Thursday, February 14, 2013

#45 / Ultrapowerful

In a recent opinion piece, political columnist Dan Walters (pictured) says that members of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors hold "ultrapowerful" positions.

True, Los Angeles is a big and important county, but could that "ultrapowerful" designation be a bit of an exaggeration? I actually don't think so. I think Walters is right on the mark. 

If "power" really means what the dictionary says it means, the "ability to act or produce an effect," then members of Boards of Supervisors are among the most powerful politicians around. 

If you are a member of Congress, you are only one out of 535 voting members. If you are a member of the California State Legislature, you are only one out of 120 voting members. If you are a member of a local Board of Supervisors, you are one out of five voting members, and you individually control 20% of the entire voting power of the government. Get together with another couple of members of the Board and your majority of three can have the government take any action that is legally within its jurisdiction.

The elected officials who run our local government agencies are the most "powerful" politicians we have, in the sense that they can "get something done." Shame on us if we don't insist that they do that. 

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