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Convention backers ready to 'reboot California'

Original post made on Aug 3, 2009

Several hundred local civic leaders gathered Friday in Sunnyvale to propose a constitutional convention to "take back California" from a "crumbling infrastructure, overflowing prisons, failing schools and a dysfunctional legislature."

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 3, 2009, 1:03 PM

Comments (23)

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Posted by Michael Seebeck
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm

The problem with the Repair California movement is that the town halls they are holding are all loaded with left-leaning folks who seem either unable or unwilling to hear other viewpoints. They assume the solutions are roll back 2/3 and Prop 13 without really looking at the source of the problems (which isn't either of those).

I would encourage Repair California to offer real diversity of *views* in these meetings, not diversity of personal demographics like ethnicity. If a con-con is to happen then the best way is to have competent people on board based on how well they understand republican government and basic government operations, not based on their skin color, orientation, or other meaningless criteria which have been part of the problem in the first place.

I have offered to be one of those views. No response yet.

What say you, Common Cause and Bay Area Council? Will you truly strive to represent all Californians in this by including conservatives and libertarians, or will you only cater to the left? Your street credibility will be enhanced by the former and not the latter.

Michael Seebeck
Libertarian Party of California, At-Large


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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:37 pm

I agree with Michael Seebeck that a successful constitutional convention must hear and understand the views of all Californians. However, in a state where about 2/3 of the people are on the liberal side of the political spectrum, I would be very disappointed if the result represented the views of the conservative/libertarian minority.

Unfortunately, as election outcomes have shown time and time again, the power of the conservative/libertarian minority far outweighs their number: They have the money and are masters of advertising.

I fear the constitutional convention but, as Jim Wunderman said, "if you really want to be scared about something you should be scared of the status quo."


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Posted by curious
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:47 pm

""The money chase is perverting our democracy," Stone said.

That's the best laugh I had all day. So Stone just wants to tell the taxpayers how much he wants for his government bureaucracy and our only choice is to say "Yes, sir. Here it is. Do you want more, master?"

These clowns have driven California into the ground even with the 'overly restrictive' rules they want to change. This state has the worst business climate in the country. It is hemorrhaging jobs and taxpayers at huge rates. Now they want to set up the system so there are no checks and balances on the big spenders in the government.

Like Margaret Thatcher said, "Socialism is a lot of fun until you run out of other people's money."


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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 3, 2009 at 5:51 pm

USA is a registered user.

Well put, Michael. Thank you. I welcome the input from the Libertarian party as well as those of Republican and other parties.

Diversity has been a problem in a number of areas. Liberals talk big about race and ethnicity but have defined diversity in terms of skin color. The problems are particularly acute in the Bay Area which has a large variety of skin colors but a very limited diversity of ideas.

If you ever want to watch a liberal wrap himself into a logical mobius, ask him this question -- If you have a white liberal, a black liberal, a yellow liberal, a brown liberal, and a red liberal, do you have diversity?


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Posted by duh
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 3, 2009 at 7:01 pm

His answer would be that you have racial diversity, but not ideological diversity. Not very complicated.

It wasn't long ago -- maybe it's still the case -- that race was such a barrier for so many that "diversity" became a kind of mantra used against this social unfairness. Pretty much everybody still uses the term that way. Does USA not know this?

Here's my theory: USA does know this, but he's willing to set that aside so as to slyly lodge a personal gripe. Specifically: not enough people in the Bay Area are conservative like me. Boo hoo.


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Posted by Michael Seebeck
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2009 at 10:14 pm

The answer to USA is the more you have, diverse it gets. :)

All we're asking for is a seat at the table and a chance to be heard by the people. The true sign of intellectual honesty is to seek out opposing points of view, and the true sign of respect is have the dialogue even in disagreement. I hope these folks can live up to that standard.


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Posted by Michael Seebeck
a resident of another community
on Aug 3, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Doug, just because 2/3 claim to be leftist(not necessarily true, look at the voter registration demographics) doesn't mean the other 1/3 should be ignored.

And if the 2/3 truly are leftist, then ask yourself how culpable they are the mess the state is in since they're the majority? Far, far more than the other 1/3.

Yet the call is to turn solely to the ideology of that 2/3 to solve the mess they helped cause in the first place? What's the sound of banging one's head against the wall repeatedly? What's the definition of insanity?

It's clear that trying to implement the leftist vision of Utopifornia has failed. It's time to try something new, something that used to work fine, both in California and elsewhere--fiscal prudence.

Greasing the skids to get more revenue won't do the job, because there is no money left, and throwing more money at a problem of government mismanagement only makes the mismanagement worse. Big government spenders on both sides have never figured that out.


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Posted by Smart Growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

So we are led to believe that politicians that created this mess can fix it with a state constitutional convention that will be loaded with the special interest groups that also helped create this mess. I agree with Michael. I doubt the left leaning groups will listen. The whole thing is a waste of time and energy.


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Posted by phm
a resident of The Crossings
on Aug 4, 2009 at 10:06 am

The Bay Area Council and Leadership Silicon Valley are hardly "left-leaning." They are business groups. All the factors cited in the story, 2/3rds to pass a budget, initiatives requiring spending money with no revenue source attached, gerrymandered districts, cost-of-living adjustments to entitlements, and "the money chase" by which I believe Larry Stone means the need to constantly raise campaign funds, as well as bureaucratic inefficiencies and counterproductive tax loopholes, together led to the mess California is in. It's time to put aside ideology and past battles and look at what works.


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Posted by Patio Bear
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:20 am

This discussion tells me that our disfunctional Legislature is merely a reflection of the populace that they represent.


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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:24 am

USA is a registered user.

duh -- Nice try, but no. I came to the Bay Area 30 years ago, zipped through Stanford in three years, and have lived here ever since except for a few years when I went back East for graduate school in the early 90s. If I had trouble with the liberals in the area, I would have left, but I am still here. What I do have trouble with are all the people who firmly believe that they are open minded and well informed but are neither. Even worse, they are openly hostile to ideas outside of their narrow world as evidenced by your argumentum ad hominem.


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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:27 am

USA is a registered user.

Patio Bear -- Ah, so true. While the idea of throwing it all out and starting over appears to the base emotions, I fear that such conventions would quickly dissolve into irreducible ideological arguments.


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Posted by ho ho
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 4, 2009 at 11:44 am

USA,

I'm beginning to see your problem. Since any remark directed to you is perceived to be an ad hominem attack, your world appears to be full of people "openly hostile to ideas outside of their narrow world" -- i.e. people who disagree with you.

For everyone who disagrees with you, there's someone else nearby who agrees. Big deal.

Oh and congratulations on "zipping" through Stanford.


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Posted by USA
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm

USA is a registered user.

ho ho (AKA duh) - Again, it's not about me. Whatever. Hope you feel good about yourself now. Moving on.


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Posted by Smart Growther
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 2:20 pm

While the general tone of most business groups is pro-market, the BAC and SVLG are left leaning groups that pay little attention to small/medium business interests. Most of these leaders represent large companies and support govt regulation to reduce competition.

Take a look at the current MV chamber. Most of the leaders work for non-profits and have little experience running a business. They spend a lot of time supporting social/civic issues and little time opposing policies that make operating a business more expensive.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Aug 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm

Not to bring some, you know, facts, to this discussion about the leftie liberals have brought high taxes and ruination to Gullyvornia, which has driven away all the business and jobs, but California actually ranks 18th taxes as a percentage of income, and that percentage is pretty close to the average for the entire country.

Web Link

Okay, now feel free to resume the food fight.


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Posted by Think Again
a resident of North Whisman
on Aug 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Article 1: Give all the money to the rich.


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Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 4, 2009 at 10:25 pm

re: "San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon said Proposition 13 led to an unintended shift in the relationship between state and local government, creating a process in which locally raised taxes are immediately sent to Sacramento to be distributed back to the local level."

That's quite an oversimplification. He's leaving out the significant role of Proposition 98 and the Serrano court decisions on school finance equality.


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Aug 5, 2009 at 5:30 pm

USA--

I dont think that ideological diversity for diversity's sake alone in this context is useful. Quickly would boil down to a 'crossfire' style polarized debate between extreme left and right, which serves nobody. Stakeholders with different interests should be at the table, of course. Business interests with different needs and viewpoints must be represented, but the libertarian party does not (since they have never actually run anything, they have nothing to add-- I also frankly have little use for political parties in general). Tapping experts in relevant fields will provide a variety of useful viewpoints on darn near anything.

Experts not ideologues.


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Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 6, 2009 at 11:46 am

re: "Quickly would boil down to a 'crossfire' style polarized debate between extreme left and right, which serves nobody. Stakeholders with different interests should be at the table, of course. Business interests with different needs and viewpoints must be represented, but the libertarian party does not (since they have never actually run anything, they have nothing to add..."

Just want to clear up some misconceptions.

Often, libertarians get painted as being as some kind of extreme right group. I can understand how people who don't know much about libertarianism would make that mistake, but it is a mistaken impression. We're neither left nor right, although we are actually another branch of the same family tree as modern American liberalism.

I'm a small-l libertarian, and not involved in the Libertarian Party anymore. There are a lot of us non-Libertarian libertarians.


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Posted by eric
a resident of another community
on Aug 6, 2009 at 8:23 pm

You need to reread what I wrote- I didnt cite libertarians or Libertarians in the Crossfire reference. I said that since Libertarians have never actually run anything, they dont need a seat at the table.

'small-l libertarians' are usually Republicans in denial


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Posted by Mike Laursen
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

re: "'small-l libertarians' are usually Republicans in denial"

OK, well, you're determined to misunderstand and marginalize people like me, so, hey, have a great day.


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Posted by Steve Nelson
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 10, 2009 at 10:53 am

Mike Laursen is obviously a man who knows his California government. How many on this forum know the giant significance of Serrano? It is based on the CA Const. requirement of equal protection applied to kids who get public education in our state. All are suppose to get access to an equally funded education (although at $12K each (PAUSD), some are "more equal"). And the Const. amendments implemented by Prop 98 said education was enshrined by the people of CA as one of the most important state expenses (and Legislative cuts be damned).
The 1% property tax limit of Prop 13 Const. amendment, ESPECIALLY applied to residences, is broadly supported after many decades. But, is limit on reassessment of COMMERCIAL property as well supported? (it gets most benefit of the limits).
A convention to change districting, budget process, and taxation strategies is overdue. I also would favor, even as a progressive, a limitation on the "progressive" Const. initiative process H.J. and the old progressives brought to CA and the nation. 50% to change a Constitution! RIDICULOUS!!! That is surely a place where a 2/3 or even 3/4 majority is needed.


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