…should limits be placed on how many times we have to vote on the damn things?
Case in point: voters in the Nashville/Davidson County (TN) area voted 24 years ago to require term limits (2 terms) for Metro Council members. The council has placed repeal on the ballot for the seventh time since then.
I don’t personally give much of a rat’s ass about term limits, but come on…haven’t the voters’ wishes been made abundantly clear by now?
I’ve seen local examples of not taking no for an answer, most memorably after our county banned indoor smoking in most public establishments by public initiative. The bar and tobacco lobbies repeatedly placed measures on the ballot to repeal or weaken restrictions, before continual defeats finally discouraged them. School boards commonly interpret defeat of bond measures as an excuse to revisit the issue in multiple succeeding elections in the hopes of wearing down opponents (a typical trick is to schedule a vote in an off-election (like May of an odd-numbered year), when you can hopefully rally supporters to outnumber regular voters).
It seems to me that after a proposal has been shot down a couple of times, proponents should have to wait at least a couple of years before trying to jam it down voters’ throats again. I’m not sure how a waiting period could be enforced (seeing as how minor alterations in a proposal could be presented as a “new” initiative), but one idea would be to restrict oft-defeated measures to only appearing on the ballot in Presidential election years.
well considering I live in ca and we have had the total legalizaliation of pot on every major ballot (its sorta legal… most people want Canadian/Colorado style legality I give it one or two more tries )
And we had to pass gay marriage what 3 or 4 times ? the last time pretty much helped it get to the scotus
and bond measures are the only way our schools get funded really ……
we don’t have that many repeal props the courts usually take care of that at some point tho unless its something like gay marriage where its just a society thing with no legal basis
How many issues have been argued over again and again over the centuries? In my own country,say - abolition of the slave trade and slavery itself, Catholic emancipation, “marriage to deceased wife’s sister”, Home Rule for Ireland, abolition of capital punishment, inner ring motorways in London (they had three goes at that between the 1940s and the 1990s)…
Whether it’s within a legislature or by referendum, democracy never was and never will be a matter of “one man, one vote, once” - any more than family loyalties mean you can forbid Grandad from trotting out the same old anecdotes every Christmas.
Er, California voted against same-sex marriage “3 or 4 times” (more like 2, IIRC). The first time, it was struck down as it “had to be an amendment to the state Constitution rather than just a law”; the second time, the Ninth Circuit declared it unconstitutional, and Attorney General Kamala Harris sat on it (so same-sex marriage would still be legal) rather than do her job and appeal to the Supreme Court.
California does have its share of defeated measures being brought back over and over again. The two that I can think off of the top of my head: in pretty much every election in the 1980s, there were measures to take the power of drawing the Congressional districts out of the legislature’s hands (which consistently gerrymandered them for the Democrats) and create some panel for this purpose; and, in pretty much every election in the 2000s, there were measures to require that female minors that wanted an abortion to have permission from either their parents or a judge (in California, getting an abortion is pretty much the only exception to a law requiring a minor to have parental permission to see a doctor).
I’m wrong because of the issues raised by other posters in the thread, and the issue you raised (e.g. a smoking ban saying that smoking is prohibited everywhere except a private club that derives more than 90% from alcohol sales–is amended next year to say 91% from alcohol sales—that different, right)
Further, assuming that it is a mere public policy issue with reasonable opinions on each side, why does one single vote mean that it should stay that way now and forever or for X number of years. Look at the trouble with Brexit because of one vote. My problems (and possibly yours) are as follows:
We pay people to do this job. We have elected representatives to study and make informed decisions as We the People generally do not have as much time to become informed as to the appropriate level of school funding, for example.
These initiatives are placed (and continue to be placed) by those government agencies and private interest groups who want their own personal project passed but cannot do it through the normal legislative process. The Legislature won’t be on the hook for giving the School Superintendent a big new salary or a county paid for Cadillac, but put it on the ballot and call it the “Keep Your Children From Being Stupid and Fully Fund Education” initiative which most people will not research, it sounds good, so check yes.
I agree that all initiatives should be required to be held during Presidential Election years.
All that being said, I still think they serve a purpose, but the way to limit that purpose is unclear. For example, in the mid 1990s, Massachusetts fought over a mandatory seat belt law. Several times, three I think, the Legislature passed a mandatory seat belt law, the governor vetoed it, the Legislature overrode his veto and it became law. The issue came on the ballot where the people voted down the seat belt law.
Next session, the Legislature enacts, the governor vetos, etc. Rinse and repeat.
This issue represents only a partial failure of democracy. If I like 95% of what my Legislator does, but disagree with him on the seat belt law, then it would be silly and impractical to vote him out of office over this one minor issue. But I would like to retain the power as a citizen to have a law consistent with what the majority of the people want on minor issues. Perhaps guidelines on what are “minor” issues would be appropriate. For major issues, then you have to vote the guy out.
“And we’re going to keep voting until you numb skulls get it right!”
Or, as Bertolt Brecht put it it The Solution,
After the uprising of the 17th of June
The Secretary of the Writers’ Union
Had leaflets distributed in the Stalinallee
Stating that the people
Had forfeited the confidence of the government
And could win it back only
By redoubled efforts. Would it not be easier
In that case for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
Hey, get out of my head! I’m in California and I vote NO on all initiatives on principle (even the bonds). The only way I will vote yes is if I perceive that there is a raging fire that my yes vote will help extinguish, so to speak, but that doesn’t happen.
Filling in a few extra ‘no’ bubbles every two years seems like a small price to pay to have a personal say in things, even if it’s really annoying.
Maybe you should organize your own ballot initiative constitutional amendment that says “Any ballot measure eliminating or extending the term limit for council members may not be placed on the ballot by the council.”