No doubt some of you live in states that still embrace old-fashioned notions of representative democracy: you know, that’s where citizens elect officials to represent their interests when making public policy decisions. Then there are the rest of us. We live in states, mostly in the West, where we figure, hey, why not cut out the middleman and legislate ourselves?
Before I venture too far afield (I feel a rant coming on), allow me to state for the record, loud and clear: “People of San Francisco, vote ‘Yes’ on J!” More on that below.
Funny thing: direct democracy turns out to be pretty hard work. Take San Francisco, where I live. In 2004 -- we tend to get especially animated about propositions in presidential election years -- California voters were asked to consider 17 measures. The California Official Voter Information Guide ran 168 pages (so much for our carbon emission goals). As if that wasn’t enough paper to chew through, that year there was also a Supplemental Voter Information Guide for two measures that were placed on the ballot too late for the regular Voter Information Guide (that was pretty slim volume -- just 24 pages).
That’s just the state. San Franciscans voted on an additional 28 measures. The City of San Francisco’s Official Voter “Pamphlet,” weighed in at 196 pages (pity the postal person). Nothing like tucking into 388 pages of electoral prose before pulling the metaphorical lever.
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