Staff’s blog

Boulder City, Nevada officials seem to think repeatedly suing their own citizens is a good idea. In his weekly Townhall column on Sunday, Paul Jacob discusses the situation:

Public officials cannot simply throw dissenters into a gulag and govern by decree. But the city governors in Boulder City, Nevada, have found the next best thing.

Sue the people.

Regularly and repeatedly.

As a method of effectuating an oligarchy, what could be more American?

Snowy StreetsMost restrictions on petitioning and initiative rights have some type of chilling effect on actual usage of the petition process. In Colorado, one provision of a malicious 2009 law, House Bill 1326, has resulted in such a deep freeze that it may put an end to the state’s citizen initiative process entirely. Already two victims of HB 1326 are faced with losing their homes to pay for their defense against false and ridiculous allegations of ”˜fraud.’

GaggedMontana state Sen. Anders Blewett wants to make sure Montana voters won’t be putting any more initiated constitutional amendments on the state’s ballot. He wouldn’t like to see any initiated state statutes on election day either. A real friend to democracy, it seems.

Everywhere red-light cameras have been on the ballot they have gone down in flames. Citizens do not seem to like them one bit. However, that did not stop a California city council from deciding to add them at a couple of intersections:

If you’re interested in watching The Commonwealth Foundation 2011 Policy Summit going on in Harrisburg, PA you can do so here. They’ll be discussing Pennsylvania’s future regarding school choice, budgets and other state issues.

As the contentious debate rages over California’s Proposition 8, the U.S.

It’s long been known that officials in Howard County, MD are no fans of citizens’ petition rights, but as Larry Carson at the Baltimore Sun reports, the county now seems willing to resort to violence in order to keep petitions from being circulated.

(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Jim Gordon, state coordinator of Voters-In-Charge, a group working to improve and expand initiative and referendum rights in South Carolina, with the January 2011 John Lilburne Award for his work to reform the state’s local initiative law and to establish a statewide initiative process.

Voters around the country are increasingly demanding that politicians be held accountable for their actions and campaign promises. Compared to initiative & referendum, recall efforts are rarely used, but over the last year or so they have been increasingly used to get rid of unresponsive politicians:

It’s safe to say that pretty much everyone anywhere hates red-light cameras. So when government officials decide to put them up, how do citizens get them taken down? The initiative & referendum process:

Last fall our partner organization, Citizens in Charge Foundation, co-sponsored five regional events put on by the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD). The events brought together activists, concerned citizens, and policymakers with professionals in the dialogue and deliberation community to exchange best practices ideas on how to fix the discrepancies between what citizens see happening in public policy and their communities and what they think should be happening.

The citizens of Manly, Iowa have apparently had enough of their city clerk. Earlier this week they collected signatures and presented them to the town council urging them not to reappoint the official:

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out our new video about what Citizens in Charge and Citizens in Charge Foundation have accomplished along with the rest of the citizen rights movement.

two year

A Safety Valve for Voters

Mon, Jan 3 2011 by Staff

There’s a great piece supporting initiative and referendum in today’s Post & Courier out of Charleston, South Carolina. It comes on the heels of Jim Gordon’s letter to the editor that was in the paper a few weeks ago:

The Legislature is the dominant force in South Carolina’s government and, no surprise, hasn’t been willing to give the voters access to a statewide initiative process. For the sake of accountability, that ought to change.


Democratic State Assemblyman Mike Gatto has introduced a handful of proposals to the California State Legislature to would put a variety of new roadblocks in the state’s voter initiative process.