Election Notes REFERENDUMS: Money Isn't Everything

Money Isn't Everything

Progressive Governor Hiram Johnson introduced the ballot initiative in 1911 so that California voters could bypass a state legislature controlled by self- interested businessmen. This year, however, all but two of the state's 29 initiatives were sponsored by special interests, which spent a record $130 million. Yet Johnson would have been pleased by the public's ability to resist high-powered persuasion. The insurance industry spent $75 million backing four contradictory and confusing auto-insurance referendums. All were defeated, and a consumer initiative calling for deep cuts in auto, home and $ commercial insurance rates seemed close enough to ensure a recount. But Proposition...

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