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    The oligarchs have their eyes on the people’s ballot questions

    James E. Rooney (“Legislating by ballot puts billions on the line,” Opinion, May 14) appears to be rooting for oligarchy — government by the few. He asks, of this year’s ballot questions, “How many voters will read, much less understand, the full impact of these proposals?” Instead, he writes, “voters should be asked to decide on broad ideals with the knowledge that specifics need to be determined by experts” — the few experts including Rooney and his business cronies in the Chamber of Commerce?

    Governing requires compromise, and for Rooney that’s another call for oligarchy: “The work to compromise may require the Legislature to move out of the driver’s seat while others hammer out that compromise.” By that, I assume he means a few others.

    But Rooney is right about one thing: The Massachusetts Legislature doesn’t get enough done on many things that voters care about. Could that be in part because we already live under an oligarchy run by the speaker of the House and the Senate president, who block bills they don’t like? Maybe the better ballot solution would be to elect a better Legislature that would reduce the power of those legislative leaders and practice more democracy. I’d vote for that.

    Paul Sawyer