As political candidates of both major parties continue to underwhelm as potential “agents of change,” ballot initiatives grow more interesting.  According to BallotPedia, 90 ballot questions have been certified for 2010 spots in 31 sates. They estimate that if 2010 is an average year, another 130-140 will ultimately qualify.

In California’s upcoming June 8 election:

Type Title Subject Description
LRCA Prop 13, Seismic Retrofitting Taxes Seismic retrofitting should not add to property’s tax assessed value
LRCA Prop 14, Top Two Primaries Elections Top two primary vote getters move to general regardless of party affiliation
LRSS Prop 15, Public Funding of Elections Elections Public funding of politician’s campaigns
CICA Proposition 16 Elections New two-thirds vote requirement for local public electricity providers
CISS Proposition 17 Regulation Discount for those who have had continuous auto insurance coverage

Prop 16 is pure evil, an attempt by PG&E to limit the ability of San Francisco and Marin Counties to go into the power business by requiring a popular vote of 2/3 first.  They have already pumped $6.5 million into the effort and vow to spend between $25 and $35 million.  If you thought Citizens United was bad, just wait til other corporations start guaranteeing themselves monopolies through similar tactics.  San Francisco and a group of government-owned utilities from around the country have filed suit to remove the measure from the ballot.

Prop 15 would assess fees on registered lobbyists for a pilot program to fund candidates for California Secretary of State if they are able to raise $5 contributions from at least 7,500 registered voters.  Polling done last October by Lake Research Partners indicates that 63% support, 22% oppose and 16% are undecided.

Prop 14 is interesting in theory, but the practical impact is debatable. Since incumbents in heavily gerrymandered districts never face serious election challenges from the opposition party, having the top two vote getters face off regardless of party could have the impact of shaking up entrenched incumbents and encouraging accountability.  There are serious questions being raised as to whether this bill will actually achieves that, however, or if it just make it easier for corporatist candidates to buy their way into the general election. On the good side, both parties hate the bill.  On the bad side, Arnold Schwarzenegger loves it and recently got a huge infusion of corporate cash.

Of course, the fall will see a host of marijuana ballot measures in states across the country.

What measures are making their way onto the ballot in your neck of the woods?