Consider two problems, together.

California has too many local governments – not just hundreds of municipalities but thousands of various special districts. Far too many for citizens and media to monitor and hold accountable.

California has too few people voting. Particularly at the local level.

Solving either of these two problems would be difficult. It’s devilishly hard to convince cities to disincorporate – to shut down your city and revert to being county. And it’s proving extraordinarily difficult to convince new people to vote – or even yesterday’s voters to keep voting today.

So why not try to combine the problems?

The simplest way: set voter turnout thresholds – and when cities fail to meet them, require disincorporation. If a city has persistently low turnout – say less than 10 or less 15 percent of those eligible to vote over a couple of elections – then automatically trigger disincorporation of the low-turnout city.

It’s a fair remedy. If people don’t care enough about a city to vote in its elections, that city shouldn’t be a city with elected officials.

It also creates incentives to show up and vote. Those who stay home on Election Day could be putting their municipality’s existence at risk. (It would also encourage public workers to use their money and power to boost local turnout).

How would you do this? Current state law lays out procedure for disincorporation that includes – oh, bitter irony — a local election on disincorporation. But the legislature also has the power to disincorporate cities by statute. So a state law tying turnout to disincorporation should do the trick.