By Dan Smith
smith@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 – 6:40 am

As it hits its 100th birthday, California’s initiative process is losing its luster.

But followers of Hiram Johnson’s landmark move toward direct democracy can take heart: the Legislature has even bigger problems.

A new Field Poll shows a bare majority of Golden State voters believe the ballot measure process is a “good thing,” continuing a steady slide in popularity since 1979, when more than four out of five voters gave thumbs up in the aftermath of Proposition 13’s approval.

Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said the voting public has become more cynical with what it perceives as undue influence over ballot measures from moneyed interests – three-fifths of voters said most proposition elections come out the way “organized special interest groups want,” compared with 27 percent who believe the results reflect what “most people” want.

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