Politicians often look for the next opportunity to serve their community. It is normal to see elected officials seek a higher office to continue their public service and fight to make changes on behalf of their constituents. However, it’s highly unusual for high-ranking elected officials to use their current power in Sacramento to ensure job security and remove local control by forcing other agencies to make changes to allow for an extra position for themselves. This appears to be what state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, is trying to accomplish with State Constitutional Amendment 12.
SCA12 would expand the number of county supervisors and create an elected chief executive for those counties with 5 million or more residents. Today, Los Angeles is the only county that would meet the resident threshold, but Orange County and others that continue to grow every year could soon find themselves subjected to this proposed law as well.
One of Sen. Mendoza’s arguments is that SCA12 would produce a more diverse board. This is a strange argument, considering that, in Los Angeles, the board is made up of members of different backgrounds, including African Americans and Hispanics, in addition to a historic four out of five members who are women. Orange County isn’t much different, with three out of the five members being ethnic minorities, and two of those three being women.
There is absolutely no need for a constitutional amendment. Regulating the number of local representatives is in the hands of local residents. Should residents feel they are in need of additional representation at the local level, they already have the right to expand the current number of county supervisors. It should be up to residents alone to decide how their government should operate — not outsiders who know nothing about the way another county is run.
Sen. Mendoza and the other authors of the bill have tried to argue that such an expansion would have no additional cost, but when has government expansion (and overreach) not found its way into taxpayers’ wallets?
In order to add an additional supervisor without an increased cost to taxpayers, other district offices would have to reduce their own budgets. However, SCA12 allows expenditures for the governing body and its staff to be adjusted for inflation and “contingencies that were unaccounted for that could not have been anticipated in the fiscal year.” Due to these allowances, it seems highly likely that taxpayers would be…