Today's JG has an article from Niki Kelly about referendums and how they have become a controversial point in this legislative session. I want to point out that referendums are not an affront to representative democracy; when used properly they merely give the people a direct voice in those issues that are most critical to them. The governor gets this difference:
Daniels certainly doesn’t want Indiana to become like California, where voters sometimes have to trudge through 100 pages of ballot initiatives on numerous public policies when they cast a ballot.
“That is not a system I would recommend in Indiana. Most of those things I believe should be taken care of in the people’s house,” he said.
But Daniels believes there are some local decisions that voters should have more direct involvement in, such as building a new school or library.
Of course state Senator Dennis Kruse believes people should NOT have a say outside of the normal voting process.
“I’m a strong proponent of the republic. I do not like the referendums and don’t think we should have them,” he said. “We were elected to make decisions. To me, we are shunning our responsibility when we want to shove it off on public opinion.”
Kruse said it is “dangerous” to have the masses vote on some issues.
“Everyone can’t be informed like elected representatives are. We spend months and months on issues, talking to all the interested parties,” Kruse said. “The regular person can’t do that.”
Here we have yet another elitist telling us he's vastly more informed than us lowly citizens. And the very idea of the citizenry voting on important matters is somehow "dangerous". I mean how could we possibly know whether or not we can afford more taxes or need another school? These decisions are clearly beyond the mental capacity of us plebian lowlifes.
And yet despite all of his hollow objections Kruse still voted for referendums. Was he for them before he was against them? He's also the sponsor of a bill to ban cell phones from automobiles because he got into a wreck while fumbling with his own phone. Perhaps the voters of Auburn will wise up and send this guy packing but until then at least voters can use the referendum to protect us from out-of-touch politicians like Kruse...