The dysfunction in California government cries out for reform. And that often leads the well-intentioned to make changes via the ballot box. We've enacted term limits and spending caps and a balanced budget amendment. You can check out a century's worth of reform efforts on the Governing California timeline.
In this month's election, too, voters focused on reforming the way we govern ourselves. Voters gave a thumbs-up to allow the state legislature to pass a budget by a simple majority vote, rather than the previous two-thirds. And we affirmed and expanded our new Citizen Redistricting Commission, which will draw political boundaries after the 2010 Census count is released.
Now the San Jose Mercury News is calling on civic-minded rich people to step up and bankroll some other ballot measures to reform governance. Here's today's editorial. Applauding Charles Munger, Jr., the wealthy Stanford professor who funded the campaign for the redistricting measure, the Merc editors tout several more measures they'd like to see passed:
* term limit reform
* a budget rainy day fund
* budget reforms
* a 55 percent vote threshhold for parcel taxes.
Some folks say that using the initiative process to glom more changes onto our already unwieldy state constitution is actually bad governance. They call for more systemic change. But an effort last year, by a group called Repair California, to call a constitutional convention (by putting an initiative on the ballot!) fizzled for lack of funds.
Which brings us back around to those multi-millionaires....