The third Principle of Political Life is Objectivity:  appointments and similar decisions should be made on the basis of merit.

At first glance, this would appear too be the purest of principles: who would argue for appointments on any basis but merit?  Well, I would, sort of.

Proposition 140, the second greatest mistake the voters of California have made (after Proposition 13) did several pernicious things with regard to the Legislature:

  • it established term limits, thus assuring that the legislative expertise necessary to solving difficult problems disappeared
  • it greatly reduced the staffing of the Legislature, thus making sure that power flowed from the Legislative branch of California Government to the Executive branch
  • it removed legislators from the public pension system, so that anyone elected to the Legislature who wasn’t rich, anyone who devoted themselves to public service without thought of financial gain, would have difficulties making ends meet after leaving office.

I therefore reluctantly support the appointment of former legislators to Boards and Commissions after they leave office.  We must find ways to help people of modest means to attain and retain public office.   The alternative is oligarchy.

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