Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

The Big Money in Ballot Initiatives



    Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. was found guilty of gender discrimination and is required to pay millions in damages.

    Ballot initiatives are supposed to be a tool of the people. In California, they are a tool only for rich people.

    More than $84 million in donations of $100,000 or more has been raised for the nine state-wide initiatives on the November ballot, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission. That's nothing new: In 2006, more than two-thirds of the money donated to initiative campaigns came in amounts of $1 million or more.

    One initiative consultant once admitted to me that he didn't bother processing donation checks for less than $10,000. They weren't worth the time.