Why does a fellow who’s the executive director of the Greenlining Institute want to red-line democracy?
Recently, in the pages of California’s Capitol Weekly, Orson Aguilar called the state’s initiative process a “monster.” Mr. Aguilar’s main beef is that “huge corporations and business groups” spent “massive” amounts of money, and that of the more than $200 million spent on ballot measures “hardly any of it came from ordinary citizens.”
Whether one agrees with a corporation or a labor union or an interest of any kind, freedom of speech still carries moral weight. It’s worth noting that while Aguilar doesn’t like corporate spending on ballot measures, he probably doesn’t mind the corporate contributions that account for over 16 percent of the Greenlining Institute’s annual income.
But what was the result of business spending? He informs us, “Happily, many of these corporate initiatives were defeated . . .”
Aguilar doesn’t name a single detrimental measure passed by voters.
Still, according to Aguilar and seemingly every special interest group, something must be done to undercut the democratic check on government that citizens enjoy via initiative and referendum.
While admitting that the “huge number of signatures required” to place an initiative on the ballot “is almost impossible to do with just volunteers,” Aguilar bemoans the use of paid petitioners.
Never does he suggest the obvious: If we want the citizens’ voice in government, petition requirements should be made less onerous, not more.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.