Steven Greenhut on Why California's Government Thinks People Don't Trust Them



At a Capitol hearing in Sacramento on Thursday, the nearly forgotten idea of Total Quality Management, an 80's management fad, reared its head as California's government-reform agency, the Little Hoover Commission, examined why Californians don't trust their government. TQM was on a list of one speaker's management fads that, over the years, failed to improve services enough to restore the public's confidence in its governments. The same speaker proposed a new round of management reforms. A commission board member even blamed the media, in part, for these low trust levels. Sure, writes Steven Greenhut, Californians might be more trusting of their state government if the media didn't report on corruption scandals, unfunded pension and health-care liabilities, decade-long delays (and falsified test data) on the Bay Bridge and other infrastructure, the impossibility of firing misbehaving public employees, and the like. But having trust in government isn't a good thing if that trust isn't deserved.