Then there’s our failed experiment with direct democracy, which brought about many of the constrictions under which current government now labors, such as the crazy 2/3 requirements, which allow the majority to say that the minority blocks their wishes while allowing the minority to claim that they have no power because they’re in the minority.
What do I think a Constitutional convention needs to include?
• ending the 2/3 requirements and restoring democracy to the fiscal process over the tyranny of the minority, and returning decisions for spending and taxation to elected representatives
• two-year budget cycles and performance-based budgeting to try and engender a long-term approach
• indirect democracy, where the legislature can either work out the item on the ballot with proponents and pass it through their chamber, or amend items that reach the ballot. In addition, we need a higher barrier for Constitutional amendments and changes to the process of signature gathering.
• any ballot-box budgeting must include a dedicated funding source – “paygo for initiatives”
• smaller legislative districts, either by expanding the Assembly or moving to a unicameral legislature with 150 or more members.
• elimination of the current term limits, the tighest in the nation, with more of a happy medium
• instant runoff voting for state legislative vacancies to speed the process of filling them
• local government gets the local resources they collect without them routing through Sacramento
Those are a few of the things I’d like to see addressed, and I’m sure people have additional ones. The crisis we currently have in California presents an opportunity for new thinking about government and how to manage the largest state in the union and one of the largest economies in the world. Despite the doom and gloom, California retains its vibrancy, its diversity, its abundance. Only the structure under with it governs itself has failed, and that failure has seeped into everyday life. Lifting that structure will be like lifting a heavy weight off the backs of the citizenry. We can lead a path to a better future.