As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bigger Than Dirty Tricks: The Corruption of Direct Democracy

So I edited this video for Courage Campaign about the dirty tricks initiative. Erik Love went up to UC-Santa Barbara and explored the foul underbelly of paid signature gatherers.

There's no smoking gun here, and yet there's a lot of smoke. Clearly the petitioners are luring potential signers over there with the prospect of helping kids survive cancer, and then the dirty tricks initiative is sprung upon them. I think the most damning bit is when the signature gatherer admits that he has nothing to do with the procedures and he is just told how many signatures to get. There's a "by any means necessary" approach that goes beyond this initiative and to the signature gathering process as a whole. It's a scummy, dirty business, and this gives it a little bit of sunshine.

Erik has more at DKos.

UPDATE: And more shenanigans.

The chairman of a committee formed to fight a ballot initiative to change how California’s electoral college votes are apportioned has asked the city attorney here to investigate a report that a group collecting signatures for the initiative has offered food to homeless people in exchange for signing the petitions [...]

Mr. Steyer’s letter, dated Nov. 19, stems from an article in The Los Angeles Downtown News that detailed reporters’ observations of signature gatherers asking homeless people on the city’s notorious Skid Row for their signatures to help qualify the electoral vote initiative and three others, as well as asking them to fill out voter registration cards.

In exchange, the paper reported, homeless people and those in nearby shelters were given Snickers bars, instant noodles and other snack foods.

If California outlawed initiatives tomorrow, I don't think I'd miss them.

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