A group of three wealthy Californians: a Republican, a Democrat, and an Independent (registered "decline-to-state") have launched a new group to steer California public policy by focusing supporters on state politics and working to elect state legislators with the "courage" to solve California's problems. The group is called Govern for California.
The group's website lists three founders who span the political spectrum: Ron Conway, a Republican angel investor; David Crane, a Democrat who lectures at Stanford University and worked as a special advisor to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; and Greg Penner, who is registered "decline-to-state" and serves as a director for several major corporations, including Walmart.
Throughout the website, there is a strong emphasis on the importance of courage and ensuring that an engaged citizenry works to elect "courageous state legislators." In a letter announcing the group's formation, Govern for California's president, David Crane wrote:
"In the case of Democrats, courage means the nerve to stand up to government employee unions whose demands take funding from other programs and penalize private-sector job creation. In the case of Republicans, courage means the nerve to stand up to those unions as well as to corporations and no-tax groups who, even when presented with all the reforms they seek, refuse to acknowledge that sometimes more revenue for the government can be a good thing. And in the case of all legislators, courage means an unshakeable dedication to honest budgets, truthful accounting, open government and governing for the general interest."
Democrats that stand up to public unions and their demands? Republicans who stand up to corporations? Legislators of any partisan stripe who are unshakeably dedicated to honesty, openness, and transparency? It sounds like the founders of Govern for California are looking for legislators with a strong Independent streak. The purpose of the new group is to get California residents engaged enough to support these independent-minded, courageous legislators.
On their website they opine:
"Californians aren’t paying attention. Even though there are only 120 California state legislators, few Californians know the names of their representatives much less how those legislators vote or the alliances they keep."
If Californians did pay closer attention, the website continues, they would be surprised to learn how California's state legislators actually vote versus what they say they support on the campaign trail. Along with advocacy groups like this, emerging independent media sources like CAIVN are working hard to educate California voters about issues facing their state's government. Information about public policy has never been more readily available, nor more widely disseminated. Perhaps these three successful Californians are right, and as independent media continue to focus public attention on issues that matter, all that we really need now is a little bit of courage.