From the never give up Barry Klein of Houston, we received this inspiring message (see below) on Christmas. With it, was a reminder of the Drifter's "White Christmas" -- a simply delightful present to all who celebrate this time of year!
It was Barry who sounded the alarm in the 2015 legislative session when Texas Lobby King -- oil and gas -- with a little help from some key municipal Democrats, tried to gut municipal petition rights in Texas. We also have a mutual friend, Bruce Hotze (not to be confused with his brother, Steve), who stood up with us against the Texas Lobby King and killed the bill.
Barry is the inspiration for "homegrown petitions," an experiment with all-volunteer petition drives. One is currently in the field in San Antonio for SAWS accountability, despite COVID. Therefore, we include the 17-second video, "Santa is dealing with SAWS, alright!" released on Christmas eve by the SAWS Act PAC.
We have plans developing for Texas independents to make our mark in 2021.
Get on board with LIV wherever you live in Texas! (Join LIV here.)
Thank you, Barry, from the bottom of our hearts, for sharing your personal and political story! Linda Curtis for LIV
Dear Friends and Family:
Merry Christmas to each and all.
In the last two years I have been dealing with health problems related to the radiation treatments I went through 12 years ago to arrest tonsular cancer. Cancer can be a disease “that keeps on giving", one health worker explained.
For me it means a stiffening of the soft palate which plays a role in speech and eating. I am now engaged in two different exercises to strengthen both functions and I’m seeing progress, I’m happy to report.
This problem has slowed me down but not knocked me out. I continue with my activism which focuses on government reform using local ballot initiatives. This is an approach that can overcome tribalism that now hobbles the American system. I call this “single issue politics”, and since I urge people to apply this strategy in smaller cities where a mere five or six change-makers are sufficient to carry the day I also call it micro-politics. Most of the 20,000 municipalities in the US are small so there is plenty of opportunity to be a force for good.
My important news is that many states and cities let voters put propositions on local ballots by submitting a petition with a minimum number of signatures. Some cities such as Houston allow ballot initiatives to feature a resolution that lets voters express a wish for policy change on any matter of public concern. Since referenda generate a lot of media coverage this is a way for voters to grab the attention of officials at all levels of government, from school boards up to Congress. If done in enough cities the national zeitgeist can be upgraded, though some states may need to tweak their laws to facilitate this process.
Forty years ago the Nuclear Freeze movement successful used this small city tactic to build support for a reduced US nuclear force. The grassroots work of the 1980s supercharged President Reagan’s desire to work with USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev to shrink the American and USSR nuclear stockpiles. The result was a series of treaties with Soviet leaders that did just that. (Sadly, Reagan's amazing peace project is threatened by decisions in Washington and Moscow to back out of those agreements, a most regrettable change that dismantles the Reagan vision and revives the risk of mutual destruction since Russia and the US each keeps nukes on hair-trigger alert. Many incidents, called Broken Arrows, have almost led to nuclear war.)
So dear friends and kinsmen, this is my holiday gift … you now posses knowledge of a proven mechanism for the political grassroots to stimulate reform at all levels of government. You have the power to be a change-maker. Use it wisely.
P.S. I have worked on several successful ballot initiatives, called direct democracy. Frequently a reform proposal can unite people from the Left and Right. If you want more information go to the web to find this information, “Laws governing local ballot measures” found on the Ballotpedia web site: https://ballotpedia.org/Laws_governing_local_ballot_measures. Look for the document posted on the right side, Local Ballot Initiatives, a 30 page booklet that explains the city initiative process reflecting research that looked at all 50 states. Scroll down to pages 11 and 12 to read a short overview.
PPS Did Santa give you the Lee Drutman book, "Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop"? Our study group is starting up again in late January. Join us!