In early December I participated in forum sponsored by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce to discuss efforts under way to reform California's political and governance systems. It seemed at the time that a lot of action would be just around the corner. Joining me on the panel were Fred Silva of California Forward and John Grubb of Repair California, the group that is pushing for a constitutional convention. Each group was anticipating putting two initiatives on the November ballot.
Silva had a memorable phrase for what Californians could expect in the fall of 2010: "A festival of reform."
It now appears certain that none of those ballot measures will make it to the ballot, largely for lack of financing. In addition, only a handful -- six or seven -- of the 80 initiatives that have been cleared for signature-gathering are being earnestly pursued.
Experts now expect that there will be perhaps 10 or 12 measures on the November ballot -- about average for a general election. What had been billed as a "festival" will now be something more akin to a swap meet.