Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The 2008 Sam-n-Andy Guide for the Perplexed

It’s an unusual ballot for us here in Arizona this year, with pretty exciting candidates and really dispiriting propositions. I’ve been asked for this year’s guide to the props and judges, and there really isn’t much to say, but for the curious who want to submit their early ballots so the robocalls will stop already, here are Andy’s and my calls for 2008:

On the propositions, it is a very justifiable position to vote “no” on all if you’re in a hurry. But if you are one of those people who expect yourself to complete each ballot in full (like you get a prize if you vote for every office and question, but what the heck, I vote in SRP elections so I’m not one to criticize), or if you're in a really good mood when you complete your ballot, vote no on everything except the following weak “yes” votes:

Home warranties (201): A fairly interesting legal and political question. Developers have come up with CC&Rs for new communities that severely restrict warranty claims, both by individual homeowners and by associations, putting them into arbitration and limiting the time for raising claims. It’s a voluntary contract, you don’t have to buy into one of these CC&R communities, and I’ve drafted some of these provisions for clients myself. So this initiative resets the ground rules, mooting these CC&R provisions, because who actually reads (or understands) the CC&Rs before buying a home, and these days in Arizona you can’t buy a new home without having CC&Rs. It’s interesting, because a lot of the same people who want the state legislature to impose rules on HOAs would tend to oppose this initiative (and the “no” campaign is “stop lawsuit abuse.”) This one scrambles the usual right-left political divide, but I came down in favor of “consumer representatives” instead of “developers” (not that there are really any developers left in the current real estate market).

Employer sanctions fixes (202): So do you vote on what’s better (certainly not best) for public policy, which is these corrections to the 2006 anti-illegal immigrant initiative approved by the voters, or do you vote to “heighten the contradictions” by letting the heavily R business community stew in their own juices, they made their bed, why should we clean up for them after their pals Russell Pearce and Joe Arpaio, etc., all of which is a valid argument to vote no? This referendum basically keeps all of the bad stuff against individuals, but provides relief to the employers. You decide if that’s a good thing or not. I forget how I voted on this one, seriously.

Legislator pay (300): Like it has any chance of passing.
On the judges, no obvious clunkers, all deserve retention. There’s some grumbling on the left about some of these judges, but I’m especially supportive of Scott Bales on the Supreme Court and Ann Timmer on the Court of Appeals. Some lawyers don’t like Linda Akers but I voted for her. Akers used to be US Attorney for Arizona, and at the time (during the halcyon years of the George H. W. Bush administration) was seen as very partisan, but that’s another thing that George W. Bush has done for (to?) our country; the standards for politicization of US Attorneys has descended so much that Judge Akers is now a statesman. These days, even Democrats pine for the decency and standards of the Age of Gingrich.

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