Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Among the earliest initiative and referendum advocates in
Pennsylvania was Charles Fremont Thylor, M.D., of Philadelphia. Dr. Taylor,
one of the movement’s most successful publicists, edited and published its
periodical Equity (originally Equity Series) for over a decade. Thylor
collaborated with Prof. Frank Parsons of Boston in publishing several of
Parson’s reformist works. Parsons’ The City for the People, a guide to the
reform of city government, included a 132-page chapter on initiative,

Arizona voters could have the chance next year to change how ballot measures make it into the polling place.

A bipartisan group of state legislators has drafted an overhaul package it wants to put before Arizonans in 2010. The package, introduced in the state House, was spurred by problems with several proposed 2008 ballot measures, including allegations of misleading titles, fraudulent signatures and bogus legal language.

You may have a right to change your government … but that doesn’t mean government won’t fight back.

In Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, there was disagreement over a firehouse, whether it should be decommissioned, or not. The mayor wanted it gone; citizens wanted it kept. So citizens got active, petitioning to change the town’s home rule charter to allow voters to decide.

A federal jury on Tuesday awarded city fire house activist Denise Carey $67,000 in her civil rights suit against the city and Mayor Tom Leighton, but Carey says the citizens of Wilkes-Barre are the real victors in the case.

“This definitely was not about the money. It was about the principle,” a teary-eyed Carey said moments following the jury’s verdict in federal court in Scranton. “This is a win for the community. Now no one has to be afraid of speaking up. That was the point of this.”

The Allegheny County Board of Elections yesterday ruled that both referendum questions on the 10 percent drink tax should not be placed on the November ballot because they are illegal according to county and state law.

In a ruling that seems to be a bigger blow to the restaurateurs and bar owners than it is to the county, the three judges temporarily serving as Board of Elections members unanimously declined to certify either ballot initiative.

Drink tax foes will submit a petition to the Allegheny County board of elections today, setting the stage for dueling ballot referenda in November on the controversial levy.

Friends Against Counterproductive Taxation amassed far more than the required 23,006 signatures to get its measure on the ballot, said the group’s attorney, Cris Hoel. The referendum, if approved by county voters, would mandate that the tax on poured alcoholic drinks be reduced from 10 percent to no more than 0.5 percent.

But the arguments for “initiative and referendum” changed his mind.

Based on citizen input, Miller, a member of the Lancaster County Government Study Commission, and seven others on the 11-person GSC voted in May to amend the draft charter to not only allow people to force the board of county commissioners to consider an issue — but to take that issue to the electorate.

Regarding the Nov. 28 op-ed column by G. Terry Madonna and Michael L. Young, ”Reform without change is Pennsylvania’s peril”: The reform agenda must include an open and inclusive, non-partisan political process. As more and more voters become Independent (35 to 40 percent of the electorate) we clearly need to restructure the political process to give Pennsylvanians more direct political control over policy making, government, and the culture of political life. We cannot depend on the Democrats or Republicans to reform themselves. They won’t!

Steps taken for local I&R.

I&R included in new city charter.

”The charter provides for an innovative and unified form of government with a full time mayor and six


council members comprising a seven-member