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Initiative Process Has Become Out of Control

October 25, 1986

Jerome D. Meier (Letters, Oct. 15), writing in response to your editorial against Proposition 61, hints at a much larger issue--what the initiative process has become and why it is totally out of control.

Duplicitous people like Paul Gann and Lyndon LaRouche supporters use and abuse the initiative process to keep their own names and myopic causes in the headlines.

In the case of signature-gathering for Proposition 61, many people like Meier were deliberately deceived about the intent of the initiative. Also, there obviously is no quality control over the drafting of the initiatives, as is evident in 61 and several others.

An entire industry has evolved to support the initiative process from signature-gathering firms, to public relations firms with a semi-specialty in initiative PR and, one supposes, even to the legal profession where "initiative law" has become a quasi-specialty.

Millions of dollars are squandered in each election creating, supporting and fighting ballot initiatives. The people, far from exercising control over their own destiny, are generally moving more and more control from the local level to Sacramento. The anti-big government crusaders are, in fact, creating even more big government with every initiative that passes and must be enforced.

Finally, a large majority of us go to the polls each election poorly informed, misinformed and deliberately misled about the consequences of an initiative.

A landmark initiative like Proposition 13 comes around only very rarely. For the most part initiatives are a gross waste of money that could be better spent improving the quality of life in California.

Let's tighten up the initiative process and return it to its true intent.

RODNEY M. HERSBERGER

Bakersfield

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