Lakoff, George

George Lakoff is a Professor of Linguistics at the University of California at Berkeley.

Brown v. Democracy

By George Lakoff
UC Berkeley

With the California Financial Crisis at stake, the impartiality of the California Attorney General has come under scrutiny.

Proponents of the California Democracy Act, a ballot initiative that would restore a majority vote for revenue and budget in the legislature, are asking Jerry Brown, the Attorney General, for a new title and summary. An exhaustive poll has shown that Brown's title and summary changed the meaning and intent of the proposed initiative by one of the largest margins ever seen in a poll.

The poll was conducted by David Binder Research, one of California's most respected polling firms. The poll showed that the actual initiative for majority on revenue and budget is supported by likely California voters by a 73-to-22 percent margin - a 51 percent lead. But Attorney General Jerry Brown personally wrote the title and summary with wording that shifts that favorable margin to a 38-to-56 percent unfavorable margin - a 69 percent shift!