It’s no surprise that Californians have a low opinion of state government. The latest poll results from the Public Policy Institute of California – read them here – only confirm what we have known for a long time: The government in Sacramento is dysfunctional, unaccountable and embarrassing. Only one in five state residents believes state government serves the public interest.

One poll result does offer encouraging news for anyone who wants to make state government responsible again: Seventy percent of Californians favor an open primary system in which voters could cast ballots for any candidate  – with the two top vote getters advancing to the November General Election.

In North Bay races, that would likely mean two Democrats on the November ballot – one liberal and one moderate.

As it is now, the choice is between the Democratic nominee and a Republican nominee with virtually no chance of winning. A Republican has won’t a partisan contest in Sonoma County in more than a decade.

California endures ongoing budget deficits and others humiliations because it is saddled with politics defined by its extremes. In simple terms, we’re stuck with liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans who don’t want to compromise.

Where did all the moderates go? Blame geography – Democrats tend to occupy the counties along the coast of California and Republicans, the inland counties – and blame a closed primary system designed to keep party insiders in power.

With open primaries, people with moderate views could win elections again – but the insiders in both parties will fight like hell to stop it.