Staff’s blog

Citizens in Charge president Paul Jacob sent the following message to California Governor Jerry Brown after the California Legislature went over the deep end and passed an absurd restriction on petitioners for the second time this year:

Dear Governor Brown,

Today I write to ask you to veto Senate Bill 448. If passed the bill would require citizens petitioning for an initiative, referendum or recall, and receiving any kind of compensation whatsoever, to wear a large badge on their chest saying, “PAID SIGNATURE GATHERER.”

[From The Missouri Record]

Established politicians have a vested interest in opposing the right of the people to pass laws through the petition process.  Missouri is no different. As Citizens in Charge wrote in 2010:

With California’s initiative process under attack from all sides, Dan Walters of the Sacramento Bee concludes that the state Democrat party is out to destroy voters’ petition rights:

Do California Democrats want to eviscerate the initiative process, or merely smother it to death with a blanket of supposed reforms?

The party has almost complete control of state government and apparently doesn’t want to contend with pesky ballot measures. So this year – the 100th anniversary of the initiative, the referendum and the recall – it has declared war.

Red Light CamEarlier today I blogged about the fight over letting voters take red-light cameras to the ballot in Bellingham, Washington, as well as major votes by officials in Los Angeles and Houston. Now just moments ago from the BanCams Washington State Facebook Page came good news for initiative supporters:


Long-time Washington State initiative activist Tim Eyman has slammed Bellingham officials for signing away the city’s right to defend its voters agains traffic camera operators.

Eyman says the mayor, the city council and the company are “colluding” together to make sure that citizens don’t get a chance to vote on red light cameras. You can listen to the audio here.

San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio sent a complaint letter over the weekend to the California Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that Californians Against Identity Theft is running afoul of state disclosure laws.

CAITA shady group calling itself “Californians Against Identity Theft,” or CAIT, is spending big money trying to scare voters into giving up their petition rights.  Radio ads broadcasting in the Sacramento area tell voters that signing an initiative or referendum petition could result in identity theft and claim that petition information is sent overseas.

You can listen to the ad here (link to open/download MP3 from group website).

Pete PetersonPete Peterson, Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership at Pepperdine University’s School of Public Policy, is the latest to join in the effort to convince California Gov. Jerry Brown to veto Senate Bill 168.

SagatuckA a letter from the Michigan ACLU reminded officials in Sagatuck this week that public streets are a public forum where restrictions on free speech are prohibited. The letter comes after two people collecting signatures to recall Gov. Rick Snyder were allegedly told they could not approach or speak to pedestrians on a public sidewalk:

To tell petitioners that they may not speak to pedestrians in Saugatuck is not only incorrect and unconstitutional, it sends a confusing message to residents about their rights.

In his daily Common Sense commentary, Citizens in Charge President and long-time petition rights activist Paul Jacob talks about the California Legislature’s proposed ban on per-signature payment for petition circulators. In the piece he points out an interesting fact about fraud in the state:

California is wild and crazy, fruity and nutty. Not in Hollywood, but in Sacramento.

The state’s enormous prison population ”” so large that the Feds recently ordered California to release overcrowded prisoners ”” feeds an otherwise expensive prison system, straining the state’s strapped budget.

So what did Golden State solons go and do?

The Year of the Referendum?

Mon, Jul 25 2011 by Staff

It just might be the year of the referendum. After I blogged last week about referendum petitions going to the ballot in Maryland and Ohio I noticed a piece about several major referendum efforts in California. From Capital Notes:

The initiative may the most popular form of direct democracy in California, but 2012 has the potential for the spotlight to be recast on one of the lesser known of the powers created a century ago: the referendum.

Yes/NoVoters in Ohio and Maryland will decide whether to veto acts of their state legislature in November. Ohio voters will weigh in on Senate Bill 5, and Maryland voters will decide whether to keep the “Dream Act.”

Writing for Bay Area NBC’s “Prop Zero” blog, Joe Matthews joins the growing chorus of voices against Senate Bill 168:

Already a playground for rich people and groups, [under SB 168] the initiative process will be even more dominated by the very wealthy.

SilenceThe Sacramento Bee, one of California’s largest newspapers, is calling on Gov. Jerry Brown to veto a bill (SB 168) that would prohibit petition circulators from being paid by the signature. The Bee correctly points out that the legislation would only serve to empower special interests while silencing grassroots voter groups: