Fewer statewide offices would help

by John Seiler | June 6, 2014 1:11 pm

Leland YeeHow embarrassing. State Sen. Leland Yee, D-Sacramento, came in third in the race for controller, with almost 300,000 votes, even though earlier this year he was indicted on federal corruption charges and dropped out of the race.

In the L.A. Times[1], Mark Z. Barack came up with the most plausible answer: Voters just weren’t paying attention in ballot cluttered with statewide offices. Yee might even have been confused with Betty Yee, who barely lost[2] in the race for controller, but receive major endorsements.

Here’s a solution: Reduce the number of statewide offices, currently numbering eight, to two.

The governor’s office would remain, but the lieutenant governor’s office is so superfluous even the incumbent, Democrat Gavin Newsom, suggested it should be eliminated[3]. Let’s do it.

The insurance commissioner’s job and office were instituted by Proposition 103[4] in 1998, which was written by Harvey Rosenfield to give his group, Consumer Watchdog, something to do. He left the group in 2004 but continued consulting with it. Democratic operative Steve Maviglio revealed in 2011 [5]that Rosenfield was pulling down $450,000 a year. Insurance regulation could be put back in the governor’s office, making the governor ultimately responsible.

Attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, controller, secretary of state and treasurer also could be put in the governor’s cabinet, again making the governor responsible. That’s how we do it at the federal level. We elect a president, who then appoints the other cabinet positions.

Such a reform also would reduce the independent power bases the leaders of these departments form, multiplying bureaucracies across the state and increasing their expense.

Then no one would mistake “Uncle Leland” for a viable candidate.




  1. In the L.A. Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-leland-yee-california-election-shocker-explained-20140606-story.html
  2. barely lost: http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/controller/
  3. suggested it should be eliminated: http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2012/02/24/california-lt-gov-gavin-newsom-says-his-job-should-be-dissolved-unless-changes-made/
  4. Proposition 103: http://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_103,_Insurance_Rates_and_Regulation_(1988)
  5. Steve Maviglio revealed in 2011 : http://ballotpedia.org/Harvey_Rosenfield

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2014/06/06/fewer-statewide-offices-would-help/