California: Veto points to need for initiative volunteers

Thu, Dec 26 2013 — Source: The Daily Transcript

There is little doubt about the historical veracity of one statement in the text of a vetoed California law that would have required at least some signatures for ballot initiatives to be gathered by volunteers instead of paid workers:

“The voters amended the California Constitution to reserve for themselves the power of the initiative because financially powerful interests, including railroad companies, exercised a corrupting influence over state politics.”

In fact, the initiative process did work that way for quite a while. The best example might have been the so-called Clean Environment Initiative of 1972, a measure that lost — but whose goals of placing a moratorium on new nuclear power plants in California, taking lead out of gasoline and many more provisions now taken for granted have been achieved.

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