How to Fix CA’s Government
All over the state, Californians are talking about different parts of the public sector most in need of reform—from public pensions and failing schools to crumbling roads and unaffordable housing. These are all challenges worthy of our attention. But the problem goes deeper than that: It is systemic.
At the root of our troubles lies an outdated, disjointed system of governance that continues to produce partisan gridlock, bigger deficits, public distrust, and a diminished future for every one of us. If we don’t fix the system - which is responsible for everything from our below-average schools to our byzantine revenue system - it will continue to produce mediocre outcomes.
There is a way out of this mess. After studying the best practices of other states, consulting with hundreds of experts across California, and talking to thousands of Californians, the California Forward Action Fund and its sister organization California Forward have come to the conclusion that the best way to get different results is to change the rules of the game. If we want to improve the performance of schools all over the state and drive better outcomes in public safety and social services, our current governance system must change from the inside out.
Our initial goal was to improve voter trust and confidence in the system through redistricting reform and the institution of a “top-two” open primary. These measures have been enacted, and we worked with many other organizations and individuals to ensure they were successfully implemented in this fall’s election. In 2012, we worked to enact comprehensive fiscal reforms and empower community governments by giving them control over how to solve local problems, the resources to do so, and the accountability for delivering results. Although Proposition 31 did not pass, the Action Fund remains committed to enacting meaningful reforms to fix California’s government.