READER'S EDITORIAL: THE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRACY CRISIS--VOTE FOR PROP. 25

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"California faces a crisis. It is mistakenly called a “budget crisis.” It is actually a democracy crisis." -- By Professor George Lakoff

 

November 1, 2010 (Sacramento) -- California is the only minority rule state in America. Both houses of the California legislature are in control of a minority on all economic issues - and almost all issues are about what is in the budget. Only 34 percent of only one House of the Legislature can control legislation by saying no, creating gridlock, and blocking the will of the majority that represents the overwhelming majority of Californians.

 

That is why budgets have not been on time, and why they are doing less and less for the state.

 

The culprits here are the notorious 2/3 rules for passing any economic legislation. A 2/3 rule for passing a budget keeps the legislature from producing responsible budgets on time. Proposition 25 is a major move toward democracy in California. Proposition 25 will require a majority vote to pass a budget, as is the case wherever there is democracy in a legislature.

 

Right now, a radical minority of 37 per cent controls the legislature. It is a minority that wants the state government to fail, and has just barely enough votes to bring the state to its knees. But barely enough is enough.

 

The majority of Californians are sane and sensible, as are the majority of legislators. The majority cares about the public good, about Californians as a whole; the minority believe only in private good, that it’s each person for himself.

 

The majority wants to support and enhance public education; the minority wants to destroy public education. The majority wants to maintain and improve California’s environment and our parks; the minority wants sacrifice our environment and our parks to corporate greed. The majority supports public health measures; the minority wants to end public health. The majority wants guarantee the safety and health of the aged and disabled; the minority would remove protections for the aged and disabled.

 

Much that was great about California has been degraded by minority rule. Proposition 25 can stop minority rule in its tracks on the matter of the budget. Prop 25 can stop the downward spiral in our state, simply by bringing democracy to the budgeting process — by giving the overwhelming majority of Californians a voice in what happens to them and their state.

 

Up to now, the legislature as a whole has been blamed for the budget mess in Sacramento. But it is only 37 percent of the legislature that is really to blame — the radical minority. Passing Prop 25 will allow a responsible majority to bring in a budget on time and end gridlock in the legislature.

 

Who funds this radical minority? Rich corporations and individuals who have much to gain from blocking the will of the majority.

 

Who stands to gain from continued gridlock? The radical minority who wants to keep government from doing its job of serving the people, who want to keep government from working so they can say government doesn’t work.

 

But there is no alternative to being governed. If government functions are privatized, government doesn’t disappear. Instead, you will become governed by private corporations, not for your benefit, but for their profit. Who will lose? Virtually everyone but the very rich.

 

The job of public servants is to serve the public; the job of corporations is to treat the public as a source of profit. The radical minority does not believe that the public should be served. In short, they do not believe in democracy.

 

This is a crucial election. If Prop 25 loses, the cause of democracy will be set back for many years. If Prop 25 wins, the cause of democracy will be served. And maximally responsible budgets will be delivered on time by the legislature.

 

What a novel idea!

 

RETURN DEMOCRACY TO CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 2010
 

The majority of voters choose the majority of legislators. That’s simple democracy. And it is simple democracy that the majority of legislators provide for the needs of the people they represent.

 

Without such democracy, there is the gridlock, economic chaos and suffering we now face in California. We, the majority of voters, can restore democracy to California, and with it, responsible economic management.

 

The infamous “2/3 rules” mean that 1/3+1 (a 34% minority) in either house controls the legislature by voting “No” until they get what they want. They want to keep the state government from serving public needs, and they are succeeding.

 

You can stop them by returning democracy to California.

For more information and background - click here.

 

The opinions expressed in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact editor@eastcountymagazine.org.

Comments

Vote NO on Prop 25 - keep checks and balances in place!

An Observation: East County Magazine did not publish an opinion of the opposite viewpoint. That is not balanced reporting.

FACTUAL corrections to this article:

- California is a Republic, not a Democracy. A Republic is representation of the people by elected officials, based on who they elect.
- A Republic is designed to keep balances and accountability so ALL the people are represented, not just the majority.

VIEWPOINTS on this article:

- Forrest Gump would probably say "Radical is as Radical does, sir!" (i.e. the article author is himself a "Radical" - on the Left. Dare we say he is "Ultra-Radical?!)

- Let's clearly define his terms in the article:
"Radical Minority" = Conservatives / Republicans.
"Majority" = Liberals / Democrats.

- Ironically the article author wants the minority (Conservatives) have NO representation and NO voice! He does not want his (Ultra-Radical) views and decisions to have any oversight or balance checks - he simply wants to give his friends free reign to pass any budget they want. This is extremely dangerous and exactly why we have a Republic, elections, and protect ourselves with checks and balances.

- The Conservative "minority" (his definition) does include immigrants, women, children, disabled, and Vets - ALL of them deserve representation and a voice in the budget decisions.

- At the national level, one political group has had full control of Congress for 4 years now, and what do we see? Worse fiscal management than what we see in California! The article author wants to go even further than this, and give a group ALL budgetary control, with no one to challenge them, and no checks and balances.

- His viewpoint is simply alarmist and is not factually set in reality. This is just more of the Ultra-Liberal agenda to claim doom and gloom if things are not done their way, name call, and confuse the issue.

- The TRUE problem is legislators who are not willing to negotiate and solve problems - on both sides (Liberal and Conservative). We need some "Heroes" to step forward and lead in negotiations and insights.

- The solution:
1. VOTE NO on Prop 25 to keep balances and reality checks in place. Keep the Ultra-Radicals on the fringe where they belong.
2. Elect new officials that are willing to negotiate, be fiscally responsible, LISTEN to their constituents, and move forward out of gridlock.

That's all I have to say about that!

Better argument

Change Agent, if, as you say, the current system of minority rule keeps "balances and reality checks" in place, what do you mean by that? Is it your argument that the present system works so well we don't need to change it? I would be more persuaded if you had resorted to less name calling and instead clearly outlined how we benefit from the 2/3 rule. Quoting from an old Hollywood movie script isn't exactly compelling either.

We have published the opposite side in a prior issue of ECM.

We previously ran a couple of pieces on the League of Women Voters' impartial arguments on both side of every ballot initiative. 

 

We also have published all editorials submitted to us. Nobody submitted one on the other side regarding Prop 25.

 

On a couple of propositions, we also pubilshed our own articles with strongest arguments on both sides and links to the yes and no campaigns. We did not have manpower or funding to do so with every proposition, and thus linked to the LWV arguments on both sides, then accepted any editorials that came in as well.