A strong and effective government is the fundamental building block of a strong and vibrant democracy. Government should serve the needs of an increasingly diverse America; it shouldn’t govern on behalf of wealthy special interests at the expense of ordinary people. For government to remain viable and strong, it must be fair, accessible, and facilitate participation. Government sets the rules by which corporations play. Corporations shouldn’t set the rules for government.
Our government and democracy are under attack by those who want to limit the growing
voting power of communities of color. Attacks on government lead to cuts in services that
serve children, the working class and the elderly, while corporations are increasingly writing the rules of the game. Low voting rates and new barriers to voting only aggravate this problem. Despite historically low current tax rates, the right-wing wants to further erode the tax base that we all rely on for safety, education, and military protection.
California’s broken ballot initiative system is a textbook example of failed government. What was supposed to be a vehicle for ordinary citizens to make laws is now a vehicle for millionaires to make laws. The initiative system has weakened California’s democracy by removing important policymaking tools from democratically elected lawmakers.
Greenlining works to make government more effective by bringing the voices of communities of
color into the democratic process. We focus on the following areas:
- Initiative System Reform – We are working to return this system to the original ideal of “citizen democracy,” advocating for key reforms that are necessary for a healthy government.
- Voting & Citizen Engagement – We strive to make it easier for people to vote. We also work to ensure that voters have the information they need on key elections in California and to make sure they go out and vote.
- Money & Politics – We support efforts to overturn the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision that allows billionaires to buy elections and, in the interim, efforts to strengthen campaign funding disclosure requirements.
- Tax & Budget Reform – We advocate for policies that lead to healthier budgets for states and cities in order to protect vital services.
- Redistricting – We worked throughout 2010 and 2011 to bring the voices of communities of color into California’s new process for drawing legislative districts and continue to work with the RedistrictingCA alliance to ensure that the Citizens Redistricting Commission process is responsive to communities of color.
- Legislation – We monitor both state and federal legislation and work closely with Congress and the California Legislature to protect the interests of communities of color. These are Greenlining’s current positions on pending bills.