Prop Zero
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Letter From Ohio: At Least We're Not California

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    NEWSLETTERS

    I spent two days this election week in Columbus, Ohio, the swing region of the swing state. And people are talking about California.

    Mostly, they are talking about how much they don't want to be like California.

    Ohioans are worried about their ballot initiative process, which makes it relatively easy to change the state constitution.

    They were worried about a proposal to establish a California-style redistricting commission for Ohio -- so worried that they voted down Issue 2, a ballot initiative to do just that.

    It wasn't only Ohio that rejected California. Voters in Michigan, where your leading blogger sits as he writes this, turned down an initiative that would have established a 2/3 requirement for taxes. Even the Republican governor opposed it.

    There's a warning in this for Californians. The rest of the country follows our lead in matters of fashion, film and food. But in politics and government, they run from our example.

    Maybe, at least in the political realm, we should not lead -- but instead follow the lead of better governed states.

    Lead Prop Zero blogger Joe Mathews is California editor at Zocalo Public Square, a fellow at Arizona State University’s Center for Social Cohesion, and co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It (University of California, 2010).

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