Joe Eskenazi writes in San Francisco Magazine:
“The relative ease of getting measures on the ballot enables politicians who have—surprise!—political motivations for going to the voters. The best local example of this was when Supervisor Gavin Newsom introduced the Care Not Cash measure in 2002 and won the mayor’s race a year later. “Gavin wasn’t as prolific a legislator as others,” recalls his campaign manager, Jim Ross. “But every voter knew he was working on stuff, because every election he’d have a measure on the ballot.” If not for Care Not Cash, “Gavin would not have been mayor,” notes one of his political contemporaries. “The big thing is, on ballot measures, there’s no contribution limit. You can be blunt with donors: ‘Hey, if you like me, this helps me elevate myself!’”
You can read more (including how fellow corporate conservative Supervisor Scott Wiener manipulates the process) here.
You can read about the egregious Care Not Cash (called by many “Con Not Cash”) in a Poor Magazine op ed penned by a homeless man here.