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Liberal Linguist Wants to Save California

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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