Too Complicated for Condi - NBC 7 San Diego
Prop Zero
The Starting Point for Commentary and Coverage of California Politics

Too Complicated for Condi



    5 Falltacular Ways to Connect With Your Family
    Getty Images
    WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 15: Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks about her new book, "Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family," during the Newsmakers luncheon at the National Press Club October 15, 2010 in Washington, DC. The book is about Rice's family and growing up in racially-segregated Birmingham, Alabama, during the 1950s and 60s. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Condoleezza Rice

    Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, now back at Stanford, tells the Sacramento Bee that California ballot initiatives are often too complicated for her to understand:

    "Every time I vote in California, and the whole referendum process, I really have my reservations about it. Because I tell you, I think I'm an informed voter, and I sometimes have to read the measures six or seven times, and then sometimes I still don't understand them."

    She's right. Ballot initiatives have grown longer and more complicated over the years. And even if you understand what the initiative says, you probably don't understand what its impact will be -- because initiatives often conflict with existing laws and constitutional amendments, producing results that are very difficult to predict.

    Rice, to her credit, has tried to do something about this. She served on the Think Long Committee, the group convened by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen to study California's troubles. Among Think Long's recommendations are several changes to the initiative process (a brave step, since most other would-be reformers have avoided offering fixes to what remains a very popular process). Among these changes are several proposals that would give voters more and perhaps better information about initiatives, their sponsors and their possible impact on the state.

    There are other ideas out there that might make things easier for voters that didn't get Think Long's endorsement. Among the most intriguing are limits on the length of initiatives and a requirement initiatives should carry party labels -- to give voters a clue about whether their political party backs a particular measure.

    Let us know what you think. Comment below, send us your thoughts via Twitter @PropZero or add your comment to our Facebook page.