Saturday, December 27, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Whom do we hold accountable for vital services?

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | July 02, 2014 |

Who sees to it that California’s 6 million K-12 students receive solid educations?

Who ensures that California has an adequate supply of reasonably priced electric power?

Who oversees Californians’ access to health care, now the state’s largest single economic activity?

Who’s responsible for collecting $200 billion a year in state and local sales, income, excise and property taxes?

Who controls resources for the nation’s largest court system to resolve criminal and civil conflicts?

Who controls the flow of that most precious commodity, water?

In other words, whom do we hold politically accountable for the public and private services that are utterly vital to our personal, collective, social and economic well-being?

Don’t know?

Don’t feel ignorant because, really, no one knows. Jurisdiction for these and many other aspects of modern life have been diffused among so many agencies that even the most astute observer can be flummoxed.

Public education? Is it the governor, the Legislature, the state superintendent of schools, the state school board, the local superintendent and school board, or the county superintendent and school board?

All hold some responsibility, but the lines are very blurry. When something positive happens, everyone claims credit, but when things go awry, the buck is quickly passed around.

Energy policy? In addition to the governor and the Legislature, we have the Public Utilities Commission, the Energy Commission, the Independent System Operator and – gaining power fast – the Air Resources Board. Their turf battles are incessant, but negative events – like blackouts – are political orphans.

Medical care? It’s a jungle, with the new health care exchange, Covered California, joining the Department of Managed Health Care, multiple medical licensing boards, the state Department of Health Care Services and state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

One obscure agency, the Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board, was recently abolished, but Jones seeks even more power via ballot measure and is taking flak from Covered California.

Taxes? The Employment Development Department is a huge tax collector, as are the Franchise Tax Board and the Board of Equalization, each with its own policies.

The courts? Politicians give the money, but the Administrative Office of the Courts and the state Judicial Council divvy it up and spar incessantly with 58 county court systems.

And water? It’s another alphabet soup of federal, state and local agencies, along with the usual cast of politicians and a huge, confusing body of laws and court decisions that purports to define who gets how much and what they pay.

So who’s accountable for outcomes? Seemingly everyone, and therefore no one.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Suisun Valley celebrates appellation’s anniversary

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
Girl’s selfless act boosts Suisun Wildlife Center

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Beer for 1st butterfly of year challenge returns

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
SF Giants championship trophy coming to Vacaville

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Fire damages Fairfield home

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

Car rolls over on Highway 113

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: Dec. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
 
.

US / World

California braces for first widespread frost

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California gears up for migrant driver’s licenses

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
4 dead in fiery Northern California car crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Police officer shoots woman in leg in Hollywood

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 3 Comments

 
Inmate breaks out of jail through ventilation duct

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

People slide down bedsheets to escape motel fire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Court: LA Police Department policy for impounding cars is OK

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Baby ostracized by other gorillas will switch zoos

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Thousands attend 8-hour wake for slain NYC officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Study: Marijuana use has increased in Colorado

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Dog not gone: Rescue in the Columbia Gorge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Bodies of woman, 3 grandsons found in burned home

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Truck crashes into home; 93-year-old resident dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Scientists target mess from Christmas tree needles

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Lawmakers promise to help strapped oil-patch towns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Feline fame in cyberspace gives species a boost

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
At 101, dedicated union rep is calling it quits

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Can GOP shatter ‘Obama coalition’ in 2016?

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

 
GPS used to track some immigrants caught at border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

10th anniversary of tsunami is marked with tears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
.

Opinion

A proud man, a good honorable man

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 26 Comments

 
Sony hack is reminder of broader Sony dysfunction

By William Pesek | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: Dec. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Dec. 27, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Remember, caregivers need some care attention, too

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Dec. 27, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

Cow that fled slaughterhouse in 2006 has new home, again

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Jazz great Buddy DeFranco dies at age 91

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
1990s TV star ‘Screech’ charged in bar stabbing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

.

Sports

 
Suns outlast Kings 115-106 for 5th straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Anthony Davis, Roman meet over tweet

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Cleveland reaches 50 years of sports futility

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Games to Remember from 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NC State wins Bitcoin Bowl to cap turnaround year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Rutgers beats North Carolina in Quick Lane Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
La. Tech beats Illinois 35-18 in Heart of Dallas Bowl

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Arizona’s Lindley back at starter, Stanton has infection

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Prep JV boys basketball: Vanden gets win in Dixon tourney

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Could Watt be 1st NFL MVP from defense since Taylor in 1986?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Dan Uggla joins Nationals for minor league deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Georgia’s Richt: RB Todd Gurley heading to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Slumping New Jersey Devils fire coach Pete DeBoer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

No. 1 Kentucky, No. 4 Louisville resume rivalry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Raiders rookie CB makes most of opportunity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

High-scoring offenses create longer college games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Anderson: post-game petulance was out of character

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Chiefs QB Alex Smith out with lacerated spleen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Globetrotters’ Robert ‘Showboat’ Hall dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Weather for Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B11

 
.

Business

In 2014, US economy began shaky, finished strong

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Holiday deliveries improve but hiccups continue

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Missouri 1st to see average gas price below $2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

 
.

Obituaries

Frances Cruz Pangelinan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John Benjamin Calvin Adams

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 12/27/14

Average US 30-year mortgage edges up slightly

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2

Real estate transactions for Dec. 27, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2