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News & Politics

One of the more interesting recent stories I've read about California politics:

A bipartisan pair of maverick lawmakers is proposing a "citizens assembly" that would have the power to draft radical changes to the state's electoral process and the Legislature.
Based on an idea tried in the Canadian province of British Columbia, the Citizens Assembly would draft average voters to serve for one year to come up with reforms that could include anything from creating a unicameral legislature, campaign finance reform or changing term limits.
"The Legislature has been very dysfunctional and in partisan gridlock," said Assemblyman Keith Richman, R-Northridge (Los Angeles County). "There is a long list of problems the Legislature has not addressed, and there is an inability to solve problems...."
"The public is apathetic and cynical," Richman said, citing polls showing that more than 70 percent of Californians don't trust state government to solve problems. "We have two choices: One is to continue to work to reinvigorate and renew our democracy to make our representative democracy work, or the other choice is to be apathetic and cynical."
The dissenting voice in this story sure sounds like he's hiding behind voting to avoid more innovative democratic concepts: "If voters want reform, they can make that decision at the ballot box every November," said Steven Maviglio, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, D-Los Angeles. "There is no need to spend millions of dollars to create other government entity with no proven track record."

Here's a short history of how the Citizens' Assembly in British Columbia came about. You'll here more about this in the coming days, to be sure.

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