California Fast Food Worker Pay Referendum & How Rich Political Donors Exploit Our Impulses

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Quick State of the Union analysis:

Biden did very well in handling heckling
Democrats delivering for middle America, doing in reality what Trump claimed he’d do
State of the Union shows the current political state of “extreme moderation”
We are fighting for the bare minimum, but it’s a worthy fight for sure
Moving the Overton window to more progressive ideas on policing and climate change
Gradual changes do really matter and do help

Impulse Politics:

People want to take quick action, especially in the face of a crisis
Making action such as signing a petition or donation easy is a good thing, but it can lead people to occasionally make bad decisions
California ballot measures and referendum process
In a referendum, a petition is circulated to get an already passed law to be blocked and then voted upon, and a minimum number of signatures must be gathered to get it on the ballot.
This is similar to a ballot initiative for a new law, which allows for some confusion since circulators can say it’s “to vote on” this issue
Article in LA Times about deceptive California ballot referendum petitions regarding AB 257 and AB 1137:

CA AB 257 represents a major step forward in helping fast food, workers who are among the most vulnerable workers today
Restaurant industry wants to stop higher wages
Petition circulators are using tricks, claiming this petition to stop the law and take it to a vote is actually supporting higher wages
My easy rules:
The people spending the most money, and using the most effort to convince you are probably the ones who’s ideas you don’t agree with, so approach flashy and pushy campaigns with extreme caution
Know what you’re signing!
Online petitions, which are largely a symbolic gesture have condition people to believe that signing petitions is no big deal
These wet-ink signature paper petitions are actually super significant. They stop laws that legislators already agreed to from coming into effect.
Walmart and shopping malls are the public square, really, and there’s nothing they can do to stop petitions
Petition workers committing fraud, and being aggressive with voters
They must show you the petition itself and a list of major supporters
Know who’s supporting an initiative
CA Prop 30 situation – a good measure is supported by a big donor, but rejected partially because of it
Volunteers who live in your community and you know are (usually) more trustworthy than random petition gatherers
This is why long term community engagement matters! Have someone to ask when this happens

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