Accountability

Accountability is the fourth Principle of Political Life.  All officeholders are accountable, and should be held to be accountable by the voters.

Unfortunately, once again there is a problem.  The average voter simply doesn’t know enough about the purview and duties of public officeholders to properly call them to account.  See my post on Civics.  In order to hold someone accountable, you have to be aware of what he or she is doing.  And in this country, and in my state of California, the Press now focuses more and more on scandal and less and less on straight political reporting.

As a result of the public’s lack of interest and lack of knowledge of the day-to-day workings of government, too many officeholders here in California (and, I suspect, in other states) live in a bubble, much like your average celebrity – surrounded by people who tell them how good they are, and cut off from the people they represent.  (Of course, in this case, “too many” is the same thing as “any” – most officeholders in California do understand that they are representatives of the people.)

One way to attack this problem is to increase the number of state legislators (although not to the extreme of New Hampshire  – practically everybody in that state is a state legislator) to some reasonable level.   In California, a State Senator, and there are forty of them, represents nearly a million people.  That’s too many.

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