Ask Before You Sign – Or Think Before You Ink

Dear Editor,

Recently, supporters of a referendum on a development in Santa Monica have hit the streets to gather signatures to get their issue on the ballot.

The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica has no position on this referendum. We are neutral regarding it.

However the League has a long-standing concern about the political process, including the process by which signatures are gathered.

Often supporters will argue that you should sign their petition because you should “let the voters decide” – that in some way it is your duty as a citizen of a democratic society to support putting the measure on the ballot.

This is not true. It is the privilege and right of supporters to gather signatures, and, if they get enough, to put their referendum on the ballot.

But it is no one's duty or responsibility to support putting a measure on the ballot that they don't understand or don't agree with.

Some years ago, the League of Women Voters of California spelled out this argument in detail at http://lwvsantamonica.org/files/ask-before-you-sign.pdf

Remember, we want all registered voters to exercise their franchise. Just be sure you get all the facts before you sign anything.


Ann K. Williams


League of Women Voters of Santa Monica

Valerie Griffin February 18, 2014 at 07:22 PM
One question that many people have failed to ask about this project is what can be developed "by right" without having to get Council approval. The approved project does add about 6800 new vehicle trips, with significant penalties if that number is exceeded. The "by right" projects for financial impacts in the staff report can add over 10,000 trips without increasing the existing 600 parking spaces, or over 14,000 trips while increasing the number of paring spaces to 1373. This analysis convinced me that the Council is right.
Fatima Malik February 19, 2014 at 01:39 PM
Please re-read Ms. Williams' statement: "The League of Women Voters of Santa Monica has no position on this referendum. We are neutral regarding it." That means she is not for or against it. I encourage you to do your own due diligence. The League of Women Voters takes action on issues or advocates for a cause when there is an existing League position that supports the issue or speaks to the cause. Positions result from a process of study and consensus. (For information about the League process, see the League's web site: http://www.lwv.org/content/overview-program). If the League has no position or the scope of the issue goes far and beyond a position that the League has, they remain neutral. Ms. Williams' letter to the editor is meant to advise you to read the document and do research before you sign something. Your signature means a lot.
Captain Liberty February 19, 2014 at 05:41 PM
I would suggest when dealing with a subject as talked about and debated as this one, with the huge show of support demonstrated by members of the public and the blatant disregard by those 4 members of the City Council, the League would be well advised not to treat us as if we were ignorant children. Of course we know what we're signing. No one is lying to us. There are no misrepresentations. The developers are compromising our quality of life and we need to stop them.
ARIZKID February 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM
I am shocked as to the number of my neighbors 15, at a recent barbeque had no idea about the Hines development or the petition drive. Of which many thought the project was in Los Angeles. Only two knew what the border line was between Santa Monica and W LA. And residents wonder how the Watergarden got built??? Wait, more than twenty large developments are being proposed in our city. Not including the number of proposed developments on the WLA, VENICE, MARINA DEL REY AREAS, that will bring in even MORE TRAFFIC/CONGESTION. So get your head out of the sand and get involved with your city issues before it is TOO LATE.....
Brian Burke February 20, 2014 at 03:32 PM
This message from the League is seriously perplexing and contradictory to their stated mission. When the president, Ann K Williams says " it is no one's duty or responsibility to support putting a measure on the ballot" if they don't agree with. This is politicalhogwash. As a citizen it is indeed my duty to support any referendum that addresses significant issues facing my community and for which there has been a dearth of public discourse. If the President and the League were true to their mission they would be busy encouraging public discourse and assisting our fellow citizens in understanding the issues and participating in the debate. They would be offering forums and public discussions, even a handbook on the critical facts and statistics. Most of all they should be concerned with our City Council's efforts to sidestep established public architectural guidelines, as elucidated in LUCE, for back room negotiations with developers. And for this they can remain neutral all the while promoting democracy.


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