People at California Forward’s San Jose dialogue tried to look into the future Wednesday night, as they debated the pros and cons of reforms such as redistricting and open primary, and commented on CA Fwd’s plan to move state government closer to the people.
Jaqui Guzman with the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley said there are two sides to restructuring.
“You’re closer to your residents, so you understand their needs and wants more. That is a positive thing, because you can tailor programs. A lot of the state programs are cookie-cutter and don’t really fit the needs of local communities,” she said. “The danger is that communities often have different values, and there may be differences in service delivery, which may leave low-income folks with programs that really aren’t meeting their needs.”
Chris Clark said she wants to ensure accountability and transparency.
“I don’t know if I could trust the people in Sacramento,” said Clark. “The locals – we know what needs to be done. But, who’s going to watch local governments to ensure it gets done right?”
James Duran, Chair of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Silicon Valley said the system really needs repair.
“I’ve seen many good men and women go to Sacramento, and then because of structural issues… they don’t even listen to us anymore, because they have to listen to where the money is coming from.”
Members of a Boy Scout troupe from St. John Vianny School in San Jose attended to achieve their badge in civic engagement.
“I find it appalling that kids my age don’t know how government works,” said scout Marcus Bariteau. “There are a lot of things kids in our generation should know that they don’t. It only takes a small group to influence a lot of people.”
“As far as moving to local government, we need to make sure people are educated enough to handle that,” said attendee Dennis King. “Where do we learn democracy? Where do we learn how to be inclusive and make decisions as a community?”