August 28, 2007

do away with the state Legislature..not a bad idea

LAAG has said this before. With the initiative process who needs the state legislature? What have they done for you lately (by "you" I mean taxpayers not govt. employees)? I really dont think we would miss them. I dont totally agree with the writer below that the handful of California Republicans are just in this for themselves and did not help by not "fixing" the budget. Sen. McClintock proposed fixes. How could he get them through. Would the spendaholics ever vote for them? No. The state Republicans are in much worse a position that the Congressional Dems were before Nov 06 when the Republicans controlled congress. When you are in the minority all you can do is throw stones. You cant set the agenda.

One way to do away with the current state legislature is make sure you dont vote for an incumbent in 08. That works. Looks like that may happen at the national level.

We should just do away with the state Legislature
By Jim Boren
08/26/07 04:52:04
The only thing the 52-day budget stalemate proved is how irrelevant the California Legislature has become. Change a few laws and we wouldn't need them at all.

State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata wants to reform the state budget process. I say reform the whole bunch out of business. Nothing the legislators have done over the past two months -- maybe the past several decades -- has made life better for Californians.

They have not fixed health care or made our public schools better. Our freeways are parking lots and they've done nothing. We're running out of water for a growing population and they're calling for another study. They use our most vulnerable citizens as pawns to leverage goodies for their rich pals. The prison system is about to explode and they wait for the courts to fix it. They drag out the budget and still can't balance it.

If this is what representative government in 21st century California has become, I'll pass.

A better idea is to make the state Capitol a museum and hire tour guides to tell visitors that this was once the place where cutting-edge ideas were turned into the nation's best freeway system, a place where a world-class public university system was encouraged, a place where leaders had the foresight to build a water system that could quench the state's thirst and grow the nation's best crops.

Lobbyists call the shots now

But somewhere in the mid-1970s, the Legislature and a series of governors began losing their nerve. The Capitol became a place where politicians weaseled and visionary ideas were replaced by demagoguery. They handed off policy-making to lobbyists, who pushed laws helping their clients.

If you were in the chosen group, you benefited. The rest of us saw our quality of life get worse.

And when we weren't looking, the legislators did a very smart thing to protect their backsides. They locked in their seats by manipulating legislative district lines. That allowed extremists from both sides of the political spectrum to be bullet-proof in their districts, even when they did stupid things like holding up the state budget for almost two months.

So the legislative process has finally become worthless. Let's go a few years into the future and listen in on a tour guide at the Capitol museum discussing how the California Legislature became extinct:

"Over here are the fossilized remains of legislators. Look closely and you'll see what's left of a species that attached themselves to legislators. They were called "special interests" and they survived by doing all they could to block the will of the people. They were sometimes called spine-suckers, and they went hungry in later years because legislators no longer provided nourishment."

Before that happens, let's admit that the California Legislature was a very bad experiment, and needs to be abolished. What we have now is not working.

With safe districts, the politicians don't have to appeal to the masses but can survive by throwing red meat to special interests, and voters on the fringe. Nothing gets done, yet we go through a legislative session pretending that all the activity means something important is happening. It's all a ruse.

They haven't done anything

Those of us outside of Sacramento see something quite different from what the legislators and political insiders see. They pat themselves on the back, but when you total up the good things the Legislature has accomplished, you get a big fat zero.

The conservative, anti-government types are going to say, "Yeah, that's what we've been telling you. Government stinks."

They couldn't be more wrong. Government is fine, but the people running it have gamed the system in a way that has caused gridlock in Sacramento. It's time to jettison the system.

The conservatives are as much of a problem as the liberals. Because they are in the legislative minority, they do little other than gumming up the works. They get giddy when they cause messes, and give speeches about protecting the public. Baloney.

The budget standoff in the Senate is a perfect example. They blocked the budget, but in the end, didn't make it better. They even hurt people -- poor people, of course, not CEOs or their big-money donors -- with their tactics.

The Democrats -- most of them way left of center -- control the Legislature and they give money away to the public employee unions and have put public pension programs in jeopardy by being unwilling to scale back out-of-control costs.

They should be showing leadership, but they are showing the way to bankruptcy.

If both parties aren't doing their jobs in the Legislature, is there any reason for it to exist? Some people say going to a part-time Legislature would make sense. I say that's just humoring problem children.

It's time for drastic action. We don't need a stinking Legislature.
Jim Boren is The Fresno Bee’s editorial page editor. His column appears Sundays. E-mail him at or write him at 1626 E St., Fresno 93786.

Lakewood Accountability Action Group™ LAAG | | Lakewood, CA
A California Non Profit Association | Demanding action and accountability from local government™

No comments: