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Ear to the Ground

Liberal Linguist Wants to Save California

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Posted on Jan 4, 2010
Flickr / TenSafeFrogs

The nation’s biggest and richest state has been called ungovernable because, among other reasons, budgets and taxes have to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Legislature. George Lakoff, the guy who gave us framing, is out to change things.

The linguist is behind a ballot measure that would let a simple majority bypass the kind of legislative logjam that has made the state dysfunctional and, in Lakoff’s estimation, empowered a small group of conservatives.

We’ll see if Californians go for the idea. It will certainly be interesting to see Lakoff run his own campaign after dishing out political advice for years.

Now if only someone would do something about all these ballot measures.  —PZS

New York Times:

Mr. Lakoff’s proposed ballot initiative would change California’s constitution to allow a majority of the state legislature to pass a budget or to raise revenue. It has been a source of frustration for some lawmakers that it takes not a simple majority, but two-thirds of the legislature to pass a budget (which has been true since the 1930’s) and to raise taxes (ture since the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978).

Mr. Lakoff had heard lawmakers’ frustrations but saw no one else taking action. In September, Mr. Lakoff paid $200 and began his odyssey to get his 14-word proposal on the ballot. Other groups have proposed changing the rules for passing the budget but not for raising revenues. So, now Mr. Lakoff is in the preliminary stages of a political campaign and hoping for his first direct political fight, assuming the ballot initiative qualifies. He has to raise more than $1 million, he thinks, and get about 1.3 million signatures (expecting, as he does, that some percentage will be disqualified. He needs 694,354 to qualify). He has until April 12.

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By Mary Ann McNeely, January 5, 2010 at 12:26 pm Link to this comment

As a lifelong resident of California I can attest to the fact that this place is well and truly fucked.  And Lakoff’s proposal won’t pass muster with the voters.

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By photoshock, January 5, 2010 at 10:20 am Link to this comment

Because of the stance of the government these days, I cannot honestly say anything but the oft quoted statement, ‘What do you think about American style democracy? I think that it would be a good idea.’
In the most egregious cases of government interference,
all and several of the states now have debtors prisons.
More commonly called ‘child support enforcement,’ this is one of the most egregious examples of how government
run amok, can and does destroy the principled ideal of freedom of choice and privacy.
Next we have the government passing the so-called ‘Patriot Act’ and then renewing the most harmful pieces of that legislation with an almost unanimous victory for the act.
Now the people are taking the government into their own hands, let’s see how the ones who wish to join the government stand up to the lobbyist’s pressure and monetary influence. No one, but a very few remain
principled in the face of the ‘need’ for money to be reelected.
I cannot in good conscience say that any of the men and women in government today are among those I would
call friends and colleagues, much less principled and sincere in their desire to bring to the fore, legislation that is for the true government of the U.S., the people. Those who wish to be elected, are among the worst principled and most dishonest among us. There should be an ‘honesty test,’ for those wishing to join the ‘elite’ class of people who choose to help run a country.

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By JiminyCricket, January 5, 2010 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The nation’s biggest and richest state has been called ungovernable because, among other reasons, budgets and taxes have to be approved by a two-thirds majority of the Legislature.”

See what happens when power is shared?  Nothing gets done!

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By G.Anderson, January 5, 2010 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

As usual, it’s the politics of “if it wasn’t for them”..

“if it wasn’t for them”...then California wouldn’t be going bankrupt…If it wasn’t for prop 13, or illegal immigration, or tax and spend liberals, or unions…then maybe then we could save California…

I’ve heard various figures about how big California’s debt is 20, 40…500 billion..there just isn’t enough money to fill the hole…

industry left town decades ago, consumers have been raped by the banks, middle class men by child support enforcement…

the 1%ers still don’t have a clue….

California RIP, it won’t be long now…

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By samosamo, January 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm Link to this comment

Seems to be a very good idea, especially since this 2/3rd
majority thing is definitely a ‘hostage’ ploy for those that want
control but can’t enough elected for their benefit; but still again another good idea out of the golden state.

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