Throw them all out!

Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters wrote an interesting column yesterday addressing California voter’s dissatisfaction with the State Legislature, and their attitude regarding a term limit measure that will be on the February ballot.

Here is an excerpt from Walters’ column:

As a general rule, political officeholders want their voters to be happy because satisfaction with the economic and social status quo translates into approval of those in office.

Cranky voters, on the other hand, are likely to take out that anger, even if misplaced, on Election Day; it’s one of the risks that those who pursue political careers must accept.

Californians are increasingly gloomy, a new statewide poll finds, and axiomatically, they may be inclined to punish politicians, given the chance. Ironically, however, their only looming opportunity to do so will be a measure on the Feb. 5 presidential primary election ballot that appears to shorten the careers of legislators but, in fact, enhances them, thanks to some clever, if somewhat misleading, wording.

The new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California finds that voters’ opinions of politicians are sliding, with three-fourths mistrustful about state government doing the right thing and just 29 percent approving of legislators, sharply lower than the 37 percent recorded in January.

However, as they turn gloomy, voters are increasingly inclined to pass the ballot measure, which would reduce the total legislative service limit from 14 years (eight in the Senate, six in the Assembly) to 12 but allow all 12 to be served in one house.

Two-thirds of voters rejected the notion of a 12-year limit in a March poll, but 55 percent support it now, with backing among Republicans the highest even though their regard for the Legislature is the lowest.

Labor and business interests are pushing the measure, along with legislative leaders such as Assembly Speaker Fabian N


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