By Ray Stern
It's always safer to just vote "No" on every single ballot proposition if you haven't studied up before the election, precisely because of propositions like 200 and 202.
If you've already gotten the low-down on these two props, then by all means, vote your conscience. But don't be fooled -- it's possible you've gotten a bum steer on these initiatives by their promoters.
Proposition 202 is called the "Stop Illegal Hiring Act," but it is really intended to weaken the harsh employer sanctions law that took effect this year. It eliminates anonymous tips and makes it harder for the government to prove an employer knowingly hired undocumented workers.
Now, knocking the wind out of the employer sanctions law might be exactly what you want to see happen. Indeed, that might be why a majority of surveyed voters indicated they'll be voting Yes." A September poll by PBS Channel 8, (KAET), shows voters are likely to pass Proposition 202 overwhelmingly.
Then again, considering the fact that a slate of tough anti-illegal-immigration initiatives passed with huge margins in 2004, the poll results might mean that voters aren't paying close attention.
Even more egregious is Proposition 200, the so-called Payday Loan Reform Act. Radio and television commercials for this initiative sound like they were produced by a consumer protection group. As a Better Business Bureau executive recently noted, the ads even claim the payday loan industry is unethical.
But the payday loan ads and the proposition are the products of the payday loan industry.
Proposition 200 does introduce some reforms, but it also allows the payday loan industry to keep charging as much as 400 percent interest. If the proposition fails, a legislative exemption on the high-interest payday loans ends in 2010. The payday loan folks say that might threaten the very existence of their industry.
In other words, the most substantive payday loan reform could be had by voting "No" on Proposition 200.
Whether you vote up or down on these props, just make sure you know what you're doing.