- Question: What has happened to the Golden State?
- Answer: The three branches of government are out of balance
- Solution: Change the Legislature to one house non-partisan and increase the membership of the Legislature
A member of the Assembly represents 500,000 constituents
A Senator represents 1 million constituents
THE PROBLEM GOES BACK TO CONTROL AND THE CONSTITUTION OF 1849
In the 1960’s the U.S. Supreme Court made rulings regarding apportionment of the districts for each legislator, not regarding the number of people for each legislator. Using the precedent of Baker vs Carr in 1962, Earl Warren, the former governor of California, stated in his ruling in Reynolds vs Sims, “legislators represent people, not acres and trees”. So saying, he changed the governments of many states including California by removing the model of the U.S. Congress of a Senate by acres and trees from the states. Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois argued that this ruling would allow the cities to dominate over the rural areas as evidenced by the divisions in our states today.
These rulings did not have any judgement as to the number of legislators representing the population-as-a- whole, only how the representatives were apportioned in the districts. The result was that Senators could not be elected by county (designated geographical areas within a state modeled on the U.S. Constitution) but rather ONLY by population.
Making both houses subject to population effectively means there is no difference between the two houses excepting the length of the terms in office, the “prestige” of being a Senator and the number of constituents they represent. In California all legislators regardless of Assembly or Senate are paid the same. Using a round number for the population of California of 40,000,000 (40M), a member of the Assembly represents 500,000 constituents and a Senator represents 1,000,000 (1M).
After this ruling, the senators looked into changing to unicameral but decided against changing for fear of losing their jobs because the 1849 California Constitution called for growth of the legislature only until it reached a population of 100,000, then stay at 80 in the Assembly and 40 in the Senate; a figure we live with today. This ruling changed us from a true bicameral of population rule in one house and geographical rule in the other balancing the needs between urban and rural areas. Today the people must to go to the Judicial or Executive Branches to voice grievances because their Legislative Branch consists of a staff member who is Not Accountable and a legislator who is Not Accessible, so our once Republican form of government by the people has become a Democracy for oligarchs and special interests with the title of Republic in name only.
The radical idea that the governed can govern themselves has been fought since its inception in 1787. It’s time once again to prove the Special Interests wrong. We can govern ourselves through our Representatives when the Districts are small enough to give us back the control.
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