One woman’s push to protect stalking victims could change the way we interact with lawmakers
She wants to cut out the middleman
by Katie Way
Lenora Claire is one of the country's most visible anti-stalking advocates, which is ironic because until very recently she was a victim of stalking herself.
Claire has appeared on multiple TV shows and given numerous interviews for different publications, including babe, all while being stalked by the same man who stalked Ivanka Trump and the Kardashians. After her six-year ordeal, her stalker has finally been arrested after she orchestrated his capture at the Los Angeles Comic Con only days before we spoke.
So now it's easier for Claire to focus on her future, which includes altering the future of lawmaking by introducing crowdfunding into the legislative process.
Thank you everyone who watched the show. I'm having a difficult time reading through hundreds of messages from people wanting help. Clearly we have a silent epidemic that's not being properly addressed. I'm working on some major things to help others and hopefully will have some cool news I can announce really soon. #cbs #48hours
Claire has been working with California congressman Adam Schiff on anti-stalking legislation, and called Schiff "wonderful."
Together, Schiff and Claire formulated a proposal to ensure that people on probation for stalking don't violate their restraining orders. The bill would mandate that a stalker with restraining order wear an ankle monitor connected to a phone app given to the stalker's victim. The app would then alert the victim, as well as nearby law enforcement, if their stalker "comes within restraining order violation proximity."
But whenever she talked to someone in the Los Angeles or state government, they were told that although the concept was sound, the funding needed to create the ankle monitors wasn't available.
Everyone watching @48hours asks how I am. My stalker violates restraining order DAILY. I have proposals for legislation. This HAS to change.
— lenoraclaire (@lenoraclaire) September 10, 2017
Claire was not deterred. She's convinced the app and ankle monitor idea would work, so she drew inspiration from her artist friends, and intends to try raising the money on her own through crowdfunding, and then intends to introduce the concept as a ballot initiative. In California, ballot initiatives can be voted on by state citizens if they receive enough initial support and are approved by the Secretary of State.
"I'm not modeling off of anyone, politically," Claire said. "I'm just modeling it off of what people have done on art and vanity projects and applying it to politics. You can make pretty much anything you want through crowdfunding. Why the hell isn't anyone doing it with laws?"
After the money has been raised, she wants to launch an initiative, which will require one million signatures collected over a 180-day period, that she'll then present to the California state government.
"I have to find the exact amount of people in California that would wear the ankle monitors — let's say it's 500 — and then estimate the cost," Claire said. "Then I'll try to raise that amount of money and then launch the initiative that way, so I can say, 'The money's already here, we're doing it.'"
And the applications for this kind of crowdfunding range far beyond just anti-stalking work. Claire wants to see a similar model to the one she intends to implement for to her proposed legislation used to fund other types of legislative proposals, particularly those in the realm of healthcare and education.
She also emphasized that she's simply reframing legislation by building on systems of funding that already exist in other fields.
"You have to remember that a lot of these lawmakers are so much older than we are," she said. "So they're not using things that are like how we're all operating in the rest of the world. So why don't we implement the things that are working in other areas, and apply it to law?"
Claire plans to launch her efforts in January, and is currently working with some of her celebrity friends, like NCIS's Pauly Perrette, to produce a series of videos advertising the effort.
And if she successfully raises the money, and the California state legislature accepts the funding, then Claire might do more than just change the way we deal with stalkers — she could change the whole way we interact with our government.
"It's just sort of connecting politics with stuff that's right before us," Claire said. "Legislation and technology really aren't on the same page. They're so behind. I'm just trying to catch everybody up."
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