Monday, November 21, 2005

The Problem With Those Dang Initiatives

The lead editorial in this morning's DesNews is about the animal rights' groups appeal to the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of the amendment to the Utah constitution approved a few years ago requiring a two-thirds majority vote on any initiative or referendum regarding wildlife issues.

The News opines that while the decision to make such a requirement may not have been smart, it wasn't unconstitutional (U.S. Constitution), and that the power to determine how initiatives and referenda are to work should be left to the states.

But the editorial makes a very cogent comment about such citizen-initiated moves, saying, "...sometimes, special interests themselves can hijack the initiative process, gathering signatures by telling lies or inflating the truth, then bombarding the airwaves with misleading ads. Unlike the normal legislative process, initiatives can't be amended by representatives whose constituents may have a stake in the outcome. That makes the process of direct democracy less fair."

Apply to land use referenda -- same thing. Not to say that any process is always right or fair, but some may work better than others, and planning commission-governing body approval process seems to work pretty well most of the time.

By the way, for those of you who want to comment on blog items, be aware from here on out I've enabled the "moderate comments" option, not to screen or block any of the comments you all want to make, but to try and cut down on the spam comments. So your comments may take a little longer to post as I try to screen out the spam -- what's lower now than spammers?


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