As governor-elect Gavin Newsom considers positions in his cabinet he might think about creating a new cabinet post and officer: Secretary of Initiatives. With the Democratic dominance in the capitol the initiative process may gain even more influence as a method to bring ideological balance to policy discussions.

Not only that, the voter registration superiority of Democratic voters will encourage liberal interests to go straight to the ballot with measures that might find treacherous shoals in navigating the legislative process because some Democrats will support business interests.

A governor wants to be on top of the actions and counter moves that initiative opponents are considering. A Secretary of Initiatives can be the eyes and ears for the governor.

With new laws allowing proponents to gather the necessary signatures to qualify measures for the ballot but pull those measures if they wish, more negotiations go on in the legislature to come up with a deal to satisfy proponents and avoid expensive ballot fights.

We saw that in a couple of instances over the recently adjourned legislative term. A measure to strengthen privacy laws was pulled back when a legislative deal was put in place—a deal many insiders think needs much modification because it was done in haste.

A measure to toughen the two-thirds vote on taxes headed for the ballot was stopped cold when its main funder, the soda industry, cut a legislative deal to prohibit local governments from raising soda taxes for a decade. However, the reaction to the deal prompted the medical and dental associations to file an initiative to give the power to raise soda taxes to local governments. Other members of the business community are considering whether to come back with the tougher two-thirds vote law even without the soda industry aboard.

A governor would want to know about all the spinning wheels in these chess-like strategy moves as they are happening. Sure the governor’s office hears of these sorts of things as they progress, but a specific office following the machinations could be a central clearing house as negotiations heat up.

And certain initiative proponents may have no interest in legislative remedies but want to go to the ballot; and that could produce counter initiative measures from opponents.

Will opponents of the split roll file their own initiative to undercut proponents of the measure or at least cause funding in support of the measure to be diverted to oppose a counter measure? The Secretary of Initiatives would want to know.

Voters show no signs of turning away from embracing initiatives. Ballot measures are likely to become more ingrained in policy debates even before the new governor settles comfortably into his chair. A cabinet secretary monitoring all the action could help advise the governor on this active legislating branch of California policy making.