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Skelton: California initiative system needs reform

November 15, 2012 |  7:00 am

Voting Nov 2012

Skelton hedJust over a century ago, a group of California progressives created one of the defining characteristics of the state's political system -- the initiative process.

However, what was supposed to be an enlightened exercise in direct democracy is now a flawed wasted of money, says George Skelton in Thursday's column.

"More and more over the years, California’s initiative system has become a tool of the special interests and a plaything of the mega rich," he writes.

During this year’s 11 ballot measure campaigns, just 20 donors provided 69% of the $372 million spent.

Much of that came from two siblings, Molly and Charles Munger. Molly put $44 million behind her doomed campaign for Proposition 38, which would have raised income taxes primarily for schools. And Charles kicked in $37 million to push Proposition 32, which would curb unions’ political fundraising, and oppose Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-hike plan. Both of his efforts failed.

All of Skelton's columns are here.


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Proposition 30 win no guarantee of fiscal safety for California

Photo: Voters cast their ballot at a polling site at a private home in South Pasadena on Nov. 6. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times