Worried about social media and elections? What about our public media?

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

The recent controversy over Facebook’s decision not to fact-check political ads by politicians — combined with Twitter’s decision not to run any — has shown how intertwined our political culture is with what are de facto privately-owned, public information utilities. Whether and how to regulate social media giants – including whether to break them up […]

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Despite Close Congressional Races, California Must Change its Election System

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

There are arguably at least eight close California Congressional races on November 6th that pollsters and pundits tell us could go down to the wire.  The results could determine the majority in the U.S. House of Representative — and whether there will be legislative and oversight checks on the Trump presidency.And it all could come down […]

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Top Two Malfunctions, Democracy Suffers

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

When the State Legislature placed Top Two elections on the June 2010 ballot, there were no prior public hearings on the topic. Instead Top Two was added as part of a last minute, middle-of-the night deal to obtain a needed Republican vote to pass a Democratic-led budget. That means the very electoral system with which […]

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Vote Centers Wrong Answer to Increase Voter Turnout, Why Not Election State Holidays and Proportional Representation?

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

In attempting to increase voter turnout, California officials nibble around the edges of reform, while consistently missing the forest for the trees. The impending arrival of Vote Centers is the latest example. Vote Centers are meant to make it easier to vote — but would also represent a major shift in how we vote. Under […]

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Voters’ Right to Know Undermined by High Candidate Statement Fees, SoS Conflict of Interest


Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

Can we really say we have a democracy, if the only candidates that voters have information about, is those who can ‘pay to play’? Yet that’s the case here in California, where candidate space in the official statewide Voter Information Guide (and in the county sample ballots) – the only pieces of information that go […]

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Presidential Race Shows Fallacy Of California’s Top Two Primary System

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

If this year’s presidential race has demonstrated anything, it’s that large numbers of voters want a choice other than that offered by the Democratic and Republican parties. In our American democracy, do we deserve such choice? Or is it too ‘dangerous’ to leave choice up to the voters, so that we need to be ‘protected’ […]

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Why The Green Party Opposes Proposition 42

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

Grassroots Democracy is one of the Key Values of the Green Party. We take transparency and access to information about one’s government very seriously. That is why Proposition 42 – sponsored by the state legislature – is so disappointing. Either democracy is taken seriously, or it is not. Proposition 42 would amend the state constitution to mandate […]

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AB1413 “Gut and Amend” Abuse Would Gut Voter Voice

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

A bill about to be passed by the Legislature – AB 1413 – would rob us of our right to vote for write-in candidates, a right we’ve enjoyed and exercised since California statehood in 1850. With such a major change, one would assume it’s imminent passage is the culmination of a long public process, where […]

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Prop 14 is Bad for Smaller Parties, Bad for Democracy Overall

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein is a former Santa Monica Mayor and City Councilmember, a co-founder of the Green Party of California and a June 2018 Green candidate for California Secretary of State.

The Green Party of California opposes Proposition 14 because it would reduce voter choice and political voice across political lines, while unfairly favoring incumbents, big money and party insiders.

By eliminating party primaries, expanding the number of voters that primary candidates have to reach and effectively front-loading the election process, Proposition 14 would put even greater emphasis on name recognition and early fundraising, increasing the corrupting influence of money and making it harder for competing candidates and movements to survive, let alone contend.

Because of pressure not to “split the primary vote” of their party’s faithful, incumbents and well-funded candidates would also be more able to “clear the field” and squeeze out competitors (like Schwarzenegger did during the recall), putting more power into the hands of party machines and insiders to, de facto, select general election candidates. As a result, Proposition 14 would stifle diversity and competition within the major parties and at the same time, limit the choices of independent voters who can already vote within the major party primaries.

Proposition 14’s backers are trying to sell this electoral scheme by promising it will deliver representatives of a particular political persuasion. Since when did the purpose of elections change from representing the people — whatever their views — to socially engineering a specific result?

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