But we also decided back in 1990 that we would eventually want them to leave. That is when California voters passed term limits. Six years for the Assembly, eight for the Senate. Add those up and you get 14 years of potential service.
But some folks say that isn't long enough.
"They don't have the time or the inclination to really learn how to do things," said Dario Frommer.
Dario Frommer and the supporters of Proposition 93 say the best way to give politicians more time to do a better job is to take time away from them.
Instead of those 14 years you could serve in the Legislature, Prop. 93 would cut it down to 12 years.
So people who like term limits must surely like Prop. 93, right?
"I gotta tell you, Prop. 93 is election fraud," said Steve Poizner.
Steve Poizner, California's Insurance Commissioner, says Prop. 93 is a sneaky way for lawmakers to stay in office longer.
Remember that 14-year limit: Lawmakers could only do six years in the Assembly, and eight in the Senate.
Prop. 93 would cut it down to 12 years, but all 12 years could be served in either the Assembly or the Senate.
"If 93 passes, the Assembly terms will increase by 100 percent, terms in the Senate will increase by 50 percent and 42 termed-out legislators will get to stay in office rather than get termed out," said Poizner.
Frommer admits Prop. 93 will let several lawmakers stay longer, but he says that's what makes the proposition such a good idea: The people in charge of running our government, he says, will have more time to learn how to do it better.
"If you were running a multi-billion-dollar corporation, you wouldn't tell your top executives to leave after six or eight years," said Frommer. "You would want them to be there, and have the experience of running it."
So there you have it. Prop. 93 will give legislators more time in office -- by cutting their time in office.
New Math -- Sacramento style.