[EM] <<process>> Multiple-option initiatives

Wynott at aol.com Wynott at aol.com
Thu Mar 7 08:52:20 PST 1996

In a message dated 96-03-06 03:29:38 EST, Steve Eppley writes:

>Do you think there'd be serious opposition to multiproposal (via
>Condorcet ballot) Initiative reform?
Among real democratic "reformers", no . . . though I don't know that it would
be a high priority for them.

However, among the "powers-that-be", absolutely yes.  Anything that takes
power away from legislative bodies they can control will get attacked
fiercely, and expanding the viability of initiatives is particularly scary to
them.  Oregon's state legislature (or at least one house of it -- I haven't
heard the details) just passed a measure requiring that at least 20% of the
required number of signatures for an initiative be collected in each of its
five congressional districts -- the idea being to make it much more difficult
for progressives in the Portland area to collect a lot of signatures there on
initiatives that are unpopular in the "hinterlands" -- e.g. forest

And I sat at a hearing yesterday in Santa Barbara in which a former county
Supervisor and current head of a "taxpayers" group said, with a straight
face, that a measure on the upcoming ballot that requires county-wide
referenda on new offshore oil drilling and processing facilities represents a
"poll tax" !!! -- i.e. it requires oil companies to have to pay to have a
vote on its project.  He also questioned whether the initiative would
illegally create another "legislative body" (i.e. "the people"), citing
Madison's Federalist #10 to the effect that such a thing would be
inconsistent with the wishes of the Founding Fathers!  (Nothing better than
quoting a slaveowner about the values of limiting democracy.)  I'd be
laughing more if his quotes had not been featured on a TV news story about
the initiative and if he hadn't been named S.B.'s "Man of the Year" three
days earlier.

In otherwords, do not underestimate the willingness of fat cats and other
anti-democrats to do whatever it takes to hold onto their power.

-- K.D. Weinert

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