A Deliberative Poll for CA's Future :: Summer 2011

Quick Takeaways from the Initiative Process Discussions

General consensus in two of the small groups was that the current initiative system is good in theory, but broken in practice. Deliberators criticized the number of initiatives on ballots and the lack of time to fully understand them.

Group members called for more transparency with the initiatives, including a full run-down of costs and information on the funders/proponents. There were strong concerns about the initiative system being abused and overused and the role of out-of-state money in influencing the processs.

One brave participant disagreed with the others, saying that he views the initiative process as a way for the public to govern, regardless of what the elected officials think. 

When asked if the legislature should be able to amend initiatives that pass, group members were strongly divided. Some thought that the legislative members should be allowed to make amendments as necessary, but many were very much against this idea, saying “that sounds dangerous” and “why would we want to do that?” Another participant worried that allowing legislators to make changes would make the entire initiative system unnecessary and a big waste of taxpayer time and money.

It will be interesting to see how and if participants change their views of the initiative system after the expert panel and continued deliberation. Stay tuned...