Initiative

Can California Save Itself?

"Something remarkable is beginning to happen," Hendrick Hertzberg writes in his latest New Yorker column. State governments are struggling, and the worst off may be California’s. Hertzberg says the cause for the Golden State’s anemic condition is its referendum-happy system, which has handcuffed legislators from making the kinds of changes needed to right California’s limping economy and beleaguered government. But, according to Hertzberg, the state’s problem may also be its solution. There’s a movement afoot, called Repair California, which is gaining wide support. It's an initiative which would allow randomly chosen delegates to rewrite the state’s leviathan of a constitution and start from scratch. Hertzberg concludes, “If California has the courage and imagination to become a true laboratory of democracy, the experiment will be something to see.”