Break the status quo


first_imgIt goes without saying that the names political groups choose for themselves are almost always over-the-top and self-important. But the umbrella organization that’s opposing all of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reform measures on Tuesday’s ballot – the Alliance for a Better California – takes the cake when it comes to false advertising. Think about it: In what way does the Alliance – a front for the public-employee unions that have spent an estimated $100 million on this campaign – propose to make California better? The group’s response to all serious reform is a reflexive “no,” with no positive agenda of its own for how to save California from its fiscal crisis. At best, the group merely wants to keep California exactly the same as it is now. “Alliance for the Status Quo” would be a more accurate title. The same goes for the politicians who sanctimoniously denounce Schwarzenegger’s propositions. What’s their plan for bringing accountability to our schools, for reining in the power of special interests in Sacramento, for making state government live within its means, or for restoring democracy in our gerrymandered political system? They have no plan. They like the status quo just fine, thank you very much, because it serves them and their special interests quite well. But how well does it serve the rest of us? How does it serve the rest of us to send kids to schools with little accountability, where good teachers are brought down by bad ones who are virtually impossible to fire? How does it serve the rest of us to have public-employee unions control the state legislative process, essentially buying sweetheart contracts that are bankrupting California? How does it serve the rest of us to allow our state government to continue running up an annual structural deficit of $6 billion? How does it serve the rest of us to let the politicians design their own political districts, thus making themselves and their parties invulnerable at the ballot box, and ensuring that extremists on the left and right get elected while moderate, sensible candidates don’t stand a chance? It doesn’t. That’s why Californians threw out the indifferent Gray Davis two years ago and elected Schwarzenegger on the promise that he would shake up Sacramento. And that’s why Californians need to approve his reform agenda – Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77 – on Tuesday’s ballot. Taken in total, these measures go a long way toward making California work for its people once again. Proposition 74, which would extend to five years the amount of time new teachers must serve before getting tenure – while making it slightly easier to fire terrible teachers – would bring a measure of accountability to our schools. Proposition 75 would require public-employee unions to get their members’ approval before spending dues money on politics. The result would be that union bosses would need to be more responsive to their members, and would have a harder time buying politicians so as to extract compensation packages that the public can’t afford. Proposition 76 would keep the state’s spending from outpacing its earnings, and force the Legislature and the governor to make midyear cuts if revenues don’t live up to the politicians’ expectations. Proposition 77 would take redistricting out of the hands of the self-serving politicians. Retired judges, honoring municipal and geographic boundaries as well as the Voting Rights Act, would design the state’s congressional and legislative districts. Then voters would get to approve or reject the design. No, these propositions won’t fix all that is broken in Sacramento, but they will make a big difference. They’re also crucial if California is to move forward on the reform path that it set upon two years ago. And they sure beat the alternative – business as usual in Sacramento. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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