State and Local Politics

By Iris Poole

Many of us feel powerless in the face of politics, political decision making, and policy change. There is a lot of legislation that gets passed and much of it is gets swept under the rug and many voters and constituents don’t even know exist. There is a glimmer of hope among the feeling of hopelessness in the wake of what appears to be political turmoil and a lack of say in politics. This glimmer of hope is that the state of California has a 72 hour waiting period to hear the input of the public before passing legislation and the care of local government.

In a recent article published by the LA Times, John Myers notes certain instances where local voters made a difference in the decision of a piece of legislation. In his article, California Legislature’s final days of work this year have changed, thanks to voters, which is about Proposition 54, which requires a 72-hour waiting period before legislation can be passed after it has been released to the public. There was nearly a two-thirds majority among voters. Myers writes that there has been a major shift in voters and the legislature, stating,

“The value of getting more bills crafted early so that the proposals don’t get caught up in end-of-session attempts at leveraging political support for other more controversial bills”

In another article written this week by Myers, California lawmakers approve new rules for rolling out 5G cellular systems, but local governments remain opposed, Myers writes about the butting heads between the local and state governments, through specifically Senate Bill 649. If signed by Governor Jerry Brown, this particular bill would significantly downsize the role of local government concerning cellular service for 5G systems. In this article he states,

“Local governments would have less power to block the installation of the devices, which supporters claim would help ensure more communities are connected faster. They also argued that SB 649 would provide a boost to the state’s economy”

The author of the bill, state Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), stated that it would create jobs and better connect the state. The local governments are arguing that the people should have a say in where this equipment would go in their communities, considering said equipment is rather “unsightly” according to local officials.   

Though these articles are small examples of how voters impact state legislation, and local governments looking out for their communities. These examples still show that there still is an impact, and shows that as voters in a local community, we still have the power to change legislation, and that includes the local government, where the individual can make the greatest impact.