AND ALL ITS LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

Reform & Redesign California Online

We can now use computer technology to redesign California and its local governments as an E-democracy - by adding E-initiative, referendum and recall to the existing initiative, referendum and recall system. 

This is necessary as the citizens believe the state government is “headed in the wrong direction” and "can't be trusted to do the right thing" according to polls and presently seems incapable of reforming itself.  It is experiencing a deep recession.  Unemployment exceeds the national level.  Revenues have fallen significantly, aggravating what's now the worst of annual budget crises.  Presently the state is broke and was issuing IOUs for payment for a time.  Special interests predominate over the general interest.  The previous Governor was recalled; the current one came to office promising reform, but has not succeeded.  Although sometimes useful, its existing conventional ballot initiative, referendum and recall system is not sufficient to deal with current malfunctions.  Online redesign of the state and local governments with E-IR&R in addition to the exisiting process can allow the public to reach consensus to solve these problems and continuously maintain the aggregate quality of life at the highest obtainable level.                    

                   The graphic illustrates the state's problems and aggregate quality of life (QL) improvement through E-democracy.

To achieve this improvement, California should connect all people online, encourage petitions to be filed online in addition to by the existing process - by any citizen, then fully discussed, simulated and tested online and objectively benefit/cost analyzed there by a non-partisan agency.  Then the proposals can be thoroughly discussed and voted upon when and as the citizens choose - either online or by conventional ballot. This would create an E-democracy where the people can represent themselves directly and thus overcome special interest dominations.  They can then decide who much government they want and want to pay for.  The state should furnish everything necessary for successful operation.  This would form the ultimate social network.  This could also better answer the mounting calls for a constitutional convention as the people could represent themselves directly online, circumventing the special interests which would otherwise dominate the process.  Neither of the current reform efforts - CAForward nor Repair California - offers the people this power to redesign and reform their government directly and thus are not apt to succeed.  Hopefully they will soon.

To enable this state redesign and reform, a major number of registered voters to join the effort and sign an online petition to adopt E- IR&R will be needed.  This will obviously require a great number of valid signatures.  If a majority could be obtained, the reforms should be self-adopting.   Online signature gathering seems the only practical way to do that.


When redesign is done, citizens can be expected to enact many reforms, such as:
  • Ending the out of control growth and cost of state government, which now exceeds population growth and the rate of inflation several times over.
  • Restoring the state's economy and prosperity for all.
  • Replacing punitive programs with positive reinforcement programs.  Accomplish goals through online education rather than through regulation and punishment.
  • Ending the “nanny state” and unnecessary intrusion on personal freedoms.  Restore citizen self-reliance and self-responsibility,  providing all information needed to successfully do so.
  • Making government open and fully transparent online and offline.
  • Placing all information in the public domain and making it freely accessible to all online and offline, including all educational materials. 
  • Greatly reducing the size of and simplifying the state legal code and putting it in plain, easily understood language.
  • Switching to a unicameral legislature.  
  • Ending the proliferation of laws.  Passing 1000+/- laws per year will eventually make everything illegal, make enforcement impossible and is thus unsustainable.
  • Requiring continuous performance review of all programs, retiring those that are malfunctioning, duplicative, too expensive or unnecessary.
  • Requiring a “sunset” provision for all laws and programs, retiring those not specifically re-enacted.
  • Consolidating the proliferation of unelected agencies and commissions and ending delegation of rule making authority to them.  Make the Legislature responsible for all. Make leadership of those that remain elective positions.  Then, restore overall authority directly to the people by E-democracy. 
  • Ending special interest domination and ending corruption.  Promote the general interest.
  • Redistricting to end gerrymandered “safe seats” and restoring competitive elections.
  • Ending partisan gridlock and promptly resolving problems as they arise.
  • Ending persistent budget crises while significantly reducing cost of government, reducing taxes and fees.
  • Totally revising state and local tax structures and requiring all taxes and fees to be approved by vote of 2/3 of the people.
  • Ending duplication of services within and between government agencies at all levels. 
  • Ending unfunded mandates to the public and local governments.
  • Ending immunity and making all officials fully accountable for their acts.
  • Reforming the unaffordable education system to an online “education on demand” system, making all significant information available to all online free of charge.
  • Revising laws leading to excessive growth and cost of enforcement agencies and the prison system; reducing the rate of incarceration.
  • Ending the death penalty.
  • Decriminalizing drug offenses.
  • Reinvesting in and rebuilding the state’s crumbling infrastructure using advanced technologies, including its transportation system, water and sewer systems, energy systems, etc.  Ending traffic congestion to reduce fuel and time waste and reduce harmful emissions, including CO2. Removing any blocks to this rebuilding. 
  • Providing an online urban design and redesign system in which all can participate.
  • Stimulating building and rebuilding by removing bureaucratic red tape and instituting “single stop permitting” to replace myriad permits requirements.
  • Revising environmental laws to give people rightful priority over other species while protecting the economy and maintaining sustainability.
  • Applying latest technologies to promptly detect and control wildfires well before they got out of hand and removing any bureaucratic blocks thereto.
  • Ending unnecessary as well as frivolous litigation blocking progress and reform.  Ending public payment for such suits.  Instituting a “loser pays” system to reduce them.
  • And so on. 


Doubtless the public will require many more reforms as cybernetic E-democracy develops. 


Response to some anticipated objections:

  •  O: People aren’t smart enough to understand complex issues.  A:  They’re smart enough to elect their representatives so they should be smart enough to represent themselves.  Full effort needs to be made to avoid legalese and obfuscation and clarify all issues online and off for the people to facilitate reaching optimum QL.
  • O: The people aren’t well informed.  A:  Fully inform them online and offline using latest techniques, models, simulations, etc.
  • O: This will allow the tyranny of the majority.  A:  We now have the tyranny of the minority and seek to banish tyranny of any kind.  Restoration of individual freedoms is a necessary part of the process to obtain optimum QL through online consensus.
  • O: Major change could cause violent counter reaction.  A.  Not if consensus is reached online on an “everyone wins” strategy optimizing aggregate QL.
  • O: What exactly is QL and how can we know when it is optimized?  A: It’s up to each individual to define their quality of life for themselves; it’s optimized when they’re polled online and report it is.  If it isn’t, then they can redesign the state until it is.
  • O: Online voting can be hacked and corrupted.  A: It can be made secure successfully with effort, as with online commerce, banking, investing, etc.
  • O: The people will respond emotionally rather than rationally.  A: When fully informed, they will act in their best interest in the long run - if given the opportunity.  Had they been fully informed of all the facts and given the vote, we wouldn’t be experiencing the current problems.
  • O: E-democracy will harm business and industry.  A: E-democracy should actually benefit them – assuring markets for products and services the people genuinely want.   E-democracy should also speed and enhance corporate communication and decision making, especially for stockholders.  It should promote cooperation rather than competition to reach optimal QL.

      The representative government system was devised more than 200 years ago, using the best technology of the time – the pony express.  It’s now obsolete.  Now that it is possible for people to directly represent themselves online using new E-technologies, they certainly should.  Representatives naturally represent themselves first and the people last.   They must serve the special interests that fund their re-election campaigns first rather than serve the general interest.   And they tend to abuse their power, tending to act in loco parentis contrary to the public's wishes.  Fortunately, it is now technically possible to restore the national founder’s original intent: “government with the consent of the governed.”  The people themselves should decide how much government they want and are willing to pay for.  Then it will be possible to achieve and continuously maintain the optimum QL.   And that should lead to a cooperative, peaceful, productive and environmentally sustainable state.  And nation and world as the idea catches on.

      This would form a scientific government in that optimum QL could be continuously monitored, tested and verified.   Any malfunction could be promptly identified and corrected.  The would also make it cybernetic - a self-correcting system.

      The program should include connecting all residents who wish to be, augmenting the already high rate of Internet connection.  This should give a boost to California's IT industries and help in the state's economic recovery.
                                           ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:  

      For redesign of the San Diego region online with E-IR&R, please see:
      For information on initiative and referendum, please visit the Initiative and Referendum Institute website: 



      The idea of redesigning the whole world and its parts was influenced by Buckminster Fuller among others.  He proposed voting by phone as well as continuous electronic referendum years ago in addition to creating the World Game.  See Earth, Inc.  for instance:

                  http://www.nous.org.uk/EarthInc.htmlFuller - Earth Inc.

       He also created the optimizing World Game and published Utopia or Oblibion with the self-explanatory title: