"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has"

Margaret Mead, Anthropologist
(used with permission)

"If you don't like the news .... go out and make some of your own !!"

Wes "Scoop" Nisker, Newscaster


Government is a slow and tedious process. While it often includes citizen and neighborhood involvement, non-governmental, private organizations have created movements and interesting groups which can create positive change in our cities and towns.

I am fascinated by the way groups are created and how they influence public decision making. This blog merely recognizes them and forwards the description of these groups from their own websites.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

California Forward

Location: California

Website: www.cafwd.org

Over the last generation, our systems of government have failed at dealing with our state’s challenges. We aren’t getting the results we need from public programs; lawmakers are mired in gridlock; and budgets are out of balance even during good times.

There is growing concern that this dysfunction is not only impacting public programs, but the economy and the confidence of entrepreneurs to do business here.

Perplexed by the increasing dysfunction of the state’s fiscal and political systems, five major California foundations –

The California Endowment
The Evelyn and Walter Haas, Jr. Fund
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The James Irvine Foundation
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation

– came together to create California Forward, charging it with reshaping the future of the Golden State by fundamentally changing the way government operates.

California Forward was created by combining projects from California Common Cause, Center for Governmental Studies, New California Network, and The Commonwealth Club of California's Voices of Reform Project.

The organization has established itself as a trusted, influential, and bipartisan public interest effort, with an unwavering commitment to making government work better.

Our early steps toward reform include:

- the fiscal mess through budget reform.

- Changing political incentives with redistricting and the top two primary.

Restructuring state and local government to drive innovation and results.

California Forward's mission is to work with Californians to help create a "smart" government – one that’s small enough to listen, big enough to tackle real problems, smart enough to spend our money wisely in good times and bad, and honest enough to be held accountable for results.

We’re different from other efforts to reform our state, because we believe in the importance of working together and understand that only robust public discussion and the creation of broad coalitions can move solutions forward.

California’s state and local governments must work better together for everyone. If Californians can come together to restructure the relationships between state and local governments, the experience of other states indicates that in five to seven years, we will begin to see the benefits of better governance and renewed private investment.

Continuous improvement in the performance of education and social programs will allow the state to shift resources from prisons back to universities. Efficiencies and innovation in regulation will allow businesses to pay higher wages, while still remaining competitive. Growing middle-income jobs will reduce demand for public services and increase tax revenue.

Restructuring California’s government can be the beginning of a cycle – improved education, increased employment, decreased poverty, improved health, and less crime – that can lead to the best possible outcome: A government that achieves positive social gains in a financially sustainable way.

California Forward believes we can revive the California Dream and turn our broken government into an efficient, effective body, focused on performance, accountability, and transparency. But we must all get involved.

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