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Sep 27
2010

Rebooting California

Posted by Bruce Robinson in state government , politics , policy , Organization Development , legislation , Ideas , government , election , current events , California , budget

Bruce Robinson
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  What will it take to get California’s government working effectively again? Proposals for a state constitutional convention died quickly earlier this year, but some other promising ideas are now struggling to gain traction instead. cal_constitution.jpg
Planning for the "Rebooting California" symposium (see the full schedule here)began last spring, when many political observers expected a measure calling for a California Constitutional Convention to be on the November ballot. Now that such a gathering appears unlikely in the foreseeable future, symnposium speaker suggested an alternative, reports KRCB-TV Senior Political Analyst Dick Spotswood. Cal State Fullerton professor Raphael Sonensheir, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Charter Reform Commision, put forward that body as a possible role model for the state.
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There are several initiatives on the November 2nd ballot that address issues of governance, including two, Props 20 & 27, that focus on redistricting. Additionally Prop. 25 would lower the threshold for passing the state budget from two-thirds to 50%, while Prop 26 would extend the 2/rds requirment for approving new taxes to cover fees as well. When Jon Coupal, President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, expressed cautious support for the two ideas in tandem, Spotswood admits, it got him thinking.
 
Dick Spotswood blogs for the Marin Independent-Journal as The Militant Centrist.
Sep 09
2010

"Remaking California"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in state government , policy , legislation , immigration , Ideas , government , education , community , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

There’s widespread agreement that California’s state government is dysfunctional and “broken.”  Our constitution was adopted when the the Golden State small, homogenous and barely industrialized. What will it take to bring the mechanics of the California'’s governance into the 21st century?

In addition to editing Remaking California: Reclaiming the Public Good, R. Jeffrey Lustig, a  professor of government at Cal State Sacramento, contributed chapters framing the overall issue and spelling out the metholoogy and some suggested changes to be made in a "people's constitutional convention." Other contitutional changes are proposed in a series of essays from diverse thinkers and analysts including historian Kevin Starr, poet Gary Gnyder, and former north coast legislator Barry Keene.

mmw_ballotNothing has changed the California state constitution as much as the statewide initiative process, which Lustig explains was an early reform measure that, over time, came to be emlpoyed in ways that countermand the reformers' intentions.

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california-seal.pngProposition 14, passed by California voters last June, was presented as a reform that would reign in partisan extremism through a sort of Open Primary. Lustig, however, is not conviced that either the state issue or the adopted change is an accurate assessment of the state's current crisis of governance.

R. Jeffrey Lustig will talk about Remaking California and some of the ideas in it tonight at the Peace and Justice Center of Sonoma County, 467 Sebastopol Avenue in Santa Rosa, at 7 pm. The event is co-sponsored by the Living Wage Coalition of Sonoma County. Details can be found here.

 

 

Aug 25
2010

CSU Foundation Funds

Posted by Bruce Robinson in students , state government , policy , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , investigation , government , finances , education , current events , California , budget , author

Bruce Robinson

Calls for greater transparency in the inner fiscal dealings of foundations based at California State University campuses are mounting, after some of those details became public.

State Senator Leland Yee (D-SF) has championed legislative action to apply the state’s Public Records Act to the CSU academic foundations and other auxiliary organizations. He says these latest revelations about their lax fiscal management only reinforces the need for such a measure.

California Faculty Association president Lillian Taiz, a history professor at Cal State Los Angeles, charges that the newly revealed CABO minutes make it clear that the CSU administration’s opposition to Senator Yee’s sunshine bill, SB 330, was driven not by principle, but protective self-interest.

At Sonoma State, there are four separate auxiliary organizations, explains Chief Financial Officer and Vice President for Administration & Finance, Laurence Furukawa-Schlereth. But the budget for the Academic Foundation is much larger than those of  the other three  combined.

Here's the link to the SSU tranparency webpage. You can also read the Executive Summary of the CFA report on the CABO minutes they found. To read the full report, go here. Scroll down for the links to the minutes themselves.

Aug 18
2010

Community Clinics & Health Care Reform

Posted by Bruce Robinson in Sonoma County , public safety , policy , planning , nonprofit orgs , news , medicine , legislation , healthcare , Health , government , families , economy , current events , Congress , community , children , California , business , budget

Bruce Robinson

The federal health care bill, passed earlier this year, will also boost the fiscal well-begin of community clinics in Sonoma County, as well as the patients they serve.

Mary Szecsey, Executive Director of the five West County Health Centers,  explains that the local clinics, and many of their counterparts across the county, have helped pioneer and refine the concept known as a “medical home” for patients.

This approach, developed in considerable part out of necessity, has proven to be both efficacious and cost-effective, Szecsey adds, which is why it is being more widely adopted.

 

 

 

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