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Referendums in California - Your Views Please

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EllieM85

Hello,

I'm a final year student studying in England. I am currently working on a project on government representation.
To help me with my work, I was wondering if you could give me your views on the following questions:

Do you feel you are better represented by having more referendums?

Would you prefer to have the money spent elsewhere and leave the decisions to those you have elected?

Are you less likely to turn up to referendums as they occur often. Would you be more inclined to vote if there were fewer/more?

Any other comment would be gratefully received.

Thank you for you time!
 

disneydude

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The California Referendum/initiative system in my opinion is ridiculous.
More often than not the initiatives are drafted by special interest groups with political agendas which leads to poorly drafted referendums.
As a result, the general public has no idea what they are voting for and more often than not we end up with archaic laws on the books as a result. This has resulted in large amounts of public money being spent to fight court battles because the people drafting the initiative didn't have the intelligence to understand the constitutionality of the provisions of their referendum.

I'll give you a two good examples:

First, the California 3x law. Most people voting for this had no idea that the third strike could be any felony, not just serious/violent. Also most people don't understand the complexities of 2x sentencing when an individual has one strike on their record.

Second - prop 22 - the get tough on juvenile crime initiative. Most people don't realize but the initiative eliminated the ability of superior court judges to seal a juveniles record in cases where the juvenile was charged with one of the "strike offenses". As a result, people are adversely affected for the rest of their life over a stupid thing they did as a kid. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about someone who committed rape or murder or carjacking. But as a supervisor at the juvenile court in LA, I would have 3-4 people a week come in my office. The usual scenario was an individual who graduated from college who was charged with a robbery at age 14-15. The robbery usually involved stealing a bike or lunch money type situation. They never reoffended, went to college and are now trying to get licensed in their job.
Before prop 22, a Judge could look at the person's record and say, OK, you had one offense at age 15, it wasn't all that serious and 8 years have gone by and you have led an explarary life, in this case, I will seal the record.
After prop 22 the judge can only say.....sorry but this felony is going to remain on your record for life, good luck on trying to get a job.
 
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