Apple is the anti-Sacramento

150 150 Chris Nelson

There are two very different entities at work in Northern California, operating in stark contrast with one another.

Yesterday, Apple held its annual World Wide Developers Conference, or WWDC as it is known. This is typically one of their biggest software-related events, and the company did not disappoint in introducing the latest and greatest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, as well as veryfiying that its next computer OS, named Mountain Lion, will be available next month. They also introduced new Macbook Pros, bringing their mega-resolution retina displays to their popular line of laptop, all while making them faster and slimmer.

All of this adds up to a methodically planned release schedule, a cohesive strategy across all product lines and most importantly, a company that was able to maintain momentum even as their iconic leader, Steve Jobs, passed away last year. And all of this on heels of their most successful product launch ever (the new iPad) and just ahead of what will certainly wind up being their most successful product launch ever: the iPhone 5 in September.

So then why, as the crown jewel of Silicon Valley continues its march toward global dominance and is constantly flirting with the title “most valuable company on the planet” is our state government, a mere 1.5 hours away from Cupertino, so handicapped and unable to take even one page from Apple’s playbook?

The usual answers of partisan gridlock and the growing chasm of a deficit are easy to pinpoint when things look so severe. There is no discipline, as a company like Apple must have, to meet deadlines and keep ledgers in the black. Almost half of the company is not in a position to completely ignore or publicly decry what CEO Tim Cook announces as their best plan for moving forward. The entire company is built not just to keep the product cycle churning, but to do it efficiently. And Caliornians can only dream of a transition of leadership between Governor Brown and his successor as smooth as the one between Jobs and Cook.

What this means for everyday Californians is that the initiative process is more significant than ever. Whether certain ballots pass or fail will have a huge impact on our day to day lives. It is also forcing Sacramento’s hand to get creative in where it digs up revenue.

The budget to be enacted by the state legislature this week is blatantly operating under the assumption that half of the state’s entire deficit will be covered by the presumptive passage of Gov. Browns tax measure. Democrats are holding steadfast on cuts to social services that Republicans argue simply cannot be funded during times of austerity, putting more emphasis on issues like whether or not we, as a state, can make money off of things like online poker.

And with the continuing saga that is the Facebook IPO, which won’t be delivering a windfall into our tax coffers anytime soon, the collection of sales tax on Amazon orders starting in September 2012 as well as the two distribution centers they are building here become much more critical to the bottom line.

As more and more measures qualify, the most important thing we can do while surfing on our new Macbook Pros or iPhone 5s come September is to educate ourselves and ensure that every vote we cast is one that will make a change for the better. There are measures that will receive a lot of TV attention, but there are also ones that offer systemic reform that are less sexy, meaning they fly beneath most peoples’ radars, but those will possibly be the most impactful of all, whether in passage or in failure.

The bottom line: It’s in our hands on November 6, California. More so now than ever.


Chris Nelson

All stories by: Chris Nelson