My personal reaction to these suggestions is more or less along the lines of: "Duh! Of course all those things would be good." However, while these are fine statements of intention, it seems to me that they are all "easier said than done." The PPIC report consistently says that "we" need to do this (or that) to improve California's political and public policy process. Just who is that "we" that is going to do these things?
- Engage emerging groups
- Bridge the knowledge gap; and
- Increase transparency in the initiative process.
In a genuine democracy, in which ordinary people are in fact "engaged," the voters themselves will do what needs to be done. Emerging groups will get involved. Concerned voters will educate themselves, and they will insist that the process that seems to be the one they care about most, the initiative process, is clear and understandable. The PPIC memo seems to have some "we," other than the voters themselves, in mind. That's not going to work.
I don't think there is any shortcut to direct voter involvement in politics. If we want self-government, we have to get involved ourselves. No experts or think tank writers can galvanize the political process. That has got to come from the people, and to get the people organized and engaged the famous "KISS" principle is a requirement.