A prominent piece of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget
is to realign services so that governments closer to the people have more say
over services and more revenue to deal with those services. The Governor’s
argument assumes local governments can do a more efficient job with the
people’s money.

The fly in this realignment soup is headlines that have run
in California newspapers for well over a year dealing with local government
corruption and mismanagement.

Under this shadow, the governor is pushing his realignment
plan. Will people trust local government to do any better with their money than
state officials have done?

True, polls indicate voters have little faith in the state
government with the legislature constantly rated close to single digit approval.
And, local government usually scores higher with the voters. But given the
outbreak of scandal and questionable judgment exhibited by local officials and
reported across the state, the governor may face an unexpected hurdle in
selling his realignment plan.

Realignment by itself is not a bad idea. Bringing government
closer to the people gives the people a chance to see what is going on with
their government, which can lead to efficiencies and better governing.

But that did not happen in Bell where the citizens were
taken by surprise by the scandal first revealed by the Los Angeles Times.

The shadow of local government corruption and mismanagement
will be a real test for the realignment proposal and another obstacle the
governor has to deal with  in attempting
to refashion California’s state and local government.