The state of our state and how to find a better future for the tens of millions of people who call California home was the subject of a special meeting in Los Angeles over the weekend.
The PLATO Society (Partners in Learning Actively Teaching Ourselves) invited California Forward to take part in its annual symposium at UCLA to discuss the vital issue of California’s future and how to ensure the state gets back on track.
The event began at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 26 in UCLA’s Rolfe Hall with a roundtable discussion moderated by former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson and including former Governor Gray Davis, former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado, former Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte, CA Fwd Co-Chair Bob Hertzberg, and former Senator Sheila Kuehl.
Panelists discussed the role Californians play in shaping the state’s future and the choices coming before us this year.
“People are too nervous and overcooked on initiatives,” Hertzberg said. “Everything we’ve been told that is going to solve the problems hasn’t. Like our Leadership Council likes to say, California is dealing with the spider in the sink when there is a velociraptor in the shower.”
When asked about how to mitigate special interest funding and still have a successful ballot measure, Hertzberg said:
When the public pays attention, I don’t think money matters…. If you had 100 percent participation and people really had the time to participate, I don’t think money matters. With money, it’s easy to manipulate when you only have a few people turning out for an election. … When you increase people’s participation, you reduce the need for money and you reduce special interests.
Hertzberg then talked about CA Fwd’s accomplishments so far including supporting and helping pass both Propositions 11 and 14. Hertzberg also highlighted the organization’s upcoming work, including working side-by-side with The Think Long Committee.
Out of the discussion, Plato members focused on three critical reforms for the state:
- State government should be making our laws, not pressure groups
- Initiatives are confusing
- Eliminate paid signature gatherers
The PLATO Society is composed of retired and semi-retired professionals who share a serious concern and love for intellectual growth and continuing learning. Each February, PLATO presents a daylong program focused on a vital contemporary issue.