Cover photo for Kumar Thangudu

Repairing California Without Fixing the Ballot Process is Impossible

Kumar Thangudu
My old spot on Twin Peaks.

Over the years many of you have seen me write about how onerous pension, infrastructure, and healthcare debt per taxpayer became a wrecking ball to humanity and particularly so for locales with a lot of it.

California is a great example. Browse CalMatters and TruthInAccounting for endless data points.

There's A TON of people in tech who want to fix California, but they've misframed the problem.

I seek to suggest some simple fixes that if well aimed could wreak havoc on the doom loop maiming the quality of life with high costs and weak public services.

TLDR: To begin to fix California, you've got to at least do the following as the ante....anything else is a stopgap solution that remedies the symptom but doesn't treat the underlying cause. 
  • Raise the amount of signatures required for a ballot proposition to 10% or more of a gubernatorial election or 5% or more of a general election. This is an issue. 
  • Outlaw paid signatures being gathered by special interest groups that can lie to uninformed individuals to get their interests on the ballot.
It's damn near impossible to reverse the outcomes of a passed ballot initiative as the requirements are onerous to do so, not easy, and require significant legal meddling.

The repeal process is more aggressive and onerous than the process to push a ballot into place. The unit economics of this mean an infinite doom loop for the state of California.