We Are Thankful for Citizen Petitioners
The recent past has been a busy time for citizen petitioners in Kansas City. Current and recent efforts have included an audit of the water department, an expensive light rail system, and an increase in the minimum wage. Some have been successful, such as that requiring a public vote on any changes to the airport or a challenge to a crossroads tax increment financing effort, and some—such as a challenge to a proposed convention hotel—have failed. But all are signs of a healthy democracy.
In 2011, we published:
One of the greatest strengths of American government is that there are a number of checks and balances at the federal, state, and local levels that limit the ability of any one branch of government to abuse its power. The initiative petition process is one of those checks on power, and restricting it further will serve only to erode Missourians’ ability to limit legislators by initiating good—but politically difficult—policy change.
This remains as true today as ever. And while we may not always agree with the goals of the petitions—as is the case with efforts to increase the minimum wage in Kansas City—we respect citizens exercising their rights. And we are thankful that people still care enough about public policy to roll up their sleeves and get involved in ways that go beyond simply casting the occasional ballot.