If you’re still tempted to vote for 77…

…please, read this entire post (from dailykos) very carefully. It’s the compactness criteria that would really cause the problems; this thing is a power grab, plain and simple. It’s every bit as bad as what Rep. Tom DeLay did in Texas, it’s just much more carefully dressed up to look reasonable.
There’s an interesting intersection with land use policies here. One of the most remarkable aspects of the 2004 election was just how incredibly blue the cities were and just how red everywhere else was, which was best illustrated by this map…

Not much has been written about why this is, but one theory is the almost complete elimination of interaction with the public realm in the suburbs. It’s possible to walk into the garage, hop in the car, drop the kids off at school, go to work, and then repeat this process in reverse at night without ever having any kind of interaction with the public sphere that you’re aware of. (of course the roads and the schools wouldn’t exist without the government, but it’s easy to not think about this) Alternatively, most city dwellers interact with the public sphere from the moment they set foot out the door. This may be part of what gives rise to these two very distinct worldviews.
So if California were to suddenly start building walkable and transit-friendly new urbanist type neighborhoods – instead of sprawl – this might not matter as much. Pockets of this are happening locally, but since there’s been no statewide initiative, it’s certainly not widespread. We will get there, but since this is really nothing less than a realignment of the American dream, it’s going to take a few years. In the meantime, the sly gerrymandering they’re trying to make happen here will further cement their majority in congress.
However, it is possible that the when the true hideousness of Republican economic principles starts to settle in, the results are going to turn out to be so incredibly bad for so very many people that it won’t matter whether you take the bus to work in the morning or hop in the SUV. This is already happening, and the SF Chronicle has another excellent story on it in today’s paper. The political ramifications of this middle class squeeze could end being very far reaching. The authors only touch on it, but the fact is that the Republicans don’t have a single answer for this problem. Shoveling more money at rich people really isn’t cutting the mustard, and people are starting to wake up to that.
In an act of perhaps intentional editorial irony, the Chron also chose to run this incredibly frustrating and lengthy interview with Bush apologist and economist Michael Boskin. Like most right wing economists, this guy comes off like a complete tool. He sounds so out of touch that he must’ve conducted this interview from mars. He’s certainly missing the story that the Chron ran on the front page of the same edition he’s in the business section of.
The only thread that ties all of the initiatives together is Governor Schwarzenegger and the Republican-coporate machine’s overall objective, which is to consolidate his freak victory of 2003, structurally realign politics in this state and flip it permanently to the right – regardless of how many more lefties there are and where they live. 77 is part of that. Nix the first six – and that includes a big old NO on 77.