About California's initiative process
Until 1911, California's venal legislature was fully in the pockets of the Big 4 (Huntington, Crocker, Hopkins and Stanford, yes, that Stanford). They controlled the Southern Pacific Railroad, and were not shy of abusing their monopoly to extract rents from Californians (most of the markets for agricultural produce were on the East Coast, which meant Southern Pacific could charge pretty much whatever it wanted).
In 1911, Hiram Johnson, a Progressive governor was elected, with a mandate to reform the corrupt legislature. He did that by creating the initiative, referendum and recall processes that give California an unusual level of democracy for the US. In this case the initiative process is working exactly as intended, allowing the people to prevail over entrenched interests that captured the legislature.
Of course, the lobbies adapted and learned to abuse the initiative process for their own ends, as the sugary-drinks lobby is using the same tactic to blackmail the legislature into preempting city soda taxes like Berkeley or San Francisco's.