The paper examines the promises and risks of local direct democracy with specific regard to laws and experiences in California. Direct democracy rests on three political institutions: popular propositive initiative, the referendum, and the removal of public functionaries. The proponents of direct democracy claim that it gives the people voice against the tyranny of elites. The history of direct democracy seemingly bears out this claim. However, there are many in California who have come to the conclusion that direct democracy is a failed experiment and should be abandoned. In effect, there is no lack of negative aspects, which are accentuated as direct legislation comes to prevail over the normal legislative process. Yet, according to the author, if direct democracy is correctly structured it can enhance and improve the institutions of representative democracy.