Category: California Referendum

California GOP Should Concentrate on Voters Not Redistricting Lines


So, says a new op-ed in the San Diego Tribune.

California Republicans are waging war against freshly drawn state Senate district boundaries.

Is it a war of principle? Hardly.

GOP pols fear the new map will help Democrats gain a two-thirds majority in the state Senate, stripping Republicans of leverage on tax legislation.

The irony is cruel. Republicans backed ballot initiatives transferring the once-every-decade redistricting duty from self-interested legislators to an independent commission composed equally of Democrats, Republicans and independents.

When Republican strategists got a load of the new maps, however, they vowed to fight the Senate and congressional boundaries in the courts and at the polls.

Unfortunately, the toxic referendum to repeal the new Senate map is gaining traction. The California Republican Party has announced a $400,000 donation to the campaign, which has collected 400,000 signatures. Slightly more than 500,000 valid signatures are required to qualify for the November 2012 ballot.

California, it should be noted, has a freighted redistricting history.

In both 1970 and 1990, Republican governors vetoed redistricting plans, forcing the Supreme Court to appoint “special masters” to draw the lines. In 1980, Republicans initiated a successful referendum against Democratic gerrymandering.

If the Republicans qualify the current referendum, it will be 1980 revisited. The new Senate map will be placed on hold until the November 2012 vote. In the meantime, the high court will have to decide if the 2012 Senate elections will rely on the old map (unlikely), the new map (likely) or a court-approved map (not unlikely). Obviously, Republicans are hoping for the latter dice roll.

Instead of pleading for relief from the refs, Republicans should be focusing on playing a stronger game in a state that’s getting bluer every year.

Stop crabbing about districts and run candidates who appeal to independents and Latinos.

Yeah, I agree with this and would like to see the money gathered to support the California State Senate Redistricting referendum go towards a referendum on SB 202 which changes initiative and rerferendum elections to general elections in November only.

But, this may be the strategy.

We will see.


California GOP Should Go After SB 202


The future of the California GOP is not saving a California State Senate District for Flap’s friend, Senator Tony Strickland – rather in overturning SB 202.

When Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill to move all voter-generated initiatives to November ballots, Republicans responded with a fury that suggested their political world had been turned upside down.

Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton, well aware that the fall electorate tends to be larger and more liberal, called it a “blatant power grab” by public employee unions.

Assembly GOP leader Connie Conway claimed it took away “a power reserved to the people.” And prominent Sacramento attorney Tom Hiltachk filed a referendum aimed at overturning SB 202 on the day Brown signed it.

Now, in the latest indication of the growing feebleness of the California Republican Party, the GOP may be forced to abandon the referendum because it can’t even afford a signature-gathering campaign to put it on the ballot.

“This has to come together in the next week or two,” said Hiltachk, who needs to gather more than 500,000 valid signatures by Jan. 5, which will cost at least $2 million. “It’s ready to go.”

Hiltachk believes it’s crucial for Republicans to overturn the law because they’re about to lose one of their last remaining levers of power in California, the June primary — a political battleground Republicans have used to tap into a smaller, typically more conservative electorate to press for a broader agenda than they can otherwise seek in a Democratic-dominated state.

The California GOP has such a minority in the California Legilsature, the only check on Dempcratic Party and public employee union power is by holding the Governorship or a June Primary election where the GOP usually shows up and the Democrats don’t.

Unless a campaign cash angel shows up soon, it appears the misplaced priority of the California GOP will allow SB 202 take effect and the concomitant effects which help the Democrats even more.

Let’s hope someone steps up and funds the sgnature gathering.


Referendum Filed to Overturn California Citizen’s Redistricting Commission’s Congressional Maps


Obviously, done by Republican Party operatives.

Filing the referendum with the attorney general is the first step in the process that ultimately requires the collection of 504,760 valid voter signatures within about three months to halt implementation of the maps until voters decide their fate on the June 2012 ballot. If the referendum qualifies for the ballot, the state Supreme Court would draw new maps or decide which maps to use in the upcoming political races.

The measure was filed by Julie Vandermost, an Orange County development and environmental consultant, and Charles Bell, a prominent Sacramento lawyer for Republican causes. Neither could be immediately reached for comment.

Now, the California State Senate and the Congressional Maps will be circulating petitions for signatures. It will probably be just as easy to ask for two signatures, as it is for one and now there are two pools of campaign cash to pay for the paid signature gatherers.

Also, it places some California races into an uncertainty mode and makes political calculus as to who runs for what in a state of flux.

Fun times….


Flap’s California Afternoon Collection: August 29, 2011


Sequoia National Park

An afternoon collection of links and comments about my home, California.

New Audacious Effort To Eliminate Ballot Initiatives From June Statewide Elections?

But as signature gathering wraps up for the Stop Special Interests Now effort, I had caught wind of a new effort taking place (right now) behind closed doors in the State Capitol to try and thwart this important ballot measure.  When you read this, you may not choose to believe it.  Because this power-play is so audacious that it will make your head spin.

As you know, since the beginning of time, California has had two statewide elections every even numbered year – the “election year” as it is called.  Of course this is augmented periodically by special elections as well.  When an initiative is qualified for the ballot, it appears on the ballot in the next statewide election.  This means that if the Stop Special Interests Now campaign turns in their signatures relatively soon, and they turn in enough, the initiative would appear on the upcoming June statewide ballot.

Or would it?

The State Constitution specifically provides in Article II, Section 8(c) that, “The Secretary of State shall then submit the measure at the next general election held at least 131 days after it qualifies or at any special statewide election held prior to that general election.  The Governor may call a special statewide election for the measure.”

Apparently there are some who are advocating the tossing of over a hundred years of election tradition out the window, and to pass a law that would amend the elections code and state that the June primary is neither a “general election” nor a “special statewide election” – and thus in doing so hope to actually prevent (presumably henceforth) any ballot measure from being placed on the June ballot.  Pretty audacious, don’t you think?

Hot Rumor: Labor Scheme to Push Initiatives to Nov.

Calbuzz has picked up rumblings that California union leaders, their consultants and loyal Democratic retainers are quietly planning to jam a bill through the Legislature before the end of the session that would push onto the November ballot any initiatives that have or would otherwise qualify for the June election.

The idea is to guarantee that measures like “paycheck protection,” which would ban use of automatically deducted union dues for political purposes; “reforms” that would slash public-employee pensions to 60%; a requirement for secret ballots to determine union representation; or mandatory state spending limits all would face a November – that is, a larger and more Democratic – electorate, rather than a smaller, more conservative June electorate (when Republicans may have a competitive presidential primary and Democrats won’t.)

We stipulate that we have no on-the-record sources. What we have is pieced together from speculation circulating about such a maneuver, or sources aware of some of the closed-door discussions now under way among labor leaders and perhaps a legislator or two. Also from a close reading of the California Constitution and Elections Code.

California Legislature sprinting to the finish line

The Legislature begins its sprint to adjournment with hundreds of bills still pending, with lawmakers maneuvering for positions to campaign on in much-changed districts next year, with lobbyists for moneyed interests packing Capitol hallways, and with dozens of fundraising events on tap to extract campaign cash from those interests.

It’s a yeasty mélange for the final two weeks, to say the least.

We know what the big conflicts – which all involve money – are likely to be. The biggest may be over a bill that would impose rate regulation on the multibillion-dollar health insurance industry, a full-employment act for lobbyists if there ever was one.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and consumer activists want Assembly Bill 52 to, they say, protect Californians from being gouged.

But the industry has some heavyweight allies, including state and local government agencies that purchase health insurance for their employees and perhaps Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, which questions its potential costs.

AB 52 was one of the more than two dozen measures labeled “job killers” by the California Chamber of Commerce. But as the session winds down, three-quarters of them have died, leaving AB 52 and six others still alive.

One high-profile “job killer” that stalled was Senate Bill 432, which would have required hotels to use fitted bedsheets.

The union-backed bill was sidetracked last week in the Assembly Appropriations Committee for reasons that had nothing to do with its merits and everything to do with a nasty squabble over another high-profile bill that would disincorporate the city of Vernon, a tiny industrial enclave near downtown Los Angeles.

Green light for Gorell

Before leaving this spring for a 12-month military deployment in Afghanistan, Assemblyman Jeff Gorell told me he had put together a “three-part plan” to make it possible for him to become a candidate for re-election next year.

Option A — the one that creates the least stress and hassle for Gorell — is now available, thanks to an act of the Legislature.

Here was the problem: Gorell will not return from active duty until after the early March deadline for candidates to file for office in 2012 has passed. Under current law, only the candidate can submit the completed paperwork to county elections officials. Had that law not changed, Gorell would have been forced to either use his one personal leave to return to California to file the paperwork, or would have had to fly a notary public notarized in California to Afghanistan to he could have his signature on the papers notarized.

Effective Jan. 1, there will be an easier option, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this summer. The law allows perspective candidates who are are deployed on active military service outside the state to grant limited power of attorney to another party to file their candidate papers.

Enjoy your afternoon!


Arrogant Democrat Legislators Propose Changes to California Initiative Process


It is not enough that the Democrats control almost 2/3’rd of the California Legislature, now they want to hamper California citizens to use the initiative and referendum process to act as check on their political power.

Democrats in the Legislature are trying to make it harder for Californians to pass their own laws at the ballot box, saying the state’s century-old initiative process has been hijacked by the special interests it was created to fight and has perpetuated Sacramento’s financial woes.

In the waning weeks of this year’s lawmaking session, legislators will push bills to raise filing fees, place new restrictions on signature gatherers and compel greater public disclosure of campaign contributors.

One measure would allow the Legislature to propose changes that would appear on the ballot alongside an initiative even if its sponsor rejected them. Another would give the Legislature the right to amend or repeal initiatives that pass, after four years have gone by.

Such changes would severely weaken what little leverage Republicans and their allies still have in California after last year’s election, which solidified Democratic control of the Capitol.

But Democrats say their efforts have nothing to do with politics and everything to do with moderating “direct democracy” gone wild.

“I don’t want to get rid of the initiative process,” said state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), one of the effort’s leaders and author of a proposal to make signature gatherers wear badges showing they are paid to collect names. “I just want it to work better.”

Republicans and their supporters are crying foul, saying Democrats just want to maintain the status quo.

The sad fact is that the Democrats have controlled the Legislature for decades in California and without a strong Republican Governir to veto bills, California would have been in a worse fiscal mess. Remeber when Gray Davis was Governor?

The initiative and referendum act as a check on the exuberance of California Democrats to spend the California treasury blind.

The proposed changes “are basically attempts to … blame the process because you are kind of losing the game,” said Shaun Bowler, an initiative expert at UC Riverside.

Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Linda), vice chairman of the lower house elections committee, called the initiative legislation “the height of arrogance.” Democrats “own the Legislature,” he said, “and they are making it impossible for the people to rise up and say enough is enough.”

The bills are just a blatant power grab by Democratic Legislators and should be rejected. But, will Democrat Governor Jerry Brown have the guts to veto the legislation?