“A Grand Bargain” – how to resolve the impasse in Sacramento

(part II of Blueprint for California)

 It is clear that the State legislature is polarized. There is virtually no center ground. The interests of the broad middle class of citizens and taxpayers are being poorly represented.

Sometimes such an impasse provides an opportunity. My proposal is that a bi-partisan panel examine our State’s problem and recommend a comprehensive solution. As members of the panel, there would be three Republicans, three Democrats and a prominent jurist from one of the State’s Law schools. I would suggest the following: Pete Wilson (R), Tom Campbell (R), Abel Moldonado (R), Leon Panetta (D), Jerry Brown (D), and Michael Machado (D). The seventh member would be a Law School Dean or a highly respected academic lawyer from either UCLA or UC Berkeley. Senators Moldonado and Machado are well regarded members of the current legislature and both are centrists, a rare breed. The jurist (Law School Dean) would Chair the group. The members would be endorsed and empowered by the Governor, but would report only to the people of California.

The “grand bargain” would address and propose changes for the following:

  • the 2/3 majority requirement for the State budget
  • legislative control over redistricting
  • dual roll taxation so that corporate owned properties be assessed at 1% of market value
  • establishment of defined contribution pension systems for all public employees (state, municipal, and county) and the phasing out of defined benefit plans
  • changing the term limit periods for legislators and constitutional Officers

The seven member panel would endorse a mutually agreed upon plan and present it to the voters of California. To the extent constitutionally legal, special interests would be kept out of the process and discouraged from political advertising or other forms of advocacy. In statewide referendum, the citizens of California would either approve or disapprove the proposal. The outcome would have the strength of a constitutional amendment.



1 Response to ““A Grand Bargain” – how to resolve the impasse in Sacramento”

  1. 1 Bernie Quigley April 20, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    What you are proposing is virtually a Council of Elders for California. This is a very good idea. A similar idea popped up a few years back when Gorbachev was running his “State of the World” conferences out of San Francisco. Late in life, George Kennan proposed such a council as well – almost like a Board of Trustees or Board of Visitors to advise and make suggestions to law-making bodies and to the general public. Not only would a council like this tap the talents of the best and brightest in an informal seminar, but it would help bring a holistic dimension and a mature quality to politics and contribute to forming and fulfilling a political identity which is unique to California.

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