April 17, 2006
Paid circulators

Here in California, we have process where the citizens can put a law or constitutional amendment on the ballot without the involvement of the politicians. This capability was designed as a power reserved to the people to counter a possibly corrupt state government.

This is what was used to recall Gov. Davis and put Arnold in place. The problem is that it is legal for someone to pay someone to collect the needed signatures. Currently, you need just under 400,000 signatures to get a law on the ballot. So if you pay $1 per signature, for around half a million dollars, you can get your law on the ballot. In California, the insurance and pharmaceutical industries regulary pay to have bills put on the ballot, simply because they can and hope they can convince the public to vote yes.

To me, this is bullshit. The initiative process is abused by this kind of think. As a result, I don't sign any petitions that are run by paid circulators. They are required to tell you if they are paid, that's the law.

Today I was stopped by a circulator on the way into the supermarket and she asked me to sign some petition to save the children from [fill in the blank] and I asked if she was a paid circulator. She went nuts. She started asking if I got paid for what I did. I simply said, "I don't sign with paid circulators." At this point, I thought her eyes would pop out of her head as she began spotting off about minimum wage and other topics. I went into the store and bought some milk.

When I walked out she was at the other entrance talking to other people and not there to yell at me more. As I walked ot my car, I reflected on my stance. Was I being too harsh?

Hell no. Fuck her and the rest of the people fucking up my state by selling our laws to the highest bidder. Damn blood-sucking leeches. Next time I get a spare million bucks, I'm buying a vote on getting rid of paid circulators.

Posted by michael at April 17, 2006 07:47 PM


I'll sign a petition to get rid of paid circulators.

Posted by: Brad [http://www.flyingw.org] on April 17, 2006 9:00 PM

What's worse, is that most of the people who sign those things have absolutely no clue what they are for, or how they propose to fund their cause. The people pushing the signatures can say pretty much anything convince you to sign. It's like being at the poll and having someone who is pushing a bill explain how you should vote.

It's also like cell phone guys. And they make you feel guilty for not signing, like you don't care about society or something.

This is a totally justified rant Mike, for so many reasons.

Posted by: Tammy [http://www.jabober.com] on April 17, 2006 9:01 PM

You don't go far enough. Most of the time a paid circulator will have five or so different petitions, but only one copy of each. What I try to do is get all of them in my hand at once, as if I was going to sign them all, and then go about reading every last word. I'll stand there for fifteen minutes, half an hour, if I have the time I will stand there reading for an hour. If anybody tries taking one of the petitions I'll snap at them and tell them I'm trying to be an informed voter. The reason for doing this is that they then loose the ability to get other people's signatures. Anything that drives the price of each signature up is a good thing, in my opinion. I hear that signatures are no longer just $1 each, but up to three and four dollars.

What I would like to see is an initiative to repeal anything that has been passed through the initiative process, and then something that abolishes the practice. California didn't come close to bankruptcy because of Gray Davis, it was the initiative system that did it to us. Term limits have made both parties in Sacramento increasingly extreme so there is never any compromise, and the super-majority needed to pass the budget means that even a small minority can hold it up. Because of Prop 13 we are spending our capital improvements which will one day need to be replaced, and that will be far more expensive than preventative maintenance, not to mention our failure to invest in our schools and our future human capital.

With all of the bad the initiative system has done, it's amazing how much people love it.

Posted by: Grant Henninger [http://grant.henninger.name/] on April 17, 2006 9:07 PM

In all likelyhood she misunderstood your question and thought you were asking if she was being paid to stand there taking signatures and that you weren't going to sign because she wasn't a volunteer. That said I disagree with companies being able to do such a thing. Government needs a system of checks and balances to keep it working for the people, but those checks and balances also need their own checks and balances or they'll get abused.

Posted by: hal [] on April 18, 2006 5:56 AM

I don't blame her for trying to make a buck.
I don't blame the company (or whoever) for paying her to gather signatures.

I fault the law, for being sloppy and allowing this practice.

Posted by: BillB [http://squidly.com] on April 18, 2006 6:08 AM

Preach on, my brother. In the truest sense of the word, Arnold literally bought the election. And that's just wrong.

The problem with most petitioners is that they don't know what they are talking about. My feeling is that if you can't point to Iraq on an unmarked globe, you have no right to protest the war. (Damn First Ammendment gets in the way though.) And if you can't explain the opposing view, go home. Maybe you're collecting petitions to stop construction of a Freeway through South Pasadena. Maybe the Freeway is bad overall, but you must be able to understand how wonderful it would be for people in Glendale to get to Arcadia. In the case of the supermarket lady, what would be the DISadvantages of saving the children? Maybe they are alien-mutant children and should NOT be saved. Ask her about it next time.

Posted by: Mister P. [http://misterp.blogspot.com] on April 18, 2006 8:34 AM


Posted by: Mom [http://momonthealert.com] on April 18, 2006 12:13 PM
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