California: ‘Retail politics:’ Petition drives outside stores are growing

Mon, Apr 7 2014 — Source: Fresno Bee

Shoppers at Clovis’ Walmart Supercenter on Herndon Avenue last week had an almost endless array of choices, from groceries to household items to toiletries to clothing. And grassroots democracy could have been on their shopping list if they were interested.

That opportunity awaited at the table set up by Rick and Donna Baker outside the store’s entrance. Shoppers could sign petitions on whether to split California into six states; give law-abiding citizens the right to own, carry, and fire a gun; or reduce some drug and theft felonies to misdemeanors. They could even sign a petition preventing legislators from diverting children’s health care money to the general fund.

The Bakers are among an army of signature gatherers who are trying to get various initiatives qualified for the November ballot. In initiative-crazy California, you see it in front of retail outlets across the state, as signature gatherers go to where the people congregate to fill their petitions.

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