Ex-Brown adviser: ‘powerful interests’ run state

Ex-Brown adviser: ‘powerful interests’ run state

Democrats fighting logoMost Californians sense that special interests, not voters, run the state. That’s why voter turnout hit record lows last November. And it’s why the Legislature scores so low on opinion polls.  A PPIC survey last year found only 36 percent of Californians approve of the Legislature’s performance — despite the general increase in the state economy of recent years.

Steve Glazer, a former top adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, recently explained the pressures faced by majority Democrats in the Legislature:

During a panel conversation on the impact of California’s top-two electoral system Friday, Glazer said Democrats who disagree with labor unions on school, budget and pension issues have been “demonized” by influential elements of their own party.

“The Democratic Party is controlled by some very powerful interests,” Glazer said at the forum, organized by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, “and most Democrats who have ambition are intimidated by that circumstance.”

In his Assembly race last year, labor unions backing Democrat Tim Sbranti worked against Glazer, a more conservative Democrat, in the primary election. Sbranti advanced but was defeated in the general election by a Republican, Catharine Baker.

One theme we have advanced at CalWatchDog.com is that a one-party state eventually sees fissures develop in the majority party. That may be what we’re seeing happen here.

More “conservative” Democrats, such as Glazer — and at least on budget prudence, Brown — face the free-spending ways of more “liberal” Democrats, such as state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon of Los Angeles.

Right now, Brown has the edge because of his long experience in California politics, dating back to the late 1930s when his father, Gov. Pat Brown, was a young and ambitious politician. Jerry Brown also understands that, in state politics, balancing the budget is the key to everything else.

But after Brown leaves state politics, his less experienced successors will not have that edge, and the “powerful interests” may grow yet more powerful.

Tags assigned to this article:
Steve GlazerbudgetJerry BrownJohn Seiler

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