Shareholders Should Be Given a Real Voice

We need more activist investors such as Ralph Whitworth (“An Activist Investor Shakes Things Up,” Golden State, April 24).

Researchers have found that firms with stronger shareholder rights have higher value, profits, sales growth, lower capital expenditures and fewer corporate acquisitions. Yet many CEOs are more concerned with their own personal profit, power and control than with the owners or employees of their companies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has indicated that it will explore changing rules to allow the names of shareholder-nominated board candidates to appear on the corporate proxy. However, it is far from a done deal and will happen only if we let the SEC know we want democratic corporate elections.

Les Greenberg, of, and I petitioned the SEC last August. Our amendments would allow anyone who has held at least $2,000 of stock for a year to nominate a director and have that person’s name appear on the corporation’s ballot. You can find out more about the petition and how to support it by going online to the news portion of


This probably will be the most contentious rule ever debated at the SEC.

Although democracy is as American as apple pie, many forces already have lined up to erect enormous barriers to shareholder nominees, such as requiring them to hold at least 5% of the company’s stock.

Democratic rights shouldn’t be reserved for the rich.

James McRitchie


Elk Grove, Calif.