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How communities are using direct democracy to shape city budgets (Waging Nonviolence)

A recent poll conducted by Gallup found that the percentage of Americans who trust the public in handling issues is at an all-time low. Reasons for this vary, with eroded faith in institutions playing a role. Yet, in more than 40 neighborhoods across the United States, a new tool called participatory budgeting is boosting confidence among citizens in working with neighbors to solve problems together.

Participatory budgeting first began in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. There, the Workers’ Party created a process allowing residents to submit ideas that would be eventually voted on. The most popular projects would receive funding from an allocated budget. This became popular among residents and is still in existence today.

via How communities are using direct democracy to shape city budgets

The idea of setting aside a certain amount of funds (like 0.5%) of city funding to be allocated through a direct democracy process sounds intriguing and might pull in more people to be involved with their towns.

Looking forward to hearing more examples.

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Secret Service Bans Guns at GOP Convention, Ending Debate | Alaska Dispatch News

http://www.adn.com/article/20160329/secret-service-bans-guns-gop-convention-ending-debate

No guns at convention. A loss for self consistency but a likely win for safety for reasons explained in my last blog post.

Bonus for Republican candidates: can now officially blame Obama administration for keeping guns out of delegates hands.

Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

Donald Trump said “I will get rid of gun-free zones on schools—you have—and on military bases on my first day. It gets signed my first day…you know what a gun-free zone is to a sicko? That’s bait.” (Jan. 8. 2016)

Ted Cruz has accurately pointed out “shooting after shooting after shooting happens in so called gun-free zones.” He continued, “look, if you’re a lunatic ain’t nothing better then having a bunch of targets you know that are going to be unarmed.” (Dec. 4, 2015)

And Ohio Governor John Kasich has been a leader in this movement to eliminate deadly “gun-free zones” starting with his brave decision to fight the Democrats and end “gun-free zones” at National Guard facilities in Ohio. (Dec. 18, 2015)

via Petition · Quicken Loans Arena: Allow Open Carry of Firearms at the Quicken Loans Arena during the RNC Convention in July. · Change.org

I believe people should live up to their professed values. So if the GOP truly believes that gun free zones endanger people AND they are holding their convention in an open carry state, they ought to accept guns at their own convention and not hide behind the Arena’s policy. They’d waive the rule if the GOP and Ohio’s governor asked.

I would sign the petition myself except for this ridiculous paragraph:

This doesn’t even begin to factor in the possibility of an ISIS terrorist attack on the arena during the convention. Without the right to protect themselves, those at the Quicken Loans Arena will be sitting ducks, utterly helpless against evil-doers, criminals or others who wish to threaten the American way of life.

There will probably be an immense amount of security outside the arena. Protestors will likely be herded into “free speech zones” far from the venue. IF there is a lone wolf out there, he or she won’t get near the venue to threaten people inside. No ISIS cells organized from outside the United States have been identified. I’m not signing on to a petition whose organizers honestly fear imminent large scale ISIS shootouts.

I submit that if a lone wolf is out there, allowing guns in the area will increase the likelihood of an attack and multiply the damage. All it would take is one individual with fake credentials getting into the arena and taking their best shot at a speaker. People immediate start drawing and firing their guns where they think the shooter is. Chances are good that several people around the actual shooter will have drawn their guns. People won’t know who the real shooter is and someone will panic and gun down a delegate with a gun. That person in turn will be targeted as “the real shooter.” The number of shots will continue to escalate until order is restored. Possibly with additional casualities as the police unknowingly kill more “real shooters” because orders to drop weapons were either unheard or disregarded as terrorist tricks.

I believe this to be true because a convention floor is a very, very crowded place.

Another scenario would be panic following an accidental discharge – no terror attack needed.

Despite these dangers, I believe the Republican National Convention ought to allow guns on the floor. They need to live with the consequences of policies they have forced other people to live by.

I will close with the actions desired by the petition and leave it to you if you want to sign or share with Republican friends:

THEREFORE, WE ARE CALLING TODAY FOR THE FOLLOWING FIVE POINTS OF ACTION:

1. From the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland: A suspension of their policy preventing the open carry of firearms on the premises of the arena from July 18-21, 2016 to coincide with the Republican National Convention.

2. From the National Rifle Association: An immediate condemnation of the egregious affront to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution constituted by the “gun-free zone” loophole to the state law.

3. From Ohio Governor John Kasich: A concerted effort to use his executive authority to override the “gun-free zone” loophole being exploited by the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

4. From Reince Priebus and the Republican National Committee: An explanation of how a venue so unfriendly to Second Amendment rights was chosen for the Republican Convention. Further, we demand a contingency plan to relocate the convention to another location should the Quicken Loans Arena refuse to honor the constitutional rights of the RNC guests to open carry firearms during the convention.

5. From all Republican candidates for President: You have been brave in raising awareness about the immense dangers posed by “gun-free zones.” In order to ensure the safety of your supporters, delegates and all attendees at the convention in July, you must call upon the RNC to rectify this affront to our Second Amendment freedoms and insist upon a suspension of the Quicken Loans Arena’s unconstitutional “gun-free zone” loophole. Every American is endowed with a God-given Constitutional right to carry a gun wherever and whenever they please.

 

 

Release of the Full TPP Text After Five Years of Secrecy Confirms Threats to Users’ Rights | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Some of the more dangerous threats to the public’s rights to free expression, access to knowledge, and privacy online are contained in the copyright provisions in the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter, which we analyzed based on the final version leaked by Wikileaks two weeks ago and which are unchanged in the final release. Now that the entire agreement is published, we can see how other chapters of the agreement contain further harmful rules that undermine our rights online and over our digital devices and content.

via Release of the Full TPP Text After Five Years of Secrecy Confirms Threats to Users’ Rights | Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A plain English analysis of why the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) is a bad thing for people interested in information flow and/or consumer rights. Please consider writing your Congressional delegation in the next few weeks and ask them to block this agreement.

Prosecutor, Former Corrections Official, Teacher/Mother – End Prohibition on Marijuana

I’m voting yes on 2 this November. See the Official Election Pamphlet for full text of initiative, plus statements in favor and in opposition.

Former Corrections Deputy Commissioner: Marijuana Prohibition is a Waste

I’m voting yes on 2 this November. See the Official Election Pamphlet for full text of initiative, plus statements in favor and in opposition.

Valdez Police Officer: Legalize marijuana so we can focus on serious crime

I’m voting yes on 2 this November. See the Official Election Pamphlet for full text of initiative, plus statements in favor and in opposition.

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