direct democracy

The ballot initiative process in California has been popular with citizens since its inception in 1911. However, the state legislature, especially its current Democratic super-majority, has had a far less sunny view of the prospect of the people trumping legislative power through the initiative.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), author in recent years of numerous bills to undercut the power of the initiative, recently proposed a new tactic in formulating legislation: using “crowdsourcing” techniques.  This would enable citizens to use a wiki-style website to propose ideas for a bill, and Gatto’s first such crowdsourced bill would deal with probate taxes.

Californians have a love-hate relationship with direct democracy.

We love that we have the ability to set the politicians straight, either by getting a jump on them on the next big issue or reversing course when we think they’ve made a big mistake.

But we’re not wild about reading through all those damn initiatives that appear on the ballot every year, or sorting through the claims and counter claims of the interest groups that sponsor and oppose them. And we don’t like the way that big money pays to get most measures on the ballot and then underwrites the campaigns.

Read more: here

And so it starts. Atlanta’s election for City Council has officially entered announcing season – the period of the year in which incumbents announce whether they are running for re-election, and challengers announce their intentions to dethrone the current seat holders. So far we’ve seen Matt Rinker - the openly gay challenger from District 5; Robert Welsh - the city native from District 1; and we’ve heard Carla Smith announce that she plans to run to retain Atlanta’s first District seat. But there’s one newcomer who seems to be generating a growing buzz in certain circles. 26-year-old Jon Jones has announced a run for Atlanta City Council’s District 2 seat; and along with it, he announced his plan to introduce a new style of governing to Atlanta government.