Dear Governor Ducey,
When I lived in Portland, I had a VW Jetta. It wasn’t like my ex-boyfriends’ Volkswagen round microbuses and beetles. The Jetta was square and gray and perfect. And then I moved myself and the Jetta to Portland where the stereo was ripped straight out of the dash. The thieves broke the window too. This whole smash and grab led to me and my best friend Misty riding our bikes to Fred Meyer rather than drive because we would not let some hooligans stop our dream of buying a kiddie swimming pool to fill with hot water so we could manufacture a hot tub-like situation in our college dorm. We went into Fred Meyer hoping to find an inflatable tub but could only find the fully formed plastic blue kind with pictures of orange fish painted on the bottom. We bought it. And then we went back to the parking lot. And then we thought. Hmm. How can we get this home?
Misty is intrepid. “We’ll carry it,” she said. And she did, pedaling down 40th Avenue (39th was too busy) with a swimming pool for a hat. Not to be out intrepided, I said, “I’ll take a turn.” But then the wind kicked up. It lifted the pool like wind lifted Mary Poppins’ umbrella. The wind and the pool took me with them. For a bit. And then deposited me where I more likely belonged, on the ground. Elbow broken.
Later, Misty successfully installed the hot tub but I could never partake because I wasn’t allowed to get my cast wet.
By the end of the year, the painted orange fish had turned green with mildew. It took twelve people to throw it off the dorm room balcony. Look out below. Falling swimming pools. Falling mildew. Unseeable-orange fish.
Also in Portland, the Jetta’s fuel injectors got stolen. I’d replace them. They’d get stolen again. I’d replace them. $1500 worth of fuel injectors later, I finally got a new car.
Prop 123 is like this Jetta. This is a car we the people own clear out. But the legislature stole our car stereo and would like to sell us a new one. The legislature stole our fuel injectors and would like to sell us some new ones. They stole them again and again even though the courts have told them to give us our damn fuel injectors back. They won’t. Now, they’d like us to borrow some money against a car we already own.
The State Trust Land is not the legislature’s. It is the land of the state. That means us, not them. It is our car. We shouldn’t need to borrow against it to raise the amount of money for education, especially since a) there is a 600 million dollar budget surplus and b) especially since the money we need already exists as long as we stop giving business tax breaks which do no good since no business except the prison business wants to do business where education ranks at the very bottom of investment and c) we already own the car, the fuel injectors and the stereo. We shouldn’t have to buy them again. Just stop taking them away.
But listen. It’s tricky, I know. It is our car but if we don’t replace the fuel injectors, we can’t drive the thing. Teachers and students need money now. And, how will it look to the legislature if we abandon our car on the side of the road just to make a statement that says, look, you already owe us this money? The courts say you have to pay it!
The thieves who stole the Jetta’s fuel injectors didn’t care what the courts had to say either.
My ballot sits on the counter. I already sent it in once but I forgot to sign the envelope. I am so conflicted. I want students to have more money. Lots more money. But Prop 123 has these horrible triggers that say if in a recession, no money, if unemployment goes up, no money, and triggers permanent amendments to the constitution that says we’ll never spend more than 48% of the budget on education.
The triggers scare me. They’re like saying you will own this Jetta forever. The thieves know how to crack the hood, pull the plugs. The triggers are like saying, we’ll give you this car you already own and let you borrow money against it and then if we want, we’ll take the car away. We can leave you carless, fuel injectorless, broken elbowed, with nothing but a mildewed old hot tub with fish on the bottom you can’t even see.
I know I have to decide soon but I’m having a hard time. I really do love that car.