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Opening reception highlights the beginning of 2010 Global Forum

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July 31, 2010

Eric O'Keefe of the Sam Adams Alliance

By Kyle Maichle

SAN FRANCISCO, California: The 2010 Global Forum on Direct Democracy began with an opening reception at San Francisco's Hastings College of Law on July 30, 2010. Convention attendees had the chance to meet one another during the two hour event. Over 360 participants worldwide are expected to attend the multi-day forum.

Three speakers from the United States in the initiative and referendum rights movement spoke during the reception. Dane Walers, the Founder of the Initiative & Referendum Institute, spoke about the last conference held on U.S. initiative rights in 1999. Waters said that the difference between this conference and the one in 1999 is the high level of support from allied organizations. Waters also said that the lack of support during the last conference in 1999 made it difficult to be successful. A total of 23 organizations in the U.S. and across the globe are co-sponsoring the event along with the Citizens in Charge Foundation and the Initiative and Referendum Institute- Europe.

Eric O'Keefe, the Chairman and CEO of the Sam Adams Alliance, talked about the importance of the initiative process as a check and balance on government. O’Keefe advocated during his speech that the U.S. should have binding referendum at the national level towards key issues including taxes, social security, and health care reform. The Chairman argued that the U.S. government’s handling of the current recession is one reason why Americans should adopt direct democracy at the national level. A total of 26 American states and the District of Columbia allow their citizens to engage in the initiative process.

The reception ended with brief remarks and a song from Kim Alexander of the California Voter Foundation. Alexander along with other attendees sung about the May 2009 special election in California. There were six ballot propositions during the election that were aimed towards fixing the state’s budget crisis. Propositions 1A to 1F were mentioned in the song Alexander wrote. The measures were part of a budget and tax increase agreement between Legislators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger[1],[2]. Five out the six of the measures were defeated by the voters.

The conference continues on July 31, 2010 with the first full day of seminars[3].

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