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Friday, December 09, 2005

Random crazy thoughts on CA state government...

Being a native of the crazy state of California, I like to play with crazy government ideas from time to time; there is little that seems worse than our current system, particularly in this state...

Some crazy ideas:

1. Our state Legislature term limits are overly severe, attracting political careerists who see their tenure in the Legislature as a brief detour on the road to Bigger and Better Things. So, the strategy is obvious: serve the special interests well, and they'll grease your way to higher office. So, I'd keep the term limits, but make them longer and possibly increase the length of time between elections. I also think either the Assembly or the Senate should be abolished; there seems to be little need for a bicameral system if they're both elected and aren't particularly different in numbers or representational areas.

2. Out there on the fringe: keep a bicameral legislature, but make service in the Assembly subject to a drawing among all citizens. Service could not be refused unless one is on active duty in the military or some such, and the pay would be increased to be high enough to compensate for the inconvenience of a life interrupted. These citizens would serve a single 6 or 8 year term, with 25-33% of the seats replaced every two years. It's possible that the first two years could be a "candidate" period, during which they can't vote while they learn.

This sounds utterly insane, but we already do something like this with juries and grand juries, and nothing would create a more "democratic" legislature than simple random selection. Keep a Senate that is elected. A true "government of the people" can't help but be more centrist and reasonable, and less prone to random moonbattery and capture by special interests.

3. Abolish school districts and make all schools charter schools. Or introduce vouchers for all students. Getting rid of the teacher unions and the ed schools would be a bonus.

4. Rather small-bore, but would save tons of $$: schools and other government agencies should be able to operate on rented commercial property. There is no reason for government entities to do their own property management, janitorial services, etc.

5. Allow the government to use non-union contractors for construction projects. I don't see how the state benefits from overpaying on construction and maintenance.

Ya know, we tried to make a few improvements to CA government a few weeks ago but the voters (in their infinite stupidity) voted down four very worthwhile measures. Thanks, in large part, to labor unions and their members who don't seem to possess any ability to think for themselves.
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