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16th Annual Envisioning California Conference

Refounding California: Envisioning the Future of State Governance
September 30-October 1, 2004
Holiday Inn Capitol Plaza
Sacramento, California

Thursday, September 30

I.   Overview

Refounding California: Envisioning the Future of State Governance

Have the events of the last few years - deficits, recalls, gridlock, Arnold Schwarzenegger - created the opportunity for a refounding of state governance? Kevin Starr, the recently retired State Librarian and chronicler of California, has called for a fundamental civic debate to determine how state government should be reorganized, or refounded, on the basis of "self-evident principles of suitability, acceptability, sustainability and accountability." The stakes are high for as Starr has said, "In California these days . representative democracy itself is up for grabs."

The 16th Annual Envisioning California Conference will take up Dr. Starr's challenge to "reanimate and refound state government." The Conference panels, speakers and plenary sessions will focus on the essential and fundamental issues raised by a call for refounding governance as well as the historical context and the immediacies of current politics. What kind of leadership would a refounded California demand? What would a refounding mean for plurality California? What role would a refounding require of the private sector? How can we avoid the mistakes of earlier efforts? What will representative government look like? The Envisioning Conference will not resolve these questions, but it certainly can help spark the debate.

The Conference will also be enhanced by the inclusion of the Annual California Journalism Awards. Co-sponsored by the Center for California Studies and the Sacramento Press Club, the California Journalism Awards have, for ten years, honored excellence in media coverage of state government and politics. The 2003 awards will be given at the Friday lunch session.

II.   Conference Schedule, Speakers and Panels

Refounding California: Envisioning the Future of State Governance will start with a dinner and keynote speaker on Thursday, September 30. On Friday, October 1, the Conference will offer nine concurrent panel sessions and a closing plenary. The 10th Annual California Journalism Awards will be presented at the Friday lunch.

Thursday, September 30

6:00 to 7:00 p.m.   Welcoming Reception
7:00 to 8:00 p.m.   Dinner
8:00 to 9:00 p.m.   Keynote Address by Dr. Kevin Starr,
                                California State Librarian (Emeritus)

                                Vision & Prospects of a Refounded California

Friday, October 1
9:00 to 10:25 a.m.   Concurrent Panels:

1A   Past as Prologue: Lessons from Earlier Refoundings

Californians have repeatedly reformed, refounded or rejected their state government. Some efforts, like Hiram Johnson and the Progressives, succeeded with profound and lasting impact. Others were explosive but ultimately short-lived. What lessons can we learn from our history?
How do recent events fit in the pattern of California politics and government?

Moderator- Matthew Cahn, Director, CSU Northridge, Center for Southern
                   California Studies
Lauren Coodley, Napa Valley College, Department of History
Timothy A. Hodson, Executive Director, Center for California Studies
Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, Senior Scholar, USC, School of Policy, Planning and
Martin Smith, Retired Political Editor, The Sacramento Bee
* Invited - not confirmed

1B   Private Ambitions & Public Business
Kevin Starr has observed that California was "founded and refounded in the past through fusions and trade-offs of public and private ambitions." California business has a notable tradition of grand ideas that generated both profits for shareholders and benefits for Californians. Henry Kaiser, for example, invented pre-paid health care as an incentive to retain workers while A.P Giannini made a fortune bring banking services to communities other banks disdained. Today, however, Kaiser Steel no longer exists and the Bank of America is headquartered not in North Beach but North Carolina. A refounded California would have to recognize the realities of an increasingly internationalized private sector and develop a new paradigm of public-private relations. For example, many California based corporations traditionally viewed the state as "home" and were fully engaged in California's civic life. But when corporations view California not as home but as just another market, what happens to corporate civic engagement, from philanthropy to politics? What should be the new paradigm of public-private relations? Can public discourse be moved away from shallow stereotypes of rapacious corporations, ignorant bureaucrats and business-phobic legislators? Is it possible to develop a civic culture that recognizes both the role of the marketplace in creating wealth and thus the revenues required for effective public services as well as the role of the public sector in balancing the limitations of the market?

Moderator- Jerry D. Estenson, CSU Sacramento, Department of
                   Organizational Behavior & Environment
Yolanda Benson, Deputy Legislative Secretary, Office of the Governor
Mark Bevir, UC Berkeley, Department of Political Science
Peter Schrag, Author and columnist, The Sacramento Bee

1C   Interpreting California-Speak: Aligning Substantive Policy with
        Symbolic Leadership

For several years there has been a growing tension between what Californians say they want, know they need and are willing to support. Public opinion surveys have shown Californians demanding greater services from governments they increasingly mistrust. Would not a refounding of California governance also require a reexamination of Californians' expectations of and attitudes toward government? How much of this disconnect is a result not of political culture but of the rhetoric of elected officials who promise more than can be delivered? Studies suggest that candidates and others use public anxiety to achieve electoral gain - and in so doing will increasingly create an environment where governance is held captive by false expectations.

This panel will address these questions as they apply to California's current crisis in governance. Panelists will discuss public preferences and the cues linked to those preferences; the pressures and cues elected officials encounter as they work toward mitigating concrete problems; and the relationship between political discourse and public policy.

Moderator- Tom Hogen-Esch, Director of Policy and Community Outreach, CSU Northridge, Center for Southern California Studies
Assembly Member Joseph Canciamilla (D-Pittsburg)
Jonathan Cohen, Associate Survey Director, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco
Kimberly Nalder, CSU Sacramento, Department of Government
Assembly Member Keith Richman (R-Northridge)

10:35 a.m. to 12:10 p.m.   Concurrent Panels:

2A    The Common-Wealth: Redefining Public Finance

For over twenty years, the state budget has dominated California government and politics. The budget debate, in turn, has been dominated by an increasingly sterile tax versus no tax debate. This does not have to be the case and indeed was not the case in the days of Earl Warren, Pat Brown and Ronald Reagan. Should Californians move the debate beyond taxes and develop a new language and ideas of public finance? If so, how could that be achieved and what might the new debate be?

Moderator- Terri Sexton, CSU Sacramento, Department of Economics
Carl DeMaio, President, The Performance Institute
David R. Doerr, Chief Tax Consultant, California Taxpayers' Association
Noel Perry, Managing Director, Baccharis Capital, Inc.
Kim Rueben, Public Policy Institute of California, San Francisco

2B    Below the Surface: Bureaucracy & Bureaucrats in the 21st Century

State government is far more than governors and legislators. Indeed, when Californians interact with their government it is likely to be with a civil servant in a state agency. A refounding that ignores the bureaucracy would be myopic and ultimately futile. Kevin Starr has said "We need programs that suit California and are acceptable to Californians." What does this mean? What obstacles, real and mythical, need to be addressed before we can achieve a redefinition and revitalization of public service?

Moderator- Rich Callahan, Director Leadership and State Capital Programs, USC Sacramento Center
Grantland Johnson, Sacramento Central Labor Council
Billy Hamilton, Co-Executive Director, California Performance Review
Diane Just, former Deputy Director, California State Department of Personnel Administration
Chester Newland, Duggin Distinguished Professor of Public Administration, USC Sacramento Center

2C    California Legacy Project: Imagination, Myth, & History

Our understanding of California has always been influenced by the work of imaginative writers who have often transformed our past into enduring myths of such power that it is difficult to recognize the distinction between history and literature. This panel will explore the intersections between what Kevin Starr has called "the imaginative vision of social experience and the social vision of imaginative experience."

Moderator- Susan Shillinglaw, Director, San Jose State, Center for Steinbeck Studies
Lauren Coodley, Napa Valley College, Department of History
Jonathan Hunt, Santa Clara University, Department of English
Tony Ortega, Managing Editor, The Pitch, Kansas City Missouri
Nancy C. Unger, Santa Clara University, Department of History

12:15 to 1:45 p.m.    Lunch
                                  Presentation of 10th Annual California
                                  Journalism Awards
                                 Keynote Address by Holly Heyser, President,
                                 national Association of State Capitol Reporters
                                 and Editors

                                 The Golden Opportunity of Celebrity Governors

2:00 to 3:25 pm.   Concurrent Panels:
3A   Governance Refounded

Kevin Starr has argued that our governance structure needs to be refounded on the "self-evident principles of suitability, acceptability, sustainability and accountability." How can these principles be applied to representative government? Representative legislatures have been an inseparable, integral part of American democracy since 1619 when the Virginia House of Burgesses first met. But what are the prospects of the legislative branch in a refounded California? Citizens and legislators alike are dissatisfied with the legislature but what would replace it? A warmed over status quo; an executive dominated plebiscitary democracy or a new concept of republican governance?

Moderator- Terry Christensen, San Jose State University, Department of Political Science
Assembly Member Marco Antonio Firebaugh (D-Southgate)
Anthony Pescetti, Assembly Member 1999-2000
David Roberti, Senate President Pro Tem 1982-1994

3B    Kaleidoscope or Monochrome: Refounding the New California

Prior refoundings of state government have had a mixed record on issues of race and ethnicity. The Constitution of 1850 banned slavery and required official documents be in English and Spanish. The Constitution of 1879 was triggered, in part, by virulent anti-Chinese prejudice and banned Asians from state employment. The Progressive Movement of 1910 championed women's suffrage and labor reforms but Hiram Johnson pushed legislation prohibiting Japanese from owning land. A 21st Century refounding will be stillborn without the active participation of the 53 percent of California that is non-white. Government and politics, however, are shaped by those who engage in it and politically engaged Californians remain disproportionately white. How can a refounding effectively include California's African-American, Asian Pacific, Latino and Native American communities as well as other politically and socially marginalized communities such as gays, and the working poor?

Moderator- Rachel F. Moran, UC Berkeley, Boalt School of Law
Marķa Blanco, Executive Director, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the Bay Area
Bill Hing, UC Davis, School of Law and Asian American Studies
*Jeannie Oakes, Presidential Professor, UCLA and Director, UCLA's IDEA & UC ACCORD
Robert Stanley Oden, CSU Sacramento, Department of Government
Arturo Vargas, Executive Director, National Association of Latino Elected and
                  Appointed Officials
*Invited - not confirmed

3C    Reporting on or Creating the Circus: News Media and
         Refounding State Governance

In the last two years, news media coverage of state government went from scant to saturation to transitional. The question remains open whether the transition will lead back to scant or to an appropriate, and healthier, sustained interest. The complaints of news coverage are well known and oft debated. What is not well known and infrequently discussed is whether California's new media can develop a new approach to state government and politics. Would a refounding of California require a similar reanimation of California's news media and, if so, what would that reanimation entail and how could it be achieved? Are the inherent dynamics and demands of modern media and marketplaces such that only the arrival of a global celebrity will bring cameras to Sacramento? Is coverage that adequately and accurately informs Californians of public issues attainable or a naļve hope?

Moderator- Barbara O'Connor, CSU Sacramento, Department of Communication Studies
Marley Klaus, Executive Producer,California Connected
Ginger Rutland, Associate Editor, The Sacramento Bee
Jill Stewart, Syndicated Columnist, "Capitol Punishment"
Michael Stoll, Associate Director, Stanford University, Department of Communications, Grade the News

3:30 to 5:00 p.m.   Closing Plenary:

Leadership for a Refounded California

Would a refounded California demand a new type of leadership? What does the governorship and recall of Gray Davis and the election and administration of Arnold Schwarzenegger say about the nature of leadership in modern California? How does leadership impact the question of whether California is governable? Is the problem that the state is ungovernable, that the state hasn't had effective leaders or that the nature of the 21st century precludes effective leadership? How does Governor Schwarzenegger's leadership compare to that of his predecessors, especially Ronald Reagan?

Moderator- Dan Schnur, CommandFocus
Rosario Marin, Member, Integrated Waste Management Control Board
Leo McCarthy, Lieutenant Governor 1983-1995
Cruz Reynoso, Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court 1982-1987
Rod Wright, Assembly Member 1997-2000

5:30 to 10:00 p.m.    Capital Fellows Alumni Reunion

   Sponsored by
  • Center for California Studies /California State University, Sacramento
  • The Center for Southern California Studies/CSU Northridge

For more information call the Center for California Studies (916) 278-6906