the political model
It was always your power, not theirs
They simply stole it from you
We want to give it back
Learn the fundamentals of the Political Model of the Nonpartisan Movement right here. We've created a series of six videos introducing you to candidate Greg Hyver, our movement and the rationale behind why dropping your political allegiances is the best thing that can happen to Santa Cruz and its residents. As a dramatic paradigm shift in local government, the nonpartisan movement offers an innovative, viable, more inclusive, more equal, more tailored, and more self-empowering plan of governance that will dramatically reshape the political dynamics in this city. This video series delivers a scathing rebuke of our representative form of government, while offering an inspiring, new vision for local government.
Our mission is to revive the City of Santa Cruz and to turn it back into a safer, more self-empowering, more opportunistic, more positive, and more business- and family-friendly place to live and work. We believe that this can only be done by taking power away from the mammoth political parties that have created the conditions we see around us and to return that power to its rightful owners--the people. District residents simply lack the infrastructure to make their voices heard (and count) in the process of establishing a community consensus through an alternative policy-making mechanism.
A small, nonpartisan, grassroots movement spreads by word of mouth, not through a partisan media where it stands no chance of gaining any positive momentum. We need YOU to help us spread our message. Ninety-percent of all Santa Cruzan's will never know about this website. If you are a community leader or a thought leader on social media, then your voice to our movement is absolutely essential as a trusted member of your community. Please spend time educating yourself on the various facets, rationales and benefits of this movement. For a brief summary of the main talking points, download our QUICKSTART GUIDE.
Educate and Propagate!
*** The full video series runs a skosh under two hours, so it is not well-tailored to the majority of its potential viewers. Nevertheless, it offers the necessary and deeper insights into the foundational structures of our movement. Although the videos may be watched separately and out of sequence, there is a certain logic and flow to them that better convey our messages if watched in sequence. Set the autoplay switch to "on" in the lower right corner of the YouTube video player to automatically play each video in the sequence.
The Public Good - It Isn't What You Think
Government Overreach - When Enough Is Enough!
the direct democracy experiment
There is no form of government in the world
more unfiltered, more inclusive or more equal than a Direct Democracy
... but, the powerful don't want you to know that ...
This is what Democracy was always meant to be...
A direct democracy, also known as a "pure" democracy, represents a shifting of the power structure from collectivism to individualism or, in the case of communities, what one might call "community individualism." In essence, a direct democracy acts as a check-and-balance against the abuses inherent in our representative form of government. The earliest, well-documented direct democracy is said to be the Athenian Democracy of the 5th century BC. Fast-forward centuries later, the Crow Nation had a Tribal Council that functioned as a direct democracy until 2001. All tribe members belonged to the tribal council, and so had a direct say in all matters related to governing the tribe. The history of direct democracy amongst non-Native Americans in the United States dates from the 1630s in the New England Colonies. In fact, many New England towns still carry on that tradition in the form of open town meetings. Westborough, MA (population 21,567) is an example of an existing direct democracy in the United States today. In other words, an American municipality is NOT restricted by law to operate under a representative form of government and has the freedom to choose its own form under which to govern. Most Americans, perhaps unknowingly, already exercise common direct democracy tools, albeit rather rarely, such as referendums (citizens overturning legislation established by politicians), ballot initiatives (proposed legislation introduced by the citizenry) and recalls (proposed removal of elected official by the citizenry), although these are typically lengthy and expensive processes used in limited ways.
Example - CALIFORNIA - On June 6, 1978, Proposition 13 (a ballot initiative) was enacted by the voters of the State of California. Its passage resulted in a cap on property tax rates in the state, reducing them by an average of 57%. Proposition 13 received an enormous amount of publicity, not only in California, but throughout the United States. Its passage presaged a "taxpayer revolt" throughout the country. Proposition 13 was officially titled the "People's Initiative to Limit Property Taxation." It passed with 65% of voters in favor and 35% against, with 70% of registered voters participating. It was placed on the ballot through the California initiative (or referendum) process under which a proposed law or constitutional amendment, termed a "proposition," is placed on the ballot once its backers gather a sufficient number of signatures on a petition. When passed, Proposition 13 became article 13A of the California state constitution.
Internationally, Switzerland is considered a semi-direct democracy (a representative democracy with strong instruments of direct democracy at the municipal (canton) level). As an aside, it fascinated us to discover that Switzerland is both a neutral country (Treaty of Paris, 1920) with a direct democracy sub-structure (since the 13th century in its cantons). Our movement's calls for nonpartisanship (neutrality) and a direct democracy form of government in our district was derived well before we became aware of its similarities to Switzerland. We simply stumbled onto the same formula that Switzerland discovered over a century ago.
Direct democracies attempting to assemble a large community of potential voters, who are often at great distances from one another, is one of the primary reasons why a representative form of government eventually displaced direct democracies. As our nation formed and grew, the demands for greater efficiency in government ushered in our current form of representative government, known in America as a representative democracy or a constitutional democracy. While vestiges of direct democracy tools (referendums, initiatives, recalls) exist today under our representative form of government, these tools are so cumbersome, burdensome, costly and time-consuming to use that they are rarely deployed, being relegated mostly for use when mass dissension or revolt surfaces among the populace, rather than as daily implements utilized to make policy decisions.
Direct Democracy - a system that allows citizens to vote directly for laws and policies
Representative Democracy - a form of democracy in which the majority of people are ruled through their elected representatives
Constitutional Democracy - the authority of the majority is limited by legal and institutional means so that the rights of individuals and minorities are respected
As you have learned in our six-part video series, "The Nonpartisan Movement," today's current form of representative democracy is broken and the people have been betrayed by their elected "representatives" who are no longer conduits for their constituents' interests, but rather for the interests of the party, the party's elite, the multitude of powerful, special interest groups that cling onto them like leeches, and last, but not least, themselves. The Public will has simply been hijacked to their benefit, regardless of the collateral damage it does to local communities. we call this the compromised "public will" that is embodied in the societal rules known as the (compromised) public good.
Is there a solution? We thought you'd never ask! Heck yes, there is!!!
The political machine, in collaboration with a multitude of multi-national corporations, has been leveraging and abusing technology for decades to gather our personal data, to dictate what we see, hear and say on media platforms, and to manipulate our opinions as a means to better control and dictate over us. So, why not turn the tables on Big Brother by using that same technology, in a more people-friendly way, to take back the decision-making powers that we have so trustingly, but negligently yielded over to a corrupt, power-hungry and self-serving cabal of party-first politicians and special interest billionaires? With advances in hardware technology, networking, data security, artificial intelligence, mobile communication accessibility to nearly all social strata and income classes, and the power of the internet to trigger dramatic and near-instantaneous social changes, this gives us pause to consider a new path:
The Direct Democracy Experiment delivers the thought-provoking hypothesis that the members of a community can identify, prioritize and solve their own local issues to advance their community's quality of life better than the obedient foot soldiers of a massive political organization that prioritizes party and special interest group objectives over everything else, leaving that community the unenviable job of cleaning up the debris field left in the wake of the party's failed, top-down policy approaches (and, in a bitter twist, putting these same foot soldiers in charge of the clean up). Advances in communications technology and information systems have created new opportunities to revisit a direct form of governance over our local communities by taking back the power we have so recklessly granted to our "representatives," individuals born into a political establishment that looks out for its own best interests--not ours.
The Direct Democracy Experiment is about (1) developing the core software infrastructure to manage our district's unique policy formation processes, (2) decoupling (aka unshackling) the district from the iron fist of a political monopoly's rule over policy decisions impacting our district, and (3) rejuvenating socioeconomic opportunities by removing the burdens of divisive tribalism, blind party loyalties and strict adherence to a political orthodoxy that greatly hinder the free market of ideas and solutions by boxing out political minorities from the debate stage, as well as establishing foundational policy criteria for our roadmap to prosperity.
(1) Software Infrastructure: to enhance and to automate, where possible, policy processes and procedures. We present to you the Direct Democracy experiment Software Policy Engine (DDeSPE), a first-of-its-kind, semi-automated software tool that returns the power of community decision-making back to the residents themselves. A proof-of-concept for the basic engine shall be developed at a university of our choosing, whether at UC Santa Cruz or another willing and viable institution with a cross-disciplinary curriculum that includes computer science (information systems, networking, internet security, artificial intelligence), statistics, business (accounting, finance) and political science. In short, the DDESPE is a policy-making efficiency tool that addresses the inherent weaknesses of direct democracies (voter assembly, debate, vote-casting, time and costs), thereby removing the barriers that have always stunted its revival. Watch part 6 of our video series, "The Nonpartisan Movement," to learn more about the DDESPE.
(1.A) timeline - The launching of the elementary software engine may be as early as 24 months from project initiation. During the transitional period from a representative democracy to a direct democracy, our district shall operate no differently than any other Santa Cruz district, with the exception that city council policy decisions affecting our district will be guided by our district charter (see item 3, below), the roadmap to our district's prosperity.
(1.B) Benefits - the DDESPE jumps over all of the hurdles that have prevented direct democracy municipalities from being effectively realized at this present day. Its primary function will be to manage and schedule the various components and participants through the policy-making process. In a sense, its the master scheduling vehicle that walks its users through each stage of the policy mechanism via notifications, time clocks, and policy phases. No resident is obligated to participate, just like in any democracy. One may enjoy regular participation while others may simply participate when they discover a personally impactful or meaningful policy decision to which they wish to share their voices. Meanwhile, the business model stimulates participation by granting financial advantages through a point system to those who participate more frequently and / or in deeper roles within the process. One obvious impact of a self-managing policy system is on the cost to operate one, especially when the decision-makers become the residents and not the politicians. But, with the DDESPE in place, instead of assembling 10,000 people in a public square to debate and vote on a policy as in the traditional form of direct democracies, now an assemblage of theoretically any number of people can be done virtually and manged through an automation process at exponentially lower costs and added convenience to the community. Yet, the most compelling argument for the DDESPE is in its speed and agility. For example, the current use of referendums (e.g. the public decision to accept or reject an existing law or policy) in our representative democracy of today is a painstakingly painful process of petitioning, qualifying, building and deploying media campaigns, campaigning, fundraising, and waiting for the next election cycle so the referendum can be tagged onto a larger election purpose, since getting voters to the polls specifically to vote on a single referendum is impractical and expensive (e.g. the recall vote of California governor Gavin Newsom). The DDESPE answers all of these barriers with a speed and agility that is mind-blowing. Once the policy engine is triggered, the rapidity of the software managing the entire initiative, referendum or recall process would only be limited by the time the community, itself, wished to allocate to the debate period before placing the referendum to a virtual vote. This could mean that, for example, a referendum could be initated, debated and voted upon within a mere 24 hours, if that was the chosen period by the community to forge a final consensus. This makes for a much more agile government better suited to respond to rapidly changing conditions such as pandemics, climate change, economic shocks, etc.
Speed, agility and low cost to operate will be the most transformative qualities of the DDESPE that will quickly obsolete the traditional, rarely used, and costly direct democracy tools accessible to citizens in today's representative democracies: referendums, initiatives and recalls. soon, these direct democracy vehicles can be initiated and processed at light speed for mere pennies, allowing them to be more frequently utilized as a voice for the people.
(1.C) voter Fraud - those intent on committing voter fraud through the DDESPE could find entry points at three general access points: (a) unauthorized software modification by ddespe developers, (b) database modification by hackers, (c) end-user identity fraud. In the first two cases, software or database manipulation (hacked accounts and voting results) could introduce widespread and fraudulent tabulation of voting results that could swing policy decisions in ways unintended by the community. In the third case, individuals committing voter fraud by misrepresenting their current resident status or legal voting status may not swing elections, but could gain financial benefits if they fraudulently claimed node zero association, benefiting themselves from its business model of co-op profit sharing. The DDESPE software would have a rigorous quality testing system running various test cases regularly through to system to identify irregular behaviors. Hacking of the database would be recognized using standard firewall products and warning devices. For end-user validation, physical identification (or ID.me equivalent) would be required to establish residency and legal voting status to establish a user account. Thereafter, each new user login would be accompanied by users confirming their legal right to participate with the DDESPE. Regular audits of both the software, accounts and general database would further ensure the integrity of the ecosystem. Yet, the rigor of these protections would ring hollow if DDESPE communities did not insist on harshly punishing wrongdoers, including working with state legislatures and local prosecutors to ensure that the criminals are identified, prosecuted and convicted to the highest degree possible--sufficient enough to deter all but the most sophisticated, non-risk-averse perpetrators from contemplating major fraud of municipal elections.
Governing infrastructure video
(2) Decoupling (unShackling): concurrent to the development of the DDESPE, a decoupling from certain local government mechanisms that conflict with direct democracy purposes will be taking place. Decoupling does NOT mean closing off avenues for shared and essential city resources such as fire, police, health, education, transportation, etc. (henceforth considered as implied contracted services to our district subject to review and revision based on performance) into which our district's existing tax obligations will continue to support by paying its fair share. How the term is more aptly applied as it pertains to our movement is a formal decoupling from city council hegemony over policy decisions directly impacting our district. This can be accomplished by satisfying two fundamental conditions: (1) that the City of Santa Cruz agrees to partition and release a relevant portion of its fiscal budget, in proportion to our tax contributions and resident population, less contributions to the fundamental services of our choice, to be under the direct jurisdiction of our district and (2) that any proposal introduced from outside our district that has significant and tangible impacts to it, as determined by district residents, may be vetoed by referendum. These fundamental changes shall (1) enable the district to allocate budget to approved, district initiatives, effectively bypassing a heavily-partisan, city council vote and (2) allow the district to repel city council initiatives that its residents deem contrary to the best interests of the district. With the DDESPE, referendums have no cost or time limitations and can be instantaneous or more prolong, not delayed by the voting mechanism, but by the time residents wish to allow for proper online debate. Together, these two, fundamental conditions create an avenue for our district to have an independent, nonpartisan voice in its own civic matters, establishing the basis for community self-determination.
Without question, granting these changes to our district will be stubbornly resisted by the partisan city council, yet our collective voice, as demonstrated in the voting booth, cannot be so easily discounted, and our demands to decouple key elements of the policy-making process from the dictates of a failed political monopoly shall be addressed through our strength, persistence, passion and purpose--returning genuine power back to each district resident. In this way, we shall create a community cast in our own image--not in the image of the elite politicians, a massive and corrupt political party, and their billionaire friends who rig the system in their favor.
the basis of Our claim for decoupling is that the peoples of our district are exercising their legal right to self-determination and that the system of representative government in santa cruz IS NO LONGER an effective mechanism to manifest it. A city council that denies its fellow residents the freedom to set their own path, agenda and manner of governance, a decision under its direct authority, only reinforces the conclusion that those in power want nothing more than to dictate over us. Direct democracies, at the municipal level, already exist in the United States and local communities are free to establish their own forms of government as long as they adhere to state and federal laws.
A manifesto and petition to form a direct democracy in our district will be submitted to the Santa Cruz City Council at the first session of the new term.
(3) Rejuvenating socioeconomic opportunities: residents shall become free thinkers again by dropping party allegiances in their transformation to nonpartisans. No resident shall have his or her voice silenced or denigrated as it is practiced today at nearly all government levels in the City of Santa Cruz. In addition, all newly-formed policy initiatives shall meet a minimum of two of the five criteria (while doing no harm to those not touched-upon) established by the district's founding charter (see part 6 of the video series, "The Nonpartisan Movement")--the roadmap for advancing our district's socioeconomic prosperity.
the choice is yours
yield away power or take back power
All peoples have the right to self-determination.
By virtue of that right they freely determine their
political status and freely pursue their
economic, social and cultural development.
Unrepresented Nations and People's Organization (UNPO)
Old guard Tribalists who failed you will give you 100 reasons why it can't be done
We will tell you it can ... and it shall ... with community support and resolve
Our individual and community voices will no longer be hijacked by a political party and special interest fat cats who force their self-serving brand of an adulterated public good onto the rest of us, a brand so contrary and so foreign to the community good reflected by our unique geography, demographics, economy, character, needs and vision. In short, a direct democracy serves as a push-back mechanism against a "compromised" Public Good and, therefore, offers a much-needed counter-weight against the extreme form of collectivism metastasizing within our precious and fragile democracy (see part 4 of our video series, "The Nonpartisan Movement").
The "Five Point Plan" is our roadmap (click to enlarge) to effectively transfer power back to the residents of Santa Cruz. The compilation of The Five Point Plan was derived from both the written and video content presented on this web page.
In short, our platform might be summed up in a few simple words: "we'll give you back your community." It's an exploration where, together, we work out the kinks of a new, technology-driven system of local government until it becomes an incredibly powerful tool, portable and scalable to other districts and communities and, ultimately, to higher echelons of government. And, it would all begin right here, at its epicenter--in Santa Cruz. This moment could well be remembered as the political trigger for when future generations of Americans recaptured their natural right to self-determination from a decadent cabal of overseers, a legal right recognized by the United Nations Charter. Or, on a deeper level, as the fleeting moment in our time when brave Santa Cruzan's cast off their shackles by summoning the courage to take the road less traveled.