California Forward or Backward?

In a press conference yesterday for  the new “reform” group California Forward, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), and representatives of California Forward announced a package of reforms to “improve government effectiveness in California, stabilize state finances, increase accountability and enhance public oversight of government operations.” That was the description of the press conference on the video. They also claim California Forward is trying to do what other reform  groups have been unable to do in this state.

Steinberg introduced California Forward and described the purpose of the group as “putting it to the legislature.” Steinberg explained that it is a non-partisan, bi-partisan group, “even though members of the other party are not here today,” referring to the all-Democrat group standing behind him at the conference.

Neither Steinberg nor Perez said it first, but instead had Assembly member Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, state that the purpose of the package of reforms was to allow the legislature to pass the state’s budgets by a majority vote instead of the two-thirds vote now required. Lawmakers would also forfeit pay if they are late passing a budget, amongst other budget reforms and “outreach programs.”

On their website, California Forward states, “For California to meet the challenges of the coming decades – in the areas of healthcare, education, the environment and economic growth, among others – the state will need to dramatically change how public decisions are made and how public dollars are spent.”

Ahem… Yes, that’s me politely clearing my throat.

And this will be done by the same people in charge who have led California into this fiscal disaster? Speaker Perez insisted that “change has been forced upon us by the recession and the broken budget system.”

Speaking of who has been involved, the California Forward website offers that the new organization “was created by California Common Cause, Center for Governmental Studies, New California Network and The Commonwealth Club of California’s Voices of Reform Project.  The goal of California Forward is to contribute to improving the quality of life for all Californians by creating more responsive, representative and cost-effective government.”

This is rich. “Our goal is fundamental change.”

California Forward offers their ideas for “fundamental change,” which appear to be nothing more than a fluffy cover for the attempt to get the majority vote issue passed:

  • Give our state’s budget and fiscal systems the overhaul they desperately need – so we finally get responsible budgets on time.
  • Give the people we elect the tools to do their jobs right – and hold them accountable for results.
  • And fundamentally rethink the relationship between state and local government, with a strong preference for government that’s closer and more responsive – to the people.

Speaker Perez had a Robert Gibbs moment of irreverence when asked by a reporter which of the proposed reforms will stop spending money the government doesn’t have. In a haltingly chilly voice Perez replied, “The question misunderstands what we are talking about.”  There’s nothing like deflection to get out of answering a question the Speaker finds distasteful.

Steinberg described the reform package as “Putting it to the legislature,” and “things we can do without changing the constitution.”

The bottom line is that the “reforms” are nothing but sugar coated attempt to cover the real agenda to get the majority vote issue through with as little attention as possible.

Take a look at the California Forward website: Home – CAForward

– Katy Grimes

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  1. PRI
    PRI Author 13 March, 2010, 01:18

    All of these politicians are going to spend the remainder of their days in the Legislature cutting spending. There is no other way. There is no more money. More tax rate increases would only destroy more wealth, cut tax revenues, and make things even worse.

    As my fellow native Michigander Alice Cooper put it: Welcome to My Nightmare. (YouTube:

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  2. EastBayLarry
    EastBayLarry 13 March, 2010, 09:12

    I could wish CaForward had used a different slogan: I’m not too happy with the ‘fundamental change’ the Obama adminstration is doing.

    …and PRI is absolutely right, More taxes passed more easily is NOT the solution.

    BTW: Mr Seiler, your YouTube link doesn’t work.

    Reply this comment

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