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Election results may bring better government

Posted: July 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

The results of a recent San Joaquin Valley special election for a state senate seat have larger positive ramifications for the California Legislature and state governance as a whole.

According to the Secretary of State’s office, Republican cherry farmer Andy Vidak defeated Democrat and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent in a seat long held by Democrats.

Vidak’s victory in the 16th Senate district shrinks the Democrats’ supermajority in the state Senate and was an encouraging victory for a Republican party in California that has been reduced to a "super minority" position in Sacramento and marginalized by Democratic party leadership.

For Republicans re-energizing their base with an election result like this is critical for them to be more competitive in other upcoming state office races — which is a good thing for the state as a whole.

One-party government is bad no matter what party is in power.

Both sides spent heavily in this special election, a reported $4.5 million total.

It was a crucial election for the Democrats to win.

But even with Republican Vidak’s election the Democrats still hold a super majority necessary to pass taxes or other fees without support of the Republicans.

However, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg would need all 27 Democratic votes to be present and the Democrats to retain a Senate seat recently vacated by Sen. Curren Price who recently won a seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

Democrats are also expected to face several tough Senate contests in 2014.

So the Democrats’ job will get harder with a shrinking majority but the chances for more collaborative government in California may get easier.

Although they were elected by California voters, the legislators in the super majority have minimized the voice of others in the minority party who were also elected.

A super majority by either party is an ominous power. Power is/can be corrupting.

We are not advocating for Republicans or Democrats here.

We are advocating for open and transparent government processes and a balanced two-party approach to government. It can be done.

We hope that this recent election in one particular Senate district is a step toward a more healthy legislative environment that will benefit all Californians.

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