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Sunday, December 04, 2005

Guest Blog: One Man's Mission (Part II)by Don Seibold

(This is the 2nd part of two part guest blog by activist Don Seibold. To see his first post click here.)

In order to convince those who have power to relinquish just a small portion of it to the voters, they must be made to fear the consequences if they fail to do so. Once most legislators are elected, the biggest, if not only, thing they fear is not being re-elected.

I believe the most effective way to instill that fear in them is through a grassroots movement of sufficient size to make them think their positions may be at risk if they don’t give that movement what it demands, in this case, Initiative and Referendum.

With my computer as my primary resource, I set out to try to inform the citizenry of the desirability, if not necessity, of obtaining I&R by demanding it in large numbers, and to find a leader to organize and lead such a movement.

I submitted letters to editors promoting I&R throughout the state; established contacts with talk radio hosts in as many areas across the state as I could, concentrating on the most highly populated areas, for the same purpose; and I contacted anyone I could think of who might have the potential to be the leader of the movement. And, of course, I managed to get my website on line.

Among the requisite qualifications I thought necessary for a leader to be effective were: name recognition and approval by a sizeable section of the populace; contacts with others in the right places, and with those who would provide the necessary financial backing; and hopefully with an organization they could utilize already in place. I found that those with all of that are insulated, or isolated, from the general public, and can be reached by email only by going through their office, or through their website, if they had one, with only a hope that my message would be delivered to the top, and not discarded by some lackey.

Among those individuals and organizations I attempted to reach under those circumstances were former candidate Tim James, John Giles. Leland Whaley, Gary Palmer, ACCR, API; CCA, and of course the following announced candidates for 2006 – Governor Riley, Lieutenant Governor Baxley, Roy Moore, Don Siegelman. Nathan Mathis, Loretta Nall, Morris “Mo” Brooks, Luther Strange, and Johnny Swanson.

Of those individuals, the only ones I can recall responding in any way to my email were John Giles, “Mo” Brooks and Loretta Nall.

I have concluded that the two primary obstacles to improving our government are the general apathy concerning government by those who own it, and a haughty disregard of the owners by those who run government as they see fit, because there is no pressure on them by the owners to make it a government of, by, and for the people.

In spite of that, some progress was made in the last regular session of the legislature.

Representative Mike Ball sponsored an I&R constitutional amendment [HB276] and Senator Ted Little sponsored the identical bill in the upper chamber. After too much delay by Chairman Ken Guin, Ball’s bill was unanimously approved by the House Constitution and Elections Committee, but of course it was too late in the session for it to be debated on the house floor. I requested, and was allowed, to speak at a sub-committee hearing on the bill. Later, I was present and prepared to speak again prior to the full committee vote, but it wasn’t necessary.

I&R bills have been introduced several times in earlier sessions, but this was the first one that even proceeded as far as being voted on by a committee, so while it may not have been the progress I would have preferred, it was, nevertheless, an unprecedented event.

(To contact Don Seibold and become involved in his crusade for change in Alabama, visit his website.)

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