Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Digging Into the Method of CIRM's Creation

For those of you interested in knowing more about California's flawed initiative process – the device that created the state's $3 billion stem cell research effort – you can learn a little more without reading the entire 402-page report cited in the "CIRM Defends" item.

Instead, you can see a very brief version of it in the Los Angeles Times from Nov. 10, 2008. The op-ed piece by Robert Stern and Tracy Western notes that a record 63 initiatives have been on the ballot in the decade since 2000.

Spending on the measures hit a record $330 million in 2006. Stern and Western, top officials at the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles, said,
"What all this suggests is that California's policy agenda today is increasingly driven by ballot initiatives rather than by the elected members of the Legislature. Prompted in many cases by legislative deadlock or legislative inaction, these initiatives effectively shift the policymaking burden to voters, and often leave them overwhelmed and bewildered by poor drafting, misleading campaigns, look-alike counter-initiatives and highly technical policy details.

"The ballot initiatives that voters are being asked to decide are too often lengthy, rigid, inflexible and error-prone. The initiative process is badly outdated and needs to be reformed."
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