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Rich Mischief

The SFGate.com headline was clear: “State ballot initiative fee raised to $2,000 to prevent mischief.” It just wasn’t accurate. Assembly Bill 1100, introduced by Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), passed by Democrats in the legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, doesn’t do anything to address “mischief.” Which, incidentally, abounds in






In Disguise

Conflicts Perplexing Prominent Politicians

When does the same old song-and-dance, performed by yet another self-selected committee of the political elite, become “a unique process” that “Nobody’s ever done . . .”? When the much-liberal Denver Post reports the “much-respected” Daniel Ritchie saying so. Every election cycle for a decade, it seems, a cabal of






Politicians in a jar

Republican-Required Referendum

Last November, Nevada Republicans scored a “stunning” political sweep. The party’s incumbent governor rolled up a 40-point win, while the GOP gained majorities in both the Assembly and Senate — the first time Republicans have controlled all three since before the Great Depression. At the same time, voters crushed a






Citizen Action

The Quadrennial Distraction

As the leading Republican candidate for the presidency ascends into the air in a helicopter filled with kids, and makes his most astute declaration yet — “I am Batman” — it becomes clearer than ever how distracting these presidential campaigns are. Much of American Big League politics is theatrics, with






Yes On 1

Gold Medal Worthy

The 2024 Summer Olympics will not be held in Boston. Beantown abandoned its bid to host the games after Mayor Marty Walsh refused to sign a contract that would have left the city responsible for billions in possible cost overruns. Did I say possible? Call it seemingly inevitable. “I cannot






Sneaky Democracy

Temporal Redistricting

They must be proud of themselves, the Little Rock insiders who pushed through a vote on a bond measure in hot-as-Hades mid-July. Less than 4 percent of eligible voters turned out for the off-cycle exercise in 100-degree democracy. The measure, which refinances previous library bonds and puts an influx of






Dr. Bosworth

No Part Justice

Dr. Annette Bosworth was convicted last week on twelve felony counts. She now faces as many as 24 years in prison, $48,000 in fines . . . and the likely loss of her medical license. Her crime? She circulated six nominating petitions to get on the South Dakota ballot in






2 Party Lockout

Anti-Democratic Republicans?

The Republican Party of Ohio paid lawyers $300,000 to keep a competitor off the ballot. Typical two-party corruption. We can blame the party, yes — but also blame the system. A “two-party system” is, mathematicians tell us, the logical result of simple plurality/winner-takes-all elections. That is, when the first candidate






Nebraska Win

Finished Business

The civil war is over! I mean Nebraska’s civil war, a 23-year schism between its unicameral legislature and what’s known as the state’s “second house” — that is, the people, acting through the initiative and referendum process, often checking the power of the first house. Hero of the day? State






hustedBusted

Really Protecting Our Rights

Incentives matter. Which is why Ohioans have much to celebratethis week. Federal District Judge Michael Watson turned his previous temporary injunction against enforcement of Senate Bill 47 into a permanent injunction. That statue outlawed non-residents from helping Buckeye State residents by gathering petition signatures for an initiative or referendum. The






Arkansas Tricksters

Stop Phony Crony Pay Grab

Are people in Arkansas as stupid as their legislators think? Last November, legislators tricked enough voters to narrowly pass Issue 3. I’ve addressed before the measure’s dishonest ballot language, mis-identifying a doubling of allowed terms as the “setting of term limits.” And about a much-ballyhooed gift ban that has proven






Black Mark for Brown

“The outrage over the Brown Bill, and it is outrage,” wrote The Argus Leader’s Jonathan Ellis, “is being voiced across the political spectrum.” The Brown Bill, Senate Bill 166, is legislation introduced by South Dakota State Sen. Corey Brown (R-Gettysburg) to nearly double the number of signatures citizens must gather






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