Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Joel Connelly: Eyman's Initiative 960 is a map to minority rule

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer's senior political columnist, Joel Connelly, turns in one of his finest efforts ever in tomorrow's edition of the paper:
Voters face a question: Do we second-guess all decisions made by these people all of the time ... and do it with a part-time Legislature?

A second key question: Should a minority (one-third) of the Legislature's membership be permitted to thwart the will of the majority of those freely elected to represent the people?

The best-known provision of I-960 would require a two-thirds vote in the Legislature, or a vote of the people, for any increase in taxes.
It's no exaggeration to say that I-960 is the first step down the dangerous path away from democracy. If a supermajority requirements can be imposed by statute on one category of bills, why not other types of legislation?

What about two thirds to decrease revenue? What about two thirds for environmental or consumer protection laws? What about two thirds for apprenticeship expansion? Two thirds for unemployment insurance reform?

How about two thirds for the people to approve any initiative or referendum? Does that sound fair and reasonable? Is that democratic?

Of course not!

(Incidentally, we've already got supermajority requirements for the passage of school levies, which we can get rid of this year by voting YES on SJR 4204).

Our democracy rests on the foundation of majority rule with minority rights. When the will of the majority is thwarted, as Joel puts it in his column, our political system ceases to be democratic. Supermajorities are only appropriate when required to protect minority rights - to prevent mob rule, or the tyranny of the majority. It makes sense to have a high bar for amending the state Constitution, the supreme law of our land.

Applying such requirements to lawmaking - in this case, critical decisions about raising revenue and funding vital public services - would destroy our tradition of majority rule and take aim at the very fabric of our democracy.

Starting tomorrow, we're going to take a look at how I-960 attempts to covertly amend our state Constitution in a short, pre-election week special series entitled Initiative 960: Unconstitutional, Unsound, Unfair.

Installments will appear daily through this Saturday and will also be prominently featured at Permanent Defense, our year-round campaign center which fights right wing initiatives and opposes Tim Eyman.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This IS about protecting minority rights....the minority of the population that the income redistributing liberals of King County would otherwise SUCK DRY to buy the votes of the King County voters.

October 31, 2007 7:55 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home