Category Archives: Support These Campaigns!

Cut Taxes Or Let Voters Decide Tax Cuts, WA Statewide Initiative

Tax cuts are popular with voters, but not very popular with legislators. Tim Eyman has decided to take advantage of this to empower taxpayers. I-1366 would lower the state sales tax from 6.5 to 5.5 percent unless the Legislature places a constitutional amendment on the ballot by next April 15 requiring two-thirds legislative approval — or majority voter approval — for any tax increases.

Initiators in Washington must be more creative because the legislature can undo citizen approved statutes, this initiative can potentially make the legislators obey the will of the voters.
 

Donate to the campaign here.

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Tualatin, OR Term Limits

Municipal term limits are hot right now. Recently approved in Grand Rapids, MI, initiators around the county are busy gathering signatures to term limit their own elected officials.
Citizens in Tualatin, OR recently began their petition drive only to have the city council respond by cutting the number of days citizens are allowed to gather signatures. The city council has been playing games with public involvement ever since voters blocked the council from expanding light rail without voter approval.

You can check out their facebook page and support their campaign here.

 

 

Municipal Term Limits

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Arkansas Term Limits

ARTL

Arkansas voters love term limits, but Arkansas legislators hate term limits. And the legislators worked to trick voters last year into gutting the term limits law.

Let me sum up the issue: Legislators put a bunch of feel good anti-lobbyist and limiting pay raise fluff into a 20+ page constitutional amendment package and included a provision to weaken voter approved term limits at the very end. Voters got a sweet sounding ballot title (read more here) and narrowly  approved the measure 53-47. After the measure passed the lobbyist rules quickly become irrelevant and the legislators get a huge pay raise.

Tim Jacobs explains in this video.

 

Now term limits supporters have organized and are getting ready to circulate petitions to bring back voter supported term limits.

Dr. Patricia Mays explains in this video:

 

 

Please support this campaign.
Donate here.

Like their facebook page.

 

 

 

 

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Ferguson Police Cameras

handsup

Police transparency a winner for everyone.

Last fall in Ferguson, MO a police shooting resulted in mass demonstrations. Lack of recorded evidence increased community distrust and the demonstrations escalated resulting in millions of dollars in property damage. Most of this could have been avoided if the officer had been using a body camera and the video had been shared with the public immediately.

Citizens waited for the state and local government to take action. Unfortunately the legislature did not take action to correct these issues. The city council now requires the police to use body cameras but they have not mandated constant use instead they allow for officers to use their own judgment. They also make no provisions for citizen access to the video.

Fortunately local initiators have taken it upon themselves to propose legislation to remedy these problems. They are now circulating a petition let voters decide the issue. Their proposed charter amendment will:

  • Require all on duty officers to wear a functioning camera to record all their on duty activities.
  • Require all recorded data be accessible to persons who appear in the video.
  • Require use of force incidents be reviewed by the city council.
  • Require documented action be taken when a civilian makes a complaint against an officer.
  • Require all video recordings be deleted after 2 years unless otherwise required by law.

This measure has great potential.

Police are protected in the case of frivolous complaints, citizens are protected in the case of police misconduct.

Who will watch the watchers? Citizens.

Elected officials will be forced to take ownership of police misconduct.

Nick Kasoff a local community leader has provided this great write up.

Please consider supporting their campaign. They need assistance gathering signatures and educating voters on the details of the initiative. If you are able to donate even $10 or $25 it will make a big difference. If you’re able to circulate petitions or help in other ways please reach out to the campaign through their website, www.policecamerasforferguson.com .

Donate to the campaign here.

 

 

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by | July 10, 2015 · 3:11 pm

Sturgis, Michigan, So Many Dogs It’s Criminal

My wife and I are serious dog lovers. Our dog is the best dog in the world. She’s family. We adopted her from a shelter in 2009 and have never regretted it for a second. Choosing a dog at the shelter was tough. At the time we were in a small apartment, and I knew we only had room for one dog. When we walked into the shelter I asked, “which dog has been here the longest?” They showed us a skinny mix breed who had been waiting over two years for her forever home. My wife and I took her for a walk and she stole our hearts. I’ve wondered about all those dogs we passed up, they were facing long odds and most probably never found a forever home.

dinner time
Yesterday I read about Sturgis, Michigan a town that has made it illegal for anyone to own more than two dogs. The ordinance was created to stop individuals from operating kennels in the city, it reads as follows:

Sec. 10-33. – Operating a dog kennel in city prohibited.  No person, group of persons, association or corporation shall keep, operate, or maintain a dog kennel within the limits of the city. A dog kennel, as used in this section means any establishment wherein or whereon more than two dogs are owned, kept, or harbored. This section shall not apply to the owning, keeping, or harboring of any dog pups until they  attain the age of four months.

As you can see, it’s a broad definition of kennel and I suspect many residents are in violation of this law without being aware it exists.

 

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From the article:

Rick Carter, of 204 S. Fourth St., disagrees with the standard and argues that the city should not be able to control the number of pets he has on his private property as long as the animals are cared for and create no nuisances. Carter is fighting a civil citation he received when someone reported he had three dogs at his home. He has refused to relocate any of his pets and says he has never been cited for a dog-related nuisance or danger.

Carter filed a citizen initiative petition in January, signed by more than 21 registered voters. That forced the Sturgis City Commission to either repeal the existing dog limit ordinance or send the question to the ballot for voters to decide.

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Fortunately someone decided to challenge this law and gathered signatures to call for it’s repeal. They were motivated by a love of their three pets, and an unwillingness to abandon one of those pets. Tuesday, May 5, 2015 voters in Sturgis will be voting to decide whether or not to repeal this ordinance.

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This question will appear on the ballot:

CITY OF STURGIS
ORDINANCE PROPOSAL
Should the City of Sturgis repeal Part II – Chapter 10 Animals
– Article II Dogs and Cats –
Section 10-33 of the City of Sturgis Code of Ordinances?
Sec. 10-33. – Operating a dog kennel in city prohibited.
No person, group of persons, association or corporation shall keep, operate, or maintain a dog kennel within the limits of the city. A dog kennel, as used in this section means any establishment wherein or whereon more than two dogs are owned, kept, or harbored. This section shall not apply to the owning, keeping, or harboring of any dog pups until they attain the age of four months.
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Voters decided to keep the kennel ordinance on 5/5/2015

By a 294-648 margin, Sturgis city voters Tuesday turned down the repeal of a city ordinance that limits residents to having no more than two dogs.

But the man who sought the repeal said Tuesday he is moving to Kansas City and his three dogs will be going with him.

Tuesday’s election turnout was less than 15 percent of registered voters citywide.

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Filed under Ballot measures, Ballot Question, Petition Drive, Support These Campaigns!

Sammamish, Washington I&R Advisory Vote

Sammamish, Washington will be having an advisory note next Tuesday 4/28/2015 to judge public support for initiative and referendum. An advisory vote is not legally binding but should influence the council. Advisory votes can be called through an advisory petition (read more about advisory petitions here,) or by the legislative body in that jurisdiction. This advisory vote has been called by the Sammamish city council at their February 3, 2015 meeting.

Sammamish is a charter code city under Washington state law, but citizens do not currently have a binding legal means to propose municipal legislation apart from the city council. Harry Shedd a resident of Sammamish has put together a beautiful website explaining the advisory vote, and the initiative and referendum process.

For more information:

Sammamish Review
Ballotpedia page

Arguments in favor

Arguments against

 

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Term Limits, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan 11/04/2014 voters approved a term limits amendment to the city charter.

Petition TL_GR_2014

Text of the Petition:

To the City Clerk for the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan: A proposal to amend the Grand Rapids City Charter, Title II; by adding a Section 5 (compilers paragraph 9.2) as follows: “No person shall be eligible for election as a City Commissioner of any Ward if that person has served as a City Commissioner of any Ward for two terms. No person shall be eligible for election as Mayor if that person has served as Mayor for two terms. A person is eligible to be a Ward City Commissioner for two terms and an additional two terms as the Mayor. Serving more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected shall be considered a term. This section only applies to the positions of Ward City Commissioner and of Mayor.” We, the undersigned qualified and registered electors, residents in the CITY OF GRAND RAPIDS, in the County of Kent, State of Michigan, respectfully petition for Initiation of charter amendment.

 

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Filed under Ballot measures, Ballot Question, Initiative, Michigan Term Limits, Petition Drive, Support These Campaigns!, Term limits

Everybody Hates Red Lights

Red-light-camera-springfield-ohio

It seems only two groups like red light cameras, city councils and the companies that sell and operate red light cameras. It’s easy to see why, set up cameras and start raking in dollars. If they don’t bring in enough money, shorten the yellow lights. What are citizens to do when politicians and their cronies find a new way to farm drivers for revenue? In some municipalities they can do initiative petitions.

Letting citizens vote to shut down red light camera programs is a slam dunk at the pols. In St. Charles County, Missouri voters banned the red light cameras. In Arlington, Texas Faith Bussey and other camera opponents gathered signatures with an all volunteer petition drive.

Unfortunately it’s not always a slam dunk. Politicians are fighting against the voters in St Charles County, suing to try to save this revenue source. In Arlington another citizen is suing to prevent voters from having a say on red light cameras. In Willis, Texas the city council is ignoring a petition by Kelli Cook and other residents calling for a vote on red light cameras.

It seems voters are opting to get rid of red light cameras every chance they get. In many places calling a vote is only possible because citizens have the power to petition and call a vote using the municipal initiative process.

 

Red Light Cameras Survey

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