Recall,Initiative, Referendum2
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Recall,Initiative, Referendum2 Recall,Initiative, Referendum2 Presentation Transcript

  • California Initiatives, Referendums, and Recalls How does CA government break from the tradition of a republic? Who’s interests are served by the use of initiatives, referendums, and recalls? Are initiatives, referendums, and recalls democratic?
  • Origin of Initiatives, Referendums, and Recalls
    • Due to the corruption that pervaded all levels of government at turn of the century and early 20 th century, citizens sought clean up politics and government by gaining direct control over it.
    • On October 10, 1911, by way of a special election called by Governor Hiram Johnson, the initiative process was established in California .
  • Definitions
    • Initiatives:
      • Under the direct initiative, a measure is put directly to a vote after being submitted by a petition.
      • “ Policy as is” means there are no debates, reviews, compromises, and amendments to legislation
    • Rationale:
      • People did not want an elite group (the state legislature) to make laws that would effect them without their direct input and consent.
      • Citizens wanted to make laws themselves and allow all the voters decide if it was valid.
  • Definitions
    • Referendum:
      • Referendum calls for voters to ratify or repeal an existing act of the legislature.
      • Bond measures and amendments to the constitution are automatic referendum.
    • Rationale:
      • Makes legislature more accountable.
      • They cannot over spend public funds.
  • Definitions
    • Recall petition and election:
      • Allows voters to remove and replace a state or municipal official. This must be an elected official.
      • A recall requires a “notice of formal intent” to be filed
      • Then a specified amount of time valid voter signatures must be collected (5% of last gubernatorial voters)
      • Voters then go to the polls and decide on two issues. One, should the official be removed from office by simple majority . If the recall passes, then who should take his/her place is decided by simple plurality .
    • Rationale:
      • Make official more accountable.
      • Prevents corruption and other malfeasance by officials.
  • Competing Argument 1
    • Initiatives, referendums, and recalls allow democracy to be at its purest form.
    • Issues not being address by legislature can be met here. Citizens know what is best for themselves and their communities; therefore, they know which laws, policies, and leaders are beneficial.
  • Support for Argument 1
    • Legislature is constrained on certain issues
      • Cannot be innovative
      • Cannot appear soft on crime or drugs
    • Initiatives allow for progressive ideas
      • Prop 215 (1996-medical marijuana)
      • Prop 36 (2000- drug treatment for first or second time convictions for possession)
  • Competing Argument 2
    • Initiatives, referendums, and recalls are tools of the elite. It creates the illusion that popular will is being addressed, when in fact, these are tools of wealth individuals and organizations.
  • Support for Argument 2
    • What is similar about these propositions?
      • Prop 184 (1994- 3 strikes)
      • Prop 187 (1994- withhold medical care and education from undocumented)
      • Prop 209 (1996- dismantled affirmative action)
      • Prop 227 (1998- limited bilingual programs)
    • Support
      • Those initiatives received more than $400,000 from the Republican party
  • Support for Argument 2 : Gibbs and Bankhead Hypothesis
    • These propositions were orchestrated by the conservative movement, who were fearful of the non-white population.
    • These propositions were trying to protected the traditional and conservative way of life.
  • Support for Argument 2 : Tools of the Elite
    • Propositions
      • Proposition 38 (2000-school vouchers)
        • Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Tim Draper and his family, put in 25 million into the proposition
      • Proposition 82 (2006-universal preschool)
        • Initiated by Rob Reiner, the producer and director
    • Recall Election
      • Darrell Issa but $500,000 of his own money to get the 2003 recall passed
  • Competing Argument 3
    • Average citizens are not well informed enough to make such complex decisions on policies and law. Moreover, people are emotive and passionate. They can only see the immediate rather than the long term ramifications.
  • Support for Argument 3: Weak Initiatives
    • Citizens are not versed in law
      • Many laws created through the initiatives process are thrown into the courts
      • Initiatives cannot be amended, so all or nothing.
        • To change initiative, must write another and go through the process.
        • Ex. Prop 13 cites that 66% votes needed to pass school bonds, to change to 55% passed prop 39 in 2000.
      • CA passed 94 laws and constitutional amendments btw 1986 to 2000. 54 were mandatory referenda.
        • 40 were through initiative and 26 were challenged in courts (65%). Of these 26 in the courts, 13 (50%) were invalidated in whole or part.
  • Support for Argument 3: Weak Initiatives
    • Passions interfere with law making
      • Prop 184 (1994- 3 strikes)
        • Californians were angered by the kidnapping and murder of 12 yr old Polly Klass.
        • The highly publicized arrest of Richard Allen Davis revealed that he was a career criminal with prior violent crime convictions.
        • Media used phrases such as no compromise, no discretion, tough on crime, and zero tolerance. These terms rallied the public.
  • Quiz
    • After hearing all arguments, do you support the public use of initiatives, referendums, and recalls?