Innovate Your State Announces Winners of Tim Draper’s “Fix California Challenge”
Two Venture Governance Ideas to Streamline Government and Make it More Accountable Will Gain a Chance to be on the California State Ballot
San Mateo, CA – Today Innovate Your State announced that is has selected the two final winners of the “Fix California Challenge,” Silicon Valley Entrepreneur Tim Draper’s “Venture Governance” crowdsourcing challenge to find innovative ideas on how to fix California’s current governance problems.
The first is an idea called “Legislative Transparency and Accountability,” formally submitted as “Public’s Right to Know Act,” which seeks to implement a variety of open government reforms that will allow the press and public to easily access legislative information.
The second is a ”County Modernization” initiative, submitted as “County Restructuring,” that would reconfigure California’s 58 counties into fewer (could be less than 6 or perhaps more) super counties that would have more authority over local and regional matters.
Draper, a venture capitalist and founder of Innovate Your State, said, “These ideas meet the venture governance goals of the Fix California Challenge and Innovate Your State by making California’s government more accountable and more responsive to the people it represents. Both of these measures will enhance our system of checks and balances and help make our state more competitive.”
Draper has pledged to contribute to efforts to further the “Legislative Transparency and Accountability” idea with the hopes of getting it on the November 2016 California ballot. The idea was filed with the Secretary of State yesterday as the “California Legislature Transparency Act” by proponents Sam Blakeslee and Charles T. Munger Jr.
Draper has also pledged to lead efforts to further research the “County Modernization” idea. Research efforts will include determining the ideal number of counties, county borders, and designation of responsibilities as it relates to the state versus the county. Upon conclusion of the research, Draper will look to get the “County Restructuring” initiative on the November 2018 California ballot.
The “Legislative Transparency and Accountability” idea, as proposed, would impose a 72 hour in print rule for bills in the State Legislature and improve transparency by requiring televised hearings that are searchable online.
Former California State Senator Sam Blakeslee, submitter of the “California Legislature Transparency Act”, states that “open government reforms would significantly increase the public’s ability to hold its legislature accountable while decreasing the power of special interests to cut back-room deals in secret.” Blakeslee went on to say, “In recent polls, bipartisan support of over 80% has been registered for open government reforms such as a 72-hour in-print requirement. Previous bipartisan efforts to pass such reforms through legislation have been thwarted which is why it is time to empower the electorate to enact these reforms through direct democracy.”
The reforms listed in “Legislative Transparency and Accountability” will attempt to find a sound balance between disclosure and privacy.
The impetus behind the “County Modernization” proposed initiative is that currently California has too much control over local issues and has virtually all the power to collect and distribute revenue, even though the counties are required to deliver many of the services. This measure would streamline many government functions and thus provide better service to the people.
Stanley Kao, the submitter of the idea, is a software engineer from San Diego. Kao said, "I was inspired by my time spent abroad where government is closer to the people. The county lines seem arbitrary given California's current population needs and economies." His idea is to have a fewer number of ‘mega counties’ for all of California, removing smaller city and county governments in the process.
During the challenge’s three-month submission period over four hundred diverse ideas were submitted to FixCal.org and two have already been funded. OpenGov, a financial analysis platform was backed by Draper and Innovate Your State is awarding up to $500,000 in grant reimbursements for California Counties. Draper also funded PlaceAVote, a platform that lets you read, debate and vote on every bill before Congress.