Coming to the November ballot: government reform? (Photo: Getty/Eric Tahyer)
Advocates for major government reform have long lamented that if only they could find the financial backing for a political campaign, the voters would ratify changes to help end California's dysfunction.
Now, it looks as though the white knight has ridden in... on his own jet.
The reform group assembled and underwritten by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, the Think Long Committee for California, today endorsed and pledged its support to the wide-ranging initiative drafted by another reform group, California Forward.
Wonder Twin powers, activate!
Gov. Jerry Brown's competition for a 2012 tax initiative gets a little smaller. (Photo: Getty/Justin Sullivan)
It seems safe to say that Governor Jerry Brown
and billionaire investor Nicolas Berggruen
are unlikely to have much in common. One lives on a private jet and is the scion of an international art collector, the other favors spartan surroundings and heir to California's most mythologized political legacy.
But we now that they have one big thing in common: they both believe now is not the time for a ballot initiative on major tax reform. And if Brown is lucky, they may have something else in common in the days to come: a use for some of Berggruen's millions.
Frustrated by the tendency of elected officials to kowtow to political pressure and the unchecked power of interest groups to write their own laws that never get revisited, California's latest governance reform effort proposes a new third way: a citizens panel empowered to place any measures on the statewide ballot that it wants -- even ones that slay sacred cows on the left and the right.