June 2015 Newsletter

Award winners, intiative updates, and more


Annual Award Winners Announced

It’s not too late to get your ticket/s to celebrate these democracy winners at Fix Democracy First’s awards dinner on Saturday June 27th:
Democracy Volunteer of the Year Award: Working tirelessly since the narrow defeat of Fair Elections Seattle’s Initiative, Estevan Munoz Howard. has chaired the stakeholder’s committee responsible for getting I-122 (Honest Elections Seattle) to this year’s ballot. (See article below)
Elected Official of the Year Award: State Senator Andy Billig (D-Spokane) has been an outstanding supporter of democracy reforms in the Washington State Senate. Organizing bi-partisan support for a disclosure bill that failed to come to the Senate floor for concurrence after passing both houses, would have shed light on some of the biggest dark money donors.
Organization of the Year Award: As a new organization formed after hearing this year’s keynote dinner speaker, Hedrick Smith, The RAD Team-Tacoma is being recognized for organizing educational opportunities that lead to action. The RAD (Restore the American Dream) Team focuses on inequality and getting big money out of politics.

GO
HERE to find out more about the awards dinner and keynote speaker!


Support I-122 for Democracy Vouchers

By Cleve Stockmeyer

Honest Elections Seattle has turned in an estimated 32,000 valid signatures for Initiative 122. Because the campaign has already checked the signatures, we are sure the initiative will make the ballot this November.
By voting yes on I-122, you can help reduce the oversized role of big money in our local campaigns. It limits regular contributions. Even more, this measure provides an innovative way to attack special interest spending, called Democracy Vouchers.
Democracy Vouchers are part of how the measure will create an opt in public funding system for mayoral, city council and city attorney races. This is similar to the proposal put forward in 2013, that just barely missed being approved…
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Good News From the Initiative 735 Campaign

By Annie Phillips

Volunteers have now collected 42,360 signatures! This is 12.8% of the WAmend goal of 330,000 by Halloween 2015. As new volunteers are joining the campaign every day, the trend line will curve upwards fast.
Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat recently wrote an article on how it takes a millionaire like Paul Allen to get an initiative on the ballot. WAmend volunteer Inga Carmack of Kitsap County wrote a powerful response, and several WAmend volunteers followed up with comments.
A couple of days later, Westneat did a second column, this time praising the all-volunteer campaign for getting I-735 on the November 2016 ballot.
Now that Honest Elections Seattle has amassed enough signatures to qualify for the November 2015 ballot, FDF supporters can shift their focus to I-735 – by gathering signatures on petitions, donating money to the campaign, or making phone calls to muster the troops for the huge upcoming summer events like the Fremont Solstice, Gay Pride weekend, local Fourth of July parades, and SeaFair.
Find out more at WAmend.org.
                                           


A Conversation with Dr. Lawrence Lessig

by Ken Dammand

It was wonderful to see Lawrence Lessig at Town Hall on June 4th and I’d like to give you all a short report on the evening.
Dr. Lessig gave the kind of entertaining and insightful presentation we have come to expect from him.  He is truly an intelligent fellow and a marvelous teacher.
But the best part of the evening was to have the opportunity to sit down with him and a few other diehards after the presentation and just ask questions.   Here are some of the highpoints I took away from the conversation with this truly great man…  
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Kansas Governor Sam Brownback tells the Kansas Supreme Court–

by Evelyn McChesney

   — in effect, “If you rule against my law, [which he had signed] I will defund the entire Kansas Supreme Court!”
The Kansas Supreme Court should sue in Federal Court argues Mark Joseph Stern, who writes for Slate magazine.  It is a case of extortion: approve of my law (which is probably unconstitutional) or I will defund the entire Judicial Branch!…
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Who Said Getting Big Money Out of Politics is Partisan? NYT Poll Tells All

by Alice Woldt

A recent New York Times poll shows strong support for campaign finance reform regardless of political party. One of the most detailed and broadest surveys of Americans since the Citizens United Supreme Court decision five years ago, the poll shows that more than 4 out of 5 Americans think money has too much influence in the political system. The poll results underscore a growing alienation from government and cynicism about politicians that’s been fueled by super pacs and wealthy individuals unleashing a torrent of money in elections. Click HERE to read the New York Times article.