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State initiatives pack power

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Many people refuse to sign my petition to put abolition of the death penalty on the November ballot in spite of their opposition to the death penalty. They tell me they do not like the initiative process and will not sign on principle. A lawyer and a judge’s wife were among recent refusers. We have had initiatives in California since 1911 and they are the most pure form of democracy we have. If enough people want a law, they sign a petition to get it on the ballot at the next General Election. If the proposition gets a majority vote it becomes law. It can only be changed by another initiative. Initiatives have limited our property taxes and made vast changes in our state government. The people of California put the initiative, referendum and recall into our state constitution because the state legislature was completely owned by the Southern Pacific Railroad. Is the California legislature any better today? I took a delegation of her constituents to see Beth Gaines about the death penalty in her district office. The legislature was in recess. The arrangement had taken months. When we got there, we found that the 30 minutes we had scheduled was reduced to three minutes. We got ushered out the door before we were able to make any of the points we wanted to make. The next time you refuse to consider signing a petition for an initiative, think of how much money we pay our legislators and how little return we get for it. The initiative process is a powerful tool in the hands of citizens who want to make change. Think about it! Paul W. Comiskey, Newcastle