20 December 2009

George Lakoff's letter to California Faculty

To: UC, CSU, and Community College Faculty
From: George Lakoff
Re: Ballot Initiative

Dear Friends:

Are you tired of the repeated, outrageous increases in tuition and fees?  Are you angry that faculty and staff have been furloughed and laid off, classes canceled, and programs eliminated?  If you are, then please join me in stopping this craziness by putting the California Democracy Act on the ballot. If we are successful, public higher education will be protected and common sense restored to our state government. This battle is for all of us and I am fully committed.

But I can only do this with your help!

We need to collect more than one million voter signatures by April to place The California Democracy Act on the November 2010 ballot – and then we must win voter approval – to ensure the long-term funding and survival of the University of California, the State Universities and our Community Colleges.

What does the California Democracy Act do?  The Act is just 14 words: “All legislative actions on revenue and budget must be determined by a majority vote.” It simply changes two words in the California Constitution – “two thirds” becomes “a majority” – that simple change will restore sanity and common sense to our budget process and priorities.  What could be simpler than that?
This simple change will immediately stop the small band of ultra-conservatives in Sacramento who are holding the rest of us hostage! These ideologues want to starve our government and privatize our education system. California Democracy Act will restore the basic tenet of democracy – that the majority shall rule on matters of public good.

California’s budget crisis – and so many of our state’s systemic problems – are the result of the absurd two-thirds requirement that allows a small minority, now just 37%, to block sensible economic legislation. Their tactics create gridlock, impoverish our government, lead to massive cuts in education, healthcare, critical infrastructure and virtually every other important public need.
California is the only state in America where one-third plus one, only 34%, runs the legislature by blocking the sensible, responsible majority at every turn.

We can change all this by enacting the California Democracy Act! Only a majority is needed. No change is more crucial.  With your help and generous support we can restore common sense to California government. The task ahead will not be easy – remember, we need to collect more than one million signatures by April – but together WE CAN DO IT!

Here’s how you can help:

  1. Make an immediate and generous contribution of $200, $100, $50, or even $20. Make your check payable to “California Majority Rule PAC” and send it to California Majority Rule, 12021 Wilshire Blvd., # 542, Los Angeles, CA 90025.
  2. Go to our website, register and tell us what else you can do. You can get there by going either to www.californiansfordemocracy.com or www.camajorityrule.com.
  3. Help recruit volunteers for three areas: a) signature gathering, b) fundraising events and other activities, and c) the speakers’ bureau. We need organizers at every level: statewide, UC, CSU, and Community Colleges; we need organizers for faculty, students and alumni. Go to the website, click on JOIN THE CAMPAIGN and sign up.
  4. We need access to large email lists from faculty, organizations, groups and campaigns. Contact Susie at susieshannon@yahoo.com. If you belong to an organization, ask it to endorse the California Democracy Act on, then go to the website and click on “ENDORSE” to inform us.
So if you are tired of those repeated, outrageous increases in tuition and fees and angry that faculty and staff are being furloughed and laid off, classes canceled, and programs eliminated, then join me in this fight. Please send a check, sign a petition, help gather signatures, organize house parties, join our speakers’ bureau, or volunteer… WE CAN DO IT!

    Thank you,

    George Lakoff,
    Goldman Distinguished Professor
    of Cognitive Science and Linguistics,
    UC Berkeley

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