SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — In the land of direct democracy, anyone with $200 can get just about anything approved for signature gathering, and anyone with enough signatures can get their idea on the ballot for a vote, and next year, one of those items would declare a “president of California.”
Louis J. Marinelli, the appropriately titled “president” of Sovereign California in San Diego wants to change the state constitution, “…by striking each occurrence of the term ‘Governor’ and replacing it with the term ‘President’.”
Why do we need a president instead of a governor?
The paperwork submitted argues California is a nation, and “..the leader of a nation with a Republican form of government is known as a President.”
The English teacher also wrote another plan to require the California flag to be flown above the U.S. flag. Right now, Old Glory always gets top billing.
“We love California. We’re frankly sick of the federal government and want it out of California,” Marinelli told KPIX 5’s Mike Sugerman.
One initiative writer joked that maybe he would file a proposal to ban all replays of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” from television.
Political operative Sam Singer said, “While we can all make fun of this, the positive side is that as an individual in the State of California can put anything on the ballot.”
All Marinelli needs is 585,407 signatures. (That’s 8 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election).
For initiatives that are for statutes not changing the Constitution like that anti-Big Bang Theory idea, you’ll only need 365,880 signatures (5 percent of the total votes cast for governor in the last gubernatorial election).
“Generally, any matter that is a proper subject of legislation can become an initiative measure,” writes the Attorney General’s office.
Many of the farcical initiatives submitted were in response to a hate-filled proposal to kill all gay people in the state, an idea the attorney general is working to avoid sending on for signature gathering.
One of those submitted to shame the initiative process and the “Sodomy Suppression Act” mentioned above, is the “Shellfish Suppression Act,” declaring, “Any person who willingly consumes or sells shellfish is guilty of a felony, and shall be fined $666 thousand per occurrence.”
Of course, many of these initiatives violate the First Amendment free speech rights, civil rights, or run afoul of basic common sense. If citizens approve something that could be illegal, the courts have to decide how to handle it.
Got an idea? Here’s how to get to make it the law of the land, at least the land within the borders of California.
CALIFORNIA INITIATIVES: http://elections.cdn.sos.ca.gov/ballot-measures/pdf/statewide-initiative-guide-2014.pdf
22 other proposals are waiting for the attorney general to write up a title and summary for, at a cost to the state of $8,000 each. Many will start gathering signatures after May 29th.