AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinals160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! FOR decades, California voters frustrated by the self-serving, corrupt nature of Sacramento politics have turned to ballot propositions. And the initiative process, though far from perfect, has been a powerful tool for reform in state government. Maybe that’s why so many of the Sacramento politicians hate it so much. It’s not uncommon to hear politicians grumble about “government by initiative,” which, it’s worth noting, wouldn’t exist if “government by politicians” worked a little better. On Friday, the state Assembly backed a bill that would make it harder for California residents to bring their concerns to the ballot. The bill, AB 2386, authored by Carson Democrat Jenny Oropeza, would require signature-gatherers to be residents of the county in which they’re gathering signatures. The idea is to clamp down on paid gatherers, so as to make the process less susceptible to professional campaigns, and thus more democratic. That’s the spin, anyway. But it’s hard to see how making the process more difficult would shut out anyone but the grass-roots sorts of activists Oropeza’s bill is supposed to help. Given the enormity of California, it’s virtually impossible to get any measure on the ballot without using paid signature-gatherers. And restricting the pool of gatherers would only make hiring them more expensive a “reform” that hurts shoe-string reformers far more than it does deep-pocketed special interests. If the Assembly really cared about democratizing the initiative process, it would simply lower the threshold for the number of signatures required to put a measure on the ballot. But that would result in even more “government by initiative,” and the legislators can’t tolerate that. Of course, the best way to end “government by initiative” would be for the Legislature to do its job. End the partisan rancor and special-interest pandering, and start addressing the state’s many problems with seriousness and integrity. That’s not likely without major reforms. It’s far easier for the pols to simply go after the initiative process, and deprive voters of one of their only means of political recourse. Voters need to fight back against this contemptuous attitude, and the only way to do that is to get informed and vote. On June 7, California will hold its primary election, which, at least with regard to legislative races, is more important this year than November’s general election. Thanks to gerrymandering, minority-party candidates have no chance in legislative races, meaning that the real choice for voters comes in the primary. Even within a party, there can be real differences between candidates between reformers and lifers, problem-solvers and partisans. Both will be on display in the primary, and it’s important to choose wisely. To that end, we will be offering our endorsements soon. We encourage our readers to read up and vote wisely. Unless we elect better public officials, “government by initiative” will remain our only recourse and even that’s now under attack.