Posted January 17th, 2009 by jpritikin
I was a happy-go-lucky not-so-tight-rope artist just getting started on Boulder’s Pearl St. Mall when the City started shutting us down, though we were the biggest free entertainment attraction in the Rockies and Midwest. They did so against a petition of 4000 fans and contrary to Boulder and Constitutional law. (My pro bono lawyer & I have the proof.) My first bitter experience of "government against the people."
That experience made me homeless 1982-4. I started going to Mexico winters to perform my show. (photo at http://evanravitz.com) I loved it and Guatemala even better. We employees of the Circus Bar brought the first non-marimba entertainment to some indigenous towns on Lake Atitlan. I started building a little house on a Mayan artist friend’s land, intending to stay. But then 3 other Mayan friends were killed by the Guatemalan Army with U.S.-supplied M-16s, one due to union activities. Two were little girls. I abandoned my house and returned to Boulder, depressed. I learned from Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States that by 1975, Harris and other polls showed "65% of Americans oppose military aid abroad because they feel it allows dictatorships to maintain control over their population." I realized if that had been a vote, not just polls, that my friends would still be alive.
In 1989 I started what would become Boulder’s 1993 Voting by Phone ballot initiative, which would have saved lots of trees & gas. I saw it as enabling technology for easier, better and national ballot initiatives. We made CBS Evening News, the Wall. St. Journal, etc. In 1993, we were defeated 59-41%, due to a hostile City Council and in the wake of problematic Colorado Amendments 1 & 2.
In 1995 I started http://Vote.org and in 2000 devoted it to Sen. Mike Gravel’s 30-year project, the National Initiative for Democracy, the best hope for government BY the people. Now my longtime friend and new Congressman Jared Polis promises he will introduce a bill later this year for National ballot initiatives, only the 3rd time in U.S. history. See http://spryeye.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-congressman-jared-polis-on-record…