California's Promise

1871 Words8 Pages
In the 1960’s California experienced reverence through the reputation of being a promising great state. The increasing population as well as the massive publicity, contributed in highlighting this notion. However, in 2011, California no longer holds the same reputation in the eyes of its residents. With a current state deficit of $25.4 Billion, many Californians believe that the state is hopeless and can no longer regain to its past stardom. Famed Historian, Kevin Starr argues that California has lost its promise entirely; however, California has not lost its promise entirely for the fact that California is still the eighth largest economy in the world. California is able to function even with a dysfunctional government and institutional structure. California still has the potential to recover its reputation as a great promising state. By tackling the state’s dilemma, we are able to understand why and how California lost its greatness. Once we analyze the core problems of the state, such as the initiative process, the state legislature, and misrepresentation of the public, we will have a better understanding of how to tackle the issue. First, an obvious problem of the state is the usage of the initiative process. Originally, it gave “Californians the power to propose constitutional amendments and law that fellow citizens will vote on without the legislature’s involvement (Van Vechten, 20).” However, today, special interest groups have used this process abusively. In fact, initiative campaigns became an industry of its own in California. According to Mathews and Mark, “in 1996, annual spending on initiative campaigns in California topped $140 million (Mathews and Mark, 68).” Special interests groups that are financially well o... ... middle of paper ... ...tion of 38 million people, California still has the potential to be great. If in fact California lost its promise, the state would not have that large of a population nor would it have the eighth largest economy in world. The problem of California is in the structure of the legislature and the institutions and practices that it has. There are unchecked power given to the people through the initiative process and there are fundamental structural flaws in the state legislature. By addressing these problems and critically thinking what needs to be reformed, California can potentially get its old reputation. However, we must reform without unconsciously changing the right things in our state. If California just reforms in the same way it used to, the states’ future may be ruined. Innovative means of solution is needed in order to stir the state to the right direction.
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