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Opinion

Readers React: Letting billionaires like Tim Draper abuse the initiative system isn’t democracy, it’s oligarchy

FILE - In this June 18, 2018, file photo, venture capitalist Tim Draper points to a computer screen
Venture capitalist Tim Draper points to a computer screen at his offices in San Mateo, Calif., showing that an initiative to split California into three states qualified for the ballot.
(Haven Daley / Associated Press)

To the editor: Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper is upset with the state Supreme Court because Proposition 9, his measure to split California into three states, was removed from the November ballot. According to Draper, “This is not the way democracies are supposed to work.”

Regardless of the fact that the Supreme Court had a well-reasoned legal basis for its decision, perhaps Draper should be reminded that if democracies really worked the way they’re supposed to, billionaires, corporations and special-interest groups wouldn’t be allowed to use their endless resources to influence legislation, kill bills or place questionable initiatives on the ballot because it suits their own interests instead of the greater good.

This reality is akin to an oligarchy, the kind that allows big money to accomplish things that regular constituents never could.

Mariana Bension, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The argument for splitting California into three states isn’t about state politics, it’s about national politics. Blue states are underrepresented in Congress and the electoral college. In the Senate, our nearly 40 million people have as much say as the roughly 600,000 people in Wyoming.

Splitting into three states is about putting our allegiance to progressive values over our pride in being Californians. If we truly believe that access to healthcare, reproductive freedom, freedom of speech (for people, not corporations), freedom from hate and welcoming immigrants are important, then splitting into three states is a small price to pay for greatly increasing our power in Congress and being able to enact those values.

Ultimately, we need to decide what’s more important: being Californians, or advancing human rights.

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Dante Popple, Albany, Calif.

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To the editor: Congratulations to the California Supreme Court for its ruling on Proposition 9.

This self-serving proposition backed by a billionaire is a cynical example of using the initiative process to better one’s economic advantage. Using the political system to enhance personal fortune is a tactic reserved for oligarchs in Third World nations.

Fortunately, we live in a state that still abides by the rule of law.

Brent Wood, Fullerton

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To the editor: I am so happy that Proposition 9 was removed from the November ballot by the state Supreme Court. It would have been disastrous for the country to have up to four more progressive Democratic senators in Washington.

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Fortunately, we can depend on the California Supreme Court to quash initiatives like this one.

William Baker, Yorba Linda

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