California Forward

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California Forward
Founded 2006
Chairs Thomas V. McKernan & Lenny Mendonca
WebsiteCalifornia Forward
California Forward is a California political organization which, according to its website, wants "a government that's small enough to listen, big enough to tackle real problems, smart enough to spend our money wisely, and honest enough to be held accountable for results."[1]

California Forward was created by California Common Cause, the Center for Governmental Studies, the New California Network and The Commonwealth Club of California's Voices of Reform Project at the urging of the California Endowment, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation.[2] The organization was created in 2006 "with $16 million from [these] five major foundations."[3]

Lenny Mendonca was appointed as co-chair of the organization in January 2013.[4]

Ballot measures

For the November 6, 2012 statewide ballot in California, the organization supported a Government Performance and Accountability Initiative.[5] In 2010, it advocated for a package of propositions.[6]

2010 ballot propositions

Bob Hertzberg, who was the co-chair of California Forward at the time, told a reporter in early 2010 that his group wanted the California State Legislature to use the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment process to put a "package of reforms" which would altogether amount to a constitutional revision on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot. According to Hertzberg, "We have a significant challenge here in California, and we need to fix it as quickly as possible."[7] Hertzberg also said, "Unfortunately, when ballot initiatives are too long and too big, they just scare people. They're easy for the interests to kill. People would rather vote 'no' than 'yes,' especially in these times when they're so nervous. The only way you can do it is piecemeal. Take a simple bite at a time and do it over two or three elections."[8]

Supermajority requirement

Bruce McPherson, a former California Secretary of State, said in Santa Cruz in November 2009 that the group supports proposals that end the 2/3rds requirement for the California State Legislature to raise taxes, and that end the ability of the state government to borrow money from local governments:[3]

California Forward also drafted a plan they call the "Best Practices Budget Accountability Act" which, they said, "requires that clear goals and performance measurements be specified for every program in the governor's budget proposal."[9]

In January 2010, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported that the California State Legislature "seems poised to approve only the most incremental of California Forward's proposals: a two-year budget cycle and performance-based budgeting. More substantive reforms, like forcing legislators to identify a funding source for any new program and allowing a budget to pass with a simple majority, will probably be left on the cutting-room floor."[10]

In mid-March 2010, top Democratic leaders of the California State Legislature said they were encouraging the state legislature to refer an amendment to the ballot that would eliminate the 2/3rds requirement, an idea aligned with some of California Forward's goals. Ultimately, Proposition 25, which ended the requirement that a 2/3rds supermajority vote be taken to pass a state budget, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot, and was approved.[11]

Proposition 14

Professor R. Michael Alvarez and political consultant T. Anthony Quinn wrote a 33-page argument on behalf of California Proposition 14, Top Two Primaries Act (June 2010).[12]


Tony Strickland, Republican assistant minority leader in the California State Senate, said in 2010 that the state legislative Republican caucus would fight California Forward's effort to qualify a measure to lower the state's two-thirds requirement for passing a state budget.[9]

California Forward leadership council

California Forward has a Leadership Council whose members are:

  • Thomas V. McKernan, Co-Chair, Chair of the Board of the Automobile Club of Southern California
  • Lenny Mendonca, Co-Chair, Former Director of the San Francisco office of McKinsey & Company
  • Juan Arambula, Former California State Assembly member
  • Yolie Flores, Children's Advocate
  • Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group
  • R. William "Bill" Hauck, Former President of the California Business Roundtable
  • Joanne Kozberg, Principal at California Strategies, LLC
  • James P. Mayer, President & CEO of California Forward
  • Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Superintendent-President, Long Beach City College
  • Sunne Wright McPeak, President & CEO of the California Emerging Technology Fund
  • Cruz Reynoso, Former Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court & the Third District Court of Appeal
  • Constance L. "Connie" Rice, Former Co-Director of the Los Angeles NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund
  • Eugene J. "Gene" Voiland, Former President & CEO of Aera Energy LLC
  • Peter Weber, Executive Committee Chair of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley

External links

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