California Forward was launched a decade ago with significant support from major foundations to be a dynamic and compelling force in transforming government. I was honored to be invited to serve on the original Leadership Council by bi-partisan Co-Chairs Leon Panetta and Tom McKernan.
Since then, thousands of California’s have participated in a variety of events and initiatives sponsored by California Forward, warranting a review and assessment 10 years later to catalog conclusions and discern lessons learned as guidance for the future.
A traditional debate in government reform is “structure” vs. “substance”: Should the focus be on the rules and procedures of organization (such as redistricting, top-two primary elections, or the length of time a bill must be in print before the Legislature can vote on it) or should it be on the purpose and results of operations (such as performance-based management and budgeting, realignment of human services, or integration of workforce training)? Of course, each has merit and California Forward has championed both kinds of reforms with great dedication. And, to be sure, it does take time to see appreciable impacts from the best of reforms.