California is going bankrupt. Behind its economic trouble lies serious political dysfunction.
What to do?
To hear some Golden State legislators and experts talk, the problem can be blamed squarely on the people and their lawmaking power through the state’s initiative process.
While initiatives like Prop 13 and term limits may bedevil the Sacramento insiders, they remain popular among voting Californians. Voters don’t see handing over all power to the politicians as a magic solution.
Others suggest California is so ungovernable that it should be split into two, a North and a South California. Why? To make the insolvent state start completely anew. And to reduce the massive scale of decision-making in what is by far our country’s most populous state.
I have a better solution, which more and more folks from across the political spectrum seem to be considering. I suggest doubling the size of California’s legislature. Or tripling. Or more.
California’s legislative districts are huge, dwarfing those in other states. The ratio of voters to Assembly reps is 455,000 to one. The ratio of state senators to constituents is 900,000 to one.
The balance of interests between citizens and their representatives is all out of whack. When constituencies grow too large, politicians feel answerable to no one.
Smaller districts give voters more relative power — and legislators relatively less. Now that sounds like the right track.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.