Wherever we go in California, we hear the same themes again and again: The state’s current governance system is broken, it lacks a focus on results, it is too complex, and there are too many decisions being made in Sacramento that could be made better by our own community governments.
Over the last six months, California Forward has been working with experts and stakeholders across the state to find a solution to this problem: The result is the Smart Government Framework, a detailed set of proposals that outline a plan for restructuring California’s government to improve results for both taxpayers and all of us who rely on government services.
Many of the ideas for how to do this come straight from you. In an ongoing series of Stakeholder Roundtables and more than 50 Speak Up California civic engagement forums across the state, we have been listening to the advice of government practitioners, stakeholders, experts, and regular voters about our proposals. We have taken what we’ve learned, adapted our proposals accordingly, and then talked to you some more.
What we’ve been hearing from civic leaders across the state is that the time is now. There aren’t many Californians who don’t think something about the state’s government needs to change. Many of you also believe the California Forward Framework—and our approach to restructuring—are moving in the right direction.
See below for a few comments from California leaders who have been encouraging us in recent meetings to continue seeking a comprehensive solution—and to find a way to make our government work again.
Words of Praise for California Forward’s approach to restructuring:
- “This is not a parlor game. It’s not just an exercise. Across the country, a discussion has started about how we will deliver services in the 21st century. This is the tip of the spear of that discussion.”
Ron Loveridge, Mayor, City of Riverside
- “I’m committed to this process because I believe it’s a noble goal.”
Senator Bob Huff, Vice-Chair, Senate Committee on Governance and Finance
- “I think the Framework is great. These recommendations get to the core of how to restructure things, not just rearrange the deck chairs.”
John Gioia, Supervisor, Contra Costa County
- “I think we have an incredible opportunity at this point and we need to do it in a way that’s productive for California. Both by moving services closer to the people, reducing the concentration of power that’s collected here in Sacramento, working towards outcomes, and becoming more accountable to people of state, so we can say ‘Here’s what your tax dollars achieved.’”
Asm. Rich Gordon, Member, Assembly Committee on Local Government
- “I must say as I look over this document, it has that kind of optimism of ‘We’re going to get this problem solved, even if right now it’s hard to find the objective data to support it.’”
Bill Wilson, School Board Member, Fremont Union High School District
- “From my perspective, we applaud your work. There are lots of hurdles going to occur as we try to look at realignment, restructuring, and reform, but I think there’s clarity on where we want to go to make this dysfunctional place better. … This is the time to set precedents, and you’re right on time. It’s time to rethink how we deliver services here in the state of California.”
Sen. Carol Liu, Chair, Senate Human Services Committee and Member, Senate Governance and Finance Committee
- “I think the principles are well on their way as a solid foundation.”
Neil McCormick, Executive Director, California Special Districts Association
- “The fact that there is an organization looking at these tough issues – one that represents both parties – and coming up with solutions, is encouraging.”
Angel Carrillo, Councilmember for the City of Azusa; President of the League of California Cities’ LA County Division.
- “For restructuring the fiscal relationship between state and local governments, this is the time. We can all agree on that. The stars are aligned, but that’s not a guarantee of anything other than the stars are aligned. We have an opportunity, and we need to take advantage of it.”
Senator Lois Wolk, Chair, Senate Committee on Governance and Finance
- “People want California to work, and our economy will not thrive until government functions.”
Cindy Chavez, Working Partnership USA
- “We must fix this relationship because we have lost the public’s trust. Our system is broken and fiscally broke, and we must salvage the quality of life of California.”
Kathy Jett, former Undersecretary – Programs, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation