Off the Record with Steve Westly, California State Controller
State Controller Steve Westly, speaking at a private meeting with members of the Milken Institute Associates, called the current political and economic upheaval in California "an extraordinary time" that requires common sense leadership and bipartisan solutions.
He warned that failure to solve the state's budget problems could lead to serious consequences in the near future, and he urged compromise on both sides.
"This state has become too divisive, too partisan," Westly said.
Among his main issues are:
- changing the process of redistricting, which in the hands of politicians has led to fewer and fewer competitive races, causing an increase in political extremism;
- extending term limits, whose current constraints have caused a loss of some of the Legislature's most knowledgeable leaders; and
- open primaries, which will lead to more moderate candidates.
Despite our current woes, he remains extremely optimistic about California's future, added Westly, the former eBay executive.
"The economy is coming back," he said. "I'm confident the state will come back as strong as ever."
The meeting was one of a series that allows members of the Associates to meet privately with local, national and international leaders.Read More
Off the Record with William Bratton, LAPD Chief
Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton, speaking at a private meeting with members of the Milken Institute Associates, said he is trying to change the culture and size of the department so that he can deal with three major issues:
- implement the consent decree to reform the police department;
- reduce violent crime, particularly gang crime; and
- address terrorism and employ preventive measures.
To be successful, he said, the city needs a bigger police department now at about 9,200 sworn officers, the smallest of the country's major cities and a greater sense of urgency in getting things done.
"Too few for too long had been asked to do too much with too little," Bratton said. "The ultimate challenge is to change a culture than has been resistant to change."
Bratton, the former police commissioner of Boston and New York City who was appointed LAPD chief in October 2002 by Mayor James Hahn, conceded that changing such a large bureaucracy is not easy, especially in a city as diverse and complex as Los Angeles. But he is "cautiously optimistic" about succeeding.
The meeting is one of a series that allows members of the Associates to meet privately with local, national and international leaders.Read More