`Natural Law' Calls out the Petition Pros

Article excerpt

IF YOU'RE dissatisfied with the candidates offered by the Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians, take heart.

David Shapiro says he and his cohorts can help. All they want from you is your signature - on a petition, that is.

Shapiro is in Missouri to lead an effort to put even more candidates on the November ballot. His candidates belong to the Natural Law Party.

The Natural Law Party's platform centers on its call for scientifically proven and cost-effective solutions to the nation's problems. The party also espouses the virtues of transcendental meditation, a relaxation technique made popular about three decades ago by the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of India.

But while boomers may reflexively think of the Beatles, who studied under the Maharishi, Shapiro says transcendental meditation is much more than '60s pop culture.

The Natural Law Party contends that those who practice transcendental meditation have experienced a 57 percent drop in their hospital admissions. Such a decline, on a national scale, could save governments and the taxpayers billions of dollars, Shapiro says.

In 1992, the Natural Law Party's presidential candidate was John Hagelin, a Harvard-trained physicist. The party got him and other candidates on the ballot in 32 states - including Illinois, but not Missouri.

Shapiro is out to change that during his short leave from the faculty of Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa.

He and his allies have until Aug. 1 to get 10,000 signatures of registered Missouri voters. If they succeed, a slate of 12 candidates will get on the November ballot.

The 12 include candidates for the U.S. Senate, state auditor, eight of the state's nine congressional districts, a state representative post in Joplin and the already hotly contested 24th District state senate seat in St. Louis County.

All told, four of the 12 give St. Louis addresses - although two give the Natural Law Party's local address at 1240 Craig Road, St. Louis County.

As of Monday, Shapiro said his group hadn't been able to collect many signatures. …