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How to repair California

Original post made by Don Frances, Mountain View Voice Editor, on Sep 11, 2009

There are just too many things going on this weekend, including, of course, the Art & Wine Festival (see you at the ==I Voice== booth Sunday morning), and yet another so-called [Web Link Twestival]. But buried among them is a very interesting-looking talk by our own Sally Lieber.

On Saturday, Mountain View's liberal-firebrand-mayor-turned-liberal-firebrand-assemblywoman will come to Michael's at Shoreline to discuss the many ways Californians, fed up with our dysfunctional state government, are ready to change it.

Due to this popular and growing sentiment, several "change initiatives" have been floated lately, perhaps most compellingly by Repair California, a group which wants to completely overhaul state government by convening a constitutional convention. Last month, Repair California came to Sunnyvale to stir up some interest, and judging by Town Square comments on the [Web Link story we ran on the event], they succeeded.

What's most interesting about these efforts is that they have support (or at least serious interest) from people across the entire political spectrum. Repair California's spokesman is Jim Wunderman, CEO of the somewhat conservative Bay Area Council. Yet its efforts have been smiled on by the likes of Heindrich Hertzberg, the New Yorker's liberal political writer, who [Web Link summarized the situation] this way:

==I Repair California is trying to put two initiatives on next year's ballot. One would amend the California constitution to allow the voters to call a constitutional convention by initiative. (As it is, while specific amendments can be passed that way, it takes two-thirds of the legislature to call a convention. That will never happen.) The other would actually call the convention and specify its scope: governance, including the structure of the legislative and executive branches; elections, including the electoral system and the initiative process itself; the budget-making process; and the state's revenue relationship with local government.==
==I The genius of Repair California's approach is twofold. First, it steers clear of "social issues": no gay marriage, no abortion, no affirmative action. Second, the delegates would be chosen randomly from the adult population. ... The result would be put to a vote of the people, yes or no, in November of 2012.==

I am interested to see what Lieber has to add to this mix. According to [Web Link this announcement], Lieber is "deeply involved in the change initiatives, which include doing away with the two-thirds vote requirement for the budget ... She will also discuss other problems facing our state -- a runaway initiative process, districts that are too large to be representative, Proposition 13 restrictions on raising revenue, etc."

The Peninsula Democratic Coalition Luncheon on "Changing California" is Saturday, Sept. 12, from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Michael's at Shoreline. Tickets are $20. Call (650) 949-1009 for more info or to RSVP.

Mountain View residents are among the most well-informed anywhere, so it's nice to see them so engaged, with so many forums to express themselves and to learn more. [Web Link Talking to you, Adam Tachner].

Comments (2)

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Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Sep 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

That Proposition 13 is to blame for the state's financial problems is one of those widely held beliefs that just isn't true.: "Since shortly after Prop. 13's adoption, property tax revenue increased by 579 percent." In that same time period, state spending has increased by 555 percent. All the numbers are here:
Web Link

The problem is spending, and to fix that we the people need to stop voting for boondoggles like high-speed rail, and someone has to take on the public employee unions. Sally Lieber is going to be the last person to do the latter.

 +   Like this comment
Posted by property owner
a resident of another community
on Sep 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm

You dont hear a lot of politicians whining about prop 13 now that housing prices are falling and property tax revenues are relatively stable.

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