Article II, section 1 of our California Constitution provides “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.” Section II goes on to describe the initiative process as one of the principle methods of alteration or reform at the county level when our government refuses, fails or neglects to provide for the public good. Less than half of the states in our union recognize the right of its citizens to use the initiative process. We have two county-wide initiatives on our June ballot.
Getting on the ballot is a rigorous process requiring the signatures of thousands of Napa County’s citizens so all may vote on the citizen-proposed laws. Recently, numerous elected and appointed officials, as well as those aspiring to public office, denigrate this precious constitutional right we enjoy here in California — Belia Ramos (an attorney, no less), Alfredo Pedroza, Mary Luros (also an attorney) and Dave Whitmer.
Now the Napa Valley Register editorializes on Measures C (“right idea in the wrong vehicle”) and D (“the initiative process will lock in whatever unintended consequences there may be . . .”) parroting the same, public relations party line that law is better made by our elected officials with input from stakeholders, that we cannot control the unintended consequences of an initiative without another expensive election, and that these initiatives are just too complicated to have the voters make law. The initiative process is a healthy one and must be used when our government does not provide for the public good. Our local government’s lack of respect for welfare of the citizens of this county has led in large part to the emergence of these two initiatives. Lack of respect for citizens is one thing. However, lack of respect for our constitution is a quality unworthy of any government official here in Napa County.