Over the weekend, Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California and director of their statewide poll, wrote a fantastic op-ed for the Sacramento Bee entitled “Put power in local hands- carefully.”
He begins with these two paragraphs:
Californians of all political stripes are convinced that state government is broken and it is time for local governments to take charge. At a time when Sacramento’s partisan battles stymie the search for solutions to serious problems, it is an understandable view.
In a December Public Policy Institute of California poll, Californians were in agreement that the state government wastes too much of our tax money, is “pretty much run by a few big interests looking out for themselves,” and can be trusted “only some of the time” to do what is right. State elected officials are generating low approval ratings for their job performance.
This is not the first time we have seen results like this crop up in comprehensive polling of Californians. Last summer, What’s Next California conducted California’s first Deliberative Poll in Los Angeles. The PPIC’s findings closely mirrored those of the Deliberative Poll.
But Baldassare tempers any enthusiasm to rush into a wholesale transfer of financial power to local goverments with caution by using historical context to highlight five ways in which local governments need to improve beforehand: more flexibility, greater accountability, increased certainty, more regionalism and greater engagement.
The PPIC’s findings, Baldassare’s interpretation of them and his five tenets are all music to our ears and right in line with what California Forward has been talking up for quite some time now. Kudos to the Sac Bee for publishing this piece and to the PPIC for more highly informative work.
Around the Horn
- And in other news so far this week, the Indepdent Voter Project (IVP) has released its guide “to help both voters and candidates understand the new rules in place because of the Top Two Open Primary Act (Open Primary Act) that was approved by voters in the June 2010 election.” You can check it out right here.
- Tomorrow in Sacramento, the Greenlining Institute will host the first of two regional gatherings to discuss their findings after an extensive probe of California opinion on the ballot initiative process as it stands today. Press release and RSVP info right here.
- Lastly, as the ever-vigilant Capitol Alert reminds us in their AM Alert, today is a day of deadlines: Redevelopment in its state sponsored form officially turns into a pumpkin at midnight, any bill proposed in 2011 must exit its house of origin today to avoid turning into a pumpkin, and campaign finance and lobbying reports are due today as well.
Add all of this up and it makes for a lot of busy reporters in Sacramento and most likely some very intersting news stories tomorrow. Stay tuned.