TAKING THE INITIATIVE: The Initiative Process

Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Is the ballot initiative good or bad for American democracy? Today citizens in twenty-four states have the right to petition their fellow citizens in the law. Initiatives that are approved by voters become law, bypassing the normal legislative process. What are the benefits of this sort of direct democracy? And what are the dangers?

Recorded on Wednesday, December 13, 2000

Peter Robinson: Welcome to Uncommon Knowledge. I'm Peter Robinson. Our show today, The Ballot Initiative. Is it good or bad for American democracy?

The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees the people a number of well known rights including freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Less often remarked upon is the right to quote "petition the government for redress of grievances" end quote. The founders, in other words, guaranteed people seeking to change the law, the right to petition their elected representatives to enact those changes. Now consider the ballot initiative. In twenty-four of our fifty states, citizens have the right to petition not just their elected representatives, but each other.

Here's an environmental petition. If you live in a ballot initiative state you might find yourself asked to sign something like this outside a grocery story. If the backers of an initiative get enough signatures, the initiative goes on the ballot and if it wins a majority of the vote, it becomes law by passing elected representatives altogether. The ballot initiative is a form of direct democracy, not of the representative democracy that our founders envisioned. The question on our show is simply this: Is it a good innovation for the way we govern ourselves or is it not?

With us today, two guests: Bruce Cain is Director of the Institute for Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley; Ron Unz is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur who has actually backed three ballot initiatives, two of which have passed.

Title: Taking the Initiative

Peter Robinson: President Theodore Roosevelt writing in favor of the ballot initiative. Quote, "I believe in the initiative, which should be used not to destroy representative government, but to correct it when it becomes misrepresentative." David Broder, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, Dean of the Washington Press Corps, writing against the initiative. Quote, "The initiative's growing popularity has given us something that once seemed unthinkable. Not a government of laws, but laws without government. Who are you with, Teddy Roosevelt or David Broder?

Ron Unz: Well, I mean, I think the initiative process serves a very useful adjunct role to the existing legislative process.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: So, Teddy Roosevelt had it just right. Bruce?

Bruce Cain: Teddy Roosevelt had the right vision, but David Broder has exactly where we are right now. We've got a problem. It is not working the way people initially thought it would.

Peter Robinson: Bruce, where did initiatives come from?

Bruce Cain: The original impulse was the populace impulse to not trust government.

Peter Robinson: Of what era?

Bruce Cain: The early 20th century...

Peter Robinson: All right.

Bruce Cain: ...and the basic problem that people had was that they believed, populace believed that the government wasn't serving their interests...

Peter Robinson: The government as typically constituted in states with a legislature and executive and a judiciary.

Bruce Cain: Right, and what they were particularly concerned was the corruption of the legislative branch. That the legislative branch got captured by special interest and therefore the will of the people wasn't being expressed through representatives in the proper way.

Peter Robinson: So, it's in the early years of the 20th century that states begin adopting ballot initiative?

Bruce Cain: That's right. The populace entered into a coalition with the progressives who similarly had concerns about the corruption of the representative process and that coalition...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Teddy Roosevelt a progressive.

Bruce Cain: ...produced the reforms that became the initiative and the referendum and...

Peter Robinson: Distinguish the referendum from the initiative.

Bruce Cain: Right. There are three forms of direct democracy actually. There is the recall where citizens between elections have the right to recall elected officials. There is the referenda in which people have the right to referend a law; that is to call into question a law and vote it out of existence.

Peter Robinson: But with a referendum the initial impulse rests with the legislature?

Bruce Cain: That's right. What the people are doing is reacting to something which is a law had been passed by the legislature and the people are being asked whether or not they approve of that.

Peter Robinson: Okay. And then comes?

Bruce Cain: And then finally comes the popular initiative. The popular initiative comes in different forms. There's statutory and constitutional but the basic concept is that citizens go out, get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot and then the people vote whether or not that measure gets approved or not.

Bruce Cain: So, a notion can go from an inkling, a twinkling rather in the eye of Ron Unz to the law of the state of California or you successfully enacted an initiative in Arizona to the law of a major state in the union without a single vote cast in Sacramento or in Phoenix, it just short circuits the legislative process entirely?

Bruce Cain: Right.

Peter Robinson: Okay. Next topic. Why has the use of ballot initiatives become so popular?

Title: Getting Propositioned?

Peter Robinson: According to the figures I found 24 states in the country have some form of ballot initiative. Those 24 states contain just under, about 48% of the nation's population. So, we're talking about something that is available to half of Americans. Here are a few figures. During the 1960s the average number of initiatives on state ballots in each election cycle was 78; 1970s, 204; 1980s, 289; 1990s, 317. So, the use of the ballot initiative is a sharp upward arc through the last several decades. How come?

Bruce Cain: First of all, let me give a historical footnote.

Peter Robinson: Please.

Bruce Cain: If you took it back further, there was a period of high use in the 20s and that it declined over World War II and then has started to build up again...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: All right.

Bruce Cain: ...in the post War period. So, that just a little...

Peter Robinson: Give us the historical underpinning of all of it. Why the high use in the 20s?

Bruce Cain: Again, it was a new, novel you know, mechanism and so I think people were anxious to use it and I think you didn't have a period of national emergency. You hadn't gone into the Depression, you hadn't gone into World War II. It seems like that period of crisis put an end to the initiative process. I'm not sure that we totally understand why. I think there's a strong correlation between which branch of government is dominant and when you get into these crisis situations, the executive branch is dominant. And I think what we've seen historically is that when the legislative branch is dominant, that seems to give rise to the initiative movements. It's more directed towards legislatures than towards the executive branch, and part of the reason of that is that the constituency for initiatives is essentially the same constituency for the governor or you know, somebody running for statewide office, that is initiatives are run statewide and so the same people who dominate statewide elections are gonna dominate an initiative whereas the legislature can get out of whack with that constituency because they run in districts and they face different incentives.

Peter Robinson: Okay, now you've got me right up to say the 1950s, but why this increase in the use beginning say in the 70s?

Bruce Cain: Remember what happens in the early 70s. California professionalizes its legislature. The professionalization of the legislature which started most visibly in California spread to other states.

Peter Robinson: Okay.

Bruce Cain: So, the phenomena became a national phenomenon.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Professionalization means paying them more?

Bruce Cain: Paying them more, full time legislative sessions, and most importantly, the evolution of staff, particularly policy staff who you know, create bills and carry out policies. As the legislature becomes more coequal [sic] with the executive branch, you have greater prospects of some kind of immobilism [?], right? Because particularly if one branch is controlled by...

Peter Robinson: Gridlock.

Bruce Cain: Yeah, gridlock. If one branch of government is controlled by one party and the other branch is controlled by the other party, the odds of gridlock go up.

Peter Robinson: Okay, we turn now to you, Ron Unz, as a practitioner of the art of the ballot initiative. Give us the two that you put on the ballot here in California.

Ron Unz: Well, it was one to dismantle the system of bilingual education...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Which was...

Ron Unz: ...and replace it with English 227...

Peter Robinson: In 1998...

Ron Unz: ...in 1998 and then a campaign finance reform, a sweeping campaign finance reform package which was defeated...

Peter Robinson: Sweepingly...

Ron Unz: ...in the year 2000.

Peter Robinson: In the year 2000.

Ron Unz: Right.

Peter Robinson: Why did you use the initiative process instead of going to Sacramento and lobbying the state legislature?

Ron Unz: One of the useful roles of the initiative process is to deal with those issues which it's extremely unlikely the legislature would deal with of their own volition. For example, in the case of bilingual education in California, the law governing bilingual education, it actually had expired 10 years before my effort began. So, there was no law. State government had been deadlocked on the issue of whether to renew the law or modify it or reform it for over a decade. And for that reason, lobbying efforts you know, would have had no impact at all.

Peter Robinson: Do you like this as a political scientist?

Bruce Cain: Exactly. He's illustrating my thesis perfectly.

Peter Robinson: Took a bit of a chance there. You laid out the thesis before you got the illustration.

Bruce Cain: Social scientists live and die by the truth.

Ron Unz: The case of campaign finance reform is very similar. In other words, nothing is actually passed in the state legislature dealing with campaign finance reform in California for about 25 years because many times the interests of the politicians or the consultants are at cross purposes with the interests of reforming the system in which they live and breathe obviously.

Peter Robinson: Right. The system done very well...

Peter Robinson: Let's turn to the arguments against our current system of ballot initiatives.

Title: Let the Sunshine In

Peter Robinson: Dr. Cain here doesn't much like the ballot initiative process by which, speaking of living and dying, you have lived and died for the past few years. And I have gathered together three of what I consider his most compelling arguments against the ballot initiative. We'll tease these out of him and then see what you have to say about them.

Ron Unz: Sounds fine.

Peter Robinson: Number one, lack of deliberation. Bruce?

Bruce Cain: The fact of the matter is that there is no process that's defined in law for putting together a popular initiative. One person can go into a room, concoct an idea, and then if he's got enough money, he can hire he can hire...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: (?), he has the money. You're describing...

Bruce Cain: I think you have to be fair. Ron does talk to some other people, but he didn't have to do that. He could have done it all by himself without talking to anybody. There's no provision for hearings. There's no provision for open meeting laws. If the rest of us wanted to go and listen to you know, why he was coming up with the reasons that he had. You know, so there's no way that the rules that we normally apply to a legislature when they're formulating a bill, they don't apply.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Whereas in the legislature, they hold hearings. It goes to committee hearings. It goes to the full floor. You have to build consensus. All the...

Bruce Cain: Right. The press is able to see all the steps and to report on it and figure out the motives.

Peter Robinson: Okay, but if you're frustrated with the legislature, that's a good thing, not a bad thing. Why are you nervous about a lack of deliberation?

Bruce Cain: I think it's important because a lot of times some of the shadier initiatives have provisions that are buried deep within them that are put there for financial reasons or they're put there because they're putting together a coalition and so...

Peter Robinson: How do you answer Bruce's charge that initiatives are bad because they deprive the public of what may be a sloppy process, what may be a frustrating process, but which is overwhelmingly a valuable process and that is deliberation?

Ron Unz: But there's very little deliberation in most of the major legislation that comes out of Sacramento. In other words, a lot of this legislation is formed through negotiations behind closed doors of special interest groups and once they've lined up the necessary votes, end up passing measures. And many times, for example, these measure are later found to be very poorly designed and very poorly drafted, but they're still you know, put into law nonetheless. In other words, I'm not saying the initiative process is flawless, it has very severe problems of exactly the sort that Professor Cain cited, but the existing legislative problems are just as bad if not worse.

Peter Robinson: Okay, now hold on for a second, hold your peace. This man strikes me as almost something like 2000 year old man. He is using language that could have come right out of the mouth of Teddy Roosevelt, suspicion of the legislature, smoke-filled rooms. They get together, put these things together, nobody actually knows what's happening until the legislation comes out. Well, how do you counter that?

Bruce Cain: The whole reason why you have open meeting laws and the whole reason that you have these meetings is that as much as possible you want the process to be examined. Now, once you've done that, that still leaves lots of crooks and nannies, I didn't say that right, but there are lots of little places where people can hide.

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: Nooks and crannies but no doubt there is a few crooks and possibly even some nannies in Sacramento.

Bruce Cain: Right, but you know, there are lots of places that you can hide, you know, there's no question about that, but it's still the fundamental value of open meeting laws up and down this state and conflict of interest laws that prevent people from making proposals of which they're financially going to benefit, those are absolutely essential to the deliberative process and my argument is...

Peter Robinson: They obtain in state legislatures and...

[Talking at same time]

Bruce Cain: And they don't obtain it...and my argument is not to get rid of the initiative process, but to take the same laws that we have governing the representative process and apply them to the initiative process.

Peter Robinson: I want to get--hold off on your reforms for a second...

Peter Robinson: On to Bruce Cain's next complaint against the ballot initiative.

Title: Full Court Pressure

Peter Robinson: Cain argument number two. They place undo pressure on the courts because ballot initiatives tend to be sloppily drafted and they get tossed into court immediately on that ground. And furthermore, they leave the opposition. Once a ballot initiative has been enacted, the opposition has no where else to go. They can't fine [?] their own legislatures. They can't testify against something. The only option they have is to...

Bruce Cain: Well, they go to the courts.

Peter Robinson: Take it to court.

Bruce Cain: And the courts cannot advise the public in advance on whether something's constitutional or not. They're just going let it get passed and then it's going to go to the courts after...

Peter Robinson: So pity the judges, the state judges...

Bruce Cain: And the public gets annoyed because they...

Peter Robinson: ...who sees these things on the ballot, they think this is bad language. It's being badly drafted. It's going to end up in my courtroom. I'm going to have to throw it out. The public will be angry with me, the judge, and it tends to undermine the legitimacy of the entire state judicial system, that's a mess.

Ron Unz: The problem with that is again a lot of legislation produced through the regular legislative process is tied up in court in exactly the same way. It many times is attacked using exactly the same arguments in the legal process. Judges are faced with the same problem. The reason I think it's more common with a ballot initiative is it is true many ballot initiatives are poorly drafted, both legally and structurally, but that's true of legislation as well. The reason it doesn't happen more with legislation in a high visibility way is that the state legislature for the last ten years has done very, very little of major significance. In other words, many of the laws, most of the laws they passed are trivial unimportant things that nobody much cares about one way or the other and involved, for example, allocating public money to one special interest group or another special interest group or putting in various tax breaks or things like that. In other words, if you sit down and write up a list of say the fifteen or twenty most significant, either for good or for ill, legal steps that have changed in California in the last ten years, the vast majority are ballot initiatives. So, in other words, since people don't much care about most of what goes on in Sacramento, since so few significant laws are passed, obviously the courts don't get involved in the same way. Furthermore, I'd really like to say, when you look, for example, there are so many laws. The state legislature voted some thousands of laws, they're always quoting members of the state legislature as saying that they're voting in hundreds of laws that they've never even looked at, that they don't know anything about, that they're simply put on their desk with a sentence or two of description and they're supposed to vote on. For that reason, very many of these laws that again, are filled with all of these loopholes and you know...in other words, I'm not saying initiatives are necessarily that perfect, but I'm saying they're probably arguably maybe even better than the bulk of the legislation passed in Sacramento which is exactly targeted towards narrow special interest groups that simply use lobbyists or campaign contributions to get what they want.

Bruce Cain: The problem is that many of these initiatives deal with fundamental rights. I think if you or I...

Peter Robinson: This is good. This is the third argument that I teased (?) is that initiatives quite often trample the rights of minorities.

Bruce Cain: Right. And that is connected to the second objection which is the courts because who then has to defend when these things attack minority rights or individual rights? Well, what has to happen is the court has to do it. Now the problem with state courts is unlike the federal system, the state courts are elected statewide. They are sitting in an electoral environment. The term that's been used "crocodiles in the bathtub." That's essentially the problem that judges have is that they are subjected to these electoral pressures in a much more immediate way than say the US Supreme court and yet they have to defend individual rights. And the fact of the matter is...

Peter Robinson: Let's examine in more detail this issue of whether initiatives harm the right to minorities.

Title: Tyranny of the Majority

Peter Robinson: You make the point that in California, for example again, a proportion of the population that's white is only about 50%, but the proportion of the electorate that's white, folks that go to the polls, is about two-thirds. Bruce Cain writes, now you pay attention to this because this one is for you. Quote, quote, "Given this discrepancy, it is not surprising that the recent language, immigration and affirmative action changes were adopted as initiative measures rather than as ordinary legislation." So, you used the initiative process because it's a way of getting white folks together to vote their will on the way minorities behave.

Ron Unz: To be honest, that shows a little bit of confusion because the point about it is that it is true that electorate differs from the ordinary population, but the electorate both elects the state legislature and passes initiatives.

Peter Robinson: Oh! Go ahead.

Bruce Cain: The legislative process draws districts on the basis of population, okay, and therefore you'll find that minorities get a little bit of a representational boost out of the US system because in the area like East LA, they'll have an equally sized district in terms of population, but they may only have...

Peter Robinson: And because of various reapportionment and civil rights measures and so forth, there are...

Bruce Cain: That's right.

Peter Robinson: ...a large number of legislative districts that are heavily minority so that minority members get elected to the legislature.

Bruce Cain: Right, but the system protects them...

Peter Robinson: In the legislature they're better protected than they are in the initiative process. Is that a fair statement?

Bruce Cain: That's a fair statement.

Ron Unz: (?) factually, I mean, the difference is very marginal. For example, you have a slight skew towards minority dominant districts for exactly the reasons you said and that's very insignificant. In other words, we're talking a difference of a few seats in the state legislature out of 120. So in other words, that clearly is not something you know, is a major significant factor.

Bruce Cain: You're missing some other points. That is for example, look at what the leadership of the legislature has been. I mean, you've had African American, you've had two Latinos and also I should point out that Latino representation has gone up very dramatically in the legislature in the last years.

Ron Unz: It's because term limits which was passed by the initiative process.

Peter Robinson: Hold on. Now let me turn the argument...I'm going to try and argue on your behalf now, okay? Bruce says himself in this paper that I read of yours, Bruce, that there are in fact certain areas where the initiative process is not only useful but almost the only imaginable way of getting something done and one has to do with reforming government itself.

Bruce Cain: Right.

Peter Robinson: Campaign finance reform, term limits that Ron talked about, you grant that.

Bruce Cain: Uh-huh.

Peter Robinson: Let me try another one. There is today a liberal complex, academia, the press, lobbyists and that for a conservative initiative such as ending bilingual education or the Howard Jarvis tax cut prop 13 which was what, 1978 as I recall, that it is an especially useful instrument in the hands of conservatives. Do you like that?

Ron Unz: Well, I mean, I'd agree with you, but I'd say the same thing about liberals as well. For example, there have been many issues dealing with for example...

Peter Robinson: I was trying to (?), Theodore Roosevelt, I was trying to lead a charge up San Juan Hill here to see how Bruce would respond.

Ron Unz: The problem with that is for example, if you take efforts for example, to deal with smoking or tobacco issues in California...

Peter Robinson: Right.

Ron Unz: ...the state legislature, many of its leaders including for example, Willy Brown, receive millions of dollars from the tobacco companies and never passed any legislation like that despite tremendous popular support for it. So, all of those measures which you know, would be perceived as coming from the left are also passed through the initiative process. I mean, the truth is special interest groups are able to stifle legislation from both sides of the ideological perspective in the legislative bodies through lobbying and campaign contributions. And that's when most of the major steps, again, either from the right or from the left, for good or for ill, that have taken place in California in the last 20 years have come through the initiative process.

Bruce Cain: But the problem is special interests can also now use the initiative process extremely effectively, so I don't think you have...

Peter Robinson: Last topic. How should the initiative process be reformed?

Title: Speak Softly and Sign a Big Petition

Peter Robinson: Give us the top two reforms or top two or three ways in which you would reform the ballot initiative?

Bruce Cain: I would like the same laws about open you know, that deliberations about the initiative process when people are formulating, there should be public meetings that people can come and comment...

Peter Robinson: Is that even conceivably workable that Ron Unz, when he talks to two or three people, he gets on the phone...

Bruce Cain: No, he can have some meetings, but I think there have to be some opportunities for people to comment in the early stage.

Peter Robinson: So, he would have to hold open hearings...

Bruce Cain: Some hearings...

Peter Robinson: In a few places...

Bruce Cain: ...in a few places around...

Peter Robinson: ...in this state or in Arizona...

Ron Unz: (?) file every year?

Bruce Cain: People don't have to come, but there should be an opportunity...

Ron Unz: ...parts of initiatives everywhere.

Peter Robinson: So, your argument is it's just unworkable?

Ron Unz: It costs a hundred dollars to file an initiative.

Peter Robinson: Well, maybe the price should go up. You're in effect pushing (?) ...

Bruce Cain: The other is the conflict of interest should that is nobody should profit personally from any legislation, statutory, constitutional that they put on the initiative process. The same thing...

Peter Robinson: That's straightforward. You'd agree with that, right?

Ron Unz: I don't know how you can even judge something like that?

Bruce Cain: Well, you do it with legislators, I think we can do it with you, Ron. But beyond that, one of the most important things we need to do is make the distinction between constitutional decisions and statutory decisions. I think when we talk about constitutional decisions where we're changing the fundamental rules of the system, we should go to a super majority vote.

Peter Robinson: Give us an example of a recent initiative, California or elsewhere, that effectively amended a state constitution.

Bruce Cain: Well, I think that probably the most classic example would be Prop 13. You know, that was a constitutional amendment. It was passed with...

Peter Robinson: The tax cutting initiative here in California.

Bruce Cain: That's right. And it was passed with a very small plurality [?] of the public.

Ron Unz: A huge majority, sixty-five percent.

Bruce Cain: No, no, no. But if you take out the eligible voters, if you take what fraction that voted for it, it's very small.

Peter Robinson: But his point is that the State Constitution can effectively be amended with most voters staying home.

Bruce Cain: Whereas, a budget can--needs a super majority vote in the legislature.

[Talking at same time]

Bruce Cain: In other words, we have a double standard about...

Peter Robinson: So, what do you think of that? If you're amending a state constitution, you've got to have a super majority of what, sixty percent, or...?

Bruce Cain: Sixty percent, uh...

Ron Unz: Under those criteria, I don't believe I can think offhand of virtually any initiative amending the Constitution that would have passed if it faced an opposition campaign. So, you know, maybe, for example, people should not be allowed to amend the State Constitution under those grounds, but you know, again, if you set the hurdle that high, you basically have gotten rid of every initiative to amend the State Constitution that's ever passed.

Bruce Cain: We can argue about what that...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: That is the besetting sin of political scientists, of which you are a leading practitioner of the science of political science, which is: You guys fall in love with the system as it is. You like committee hearings and--and Unz, here, is a practical businessman who sees problems--bilingual education is one, a campaign for--and he wants to put a few folks together, get some signatures, and get it done.

Bruce Cain: No, I'm for reform and I want changes, and I don't want to abolish the ini--or the initiative process, but I do want to make some reforms, because I think there are a lot of people that are complaining about the initiative process, who feel overwhelmed by the number of measures, who feel don't--properly informed about it, who later on find out there are things in there they don't like...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: ...did you make any?

Ron Unz: I mean, yeah, yeah.

[Talking at same time]

Ron Unz: For example, I think there would be a lot of useful reforms to put in place. For example, one thing I think would be very useful that applies to statewide officeholders, as well as the initiative process, is to put some restrictions on the amount of money that people can spend on initiatives. And that's part of the broader issue of campaign finance reform. For example, providing free air time for both sides of an initiative campaign to get their message out to the voters if they agree to spending limits; forcing advertisements to be disclosed. I mean, a lot of things like that. But, I mean, that applies to officeholders who are running, as well.

Peter Robinson: Do you like all that sort of thing?

Bruce Cain: Yeah, I'm all in favor of disclosure -- I don't have a problem with that.

Peter Robinson: Okay, what about limitations on spending?

Bruce Cain: Limitations on spending are--you'll never get that through the U.S. Supreme Court...

Peter Robinson: Well, it's not as if we're gonna get...

[Talking at same time]

Peter Robinson: …oh, the Supreme Court, okay--the United States Supreme Court.

Bruce Cain: Anything that deals with campaign finance on initiatives is going to run into...

[Talking at same time]

Ron Unz: I'm talking about voluntary, not mandatory. In other words, obviously, initiatives are considered the purest form of political free speech, so it's impossible to put any legal restrictions on spending in an initiative campaign. However, you can put the same voluntary restrictions that you can for any other office; and in fact, you know, again, these issues apply to candidate campaigns exactly the same they would--the way they do to initiative campaigns.

Peter Robinson: It's television. We have round it up. Predictions: Ten years from now, will we have seen any of the reforms in the ballot initiative process that Bruce advocates?

Bruce Cain: I hope so!

Peter Robinson: Oh, "I hope so." You're a political scientist, make a--make a calculated guess.

Bruce Cain: I might get one or two of them.

Peter Robinson: Ron?

Ron Unz: I don't think they'd move forward, because they don't make sense when you explore the nature of the process.

Peter Robinson: They don't make sense, Bruce! Ron and Bruce, thank you very much.

Peter Robinson: Our guests agreed on one thing: Any reform of the initiative process is likely to take place slowly, unless, of course, somebody comes up with a "reform the initiative" initiative. I'm Peter Robinson, thanks for joining us.