Keynoting the April 18 Impact Marin conference in San Rafael will be David Crane, a former gubernatorial adviser, lecturer at Stanford University on public policy and president of Govern for California.
The organization Govern For California is self-described as “a network of political philanthropists whose mission is to liberate California state legislators to govern for the benefit of citizens instead of special interests.”
The group says its candidates have “won 20 contests, including 12 of 13 in 2016, and raised more than $10 million. GFC’s principal method of candidate support takes the form of direct donations from network members. In 2016 the average GFC candidate received $250,000 from the network, no single contribution exceeding $4,200. To our knowledge no other nonparty organization came close to providing that level of direct donations.”
According to the organization, “Crane underwrites all operational costs and is the largest donor. GFC also sponsors the GFC Courage Committee and the GFC Action Committee. Occasionally GFC supports exceptional leaders elsewhere who are of relevance to California state matters such as Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo and LAUSD School Board member Nick Melvoin.”
The group’s website highlights that it is state government that has a high impact on peoples’ lives, “but most Californians don’t pay attention. Few know the names of their state representatives or how those legislators vote. If they did, they would be shocked to learn about some legislators who, while publicly vowing support for jobs, students, citizens and justice, vote against those priorities in order to cater to special interests.”
There are answers to the issues, such as pension reform and better education, however, the website continues but “ a critical missing ingredient is courage. Courage means an unshakable dedication to honest budgets, truthful accounting, open government and governing for the people rather than for personal gain. But courageous legislators cannot win without the support of political philanthropists.”
The group says it is supporting those elected officials who are willing to support reform and take the steps necessary to do so. It can be tough, he told the Times in March. Take a problem like pensions.
“State revenues have gone up about 30 percent over the last decade, but state spending on virtually everything other than retirement costs and medical spending – like universities, courts, parks and welfare – is flat to down. That kind of stuff happens because the money is going out the door to something else, and you ain’t seen nothing yet. The way the math works, the problem doubles every seven years.
Oakland schools recently cut their budget $15 million in the ninth year of a bull market and after a 30 percent state tax increase. People are teaching kids but can’t afford to live in their city. That to me is a crisis. School systems can’t afford to hire specialists. That to me is a crisis.”
From 2004-2010 Crane served as a special adviser to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and from 1979-2003 he was a partner at Babcock & Brown, a financial services company. Crane also serves as a director of Building America’s Future and formerly served on the University of California Board of Regents and as a director of the California State Teachers Retirement System, California High Speed Rail Authority, California Economic Development Commission, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Environmental Defense Fund, Legal Services for Children, Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Society of Actuaries Blue Ribbon Panel on the Causes of Public Pension Underfunding, and Volcker-Ravitch Task Force on the State Budget Crisis.
Impact Marin conference
Wednesday, April 18, 7:30–10 a.m.
Location: Embassy Suites by Hilton San Rafael Marin County, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, CA 94903
Cost: $70 per person or $715 for a table of 10
Preregister through April 16: nbbj.news/im18
Information: Annette Wirick, 707-521-5264