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California State Government June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Recipe for a Real Democracy

By Laura Wells

Candidate for Controller; Green Party

This information is provided by the candidate
What does improving democracy have to do with the Controller's office?
The Controller can tell the boss -- the people of California -- whether or not the money in California is following their values. I believe by the time elections are over, budgets are already off track. Elected officials reward huge campaign contributors with huge payback contracts. Since Green Party candidates do not accept corporate campaign contributions, we can remain committed to peoples' values.

We can fix the way we make voting and policy decisions, and then we can make our finances reflect our values. Issue by issue, candidate by candidate, we will continue to lose ground until we make these changes to the system.

The most hopeful sign I see is that people are working to improve our democracy. For a better California, please support these electoral and governmental reforms every chance you get, whether it's signing a petition, voting, joining with the League of Women Voters, or talking with friends and representatives.

These seeds of change are growing

  • Ranked Choice (Instant Runoff) Voting is in use in San Francisco, voted for in Berkeley elections, and being promoted in Oakland and other cities.
  • Voluntary Public Campaign Finance ("Clean Money") is moving through the California legislature, as well as the citizen initiative process for the November ballot (petitions were circulated by the CNA, California Nurses Association). Maine and Arizona already have it, and voters like candidates who run "clean".
  • Proportional Representation allows for people in a region to have fairer representation. Our two-party, winner-take-all system results in gerrymandered districts with up to 49% of the citizens in each district being represented by an elected official they disagree with.
  • Free airtime
  • Paper ballots, non-programmable voting
  • Same-day voter registration
  • Short campaigns
  • Weekend elections
  • Abolish Electoral College (use direct elections)
  • Citizen education
  • Citizen assemblies. In a recent experiment in British Columbia, a group of 160 randomly selected citizens studied electoral reform for several months and developed a ballot initiative. The reforms they chose were ranked choice voting and proportional representation, The British Columbia initiative almost won. Voters trusted the citizen process even though there was no funding to educate people about these new reforms, and lots of money against it. The initiative will be on the ballot again and it will likely win. Other citizen assemblies around the world develop and manage city budgets and create metropolitan development plans.

Thank you for reading, or even skipping to the end. I have one more powerful suggestion for those who want to see real changes in our lifetimes.

Use the hidden power of your voter registration.

Many people do not realize that by registering Green, we can send a clear message every day of the year that (1) we do not support the current military, industrial, congressional complex (to use the full phrase Eisenhower used), and (2) we do value peace, real grassroots democracy, social justice, and the environment. Join the drive to register Green, and improve our democracy!

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