Politics & Government

The Buzz: Californians like ballot initiatives but want process altered

Californians value the ballot initiative and want it to remain as a check on a political system they mistrust, but voters support major reforms, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.

The poll found that voters support changes that include giving the Legislature an opportunity to respond to proposed initiatives and to reach agreement with their sponsors, beefing up financial disclosure requirements for those engaged in ballot measure campaigns, and increasing the role of volunteers in collecting initiative petition signatures.

“These reforms are likely to have an impact beyond the initiative process,” PPIC President Mark Baldassare said in a statement as the report was released Tuesday night.

The number of ballot measures has exploded in the past three decades, ever since Proposition 13 placed tight limits on property taxes and raised barriers to other tax increases.

The Legislature’s majority Democrats have pushed bills to change the initiative process, including one this year to limit the role of paid signature-gatherers. Gov. Jerry Brown is now deciding whether to sign or veto it.

Dan Walters


The contract brawl between the University of California and one of its larger unions has entered the next round, with an announcement Tuesday that AFSCME Local 3299 plans to take a strike vote at the end of this month. The union represents some 22,000 employees who provide staff support and medical services at UC hospitals, and contract talks have been deadlocked for more than a year. The union plans to take its unfair labor practice strike vote from Oct. 28 to Oct. 30.

– Jon Ortiz