On Ds, Rs, and NPPs in California

Long time GFCers know of our disdain for people who whine about California’s political problems but sit on the sidelines and do nothing to help solve those problems. Among them are those who assess the state’s problems as the consequence of Democratic control of state governance and that efforts at reform are futile so long as Democrats remain in the majority. Both assessments are wrong.

As an example, below is the list of votes on SB 400, a 1999 bill providing a retroactive pension increase to state employees that remains the largest non-voter-approved issuance of debt in state history. The bill passed with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans, the latter supplying more than half the number of votes necessary to pass a majority-vote bill.

In 1968, Republican Governor Ronald Reagan signed legislation unleashing the political power of government employee unions in California, in 1991, a lame budget maneuver by Republican Governor Pete Wilson triggered a ballot measure that changed the fiduciary obligations of pension fund board members to the detriment of taxpayers, and in 2010, Republican State Senators torpedoed a pension reform bill. And more.

Democrats have been equally responsible but the real blame falls on those sitting on the sidelines. In the absence of persistent financial support from political donors who focus on the general interest, not even the most well-meaning legislator of any stripewhether Democrat, Republican, or No Party Preference, can succeed against special interests. The state legislature is populated with many well-meaning legislators of all stripes who, without support from people like us, daily climb Sisyphean mountains.

Govern For California supports lawmakers who legislate in the general interest.

Originally posted on Medium, 6/15/20.