WALTERS: California vote bolstered status quo
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 11, 2012 at 5:42 p.m.
The mood is so sour, in fact, that even when the state’s politicians sponsor ballot measures, they seek to exploit it. One example: Ads for Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30, assured voters
In these and other respects
There are tactical reasons for that somewhat strange outcome. For instance, those in power had a lot of money to spend because they are those in power, while those who wanted change could muster only a fraction of their foes
The defeat of Proposition 31 was particularly odd.
Proposition 31, on its merits, was pretty thin gruel, far short of the major overhaul that a dysfunctional state government almost certainly needs to deal with the myriad issues facing this complex and fractious state.
It was the brainchild of a bipartisan array of political centrists called California Forward, many of whom had backed two previous reforms, a top-two primary system and independent redistricting. It spent millions of dollars of foundation money and a bequest from billionaire Nicolas Berggruen through a cross-pollinated group called Think Long California, to formulate a set of incremental reforms, mostly relating to the chronically out-of-balance state budget.
Predictably, those on the left and right disliked what became Proposition 31, the former seeing it as a de facto spending limit and the latter seeing it as a barrier to tax cuts. So it was apparent that the measure’s sponsors would have to spend millions, or perhaps tens of millions, of dollars to make it happen.
There was not much of a campaign against Proposition 31 because its well-heeled Democratic and union opponents were preoccupied elsewhere. But there was virtually no campaign for it, which makes one wonder why those who wrote it bothered to spend millions to put it on the ballot.
It’s doubtful that one-party rule in the Capitol, locking in the status quo, will materially improve that governance. But rejection of Proposition 31 means that much-needed structural reform
Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee.
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.