Jerry Brown has announced plans for three forums focusing on the budget, with the first to be held next Wednesday in Sacramento. The entire legislature has been invited. Details are sparse, in typical Brown fashion.
Here's my hope for the sessions: that Brown conducts them Socratically. Instead of making any clear declarations, he should ask the public and legislators lots of difficult questions that illustrate the contradictions -- and the absurdity -- of the current process. That would set the stage for broader reform of the process itself.
Budget forums aren't new and they aren't panaceas. Schwarzenegger had more town halls on the budget than anyone could count. But every little bit helps. And if these events force the public to think harder about the budget process -- and recognize how broken things are, they are very much worth doing.