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Oregon Initiative Process Corrupted: Measure 79 - the wrong solution to the right problem

May 23, 2000

Nearly everyone on both sides of the Measure 79 issue - to increase the number of signatures needed to put an Amendment to the Oregon Constitution on the ballot - agreed that the basic problem is that money has corrupted the initiative process. Everyone, that is except "Counterfeit Bill" CircumSizemore. He and his millionaire backers (Hemstreet, et.al.)opposed 79 just because it would have made it more expensive for them to continuing buying their way onto ballots in the future.

The real solution would be to require all petitioners and campaigners for initiative petitions of both kinds (amendments and statutes) to be volunteers. This simple, obvious, solution would restore the initiative process as the grassroots empowerment of the people which it has been historically.

Unfortunately, according to our ultra conservative Supreme Court, money is speech. By this fundamentalist capitalist interpretation of the First Amendment, it is not constitutional to require petitioners and campaigners to be volunteers -- unless we first amend the First Amendment to the US Constitution.

OK, let's do it! Get the money out of politics; stop the bribery of candidates! Just say, "money is not speech!" It sure as hell is not free speech. Bring democracy back into US politics!

Vote for Ralph Nader for President!