From: Jack Curtis - December 1, 2000

Congrats on your Web site! Will get back to you later, just a few quick observations for now:

The Initiative & Referendum Institute claims a constitutional convention requires government action & hence is out of reach of the people. Do you have any idea what they're talking about?


It is true that a constitutional convention requires government action, a vote of two-thirds of both houses, or on application of two-thirds of the states, but it is not totally out of reach for the people. The people would have to pass voter initiatives instructing their legislatures to petition the Congress for a constitutional convention.

Under the circumstances it is highly unlikely that could happen because the last thing those in power want is to open up the Constitution for amendments. Direct democracy might creep in and they know it. It would take a lot of direct democracy pressure from the people to make it happen. But when California's tax revolt happened with Proposition 13 in 1978, over two-thirds of the states' people followed suit with similar state tax control initiatives.

So, the I&R Institute is correct in terms of being out of reach today. They way things are breaking down, though, it's certainly not out of the realm of possibility.

From: Jack Curtis - December 2, 2000

After perusing your site a little further, it appears that rather than promoting real (i.e. direct) Democracy, you are actually promoting something called "Direct-Representative" Democracy. Is this a cop-out, or what?


No, the concept of direct representative democracy is not a cop-out. Instead of direct "pure" democracy where the people would manage every aspect of government, professional government managers (representatives) would be elected to manage government under the "direction of the people." Rather than micro-manage government, the people would decide matters of taxation (the fuel for government) and public policy (what government does).

The term direct democracy is most often used when the people vote on initiatives and referendums. I can see where the term direct representative democracy may seem to be a contradiction in terms, but it is, in fact, very different, nearly the opposite, from what we know as representative democracy.

An example of what it means is similar to a city with a city council and a city manager. Our concept of direct democracy would be to imagine the city council as the people and the city manager (a professional government manager) as their representative who runs the local government under their direction. The manager runs the government, but the people decide matters of taxation and public policy.

I hope the explanation helps, and I apologize if you understood it as something other than direct democracy. I will add an additional explanation to the site for the benefit of others who may misunderstand the concept.