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Letters | Support for ‘ordinary folks’ in initiative process
I am an early and strong supporter of Initiative 517, which seeks to protect the initiative process. It guarantees a vote on qualified initiatives, extends time to collect signatures, and stops bullying of people participating in the process.
I sit on the board of Washington’s largest and most active property rights organization. Opponents have attacked the initiative because they claim it allegedly violates property rights. This is bogus. No one cares more about property rights than I do. But I’m also a huge supporter of the initiative process. There’s no conflict between the two. Courts have ruled that petitioning in places open to the public is guaranteed by the First Amendment. I-517 doesn’t change that.
Initiatives came about because ordinary folks could not compete with the influence brought to the political process by industrial cabals and big business, which had a lock on the process. Today, urban-area and strong unionized liberals, along with the government social club, have too much control over the affairs of the majority. There remains an urgent need for citizen participation.
Most initiatives never qualify. For those that do, voters deserve the chance to vote on them.
Initiative 517 makes the process safer and more accessible for everyone. I urge you to support I-517.