Experts Expound

Experts Expound

“Proposals from the forum on overhauling government include getting rid of the two-thirds vote for budgets, eliminating term limits, independent redistricting and indirect initiatives. What do you think?”

Yes, Yes, No and No.

We need a constitutional convention to overhaul the whole structure of government. Many of the problems are caused by more than 500 piecemeal constitutional amendments since 1879.

Two-thirds vote: it's the only thing keeping us from total catastrophe. Without it the Democrats would spend us into oblivion. Eliminating term limits: good idea. Independent redistricting: good idea Indirect initiatives: not sure the devil's in the details.

What? No gridlock? Next will come this headline: Thousands of California lobbyists thrown out of work

The state budget process has worked fine for decades with a 2/3’s vote. Maybe term limits is to blame, ushering in too many legislators who are too vulnerable to stand up to interest groups and vote for the common sense compromise needed to get a 2/3’s vote.

All good ideas but only redistricting ("fixed" by Prop 11) has a snowball's chance of success anytime soon.

Why not just wipe the entire slate clean and go back to direct government since the Legislature pushes so many things on the voters to decide now anyway? Why do we need the Legislature and Governor? Put the budget on the ballot and let voters decide how much they want to tax themselves and spend for roads, schools, etc. All we really need is an entity or person to carry out the policy wishes of the electorate. And just so the record is clear, I’m available.

Tossing out term limits will help for sure.

I think the average voter wants government to work at all levels and it isn't. We have systemic problems but how to fix them is the question. Policy wonks can't even agree on which one first and what the effect will be. I wouldn't call a constitutional convention unless there was agreement about goals first. There is not. We have reform measures on the special election on May 19 and  open primary in 2010. Probably several others too. Vested interests are stirring and it is becoming a full-employment act for consultants

What were they smoking, dope? Bring all that stuff to the voters? Come to think of it, they should have included taxation of marijuana on the list of recommended actions.

The time has come to reduce the vote needed to adopt a budget — but keep the two-thirds vote requirement to raise taxes!

The best answer to all of our problems is increasing accountability by increasing the size of both houses and having smaller districts. Are we surprised at how unresponsive our government is when our state senators represent nearly twice as many people as a member of Congress?

They're all good ideas. The two-thirds vote is mind-bogglingly stupid and unfair, and it destroys accountability because no one is actually responsible for the final product. It's been nearly 20 years since term limits, and they are an abject failure; the Legislature is as dysfunctional as ever, so there's no upside to taking away voters' freedom to re-elect incumbents if they so choose. Independent initiatives, independent redistricting, sure; and for the hell of it throw in open primaries so that hard-line party extremists no longer have a stranglehold, and less partisan problem-solvers actually have a shot.

Andrew Acosta, A.G. Block, Elizabeth Ashford, Mark Bogetich, Barry Brokaw, Morgan Crinklaw, J Dale Debber, Peter DeMarco, Jim Evans, Kathy Fairbanks, Jeff Fuller, Rex Frazier, Ken Gibson, Evan Goldberg, Deborah Gonzalez, Sandy Harrison, Bob Hertzberg, Jason Kinney, Mike Madrid, Nicole Mahrt, Steve Maviglio,  Adam Mendelsohn, Barbara O’Connor, Bill Packer, Kassy Perry, Jack Pitney, Adam Probolsky, Tony Quinn, Matt Rexroad, Matt Ross, Roger Salazar, Dan Schnur, Will Shuck, Ralph Simoni, Sam Sorich, Ray Sotero, Garry South, Kevin Spillane, Rich Zeiger.

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