Thursday, April 14, 2005

Ballot Initiatives

The local Democratic Central Committee has decided it wants to "reform" the way initiatives make it to the ballot. They want to outlaw paid signature gatherers claiming that they taint the process and allow "the rich" to use the initiative process to their advantage. That is partly true although I find it amusing they suggest that it's always for some nefarious (and I would assume Republican) purpose, not bringing up the number of Democrat supported ballot initiatives that have been financed by "the rich", Rob Reiner's tobbaco tax, Prop 10, being one that comes to mind and that Stem Cell Research initiative on the last ballot being another one. The Stem Cell Research bond measure being financed by Silicon Valley millionaires, some of who directly benefited from that measure.

I'll have to agree with Republican Party Chair, Lori Metheny: This is more of a case of the pot calling the kettle black and, more than anything else, just a way to attack the current Governor since he's planning on using the initiative system to bypass the legislature for some fundamental government reforms.

I'm no greater a fan of the initiative process than I am of democracy in general. Good or bad can result from either. The state owes much of its debt, not just to the state legislature, but to voters who keep passing bond issues for one reason or the other through ballot initiatives. And let's not even mention taxes being raised, minorities being beaten up, and other bad things that happen through the ballot box.

As for me, I always vote each election if only to vote on the ballot initiatives. If an initiative costs you, me or someone else money, or restricts your freedom in some way, I vote against it. If it increases freedom or keeps more money in your pockets, I vote for it. Makes it pretty simple, doesn't it? It would be nice if everybody did the same.


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