Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Majority rule campaign

Dueling initiatives.
            The organization Repair California is circulating an initiative 09-0067, for the fall 2010 ballot calling for a  California constitutional convention.  They have paid staff and signature gatherers.
            The volunteer  organization Californians for Democracy is circulating an initiative 09-0037, calling for a change in the  current constitution The California Democracy Act which simply says, “All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.”

            The Repair California initiative is 17 pages long and uses 7,955 words to describe how the constitutional convention would be called, delegated, organized, and structured.   The California Democracy Act initiative is 483 words and makes the simple statement calling for a majority vote.
            When both groups appear on campuses and on the streets, there is confusion.  The paid signature gatherers of Repair California use tag lines which they hope will interest students, like…  “signing this  will end the 2/3 vote rule in the legislature.”  That is a possibility from a convention, but not at all certain.
             The majority rule campaigns, on the other hand, are dependent upon volunteers . The campaign is particularly strong on U C campuses and is seeking to spread to CSU and Community college campuses as well as to the general public.  To reach the November ballot, each  initiative  needs to gain  over 635,000 signatures by June.
  The California budget  is in deep trouble  for the next several years , and the problem is aggravated the  anti democratic limits on the legislature’s ability to pass a budget.  The California Democracy Act- written by George Lakoff, is simple and direct.  It says,
All legislative action on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.  It’s just  this one sentence.  It would change two words in the Constitution, turning "two-thirds" to "majority" in two places.

Democracy is the critical  issue   here.  More democracy  is required for the legislature to make progress on the budget.  The current  two-thirds rules have an anti-democratic effect. Our legislature is currently under minority rule. One-third plus one -- only 34% -- of either the Assembly or Senate can and do  block the will of the majority.  
Republican minority rule has produced a  stalemate in the legislature and regressive  and punitive budgets.   Changing the vote requirement to a majority for budget and revenue would allow  the  budget to  meet the state's needs and be passed on time.
Qualifying this initiative requires  a serious campaign making the case for democracy  and allowing the voters to see that minority rule is the root of the problem.  And, it requires helping people to understand the differences between the competing initiatives.
 The campaign  needs volunteer  county and precinct workers, campus volunteers, fund raisers, and media workers.
Campaign information is at :
Duane Campbell,
Sacramento County coordinator. Majority Rule Campaign
The Majority Rule Campaign information is at :
The Repair California campaign is at
Duane Campbell,
Sacramento County coordinator. Majority Rule Campaign

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