California Forum

The Conversation / Public works projects

Dean Cortopassi, a Stockton-area farmer and businessman, is sponsoring a ballot initiative that would require a public vote for any state public works project that costs more than $2 billion.
Dean Cortopassi, a Stockton-area farmer and businessman, is sponsoring a ballot initiative that would require a public vote for any state public works project that costs more than $2 billion. dmorain@sacbee.com

Dean Cortopassi, a wealthy Stockton area farmer and businessman, is sponsoring a ballot initiative that would require a public vote for any state public works project that would cost more than $2 billion.

Last Sunday, Dan Morain wrote about Cortopassi and his plans to put the initiative on next year’s ballot (“Not just another rich guy with an idea”; Forum, Sept. 27).

Morain wrote that Cortopassi, who has spent $4 million to gather signatures for the ballot measure, says the initiative is not targeted at one specific project, but Cortopassi “clearly dislikes” the plan to build high-speed rail and twin tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

For the Conversation, we asked readers: What do you think of Cortopassi’s idea? Should every major public works and infrastructure project be put to a separate a vote?

Steve Holderness – We live in a democratic republic for a reason; this is the reason. This initiative is not a good idea. I now live in Arkansas where there is too much direct democracy. It hamstrings the ability of our government to do its job. We elect representatives for a reason; if you don’t like their decisions, vote them out of office.

Carl Ramstrom – How about an initiative that ends all initiatives, once and for all? These things are always worded in such a way that the average person has no way of knowing what the initiative is really aimed at.

Maureen Rowland – Anti-taxers have already left our infrastructure in a dilapidated inadequate condition.

Steve Neill – All spending should be transparent, including all expenses for every elected office. Our earned money is taken in taxes, and we should know where it’s spent.

Andy Alexis – Say goodbye to our infrastructure if government can’t borrow the huge amounts of money for such projects as the highway system or the California aqueduct.

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