After giving a speech a few years ago, I was approached by an activist who wanted to tell me aout what he believes is California’s most significant political problem. I’m usually leery of enthusiastic people touting political solutions and toting stacks of papers, but Michael Warnken made a great elevator pitch that has forever changed my thinking.
California, the Santa Barbara resident told me, has the worst political representation in the country. We have the most people represented by the fewest politicians. I’ve used his number before, but it’s worth repeating: Each California Assembly member represents 483,000 people, whereas each lower house member in New Hampshire represents around 3,290 people.
As a result, few voters here can speak to — let alone influence — their elected state officials. Those “representatives” don’t need to worry about what voters think given that there are so many of them. They do, however, need to worry about the demands of special-interest groups, given how much money it takes to win in such highly-populated districts. As Warnken emphasized, California suffers from a severe “representation” problem.