Still a staunch Republican conservative (he's an El Dorado Country rancher and elected supervisor), Ron Briggs wants the world to know that his family now thinks that 1978 initiative has created a "monster." He believes it is time to replace the death penalty with sentences of life without the possibility of parole. Writing in the Los Angeles Times he explains:
The SAFE California act will be on the ballot in November. The state's voters are getting a chance for a "do-over". Click the link to get involved and help us make this momentous course correction.
Campaigns are inherently both polarizing and lend themselves to dividing the opposing sides into camps that almost have to believe "we're all right and you are all wrong." That's not inherently a bad thing; picking the best alternative available and pushing for it, then living with the majority's choice, is what citizenship feels like in a big, complex and democratic society. Schemes that try to smooth out the divisions that manifest themselves through "yes" and "no" votes -- like San Francisco's "ranked choice voting"-- just undermine engaged citizenship.
But the corollary to such engaged citizenship has to be continuing to look at the results of the choices we make: did these policies work? After the heat of the moment, can we see other avenues to the social goals that formed our choices? Is this office holder still serving the interests and purposes of a majority? Office holders who abhor such scrutiny are in the wrong business. Democracy doesn't work if we all just go home after an election and forget about it.
Kudos to Ron Briggs for looking honestly at the wrong turn his family and a majority of California's voters took in 1978. That's never easy.