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Opinion, Letters To The Editor, Santa Monica

Letter To The Editor: Ask Before You Sign – Or Think Before You Ink

Posted Feb. 17, 2014, 8:00 am

Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

Recently, supporters of a referendum on a development in Santa Monica have hit the streets to gather signatures to get their issue on the ballot.

The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica has no position on this referendum. We are neutral regarding it.

However the League has a long-standing concern about the political process, including the process by which signatures are gathered.  

Often supporters will argue that you should sign their petition because you should “let the voters decide” – that in some way it is your duty as a citizen of a democratic society to support putting the measure on the ballot.

This is not true. It is the privilege and right of supporters to gather signatures, and, if they get enough, to put their referendum on the ballot.  

But it is no one's duty or responsibility to support putting a measure on the ballot that they don't understand or don't agree with.

Some years ago, the League of Women Voters of California spelled out this argument in detail at http://lwvsantamonica.org/files/ask-before-you-sign.pdf.

Remember, we want all registered voters to exercise their franchise. Just be sure you get all the facts before you sign anything.

Sincerely,

Ann K. Williams

President - League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

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Comments

Feb. 17, 2014, 7:30:19 pm

Tim said...

I agree, it's not your duty to sign anything you don't agree with and don't understand. But if you do understand that Santa Monica is plagued with corruption, PLEASE SIGN. We must have a way, as citizens, to make sure our Mayor and Councilors are not only there to do favors for high end campaign donors. We do not have to be like Washington DC and roll over and accept what our elected leaders do to us. We can stop it at a local level!

Feb. 17, 2014, 9:56:30 pm

Valerie Griffin said...

This is a very good point about this referendum as well as the many initiatives in California. It's alsi important to ask a question that the circulators of the referendum probably didn't ask--what can be built if the referendum succeeds. The answer is a development with over 14,000 new trips, not just 6700 in the approved project. See http://www.smmirror.com/articles/City-Council/Letter-To-The-Editor-Bergamot-Transit-Village-Could-Be-A-Lot-Worse/39512 for the analysis that should be done by every voter thinking about the referendum.

Feb. 18, 2014, 10:05:58 pm

a resident said...

Or residents can direct thecouncil and staff to approve a much much smaller project or no project - everyone talks about wanting parks - how about turning the whole paper mate building into a park - just grass and some ball courts.

Feb. 19, 2014, 7:30:23 am

Robert Donin said...

I agree with the writer. As a graduate and alumnus in Public Administration, the referendum and initiative is a poor substitute for public policy and legislation. In many cases, the referenduma nd initiative doesn't stand constitutional muster.

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