New Column – O’Brien Takes on the Props

141834-fullPerhaps the most universally accepted characteristic of a good citizen is one who participates in democracy, and the most accessible form of participation is voting. The ballot we are looking at for the November election is the longest we have had in many years, and getting it all in perspective can be challenging.

Producing an informed and active electorate becomes even more difficult when in California, citizens are asked to go to the polls as many as three times in a calendar year. This November, we are presented with 17 state propositions, two county measures and four municipal measures.

It seems that through the unwitting collaboration of our politicians and legislators, special interest groups, mainstream and social media, we are increasingly asked to make decisions on candidates and proposed laws without a reliably unbiased and balanced account of their merits.

Intentional or not, the powers of influence are wearing out the electorate – if not by the repetitive succession of elections and the superabundance of candidates and ballot measures, then it is with the profusion of frequently exaggerated, slanted and untrue arguments for and against a particular outcome.

It is my belief that the voter fatigue which is the result of these factors either completely discourages the electorate from going to the polls – or just as bad – sends the voter to the polls informed, armed only with the boxes that the political party they identify with has already checked. This lack of studiousness begets elected representatives who are in turn lazy in their lawmaking, leaving the citizenry over-governed and over-taxed, while public properties and services: Our roads, our parks, our police and fire departments, our schools… are left neglected or mismanaged.

With all of this in mind, I approached Judith Martin-Straw, editor of, about collaborating on a daily discussion of each ballot proposition and measure Culver City voters will be faced with in November. We will present each ballot item with a basic summary, one per day, and ask members of the Culver City Facebook page to weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

The intent and hope is that through civil discourse amongst a group of approximately 3500 members, we will provide everyone with worthy arguments for and against each ballot item. And by doing it one-a-day, the flow of information won’t be so overwhelming.

Beginning today, I’ll be posting a column on, and  looking forward to your comments and dialogue.

Dan O’Brien

Editor’s Note – As always, comments must be signed with your real name (and include an email where you can be reached – this email will not be made public, but must be accessible to the editor) and may not use obscene language or make threats against anyone. And, as always, we will publish the “Mark Your Ballot”  column on Election Day with specific endorsements on candidates, propositions and measures. And, in cases where I disagree with Mr. O’Brien’s analysis, I will be commenting as well. 

One last note – to our friends on Facebook – is a WordPress site that does not notify you if someone has replied to your comment, so you will want to check back to continue the conversation. 

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. I went through the the propositions yesterday with my daughter. To us, the way to vote was clear. I would really like to see how people weigh in on the local Parcel Tax Measure. IMO there is so much at risk right now and I really would like to know (1) what kind of “hammer” the Feds will hit us with should this measure not pass (2) what is the impact on Culver City, as an incorporated City, should the Feds come down hard on us.

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