Why is a New York real estate developer putting up more than half a million dollars to try to crush California's term-limits reform initiative?
Seriously: Howard Rich and his family and associated companies have poured $654,880 into preventing state legislators from serving 12 years in one house. It's a relatively modest change in the law, which now allows three terms in the Assembly and two in the Senate. Total amount of time as an elected legislator is actually reduced (since many Assembly members set their sights on the Senate almost as soon as they're elected).
And 12 years is enough time to learn how the system works, to encourage longer-term thinking on the budget -- and to reduce the role that paid lobbyists play in setting the legislative agenda.
Which may be why Mr. Rich, a libertarian and private-property-rights nut who doesn't like the "radical agenda of the left" and runs Americans for Limited Government, is willing to put up a relatively huge sum of cash for an election that's happening on the other side of the country.
But it ought to give Californians pause -- a guy like this is trying to dominate a low-turnout election in the interest of keeping Sacramento safe for big business. One more reason to get out and vote June 5.