California Ballot Initiatives

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones has a good article on the 12 (count ’em 12!) initiatives that will be on the ballot in California on Nov 4th. I don’t agree with his assessment on all of these. On the other hand I should probably look a little harder at a couple of them before Tuesday to make sure I really understand them. ::sigh::

I really, really agree with him about tending to vote NO on any and all ballot initiatives these days. I’m all for the idea of the initiative system – the referendum, recall and initiative systems were created as a way to give direct power to the people to counter the control rich corporations had over the state legislature and the big political parties. Unfortunately in recent years, these ballot initiatives have become just another way for big money interests to control state policy without the pesky need to lobby politicians. So it is past time we reform the system in a way that makes it harder for crusading millionaires and out of state parties (such as the LDS church) to try to pass laws that are essentially irrevocable.

I confess I have no bright ideas as to exactly how to do that without also making it impossible for true grass-roots organizations (such as those behind Prop 2 ) to get legitimate measures that might be difficult to pass through the legislature onto the ballot. But it has to be done because I am sick unto death of having to fight the same abortion initiative over and over again and watching right-wing asshats try to legislate morality via constitutional amendment. Seriously, three strikes and you’re out on the attempt to curb abortion rights by ballot initiative. This time the wing-nuts supporting this piece of crap should have to pay back Planned Parenthood and all the donors to the NO campaigns for all the money spent keeping this BS out of our state’s Constitution! Likewise the LDS and Catholic churches if Prop 8 goes down into the flames that it ought to.

Ok, I’m really going to be glad when this election is over. I can feel my blood pressure rising as the day gets closer.

Blessings all!



One Response to “California Ballot Initiatives”

  1. Evan Ravitz says:

    Voters on ballot initiatives need what legislators get: public hearings, expert testimony, amendments, reports, etc. The best project for such deliberative process is the National Initiative for Democracy, led by former Sen. Mike Gravel: Also and

    In Switzerland, petitions are left at government offices and stores for people to read and sign at leisure, so there are less aggressive petitioners more informed signers, and less $ required. The Swiss vote on initiatives 4-6 times a year so there’s never too many on one ballot. Because they have real power, the Swiss read more newspapers/capita than anyone else.

    Legislators have never tried to improve the ballot initiative process, but often try to make it even harder. They’d rather have absolute power!

    In Switzerland, representatives are humbler, after centuries of local and cantonal (state) ballot initiatives, and national initiatives since 1891. They call their system “co-determination.” This works well for couples, too!

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