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minimum wage, closure, restaurant, business, prohibition, wages, pay, Berkeley, San Francisco

Minimum Shock

“Three restaurants vacated the Bay this week, with Berkeley’s Bistro Liaison getting the most attention,” the San Francisco edition of Eater informs us. “It’s a bittersweet exit for the owners, who plan to start new careers.” The week in question was in February. But this was not an isolated event.






RCV, Ranked Choice Voting, initiative, voting, elections, democracy, Maine

The Maine Thing

Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) allows voters to rank electoral candidates and not “waste” their vote in cases where their most favored candidate is* unlikely to win. RCV also requires a majority for election, not merely a plurality of the vote. Last November, Mainers passed Question 5 to begin using this






Washington, secession, division, exit, legislature, legislation, city, country, representation, initiative, ballot

Not a Joke

Yesterday, the chief sponsor of a Washington State legislative bill withdrew it. He said it was “a joke.” His co-sponsor wasn’t laughing, however . . . even proclaimed an intent to introduce the bill again next year. The legislation’s purpose? Split the state into two. The eastern, drier half of






cronyism, pork, stadium, Tom Hanks, ballot initiative, welfare

A Wall of Separation

Whatever you think of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, wherein he celebrated the First Amendment for “building a wall of separation between Church & State,” let’s agree that it would have been nice had he penned another letter — to the Waterbury Methodists or someone — urging a






Regnat Populus, The People Rule, Arkansas, corruption, petition, initiative, House Joint Resolution 1003, SB 689, Governor Asa Hutchinson

Regnat Tyrannis

Arkansas’s motto is Regnat Populus — “The People Rule.” Unfortunately, the people’s so-called representatives are demanding that this motto be made more fitting: Regnat Tyrannis. I jest. The Natural State’s legislators aren’t nearly so honest. Just devious. A few years back, the fine people of Arkansas (where I grew up)






Civil Asset Forfeiture, crime, drugs, marijuana, stealing, theft, police abuse

Good and Bad News

On the issue of “civil asset forfeiture” — police seizing property from folks merely on suspicion, without a criminal conviction — there is good news. In Idaho, House Bill 202a just passed both legislative chambers overwhelmingly. “Among other changes, HB 202a would no longer allow civil forfeiture of the vehicle






Colorado, initiative, 71, Amendment 71, democracy, voting,

Whose Constitution Is It, Anyway?

Last November’s biggest mistake? Colorado voters passing Amendment 71. It makes the Rocky Mountain State’s constitution exceedingly more difficult for voters to amend through the initiative petition process. And more like it may be in the offing. Legislation is moving in Florida to require a 66.7 percent vote to amend






CalExit, secede, secession, California, divide, partition, self determination

Adios, California?

Californians account for more than one of every ten Americans. For now. Three years ago, an initiative sought to split the mega-state up. Had that measure succeeded, the U.S. Congress would have decided whether to permit the Golden State to become six separate states — with ten more U.S. Senators.






Sutton, Maine, Petition, Urban, Rural, signatures,

The Unfairness of Losing

Maine’s citizen initiative process is unfair, claims State Rep. Paula Sutton. “[R]ural Mainers are left out of the equation,” Sutton tells readers of Knox County’s Village Soup, “and Portland dictates public policy for the rest of the state.” Hmmm? Every Mainer eligible to vote currently has the equal right to






Tampa, initiative, corruption, Mayor, Mike Deeson, Mayor Bob Buckhorn

Rules for Rulers?

Politicians in Tampa, Florida, have forced citizens there to vote for term limits, and then vote to keep those term limits again and again — against attempts to repeal or weaken the limits. So I keep my eye out for news from the city. Earlier this month, Mike Deeson, an






Civil Asset Forfeiture, crime, drugs, marijuana, stealing, theft, police abuse

Stealing Now Unpopular

Civil asset forfeiture is stealing. So, why is it still happening? Police seize boats, cars, houses and cash that they allege were used in the commission of a crime or were proceeds from the crime. Sometimes they simply take cash found on a motorist in a normal traffic stop, claiming






vote, election, registration, automatic, illustration

More Forced Registration

Voting’s a right, not a duty. So voter registration and actual voting should be made easy. But I’m not for mandating that people vote, or for registering them involuntarily. Which is why I oppose the Automatic Voter Registration Initiative (AVRI), an indirect Nevada initiative that state officials just announced has






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