California has a diverse population comprised of people with different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, beliefs, education levels – yet we all share one dream: we all wish for California to be a prosperous and thriving state that it once was, the state that was defined as the epitome of the boundless opportunities.
Today, California’s state government is issuing IOUs, unemployment is at its highest in history, and teachers are on hunger strike.
California Forward is paving the road to help us get back on track through its ongoing series of Stakeholder Roundtables across the state, which serve as an open forum for government leaders, stakeholders, community advocates, education experts, and regular voters to come together and provide substantial feedback to help shape the Smart Government Framework (a detailed set of proposals that outline a plan for restructuring California’s government).
Participants at the Inland Empire Regional Stakeholder Roundtable held on May 23 had plenty to share about improving the Framework’s key proposals, and decipher what has gone so catastrophically wrong.
“To successfully foster regional collaboration, we need to clearly define who are the councils of government to help us ensure the equity of representation by local districts/cities/counties,” said Michael Tuerpe of LAFCO.
“When adjusting the State’s role & shifting control of authority to the local level, we need to set realistic expectations. It’s impossible for a big cosmopolitan city with a population of 250,000 residents to have the same level of accountability compared to a smaller rather rural city with a population of less than 10,000 residents,” said Max Freund of LF Leadership
“We need to be careful when talking about realignment. What will happen to residents across the board, workers, and students? There can be a pretty good inconsistency in the quality of services provided by cities and counties if we are not careful, ” said Fabian Villenas with the City of Rancho Cucamonga.
“The main question here is not to define a good quality education. A lot of people are educated but there are not enough jobs for them,” said Bryant Fairley with CSUSB. “We send a lot of people to school, but our economy is still in a halt. What we need to ask ourselves is: how can we create more jobs and more opportunities for our professional workforce?”
“In principle these proposals are great, but the devil lies in the details,” said another participant. “The main question is, how will you transfer all these recommendations to the local level? What are the implications for local unions and labor relations if cities are going to have more control over managing labor contracts?”
“A lot of people don’t know that 75% of California taxes get sent down to the local level,” one attendee said. “Our role as citizens is that we hold those responsible for government services accountable for that.”