Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
The Best of Intentions: California's Legislative Redistricting and Adventures in Direct Democracy
- Author(s): Grennan, John T
- et al.
Early 20th century Progressives vanquished the powerful railroad companies that dominated California in the 19th century, but their more profound legacy was promoting the idea that the state could be a laboratory for good government. Citizens would make political decisions through “direct democracy”—ballot initiatives that would allow voters to propose their own laws and bypass the legislature altogether. Direct democracy would be the antidote to robber barons and the grubby machine politics that dominated East Coast cities at the time. Californians have placed great faith in direct democracy ever since, and their latest earnest experiment comes in the form of the Citizens Redistricting Commission.