Democracy is a way of life, not just a trip to the voting booth

Deliberative DemocracyI use the term citizen-centered democracy in my platform. Another word for it is Deliberative Democracy. A lot of you may not be familiar with the term or the process. It is not done much in Indiana. It’s certainly unknown down at the Indiana State house.

Explaining citizen centered democracy is a little like explaining square dancing. It is hard to explain but once you have been through it a few times it seems easy. We could develop the habit of using it more in Indiana and I believe we would make better public policy.

I have just added a page to the web site that offers a one page explanation. Here is the link. I hope you will visit the page and read it. If you have questions you can post them right here. I’ll do my best to answer them.

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5 Responses to “Democracy is a way of life, not just a trip to the voting booth”

  1. Brandon Says:

    I agree that we need to get citizens more involved in government. Too many don’t understand the basic workings of local, county and state government and that causes them to blame the wrong people or feel like they can’t do anything to help.
    Citizen-centered democracy is a good idea, if you can get enough educated people to participate and see that the issues aren’t always black and white. I’m glad you didn’t mention referendums – valuable to a degree but if used for basic government they slooow dooown the process and cost a lot of money. The majority of referendums should occur in May and Novemer; when your mayors, state reps and others are elected to make those decisions.

  2. kenmorgan Says:

    Thank you Brandon. I really believe in the techniques of Deliberative Democracy. The techniques don’t just reach “educated” people. The idea is to give all people who are effected by decision some input in making that decision if they want it. Simple folk often have a keen sense of fairness and wisdom. Further, the process educates everybody, especially those who imagine themselves educated. All of us are ignorant about some things.

    Thanks for sending that link on the fiscal condition of Indiana towns and cities. I downloaded all thirty pages. That will be my reading for tonight. I will have to understand local budgets deeply before we can craft a fair and effective means of eliminating property tax. I learn something from every person I visit on this campaign. Thanks for pointing this out to me.

    Yours
    Ken Morgan

  3. Ron Says:

    Ken,

    A couple of suggestions:
    1. Place a map of your District on the website. (It’ll give people more perspective on the Office’s boundaries. It will also give people who know people the opportunity to contact friends in your District who might be tried of the status quo.)
    2. Place where you live, general location, on the site. (People will have a better understanding of where your are and where you come from)

    Also, what are your beliefs on campaign finances? Are you accepting money from Special Interests, PACs, or other lobbying types groups or individuals?

    On Property Taxes, why do you believe they should be eliminated? I don’t believe this for several reasons though I’m not totally opposed to it if specific legislation in place at the time. I believe the current legislative session only compounded our problems.

    On Referendums, I think I agree with Brandon’s opinion in that, in May and November all Referendums could be held if the government, at all levels, are actually planning in advance. I understand there are emergencies that come up but, they occur so rarely that May and November should allow Referendums to cover all expenditures starting at a level of $100,000 to $500,000.

    Lastly, why are you affiliated with Advance America?

  4. kenmorgan Says:

    Ron
    Thanks. Good suggestions. I’d like to put a map up of the district but I haven’t figured out how. I will put my mailing address and phone number up and see if I can get a readable map of some kind.

    About campaign finances. My learning curve on this one has been steep. So far, what contributions I have received have been small. I have been startled, though, by people of little means, who have been willing to give me a hundred dollars. That is the highest single contribution I have received. I would like to limit contributions to no more than 500 dollars, in the event I ever get offered so much. All contributions exceeding 100 dollars are a public record. The next filing is in early April.

    What the campaign experts tell me is that a state senate campaign can be won on sixty thousand dollars. If that is the case I don’t stand an ice-cube’s chance in Phoenix on a hot day. This will be mostly a word-of-mouth campaign.

    However, because of the nature of modern politics I can see how politicians simply have to take money from people they would rather not. We the people may complain about it, but we have set up a society that makes it nearly impossible to reach people without huge expenditures of money. Take senate district 30. It has one-hundred-sixty-thousand people in it. Figure a single mailing to fifty thousand households at fifty cents a whack and you can see how fast that eats up money. I am not sure that is the best way to win an election, but it seems to be a common way.

    So, I am just showing up at places people congregate and my wife and I spend a lot of time walking neighborhoods. We leave a flyer and manage to visit with someone in about one out of ten houses.

    Property taxes. I will post something on the web site. My opinion was like yours until I took a hard look at it. Adam Smith, in his “The Wealth of Nations” laid out four maxims of just taxation. Property tax fails to meet three of his tests. It is unjust. Check back to the website in a couple days.

    I think referendums should be required for any increase in the tax levy. Bureaucrats are actually pretty good at budgeting within a framework. However, they should never be allowed to set their own budget. They will always want more money. I know this from long experience in the Federal government. Also, forcing a jurisdiction to ask the public for more money is a strong incentive for the politicians and staff to learn how to conduct “deliberative democracy”. Most jurisdictions don’t know how, and don’t want to.

    I am not affiliated with Advance America except to the extent that we agree on the abolition of property tax and very little else. Why do you think I am “associated” with him? I have met Eric Miller three or four times at tax rallies. Property tax is a hot button and, as a populist politician, Miller knows how to push the buttons.

    The abolition faction is larger than Advance America and has been at the issue longer than Miller. I have become a close friend of David Bond, president of STOP Indiana.

  5. Ron Says:

    Ken,

    Thanks for the reply.

    When I searched for your campaign, I first found an Advance America site that led me to your “official” site. That is why I asked.

    I’ll be following up with you shortly on a few other things.

    Thank you for your efforts to bring change.

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