The latest agreement among the Big Five (the Governor and majority and minority leaders of the Assembly and Senate) is supposedly a step toward helping hurting people and healing the state. It’s no great stride toward either.
Here’s what it actually does: it gets money flowing to local governments and service providers again while limiting further damage to partisan interests, and moving pending laws forward ahead of a looming Sept. 30th deadline. Most concerning, the budget agreement puts off until tomorrow what no one will touch today: the huge gap between the tax dollars we send and what they spend.
It doesn’t do us much good either. Countless Californians and the services we depend on that help the elderly, children, and others have already been seriously harmed. We will continue to experience harm long after the budget is approved due to reductions in funding and Sacramento’s ongoing systemic dysfunction.
The budget agreement we got means “business as usual.” The legislature now plans to continue on its merry way, oblivious to significant pain and mounting dissatisfaction.
How did we let this happen? Why won’t they listen?
In a single word: gerrymandering. They don’t have to listen.
Gerrymandering, dividing an area into voting districts that give one political party advantage over others, ensures we can’t touch the status quo.
State legislators draw their own district boundaries to guarantee they stay in office. When one politician leaves, another cut from the same cloth is sure to be elected. With rare exception, those in power are more interested in serving special interests that fund their campaigns, partisan goals, and pet projects.
It’s time to support redistricting. Prop 11 provides for a 14-member independent we-the-people commission that will redraw state legislative district lines based on strict non-partisan rules.
Unlike the present system, Proposition 11 makes redistricting open and transparent. It doesn’t carve up existing city, county, or community boundaries for political advantage and it excludes anyone with conflicts of interest – especially elected officials and their staff – from serving on the Commission.
Check it out. It’s supported by a broad coalition of Democrats and Republicans. I’ve endorsed it. I hope you will consider it too.
We began working toward legislative reform with term limits. Our next step is to require accountability by enacting Prop 11. This budget agreement doesn’t go far enough and I don’t think they hear us yet.
Sacramento may have pulled a fast one, but it ain’t over.
For more information or to endorse, go to: Yes on Prop 11.