The Nazis of the Inland Empire

The headline in the Riverside Press-Enterprise couldn't be any stranger: "Riverside Water Board Candidate Believed to Be Nazi."

This isn't a joke, the paper says. There's a Jeff Hall on the ballot -- who appears to be the Jeff Hall who is a well-known head of a neo-Nazi group. Also, someone named Daniel B. Schruender, who is a member of the Aryan Nations, is running for a spot on the Rialto Unified School District board.

This begs all kinds of questions, but the one question that is relevant to a discussion of what's wrong with California government is: Do we have too many local governments?

The answer is yes. There simply are more governments in California -- more than 7,000 -- than voters can reasonably expect to pay attention to. These Nazis appear to be counting on the fact that they can be elected without any real scrutiny.

This isn't a new problem. The Ku Klux Klan secretly managed to elect a majority of the Anaheim City Council in the 1920s. But the decline of local newspapers and media outlets raises the risk that you might end up with a Nazi on your local water or school board. It's another argument (in addition to the obvious fiscal ones) for massive consolidation of local governments.

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