Pubdate: Fri, 05 Sep 2003
Source: LA Weekly (CA)
Contact:  2003, L.A. Weekly Media, Inc.
Author: Forest Hill
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Re: Marc Cooper's article "It's Democracy, Stupid," containing "Five Myths
About the Recall." I must seriously object to the myths he and the rest of the
press are concocting about Green Party candidate Peter Camejo. As to the
legalization of marijuana, it is the press that has pushed this issue to the
top of the Camejo "agenda" by quoting out of context from the Green Party
platform. Meanwhile, though, arrests of marijuana users are filling our
prisons, at an exorbitant cost to society. Camejo wants to stop wasting money
on incarcerating Californians for minor offenses and instead invest in
education, health care and renewable energy.

Cooper's attack on Camejo for his support of instant-runoff voting (IRV) is
even more ludicrous. Perhaps this just shows how little journalists in this
country understand our winner-take-all voting system, and how it severely
limits political choices. The electorate, of course, has figured it out, that's
why they don't vote. IRV is hardly some leftist plot. It is used by Utah
Republicans to nominate congressional nominees, at many major universities
(including MIT, Harvard, Caltech and UC Davis) for student elections, and by
hundreds of jurisdictions, organizations and corporations to elect their
leaders. IRV gives the voter more power, since they can express a range of
choices without being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

Camejo's plan to institute public financing of elections and create democratic
voting processes (i.e., IRV) would reduce wasteful budget spending, free up
more money for social investments and increase democratic participation. I
think those ideas play to a larger audience than the Venice boardwalk crowd.

Forrest Hill

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