The California Two-Step

California took one step forward but many steps backward in the November 7 election. Voter approval of Proposition 1A was a good thing, limiting state government’s ability to siphon transportation money in order to fuel spending for other programs. Unfortunately, Prop 1A was countered by an alphabet soup of new bond funding that will not only reduce California’s credit rating and burden taxpayers with more debt, but it will also more than make up for the loss of previously siphoned income from the transportation budget.

Amazingly, the cigarette tax, Proposition 86, left its proponents up in smoke.

Proposition 88, the “I forgot we passed Proposition 13 tax,” was left in the dust as soon as union leadership caught wind that they may get less money altogether by supporting this proposition.

Measure D – It’s way too early to raise your hands in the sky and scream halleluiah! Measure D failed, but it garnered nearly 54% of the vote (it needed 66.67%). Measure D will be back, however, probably in every election between now and 2010, when the original Measure D (half cents sales tax for 20 years) is set to expire. Proponents will study the results of this election, adjust the mix of money and promises, and continue to move the percentage higher until they reach the magic 66.67% number.

The Bottomless Well

Instead of raising taxes, which can often lead to political suicide, bonds are passed to cover increased spending. Today’s economy is healthy, but what happens when recession hits, or a natural disaster (the foretold “big-one” earthquake), and/or a national economic crisis? Then, it will simply be a question of who will utter the immortal words: “Read My Lips – New Taxes.”

Proposition 1B puts $40 billion into highway safety, traffic-reduction, air quality and port security, something ordinary tax revenue should cover. Proposition 1C, Proposition 1D, and Proposition 1E combined add another $34.4 billion to a massive state-financed credit card bill.

Unfortunately, Jessica’s Law, Proposition 83, passed overwhelmingly. It will only be a short time before lawsuits come pouring in and the government needs more money than expected to pay for monitoring thousands of now-lifetime child molesters.

Coming, Going, Gone

Congratulations to Bob Noël on his Santa Barbara School Board victory, but good-bye to 32-year veteran Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson. We’re not sure why we needed a new sheriff, but welcome Lompoc Police Chief Bill Brown to the neighborhood. Surprisingly, Cold Spring School’s Measure K failed. No doubt, backers will go back to the drawing board to figure out what went wrong and try again.

Margaret Rose Ross, 1934 – 2006

Margaret Rose Ross passed suddenly on October 28, 2006. She was born in Santa Barbara on September 8, 1934, to Mabel Smith Ross and John Fraser Ross. As a child, she spent many summers camping and fishing with her family, and developed a lifelong love of nature. As an adult, she enjoyed hiking backcountry trails and identifying every tree and flower. She donated time to the Sedgwick Preserve, leading guests on nature walks, and led many wildflower hikes for the Montecito Trails Association. Among her distinguished clients was President Ronald Reagan on whose ranch she escorted international dignitaries on nature walks.

A graduate of Stanford University in biology with honors, class of 1956, Margaret worked for many years on important DNA projects in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Cottage Hospital and made significant contributions to science. After retirement, she devoted herself to property management in Montecito, bringing home supervision, assistance with financial matters, and rich companionship to several fortunate patrons.

Margaret had an engaging personality, a luminous intelligence, and a quality of charity that endeared her to friends and clients alike. She is mourned by her survivors, including her brother, David Ross of Santa Maria, her niece Laurie Ross of Irvine, and her Nephew Douglas Ross of Goleta. Friends are invited to Maxi Decker’s House, December 3, 2006, from 3 pm to 5 pm to celebrate her life.

Donations in Margaret’s honor may be made to the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, the Sedgwick Preserve, or Montecito Trails Association. – Maxi Decker, Montecito Journal