Sunday, April 26, 2015

Prop. 31: local control, accountability

From page A8 | October 17, 2012 |

Local support

Proposition 31 has been endorsed by the local group Saving California Communities as well as the Yolo County Board of Supervisors; Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and Council members Dan Wolk, Lucas Frerichs and Rochelle Swanson; Davis Board of Education members Susan Lovenburg and Sheila Allen; and state Sen. Lois Wolk

By Jim Mayer

As the executive director of California Forward and the former executive director of the state Little Hoover Commission, I have worked closely with people trying to make government work — and been criticized by those standing in the way. Having served on two special district boards in Yolo County, I personally know how Proposition 31, the Government Performance and Accountability Act, will help communities like ours.

While the Great Recession has put the squeeze on everyone, state government was drowning in red ink before the recession began. Lawmakers spend most of their time every year waiting for a secret budget to be worked out behind closed doors — and honestly, it is not a budget worth waiting for.

While it allocates $130 billion, no one knows whether it will do any good — and no one even discussed how to make sure those billions could have been better spent to educate children, improve public safety and encourage job growth.

Proposition 31 would put in place a set of common-sense fiscal practices that have been proven in other states and nations to create stability, transparency and accountability for results.

With a two-year-budget, performance measures and oversight of every program, lawmakers will spend more of their time figuring out which programs are working. A majority of Californians believe government wastes a majority of their tax dollars. They are right, and these rules focus on that problem.

The measure would require the governor and the Legislature to identify how they would fund new programs or tax cuts. The state’s revenue is extremely volatile. In the good years, lawmakers expand programs, cut taxes and broaden pension benefits — whatever lobbyists want. In bad years, they start borrowing, even as the state’s credit rating sinks. PayGo is not a spending cap; government could still spend every dollar. But lawmakers could not make ongoing commitments that cannot be kept without putting every other program in jeopardy.

The measure also would allow the governor to reduce spending if the Legislature fails to take any action during a fiscal emergency. If the Legislature — with its enormous resources — refuses to take any action in response to a fiscal emergency, don’t you think the governor should be able to do something?

Finally, every bill — including the Budget Act — would have to be in print for three days before lawmakers can vote on it. This is a minimal standard for public transparency, but it’s one that really angers those who control the capital.

Now for just an ounce of local control: Counties, cities and schools are being asked to do more with less. Local government does essential work. We know from years of experience that they get more done for less when they work together. But not all local governments like to cooperate — and many state rules actually discourage it.

Proposition 31 provides voluntary authority and a few incentives to a county that is willing to work with its cities and schools to develop a strategic plan that addresses a common priority. Let’s say Yolo County wants to make sure that all children stay in school and out of trouble. The county, cities and schools in Yolo County would receive a little state funding and a little flexibility in how they manage state-financed services.

Yolo County could not exempt itself from any state rule, but it could propose a community alternative that the Legislature, if it felt Yolo County went too far, could veto.

There is nothing evil in Proposition 31, unless you believe the public does not have a right to know what government is doing. There are no flaws in Proposition 31, unless you believe the state has all of the answers, and the people who control the capital should control every community.

Proposition 31 does tie the hands of the Legislature, but only in those circumstances when lawmakers are likely to repeat mistakes. But it also gives them the tools to make the right decisions — to make sure programs are working, to allow communities to learn from each other and to begin to restore the public trust.

In short, Proposition 31 is a recipe to reduce waste and improve results. It would change the course of California’s history, from growing centralization to stronger communities. It would show elected officials — and those waiting to write California’s obituary — that Californians are still in charge of their destiny, and their dream is still alive.

Please join me in voting yes on Prop. 31.

— Jim Mayer is the executive director of California Forward.



Special to The Enterprise



Davis team wins world robotics championship

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Nepal quake death toll exceeds 1,800

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Spring storm delivers late rain, snow to Northern California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

At the Pond: Plenty of pleasures in our bioregion

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Rail-safety bill passes Senate committee

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Free Family Bike Clinic set Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Pioneering organic chef presents her memoir Monday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Suspect in UCD assault arrested

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A4

Dog park marks anniversary with cleanup

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

Watch them in action

By Julia Ann Easley | From Page: A5

Stocks rise on tech earnings; Nasdaq adds to record

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Dodd speaks as part of public policy series

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

We did it (together)!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10

$2.72 million judgment ordered against Dollar Tree Stores

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

UCD hosts bike auction Saturday, May 2

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Fly Fishers to hear about advanced streamer tactics on Tuesday

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Bicycle activist will speak Monday at Hall of Fame

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery



Those texts still linger

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B6

New ways of giving locally and beyond

By Marion Franck | From Page: B6

Study questions accuracy of tumor gene mapping

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A12

Poker proceeds help youths

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Invest in water of the future

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Water, water everywhere?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A12

Mayor’s Corner: A spirit of renewal permeates Davis

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A12

More work to do for a safe Picnic Day

By Our View | From Page: A12

Anaheim, where The Force is with you

By Sebastian Onate | From Page: A13 | Gallery



Davis gets two baseball wins in two days

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1

Grizzlies dominate young Blue Devils on Senior Night

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Energy, fan-friendly happenings highlight UCD spring football game

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Blue Devil golfers capture CAL Invitational title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

UCD roundup: Aggies reach water polo semifinals

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Blue Devil swimmers are up to the challenge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Babich brings the heat as DHS girls stick it to Oak Ridge

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery

DHS softball struggles continue against Sheldon

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B12 | Gallery





History comes alive in ‘The Sacramento Picture’

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery



Yolo County real estate sales

By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A7

Big Italian food, sports bar to fill Little Prague

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7 | Gallery

Davis Roots hires new general manager

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

Comcast announces speed upgrade

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8



Whitney Joy Engler

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Valente Forrest Dolcini

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6



Comics: Sunday, April 26, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B8