Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

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ONLINE EVENT—California on the Ballot: What’s the Deal with Direct Democracy?

October 28, 2020 @ 4:00 pm5:30 pm


Since California first adopted the ballot initiative process in 1911, California voters have been asked to decide on issues such as the legality of prize fighting (1914), capital punishment (1972), nuclear weapons (1982), and the definition of marriage (2000). Given the dizzying complexity of ballot initiatives and the powerful sway of well-funded PR campaigns, how have California voters been able to fully understand and accept responsibility for making these critical decisions? In all, Californians have approved 132 ballot measures, with some eliciting more interest from voters than others. All however have the potential of profound and long-lasting consequences for this state, particularly when we consider examples like the tax reform of Prop 13 (1978) or the immigration focus of the of Prop 187 Save Our State initiative (1994). Rather than try to explain or debate the 12 new propositions on in this November’s general election ballot, join us for a conversation that delves into the history of California’s voter initiatives and explores how we got to where we are today.

Wednesday, October 28 4:00-5:30pm PST

Panelists: Rachael Myrow, Senior Editor, KQED (moderator) Jason Cohn, Director, FIRST ANGRY MAN Daniel Martinez HoSang, Associate Professor of Ethnicity, Race & Migration and American Studies, Yale University Joe Mathews, California & Innovation editor for Zócalo Public Square, Co-author of California Crackup: How Reform Broke the Golden State and How We Can Fix It Dr. Raphael J. Sonenshein, Executive Director, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at CSU Los Angeles With questions, write to Senior Program Officer John Lightfoot: 


October 28, 2020
4:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Event Category:


CA United States