Thanks for this. I opened this article expecting to roll my eyes, but I think you make good points. I don’t agree that simply voting “no” is wise considering that our votes impact so many people. But I DO agree that our style of direct democracy is a failed practice. I generally like your criteria, but as someone who does policy and is inside politics, it’s often not that easy, at least for me. For example, the propositions providing funding for education, such as 55, while a poor way of appropriating funds, are essential to our education system. Yes, they wouldn’t be so essential if we could reform Prop 13 (which I strongly advocate), but the reality we live in has Prop 13. So I can’t consciously harm education just to spite Prop 13 or our failed direct democracy process. Another example for me is 58 and 59. Just because our process stinks doesn’t mean that these good and, in my mind, common sense reforms aren’t needed or wouldn’t be beneficial. Also, some of your arguments could be the same if the legislature passed them. Granted, the legislature could much more easily fix something than could the voters again.
I totally get what you’re saying and I get the disgust for our system (I feel it too having come from a different state). But I still think that evaluating each proposition independently from the direct democracy system is important.