Is California's Initiative Process Out of Control?
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California voters are faced with 11 initiatives on next month's ballot, four supported by lone millionaires with their own ideas and interests. But the initiative process was designed as direct democracy, to give ordinary voters a check on special interests or government actions they don't like. Has it become a system of making laws only for those who can afford it? Why do voters love it anyway? Is there any way it can be restored to its original purpose? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, Obama and Romney on foreign policy with two weeks left to go.
Banner image: California Secretary of State's Facebook logo, encouraging state residents to register to vote.
Is California's Initiative Process Out of Control? ()
California's initiative process was designed 100 years ago by progressive Governor Hiram Johnson. The goal was protection of voters against the predatory practices of the so-called railroad barons, who controlled the legislature. It wasn't used much until 1978, when the Association of Apartment House Owners backed Proposition 13, which cut property taxes and said that they could only be increased by one percent every year, regardless of how much property values increased. Proposition 13, of course, is still with us, and the initiative process has become an industry, as next month's ballot illustrates with 11 different measures.
NOTE: You can find more California election coverage and learn more about the issues and specific propositions at kcrw.com/californiaelections.
- Joe Mathews: Zocalo Public Square, @joemmathews
- Bob Stern: Center for Governmental Studies
- Mark Baldassare: Public Policy Institute of California, @ppicnotes
- Bruno Kaufmann: Initiative and Referendum Institute Europe, @kaufmannbruno
The Last Debate: Foreign Policy ()
The debates are over and it's on to the swing states in a presidential campaign that's almost over. Is last night's debate on foreign policy likely to make a difference?
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