Saturday, June 28, 2008

Caligiuri wants to return power to the people

As many of you know, our state Senator Sam Caligiuri (along with Rep. Al Adinolfi) spearheaded the "3 Strikes" legislation. Furthermore, many of you know... it went nowhere... because as many of you may not know... everything in Hartford is controlled by a few people... there's little "democracy" in Hartford. With people like Jim "the $525,000 lollipop" Amman and Senate Majority Leader Don Williams running the show... little happens without their approval.

But Sam is going to try to change all that. He wants to take some of the power away from the corrupted body politik and return that power to the people via the powers of referendum and initiative. Here's part of his reasoning:

The need to empower the people of Connecticut directly became crystal clear to me last year when more than 40,000 people signed an online petition demanding that the General Assembly convene a special session to pass a three strikes law in the aftermath of the horrendous Cheshire home invasion and murders.

These citizens – and I – discovered that it really does not matter what the people want if a few, powerful, legislators disagree. It took months of hard work on the part of many legislators and determined state citizens to convince legislative leadership to convene a special criminal justice session. The General Assembly accomplished a great deal of good during that special session and, more recently, during the regular legislative session. But, as I write this, the many admittedly excellent criminal justice reforms we passed this year does not include a true three strikes law. It is not right for a small handful of legislative leaders to decide whether a bill ever sees the light of day.

If Connecticut voters had the right of initiative and referendum, they could bring that issue directly to the people and let them decide, by ballot, whether or not Connecticut is to have a three strikes law that mandates life imprisonment of those convicted of three serious, violent, felonies.

I do have reservations about this. Frankly, I wish Hartford wasn't corrupt, but it is. I wish comity didn't reign supreme under the Gold Dome, but it does.

You want proof ?

Look no further than our nickname "Corrupticut." Or read this NYTimes editorial from June 24, 2007:

That is the root of why the State Legislature has proved so reluctant to pass laws that would deter corrupt behavior: Lawmakers are afraid that such proposals might hurt their friends — not just themselves. In addition, because state laws are so weak, Connecticut can’t effectively police itself; it is dependent on the competence and aggressiveness of federal authorities to expose corruption.

It is to the great credit of United States Attorney Kevin O’Connor’s office that so many government officials have been indicted in the state over the last several years. Yet the federal government cannot keep galloping in like the cavalry to save the day. Connecticut has to change its culture of corruption in much the same way, says Andy Sauer of Connecticut Common Cause, as the South had to change its racist attitudes 50 years ago to make repeated federal intervention unnecessary.

The system is corrupt. It is morally bankrupt. Something needs to change. And the powers of referendum and initiative may be the best way of reclaiming our government.

Go Sam!

Tim White


Anonymous said...

Amen, Brother!!!!

The biggest opponent of initiative and referendum will be the well heeled lobbyists who then would not be able to stop bills solely by wining and dining a few politicians

Anonymous said...

"And the powers of referendum and initiative may be the best way of reclaiming our government."

Hi Tim:

This would never happen. The state politicians control us and would never relinquish their control over us and they would never change the law to give the people the power they deserve. Probably 100% of the people would want these rights and also the power of recall.

Even if we never exercised the powers of referendum, initiative or recall, we would have a much better government because politicos would fear the recall and they would have less to sell the lobbyists.

Also, we would have lower taxes.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure it's OK to use the word CORRUPTION?

tim white said...

Are you sure it's OK to use the word CORRUPTION?

yup... at least when it's true... the body politik has been corrupted.