Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Four Problems with California Politics

Item 1:  There are too many laws which mandate spending.  This creates two problems.  Well over 50% of the California budget is locked up by these laws that prevents the legislature and governor from putting money were it is needed on a yearly basis.  Second, they create government spending that cannot be eliminated.  We need to not pass any more mandated-spending bills, and scale back on such laws already on the books. 
Item 2:  We have this ridiculous requirement for a 2/3rds supermajority vote on the budget each year. This is a democracy, where the majority rules, but the rights of the minority are protected. How is a supermajority vote requirement for something as mundane as the yearly budget supposed to do either?   When used on something mundane as the yearly budget, supermajority actually allows a very small number of powerful legislature members to mandate their own personal desires onto the entire body.  Supermajorities should be reserved for when they are most useful, as in cases of political crisis (impeachment) or changing winds (changes to the constitution). To use them for anything else is antidemocratic! We need to get rid of the supermajority vote requirement for the state budget. 
Item 3:  Term limits in the state legislature is leaving our leadership in shambles. Any experienced members are lame ducks, and the rest are rookies. There's no accountability because no one is around long enough to care! Originally, term limits was supposed to help minorities and women get into government, but now it is having the opposite effect. We need to get rid of term limits. 
Item 4:  Single-minded religious centric people and cooperate egomaniacs have a stranglehold on the Republican Party in California.  This has hampered its ability to put up electable members to the legislature.  Coupled with term limits, this has created a scenario where the Democratic Party has an unnatural majority at the state level.  The Republican Party needs to put more socially and secularly minded conservatives or moderates up for election.  Again, term limits would also need to go.  These two actions would hopefully bring more balance back to the legislature.  

 If Californians took these bold steps to correct the problems mentioned here, I feel the state would have much few budge crises and we'd have more resources to tackle older problems that just keep getting worse, such as the detoriation of our public school system, fire departments, road system and other urban infrastructure.

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