Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A good thing

Here in Pennsylvania a bunch of folks have been angry about a pay raise that the state judges and legislators got a few months ago. There has been this crazy, grass roots effort to repeal the bill that enabled it. Personally I was for the bill since judges hadn't had a pay raise in like 12 years but whatever, who cares, I abstained from the argument.

The interesting thing is that the electorite here in PA actually directed their anger appropriately and voted out a sitting supreme court judge! This is actually quite amazing because of the way these elections are staged. For judges in PA, the incumbants go up for retension which means that they are unopposed and the voters give them a yes or no vote. It's pretty much unheard of for someone to get more no's than yes's becasue usually nobody votes either way and the small group that is the judges support group generally votes yes.

In this case, the people actually spoke. From the John Baer colum I linked above:

This is not good news for incumbent politicians who face the same electorate in 2006.

"Apathy is beginning to melt," says former central Pennsylvania state Rep. John Kennedy, a maverick and long-time advocate of legislative reforms.

He's right.

It is absolutely un-Pennsylvanian for anything like this to happen. It could well mean a new era of voter awareness and participation in a state where government has run amok unnoticed for at least a generation.

"This is the worst of all fears for incumbents," says Matt Brouillette, president of the conservative think tank Commonwealth Foundation. "I think this says that despite legislative efforts to repeal the pay raise voters are saying, 'we might forgive but we won't forget.'"

He's right, too.

The fact that so many folks said "no" indicates a willingness to say "no" to many more.

Lets keep it up!

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