Every Californian should understand that our state is teetering on a financial precipice and that we each have a role in pulling it back from the brink. That’s why the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate.com have organized a series of online chats about the future of our state, each focused around a specific question. You can join the conversation each Wednesday between noon and 1 p.m. through January.
When putting together the series, we had a clear goal: to outline the depth and nature of the state’s fiscal problems and to help each Californian find his or her role in putting the state back on track to the future we Californians envision for ourselves. We invited Californians with knowledge on the subject at hand to host these chats and answer questions. We have invited everyone with an interest to join in. The first two chats clearly showed: Californians care, they ask well-informed and probing questions, and they want a role in finding the best path to California’s future.
The first chat, hosted by Sens. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar (Los Angeles County), drew an online audience of 528 readers who posted 240 questions and comments. As of today, 636 readers have replayed the transcript. (An edited version of each chat also is published in the San Francisco Chronicle.)
The second chat, hosted by former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, drew an online audience of 678 readers who posted 119 comments. As of today, 513 readers have replayed the transcript.
The third chat, hosted by Democrat former Assembly member Joe Nation and David Crane, an adviser to former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, will begin at noon on Jan. 19. They will take up the question: Are we getting the truth about what the state spends and owes?
California Forward Co-Chairman Bob Hertzberg will host the Jan. 26 chat. His topic is central to this series: How do you — as a resident, taxpayer, voter — affect the state budget? To join this chat, go to www.sfgate.com/blogs/opinionshop after Jan. 19 and click on the large icon. The computer will send you an e-mail reminder on the day of the conversation with prompts on how to sign in.
We look forward to engaging with Californians about these important issues and invite you to take a look at the conversations that have already taken place.
Are we getting the truth about what the state owes and spends?
How is the state budget made?
What should state government pay for and what should it now pay for?
Air your views on California’s future