Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, Oceanside, California
The California Legislature is in session. Today’s schedule is here.
On to today’s California headlines:
California Gov. Jerry Brown pardoned 21 people in his first year in office and rejected parole for 71 first- and second-degree murderers who had been recommended for release by the parole board.
Brown did allow for the early release of just one person, Tung Nguyen of Garden Grove, who was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in a motel-room killing in a dispute over money. Nguyen served as a lookout and did not know that his friend had stabbed the victim in the leg, according to a report from Brown’s office. The stab wound punctured the victim’s femoral artery, and he bled to death.
Nguyen was just 16 at the time.
A Democratic political strategist and a former Democratic assemblyman will help lead opposition to a proposed ballot initiative that would reduce California’s Legislature to part-time.
Political consultant Steve Maviglio, former spokesman for Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez, said today that he has joined forces with Burbank attorney Dario Frommer, a former Assembly majority leader. Fundraising has not yet begun, Maviglio said.
The group will butt heads with Assemblywoman Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, and with Ted Costa, the head of a political watchdog group, over the duo’s proposed constitutional amendment.
The secretary of state’s office gave the green light Monday for proponents of the proposal to begin collecting the 807,615 valid voter signatures needed to qualify for the November ballot.
Backers hope to encourage the election of citizen legislators who have outside sources of income and are not so politically ambitious that they become overly dependent upon powerful special interests.
The measure calls for the nation’s most populous state to meet three months per year – and for lawmakers’ pay to be cut from $7,940 per month to $1,500 per month – or $18,000 annually.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown is far more likely to allow the release of paroled killers from prison than either of California’s two previous governors, newly released records show.
Brown let stand 331 of 405 – roughly 82 percent – of decisions to parole convicted killers by the state Board of Parole Hearings last year, according to an annual report to the Legislature released Tuesday.
By comparison, Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger permitted the release of only about 27 percent of paroled killers, while Democratic Gov. Gray Davis’ numbers were even lower – about 2 percent.
California’s governor has a constitutional right to affirm, modify or reverse such parole board decisions. Brown reversed 71, modified one, and sent two back to the board to reconsider.
As he was wrapping up his just-concluded term as mayor of Ventura, Bill Fulton observed that the job was not without its political challenges.
“It’s pretty easy to be the mayor of Berkeley and it’s pretty easy to be the mayor of Bakersfield, but it’s pretty hard to be the mayor of both at the same time,” he said.
The point, for those unfamiliar with those two California cities, is that their politics are mostly homogeneous — polar opposites, to be sure, but internally homogeneous.
It’s more challenging to be an elected official in a city such as Ventura, where voters hold politically divergent views.
Thanks to redistricting, many politicians around the state now running for Congress and the Legislature are about to find out what it was like being in Fulton’s shoes.
“Proposition 8’s only effect … was to withdraw from gays and lesbians the right to employ the designation of ‘marriage’ to describe their committed relationships,” the ruling declared, concluding, “the people of California violated the equal protection clause.”
Assuming that the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court and that Kennedy is the deciding vote on the issue, would he agree?
Kennedy, a Sacramentan who worked for then-Gov. Ronald Reagan, is notoriously unpredictable, sometimes siding with the four liberals on the court and sometimes with the four conservatives.
But even were he to help overturn Proposition 8, the larger issue of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry would remain unclear.
That would take another case and another day.
Enjoy your morning!
Here is a video of my former State Senator Tom McClintock discussing the economy with the Congressional Budget Office.