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NYC Ballot Initiatives - 50+ Needed Reforms for Direct Enactment by NYC Voters

1st Published on 09/16/07; Last Update: Sun. 09/16/13 01:30 am

Top Down Versus Bottom Up Government

There was a time in the United States when voters had an impact on the government serving the People of the United States. Voters at one time were able to express their preferences and their elected representatives at the federal, state and local level were far more responsive to voter-expressed preferences than they are today. When elected representatives are responsive to voter-expressed wishes, you have a type of "bottom up" government, in which voters at the bottom of the pyramid express their wishes to the elected officials at the top, and the wishes are heard and acted upon.

Today, ever increasingly, we have a "top down" government, in which the elected official at the top (such as the President or his designee or the State Governor or the City Mayor or the federal, state or city legislative body enact laws and rules and make decisions affecting everyone from top to bottom, without any or much regard for the desires or economic interests of the voters at the bottom of the pyramid. One out of many areas of concern is

There is a cure for this in every town, village and city in New York State. The New York State Constitution provides for voter ballot initiatives for each town, village and city in New York State. Section 37 of the New York Municipal Home Rule Law fleshes out this New York Constitutional requirement. New York City has also adopted a local statute, Section 40 of the New York City Charter, which enables voters to pass certain types of local statutes.

Voters in NYC, and every other town, village and city in New York State have the opportunity of changing what is now, for the most part, a top down government into a bottom up government, in which the wishes of the voters can be turned into law, by the voters themselves, through a series of ballot initiatives.

How a Ballot Initiative Works in NYC - The Petition and Related Procedures

Let's assume that a significant number of NYC voters would like to have a NYC law enacted which requires NYC and its agencies to eliminate all maximum age requirements from every type of full-time, temporary or part-time job or consulting or sub-contracting work. Instead, the standard would be "ability to perform", so that if a 50-year old stockbroker wanted to become a NYC policeperson, he/she would have the opportunity to do so under the envisioned statute.

Take a look at the Petition I drafted which if signed by a sufficient number of registered NYC voters and passed by a majority vote at the following general election, would become the law in NYC. Proposed NYC Statute Eliminating Age Discrimination for Employment by NYC.

The procedure for any one proposed statute is simple. A total of 30,000 Petitions must be signed by NYC registered voters (and verified at the bottom of each Petition by another NYC registered voter). After these signatures are obtained, the Petition is submitted to the NYC City Council, which has 60 days to accept (i.e., approve the proposed statute) or reject the proposed statute. If the proposed statute is rejected, then the persons behind the proposed statute have to gather an additional 15,000 signatures within a 60-day period, and if this is accomplished the Petition should be placed on the ballot during the following general election for a Yes or No vote by NYC registered voters. If a majority of the persons voting on the Petition approve the Petition, it becomes a NYC statute.

The requirement of 30,000 Petition signatures is not a staggering requirement. There are more than 6,000,000 registered voters in NYC, and 30,000 signatures is only 1/2 of 1% of the 6 million voters.

The Key to Enacting Your Desired Petition Is to Join with Others in Enacting Their Petitions - The Basis Premise of This Website

Political parties bring voters together by creating a platform with a large number of "planks" providing something for everyone within the party, otherwise members not receiving any plank promises will probably change parties.

What is important to realize today is that virtually none of the plank promises is ever enacted after the election, regardless of who wins the election. It is this situation which makes the NYC Ballot Initiatives a truly viable alternative to party politics in NYC. Whereas no matter who wins the local elections in NYC, voters will clearly not be given what they were promised; but the same is not true as to the alternative approach of the NYC Ballot Initiatives. The statutes are drafted in advance, for you to read and study, and by getting behind and supporting all (or most) of the proposed statutes, instead of the one or several you are most anxious to see enacted, all of us have a realistic opportunity of having our own statutes enacted while the others helping us will also get their own desired statutes enacted.

A Description of Numerous Subject Matters for NYC Petitions

Before creating any of the Petitions listed below, I prepared a list of possible subject matters for NYC Petitions. Take a look and see how NYC could be improved through adoption of many of these proposed petitions (some of which are also included in the list below). Many of the petitions yet to be drafted involve disclosures by NYC, such as the proposal to have NYC disclose all payments made to anyone so that everyone can see how the money is being spent. You can bet that there are billions of dollars being spent questionably or even illegally, but nobody can tell because there is no openness about public expenditures in NYC. Petition Topics.

NYC Petitions Already Ready for You to Sign, Including Some Designed for YOU

Here is a list of the Petitions already ready for you to sign, together with a link to each petition (to enable you to read, print out, sign and then return the signed Petition to this address: NYC Ballot Initiatives, c/o Carl Person, 225 E. 36th Street, New York NY 10016-3664:

  1. Congestion Pricing Is Made Illegal
  2. Arrested Demonstrators Get Affidavits or the Arresting Officer Loses His/Her Job
  3. NYC Jobs Open to Older Applicants of Any Age - Test: Ability to Perform
  4. No Sidewalk Trash Tickets without Notice and 2 Color Photographs Spaced 24 Hours Apart
  5. No NYC Subsidies to Buy or Retain Jobs in NYC
  6. Permits Smoking in Designated Areas (up to 25% of Customer Space) in NYC Bars, Restaurants
  7. Board of Elections to Create an Opt-Out Email List of Voters for Use only by BOE and Election Candidates, to enable candidates with limited funds to get their message out to voters at no cost
  8. NYC Police Precincts Will Receive Computer Donations and Give to Local Children Living in Computerless Homes
  9. Department of Consumer Affairs to Accept Junk-Fax and Pop-Up Complaints and Bring Suit If Necessary
  10. Prohibits Discriminatory Pricing - All Candidates and Parties to Receive the Same Price for Campaign Advertising
  11. Drivers of Vehicles Permitted to Make Right Turn on Red Light (If Safe to Do So)
  12. City Council of NYC Is to Create Single Email Address for Voters to Reach All 51 Council Members
  13. NYC Businesses Report Potholes and Sidewalk Defects and Get Paid to Repair If NYC Fails to Repair
  14. GPS and E-Z Pass Speeding Tickets Prohibited - this petition could be amended to deal with NYC's 2,000 revenue-producing cameras for ticketing motorists
  15. 3 Times as Many Points before NYC May Revoke or Suspend a Taxicab Driver's License [Note: This Petition is replaced by Petition 31 below]
  16. Elect All Members of the 59 Community Boards in NYC; compensation, 2-year terms; 6-year maximum [amended 9/1/13]
  17. Non-Public Eminent Domain by NYC Prohibited [Note: This Petition needs to be modified in light of Petition Nos. 34 and 40 below]
  18. No Licensing or Insurance as Condition to Exercise First Amendment Rights in NYC [amended 9/1/13]
  19. Creation of New York City Attorney General to Enforce Constitutional Rights of NYC Citizens, Residents, Workers, Homeowners and Small Businesses at Public Expense
  20. 150,000 New Parking Spaces by Reducing Hydrant No-Parking Zone to 3 Feet and Reducing Single-Car Parking-Meter Space to 16 Feet
  21. Personally-Directed Proceedings Against 55 or Older NYC Resident Require Naming NYC Attorney General as Interested Person [Note: This Petition together with Petition 3 above are to be replaced by a Petition for a Bill of Rights for Seniors]
  22. Petition No. 22 deleted - lack of current public interest
  23. NYC Statute to Provide 100% Campaign Financing for Candidates before NYC Voters
  24. Top 100 Retailers Required to Make Representations and Warranties to Open New Stores - Lawsuit Standing for Injured Competitors, Employees and Others
  25. Continuous Auction of Unused NYC Real Estate
  26. City Council of NYC Required to Disclose All Contacts to Influence Its Actions [amended 9/1/13]
  27. NYC Website for Homeowners Subject to ARM Mortgage Foreclosures
  28. NYC Website to Promote Rate and Fee Competition among NYC Banks and Credit Card Issuers
  29. 100% Payout Slot Machines for NYC Retail Stores with Fees Supporting Local Senior, Pre-Natal and After-School Programs
  30. Tuition-Free College (or Equivalency College) for Qualified Residents of NYC [Note: This petition is superceded by Petition No. 32 below.]
  31. Bill of Rights for Drivers, Owners and Licensees in the Taxicab and Limousine Industry
  32. Free Broad-Based Information Technology Training for all Adults Residing in NYC and for all Public High School Seniors
  33. Proportional Campaign Financing and Reduced Requirements for All Candidates Seeking Election to Any NYC Office
  34. Providing Affordable Loan Modifications for Under Water NYC Residential Mortgages through Condemnation
  35. Reducing Regulatory Burdens on Business and Others by Placing a Cap on Civil Fines by NYC - Not to Exceed 125% of the Direct Cost of Enforcement
  36. Bill of Rights for NYC Restaurant and Food Service Industry, including a Cap on Fines Equal to 1.25% of the Direct Cost of Enforcement
  37. NYC Law to Enable Ballot Initiative Petitions to be Executed by NYC Voters and Filed Electronically with the NYC Board of Elections; to Reduce Ballot-Initiative Petition-Signature Requirements to 20,000; and for Creation of an Opt-Out Email Mailing List for Free but Limited Use by All Candidates for NYC Elective Office
  38. NYC Law for NYC to Deposit Funds Payable to NYC as Incentive for Banks to Lend to Small Businesses, Homeowners and Students
  39. Free Ferry Service for The Rockaways as Part of NYC Hurricane-Sandy Relief
  40. Condemnation of Student Loans to Obtain Principal Reductions for the Obligors and Student-Loan Fraud/Misconduct Lawsuits by NYC against Lenders
  41. Bill of Rights for Senior Citizens of NYC
  42. Restoring NYC Streets and Reducing Surveillance after 12 Years of Mayor Bloomberg
  43. xx

Please Help Defray Our Costs by Making a Donation - by Credit Card, PayPal or Check

We can turn these Petitions into Statutes but we need some help from you. First of all, we could use a donation. Any donation is appreciated, but if you can afford to make a substantial donation, please do so. Every penny you donate goes to the cause (including payment to some petitioners). There are no salaries or compensation paid to any of the people associated with this project for any activities (other than any petitioning for signatures). Please remember that although we do not operate to make a profit, we are not a non-profit organization qualified for donors to obtain a tax deduction. Please do not hesitate to make a donation merely because you can get no tax deduction. No political donation is entitled to a tax deduction.

Donations by check should be made to "Carl E. Person, as Attorney for NYCBI" and mailed to:

The Petitioning Process - Time and/or Costs

Candidates for office in NYC and NYS know all about the petitioning process. The candidate himself/herself, or with the help of the candidate's political party, and/or with help from paid petitioners, obtain or try to obtain the needed number of signatures to place the candidate or group of candidates on the ballot (for a primary or general election).

The same is required for putting a ballot initiative on the ballot. Whereas a candidate for NYC mayor now requires 3,750 signatures (in preceding elections the minimum number was 7,500), to put a ballot initiative on the ballot in NYC requires a minimum of 30,000 signatures for the initial petitioning process and after the NYC Council rejects the petition, an additional (different) minimum of 15,000 signatures. Conventional wisdom dictates that these numbers be doubled, to make it more difficult to challenge the effort. There are about 100 different challenges that might be made against any one page of petitions.

If you can organize interested persons to do the petitioning, the petitioning could be done for free, but it often takes longer and there is valuable time spent in trying to keep petitioners going and producing the numbers you need. Another way is to raise the money needed to obtain the required number of signatures. In NYS petitioners are not allowed to be paid on a per signature basis (I know because I attacked this restriction in a federal lawsuit years ago, and lost in the lower court and on appeal). At $15/hour paid to petitioners, you can obtain signatures at a cost of about $1.50 per signature, so that getting 60,000 signatures would cost $90,000 and the additional 30,000 signatures would cost $45,000. The total cost, if petitioning was done only by paid petitioners, would be about $135,000.

There are approximately 100,000 yellow and black-car cab drivers in NYC, so that if each contributed $1.35 the industry could put the proposed bill of rights for cab drivers on the ballot (see petition # 31 above). There are 24,600 restaurants and foodservice establishments in NYC, so that if each business contributed an average of $5.50 the industry could put the proposed bill of rights on the ballot. There are 1,407,635 persons age 60 or older in NYC as of 2010, an an average contribution of $.10 (ten cents) would put the Bill of Rights for Seniors (petition # 41) on the ballot.

Carl E. Person, Attorney
NYCBI
225 E. 36th Street - Suite 3A
New York NY 10016-3664

Donations to be made by PayPal should be directed to the following email address: carlpers@ix.netcom.com

PayPal accepts credit cards.

We can obtain a more responsive government through the application of business principles to politics.

Donations spent on a business-like basis can obtain the Petition signatures we need to enable us to change the laws and rules we don't like.

We Need Volunteers - Please Call me - CARL E. PERSON - to Discuss How You and I, Working Together and with Others, Can Enact Needed Reforms in NYC

We are a small organization and need volunteers for a variety of tasks. I want to talk with YOU and see what we can do to create the needed reforms in NYC, and have our work be a model for other cities, towns, villages, counties and states to do the same thing. Change is going to come about starting at the bottom, with voters, rather than at the top with the Mayor, Governor or President.

When volunteering to work with us, the NYC Ballot Initiatives, you can be far more effective than most U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives, by passing statutes rather than by running for elective office.

I am quite interested in appointing "Petition Managers", who will be responsible for developing a constituency for a single Petition, and then to work with individuals and organizations within the constituency to obtain signatures on the Petition for that constituency. Thereafter, we need people to work with the persons signing the Petition of most interest to them, and get them to sign as many of the other Petitions as possible, so that the constituency of each Petition helps the other constituencies with their respective Petitions.

During mid-September, 2013, another website will become available to facilitate petition drives. This new website, voterlaws.com, will have a variety of features to help manage the petition drives for the petitions listed in voterlaws.com.

Please visit voterlaws.com and also communicate with me if you wish to participate in creating more democracy for residents of NYC. You can send me an email by clicking on Email Response Form for Possible Volunteer or you can telephone me at my office number, 212-307-4444.

New York's "Lobbying" Restriction on First Amendment Rights

Anyone interested in making NYC a better place in which to live should become aware of legislation that attempts to prevent needed political change. You should read my website containing materials for a TV show I wanted to produce (as a community cable, MNN producer" entitled "Illegal to Advocate Political Change in NYS". You will be amazed at the restrictions imposed on New Yorkers under city and state legislation. In our petitioning process, we can make changes in the NYC law. My website is at Website for TV Show "Illegal to Advocate Political Change in NYS".

Copyright 2007, 2013 by Carl E. Person
Last Revision: Sun. 9/16/13 01:30 am zz44zz