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Political novices Ed and Joyce Koupal incorporated People’s Lobby Inc. as a 501 (c) (4) and then used its unique grassroots initiative process to help reform the political system.
On its second attempt a loose knit band of volunteers led by Ed and Joyce qualified the Clean Environment Initiative of 1972, and then led Gubernatorial Candidate Jerry Brown and Common Cause to enacting the Political Reform Act of 1974. In the process, People’s Lobby became a training center for those interested in using the initiative for political reform. Ralph Nader sought out People’s Lobby to lead the Western Bloc, a coalition of 18 states who launched initiatives from 1975 onwards to slow the development of nuclear power plants. The nuclear industry spent millions to thwart the Western Bloc Safe Power initiative campaigns, but as the campaign educated America the growth of nuclear reactors was stunted.
On the other end of the political spectrum, some claim that Howard Jarvis, California’s tireless property tax reformer, learned from People’s Lobby how to finally pass the 1978 Jarvis Gann Proposition 13 Property Tax Reduction Initiative.
In 1977 former People’s Lobby members, John Forester and Roger Telschow convened Senate Judiciary Hearings on establishing a National Initiative Process. Alaska’s US Senator Mike Gravel (1969-1981) was a member of those hearings. His continued desire to see the National Initiative Process become part of America’s political rights ushered in a merging of People’s Lobby’s rich campaign history and present day educational goals with those of the Philadelphia II and Direct Democracy, non-profits he had founded. In 2002 Senator Gravel joined the People’s Lobby Board as its President and Ed and Joyce Koupal’s goal of a National Initiative returned as a primary mission of the organization.
For some history on People’s Lobby from a draft book and other sources, click::
Political Reform Act of 1974
Western Bloc Safe Power campaigns of the 1970’s
In 1977 Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on Senate Joint Resolution 67 (SJR 67) on the People’ Lobby initiated National Initiative Process, Voter Initiative Constitutional Amendment
Senate Judiciary Hearings SJR67 Voter Initiative Constitutional Amendment 1977
Opening statements Senators Birch Bayh and Abourezk
In 1995 former Senator Mike Gravel placed an initiative on the Washington state ballot asking their Washington state citizens if they would vote to support a national initiative process. With Washington’s Attorney General denying their citizens the right to vote on this issues, Gravel filed a certiorari petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.
For more information on Senator Gravel, Philadelphia II and his move to further the revival of the national initiative movement started by People’s Lobby, click to www.ni4d.org.
Through the 90’s the PLI Board began slowly easing back into the political scene by undertaking educational projects such as producing videos, writing columns, reporting on initiative movements, and attending conferences.
In 2002 PLI funded the three day Ed and Joyce Koupal Memorial Conference in Williamsburg, Virginia where the National Initiative for Democracy Act was vetted by 10 established scholars. For that conference an edited version of Dwayne Hunn’s book on the Koupals and People’s Lobby was produced, Ordinary People Doing the Extraordinary.
Following the conference, People’s Lobby endorsed funding the national initiative campaign with a series of additional loans. Those loans funded the Direct Democracy and Philadelphia II organizations, directed by former Senator Gravel, for use on the NI4D campaign. PLI’s ($450,000 + interest) funded such undertakings as: an NI4 D dinner in Philadelphia, three month Maine NI4D campaign, NI4D’s on-line voting and donations programs, staffing, administrative, and legal costs into 2003. In 2003 former Senator Gravel resigned from the PLI’s Board, as did his appointed Treasurer and his other board member friend who served during Gravel’s tenure as President of PLI’s Board.
During the 2002 Maine National Initiative for Democracy Campaign and afterwards some former PLI workers expressed disagreement on Gravel’s NI4D campaign strategy and management.
As of 2009 former Senator Gravel and his organizations have made no effort, despite repeated requests from PLI, to pay on their Promissory Notes.
- Push Russia
- Inklings from India
- Robert Redford SJRes67
- Court cases
- Joyce resigns LA Energy Comm.
- Nader on Koupals’ PLI
- Nader’s Top Ten
- Sue Nelson remembers
- John Forester remembers
- Diana Fleetwood O’Brien remembers