California voters: homework assignment

George Lakoff has a simple “Majority Rule” initiative in the works to remove the supermajority requirements for taxes and a budget from the California constitution.  This would remove one of the most important millstones from the neck of the California governing process.  It needs a lot of signatures to get on the ballot, but it’s pretty easy to move it along as the campaign has set up a web-based system.  Unfortunately you need to deal with paper and a few stamps.  Go here, download the petition, fill it out, and send it in.  Then go to the petition circulator page, register yourself, and get all your friends, colleagues, and everyone else to sign (this part requires careful attention to the rules; welcome to direct democracy).

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

7 thoughts on “California voters: homework assignment”

  1. The people I know who know California politics say that this initiative is a sure loser at the polls, while an initiative to abolish the 2/3 requirement for the budget but not for taxes would likely pass.

  2. If we wait to put an oar in and break a sweat rowing until we're guaranteed victory the first time out of the box, we aren't really doing the work. There's much benefit from putting issues on the ballot and (for example) forcing politicians to take stands. Every reform is tautologically politically infeasible when it starts.

    And likely is not an adverb, despite the -ly, so there.

  3. I'm moving to California very soon, but doubt I'll be a California voter in time to sign and submit a petition by the April 5th deadline the organizers have set. I did kick in a (very) few bucks at the ActBlue widget on the page O'Hare linked to.

  4. Winning beats losing. I'd rather get rid of the 2/3 budget rule now, thus denying the Senate Republicans the chance to hold the rest of us hostage every year, than fail to get rid of that plus the 2/3 rule for taxes.

  5. Is this for November? I heard it's going to be a very ugly ballot, with a gazillion things on it. Not sure if that helps or not.

  6. How about repealing prop 13? That's the root cause of California's problems anyways.

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