They already have a committee allocating the grants which includes some academics, and they said they want to further improve the award practice. We have suggested specific academics they could work with. I’m not sure what it will end up looking like in practice. There are certainly some people in the administration who are eager to preserve the status quo, whereas others seemed quite excited about effectiveness improvements.
I don’t think it’s possible for citizens to sue the government for failing to implement a ballot initiative (or at least that’s very uncommon). But there are many indirect ways to enforce an initiative, e.g., we could talk to the members of the city council who we know and work with them to submit motions to improve the implementation of the initiative. In general, referenda are taken very seriously in Switzerland.
As I wrote above, the bottleneck is likely EA-aligned people with development knowledge wanting to spend a couple of hours per year on this (rather than formal ways of suing/filing complaints if it’s not implemented in the way we’d like). I think even a few small, friendly nudges would go a long way.
so much so that it could flip the sign of your assessment
That sounds like you think it might have been net negative, but I don’t see how that follows from your points. Unless you think the entire budget has literally a zero impact, which I think is very unlikely for the following reason:
I think it’s likely to have a significant positive impact if citizens of a city with a nominal per-capita GDP of $180,000 (source) give more money to people in developing countries (with a per-capita GDP which is ~2 orders of magnitude lower), even if that happens inefficiently. (There’s a lot of EA and non-EA writing on the indirect effects of foreign aid, etc. so I’m not going to elaborate more on that here.)