Letters to the Editor: How to make democracy a little less direct in California

State Capitol
The Capitol building in Sacramento on Oct. 26, 2017.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: Citing the defeats recently of Proposition 8 restricting kidney dialysis providers and Proposition 10 enhancing rent control, Harold Meyerson wants a “new legal order” to counter the “big money” influence on California initiatives. Initiatives can overcome legislative inaction, but often they are drafted inexpertly or distorted by special interests.

Let’s require initiatives to have a sunset clause. Ones that voters pass ought to be introduced immediately in the Legislature (with amendments as needed) for a vote on a permanent replacement. If that vote fails, the initiative shall be placed on the last ballot before sunset for it to continue if approved.

Passed initiatives would thus get a trial period with a guarantee that both the Legislature and the people could correct or replace them based on real-life experience. Difficult issues would require continued attention. Opposition to initiatives that worked after implementation would die away.


William Tennant, Thousand Oaks


To the editor: Meyerson hearkens to the days when the initiative process was created to overcome the monopolistic Southern Pacific Railroad’s stranglehold on the state Legislature.

Supposedly, “the people” elect our representatives now, and the corporations thwart the popular will by pouring money into the initiative process.

But Meyerson omits the reality that public sector unions own our Legislature to the same degree the Southern Pacific Railroad owned it long ago. Without the initiative process, the union monopoly in Sacramento would be complete.

Robert Loewen, Laguna Beach