want the tall,” I’ll reply, “is that your smallest one?”
        It’s not fair to the baristas, of course, but somebody’s got to take a stand for decency.”

        Heh. I don’t go often but I do the exact same thing, except with the extra large. I will not use their term. “I said, the biggest one you have.”

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      • The woman behind the counter quite sensibly assumed that I wanted the biggest one and gave me an extra extra large, which looked to be about 96 ounces of Pepsi.

        When my children were teenagers and we were all having fast food, I sometimes annoyed them by ordering “the small bucket, please.”

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      • I’ve started miming cup height with my fingers, and failing that, “umm, 16 ounces?” in various coffee places. And as close to coffee ground zero as I am, there are a lot, and some play games and some don’t. My method mostly works – at least the baristas seem to appreciated it once they figure out what I’m doing…

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      • In their defense, a standard “short” mug of coffee that you’d brew in your house or order at a diner is 8 ounces. Now that there’s an independent coffeehouse on every street corner in a middle-american town, it seems ridiculous, but once upon a time they actually felt the need to communicate their sizes in coffee-sized terms rather than something closer to soda sizes.

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