Repair California can’t repair broken California, but we can

Repair California, the group trying to put a constitutional convention on the November 2010 ballot, has just announced that it’s suspending its work.  Repair California was an offshoot of the Bay Area Council, a group of northern California businesspeople.  

Many progressives favored last summer’s original idea of a constitutional convention.  However, the details that emerged caused progressive enthusiasm to wither away.  Among them: Proposition 13 would remain the untouchable third rail of California politics.

It’s time to go to Plan B: a 58 County Strategy.

Officially, Repair California will revive its efforts to gather signatures if it can raise 3 million dollars by March 1.  There’s an interesting albeit rumored backstory, which (if true) only goes to prove the pervasive corruption of the initiative process: several (unnamed) signature gathering businesses refused to gather signatures, allegedly as part of an organized boycott of Repair California, out of the belief that the constitutional convention would outlaw or curtail initiatives altogether, with unspecified “special interests in Sacramento” opposing Repair California.  

Repair California may be spinning paranoid conspiracy delusions, or it may be right.  Only in California can Pacific Gas & Electric pay $6.5M to have an initiative with the innocuous name of “Californians Protect Our Right to Vote” placed on the ballot with the goal of strangling nonprofit renewable electricity co-op competition. (Consider this an early reminder to vote No on Prop 16, and read PG&E Political Power Grab if you’re not yet convinced that the initiative process has become hideously corrupted.)  In any case, Repair California is likely not going to save the state.

What can save the state?  California needs a 58 County Strategy (a name paying homage to Howard Dean’s 50 State Strategy).  We’re tantalizingly close to a 2/3 veto-proof supermajority in both the Assembly and Senate, and might be even closer if Abel Maldonado is confirmed as Lt. Governor.  We have a good shot at installing Jerry Brown as Governor.  We can flip a few Congressional districts.  It’ll take some time to turn counties like Fresno and Modoc blue, but it can be done — si, se puede.  With supermajorities over 2/3 in each house of the legislature, we can begin to repair California the right way, beginning with exempting commercial property from Proposition 13.

California is broken, but it can be repaired.

(x-posted from DailyKos)