Category: California Election 2012

CBRT Pepperdine Poll Watch: The November California Propositions


A new poll from the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University has been released:

The California Business Roundtableand Pepperdine University School of Public Policy today released the third round of results in their bi-monthly initiative survey series leading up to the November election. This week’s survey shows Proposition 38 receiving a majority of support for the first time and continued strong support for Proposition 39. The survey also found continued support for Propositions 30, 32 and 37.

The entire poll is here.

Here is a summary:


YES: 56.7

NO: 37.3


YES: 38.3

NO: 32.9


YES: 55.2

NO: 33.6


YES: 56.6

NO: 29.2


YES: 38.2

NO: 52.2


YES: 86.6

NO: 6.4


YES: 78.1

NO: 13.3


YES: 65.0

NO: 21.8


YES: 45.3

NO: 41.9


YES: 57.2

NO: 26.6


YES: 44.5

NO: 18.9

I am surprised that both tax measures (Jerry Brown’s and Molly Munger’s) are winning approval.

If Californians really think that another round of tax increases will really help the economy, I have a bridge to sell them.

The public employee unions must now be worried about losing their funding sources, re: Proposition 32 winning by over 20 points.

I am pleased that the anti-Death Penalty initiative is failing. But, then again, I cannot ever conceive of California not having the ability to execute its most infamous murderers.

The Three Strikes initiative is probably misunderstood and some strategic campaigning may have to be done to defeat it.

Stay tuned as Labor Day approaches.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: July 16, 2012


Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and City Hall

It is good to be back in Thousand Oaks this morning!

The California Legislature is not in session for a summer recess.

The California Assembly has adjourned until August 6, 2012 and the California State Senate is also in adjournment.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Dan Walters: Democrats’ congressional hopes in California fade

Democrats would need to gain 25 seats this year to recapture control of the House of Representatives, and “the road to the majority runs through California,” Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi once declared.

Democratic operatives had expressed private hopes that the party could pick up as many as eight seats in California’s 53-member House delegation this year, although their more public goal was five or six seats.

Never mind.

In the aftermath of the June 5 primary, Democrats’ hopes for a big California gain and resuming control of the House that they lost in 2010 have plummeted. Democrats may gain California congressional seats this year, adding to the 34 they now hold, but it’s likely to be one or two at most. They could lose ground.

Gov. Jerry Brown signs 48 new bills

Gov. Jerry Brown approved a flurry of new laws Friday, including an exception to the ban on texting while driving, an increase in fines for staging bear and rooster fights, and a prohibition against law enforcement officers having sex with arrestees.

They will take effect in January.

Brown announced Friday that he had signed 48 bills. One will permit drivers to dictate, send and listen to text-based communications as long as they do so using technology specifically designed for voice-operated and hands-free operation.

Assemblyman Jeff Miller (R-Corona) introduced the measure to include texting in the hands-free exception that exists for use of a cellphone while driving. The new law, AB 1536, “will allow Californians to communicate safely and responsibly while on the road,” Miller said.

Brown also doubled from $5,000 to $10,000 the maximum fines for people convicted of causing bears, bulls and roosters to fight with other animals or with humans. The same measure raises maximum fines for spectators at the fights from $1,000 to $5,000.

Sen. Bill Emmerson (R-Hemet) primarily wanted to end cockfighting, but bears and bulls are in the same section of existing law.

“Cockfighting is a cruel and inhumane sport that is a growing concern in the inland Southern California region and throughout our state,” said Emmerson, whose bill is SB 1145. “Clearly, our penalties and fines are not stiff enough to prevent this brutal sport from taking place.”

California primary was decided by less than a third of voters

Less than a third of California’s voters participated in the June primary election, the secretary of state’s office said Friday, and the majority did so by mail.

Turnout for the June 5 election was 5,328,296, or 31%, and 65% used mail-in ballots instead of voting at the polls on election day.

Among the counties, turnout was lowest in Los Angeles County, where just 21.8% of voters cast ballots. It was highest in rural Sierra (59.2%), Alpine (58.6%) and Amador (57.1%) counties. Sierra and Alpine conduct their elections entirely by mail.

Mail-in voting in this election broke the record set in the May 2009 special state election, in which 62% of ballots were cast by mail, officials said.

GOP recruiter backs outside candidates

Even as the California Republican Party struggles for relevancy, one of its national leaders is trying to change the dynamic in November by pushing a roster of congressional candidates who include a pro-choice woman and a Latino often shunned by his own party.

And both of those candidates – unlike many of their GOP colleagues nationally – have refused to sign pledges never to raise taxes.

House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield, one of the party’s chief national recruiters when it won back control of the House in 2010, is trying to raise $3.6 million for the new Golden State Victory Fund for a handful of congressional races in November. It is a joint effort of the state Republican Party and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The immediate goal: to thwart Democrats trying to pick up five House seats in California en route to the 25 seats they need to reclaim House control.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walter’s Daily video: California wins another national distinction


Flap’s California Morning Collection: June 7, 2012


Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza and City Hall

Good Thursday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

The California Franchise Tax Board is meeting today:

The Franchise Tax Board, meanwhile, is discussing “The Tax Gap, The Underground Economy, And The Criminal Element,” as the agenda puts it. That gap is estimated at $10 billion a year after enforcement and collections. The meeting starts at 1:30 p.m. at 9646 Butterfield Way, Town Center’s Gerald Goldberg Auditorium in Sacramento.

On to today’s California headlines:

 Few centrists advance in California’s new primary system

California’s new voting system may have been designed largely to shake up the polarized state Capitol, but Tuesday’s election made it clear that the promised political earthquake will have to wait.

Despite newly drawn districts and a primary system that allowed cross-party voting — changes that backers said would produce more moderate lawmakers — California could face continued partisan brinkmanship, at least for a while.

Just a few centrists emerged Tuesday in contests marked by some of the lowest voter turnout in state history, less than 25%, according to the secretary of state’s latest tally.

A handful of GOP candidates succeeded by challenging their party’s anti-tax orthodoxy, which has long stymied budget talks, but they face stiff challenges in November. Several Democrats backed by the state’s business interests — and representing a potential check on the power of labor unions — also appear vulnerable.

Still, the increased competition was undeniable — and expensive.

Experts predict that the new primary rules will result in perhaps the costliest legislative campaigns in state history, increasing the power of the special interests that fund them. Spending by labor, business and other groups in support of candidates in dozens of legislative races approached $14 million, nearly double that of two years ago.

“Competition is expensive,” said Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College. “If you want cheap elections, go Soviet.”

California’s top-two system shakes up field

As many as 29 California legislative and congressional districts will see two members of the same party compete in the November general election, a function of new balloting rules that made a statewide debut in Tuesday’s primary.

Hundreds of thousands of votes remain to be counted around the state, and the results in a handful of races could change. But clear trends emerged. Incumbents survived. Not one failed to at least make the runoff.

Business groups fared better navigating the top-two terrain than their adversaries in organized labor, delivering wins for some moderate Democrats. A handful of Republicans who refused to sign a no-tax pledge also secured top-two spots.

And supporters of the new primary system said the number of same-party runoffs could make good on their argument that the change will force candidates to run and govern in a way that appeals to a broader spectrum of voters.

2012 ELECTION: Democrats reeling from loss

The path to a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives runs straight through California, party leaders have said for months.

They trumpeted a crop of new candidates they said could yield several pickups in the Golden State. Among them was Pete Aguilar, the 32-year-old mayor of Redlands.

Democrats saw Aguilar as a lock to finish among the top two in this week’s primary in the 31st Congressional District. Instead, two Republicans — U.S. Rep. Gary Miller and state Sen. Bob Dutton — received the most votes, leaving Aguilar about 1,500 votes short and Democrats nationwide pondering how one of their best opportunities slipped away.

Ultimately, Aguilar was undone by a combination of factors: California’s new top-two-primary system, a lopsided field of candidates, a huge influx of outside money and poor voter turnout.

California pension cuts may have ripple effect

Decisive victories for ballot proposals cutting retirement benefits for government workers in two of the largest cities in the U.S. emboldened advocates seeking to curb pensions in state capitols and city halls across the nation.

The voter responses in San Diego and San Jose were stinging setbacks for public employee unions, which also came up short on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s recall victory in Wisconsin.

“The message is that if elected officials and public employee unions do not responsibly deal with this issue, voters will take things into their own hands,” said Thom Reilly, former chief executive of Clark County, Nev., now a professor of social work at San Diego State University. “We could see more draconian measures from citizens.”

In San Diego, two-thirds of voters favored the pension reduction plan. And the landslide was even greater in San Jose, where 70 percent were in favor.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters’ Daily video: Tuesday’s important votes? Pension reform


Key California Races to Watch Tonight


Today is California Presidential Primary election day.

Here are the key California races that I will be watching tonight:


CA-26: Republican Tony Strickland Vs. No Party Preference Linda Parks Vs. Democrat Julia Brownley and three other Democrats. This race will test the new top two election susytem in California. Will Linda Parks be able to knock out Julia Brownley from second place in this marginally Democratic registration Congressional district. In any event, this will be a an intensely fought race in November between winning candidates tonight.

CA-24: Will conservative Republican Chris Mitchum be able to knock off Republican and former Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado in order to face off against incumbent Democrat Congresswoman Lois Capps in the fall?

CA-30: In the battle of Dem upon Dem will incumbent Democratic Congressman Howard Berman be able to defeat his Democratic Congressional Colleague Brad Sherman in this Westside/San Fernando Valley race? Will the GOP/other candidates win sufficient votes to knock one of them off the November ballot?

CA-31: In a GOP Vs. GOP race will Congressman Gary Miller prevail against Republican State Senator and former GOP Senate leader Bob Dutton? Whoever wins will face a rough race in November in this leans Democratic district.

CA-25: Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon dodged a contested race when Rep. Elton Gallegly retired. But, will the Armed Services Committee Chairman McKeon be harmed by trying to hijack a California Assembly seat for his wife, Patricia?

United States Senate:

Does anyone REALLY think that long-time Democratic U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein won’t be the top vote getter tonight? But, who will she face?

Di Fi has over twenty opponents, including the following to watch: Elizabeth Emken who won the coveted California GOP endorsement, Dan Hughes, Al Ramirez and dentist/lawyer/birther Orly Taitz.

San Diego Mayor:

Republican Councilman Carl DeMaio is said to be leading in the polls and Democrat Congressman Bob Filner is said to be in second. But, former Republican California Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher who switched parties mid-race is hoping to upset Filner? Will enough independent voters come to save his political career? How will San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis fair in the mix?

California State Assembly:

AD-44: This is my home assembly district and incumbent Republican Jeff Gorell will have an easy time in this GOP district. But, will his margin be eroded because he was in Afghanistan this past year? Or, will it be enhanced?

AD-48: A safe Democratic seat but incumbent Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernandez was arrested for a DUI a few weeks ago. How will this play in this heavily Latino district?

AD-38: My friend and Community College Trustee Scott Wilk is running in a four-way race with two other Republicans, who include Rep. Buck McKeon’s wife, Patricia. Who will be in the top two in this safe Republican district? Will a run-off be between Wilk and McKeon in November?

AD-66: My high school friend and conservative businessman Craig Huey is in a three-way race with a moderate Republican Nathan Mintz and a solid Democrat. Will Huey who challenged (and lost) Rep. Janice Hahn in a special election Congressional race in 2011 be able to pull out a top two win and face Torrance school board member and prosecutor Al Muratsuchi? The seat will be heavily contested in November.

California State Senate:

SD-19: In this heavily Democratic registration Senate District we have far-left Hannah-Beth Taxin’ Jackson vs. moderate Democrat fireman Jason Hodge. Republican Mike Stoker is waiting to see who falls over in this Dem on Dem fight. Will Stoker be able to pick up the pieces and wage a general election race against Taxin’ Jackson?

SD-27: Whatever the result tonight, Republican Todd Zink will face off against incumbent California state Senator Fran Pavley in November. There are only two candidates running. This is my home California State Senate district being vacated by Tony Strickland and the only result pundits want to see is by how much Pavley wins. If she wins small, this may persuade the special interests to send a little campaign cash to LA County Prosecutor Zink for November

California Proposition 28:

.This measure changes term limits, but are voters in a YES mode to change things?

California Proposition 29:

This is the tobacco tax measure and since less than 20 per cent of Californians smoke, it doesn’t really affect as many voters. But, will Californians be in a taxin’ mood?

These are some of the races, I will be watching closely tonight.

For full coverage and comments as the returns come in throughout the night, watch my Twitter feed and follow @Flap.


Flap’s California Morning Collection: May 24, 2012


Santa Monica, California

Good Thursday morning!

The California Legislature is in session.  Today’s schedule is here.

The California Assembly’s Daily File is here and the California State Senate’s here.

On to today’s California headlines:

Approval of Gov. Jerry Brown slips in public opinion poll

The honeymoon is ending for Gov. Jerry Brown.

For the first time in a major California poll since Brown took office, a plurality of likely voters disapproves of the job he is doing, according to a Public Policy Institute of California poll released Wednesday.

The margin is pencil-thin – 43 percent disapprove while 42 percent approve – but follows more than a year of relatively favorable marks for the Democratic governor. In April, Brown’s job approval rating among likely voters was 47 percent.

Brown’s dip in public opinion was registered in the days immediately after his announcement last week that California’s budget deficit had grown to $15.7 billion, up from $9.2 billion in January.

Prop 29 support plummets, new poll finds

If anyone ever tells you that money doesn’t matter in California politics, show them the results of the new statewide poll on voter support for Proposition 29.

The initiative — which would add an additional $1 tax per pack of cigarettes and use the money for cancer research — is still ahead in the new poll… but not by much.

The poll from the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California finds that 53 percent of those surveyed now say they’ll vote for Prop 29.  Which sounds good, until you consider that in March 67 percent supported the measure.

Meantime, opposition has gone up from 30 percent in March to 42 percent now.

Put it all together and Prop 29 — which was winning by a whopping 37 points two months ago — is now only ahead by 11 points.

The big change since March: the anti Prop 29 bonanza of television ads.  Tobacco companies ponied up some $40 million to kill the initiative, which gives them about a 7-1 advantage in campaign cash over Prop 29 supporters like the American Cancer Society and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Special-interest spending floods Cailfornia races in new political landscape

As federal super PACs continue to pour money into the presidential and congressional contests, state-level independent committees are spending big to influence the outcome in California’s legislative races.

Independent expenditure committees, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts, are active in more than a third of state races on the June 5 ballot, spending more than $7 million to support and oppose candidates.

The spending, which will grow as groups ramp up mail pieces, radio and television ads and in-person appeals by paid staff in the final days of the primary campaign, is expected to easily exceed the more than $7.4 million in independent spending the Fair Political Practices Commission tracked in the 2010 legislative primary contests.

While a U.S. Supreme Court decision opened the door to unlimited special-interest spending in federal races in 2010, the use of independent committees became the norm in California state elections a decade earlier.

Observers say the number of competitive races this year, a product of redistricting, a new primary process and turnover in the Legislature, is driving numbers up.

LAUSD will pay $200,000 settlement over alleged sexual harassment by former Superintendent Ramon Cortines

Los Angeles Unified will pay $200,000 and give lifetime health benefits to settle a sexual-harassment allegation filed by a facilities executive against retired Superintendent Ramon Cortines, officials said Wednesday.

Scot Graham, who has worked in the Facilities Division for 12 years and is now director of leasing and asset management, claims that Cortines made unwanted sexual advances during a weekend spent at the superintendent’s second home in Kern County in July 2010.

Graham’s attorneys notified the district in March – nearly a year after Cortines retired – that he intended to file a sexual-harassment claim.

Hoping to avoid potentially expensive litigation, the school board met three times in executive session before voting 4-3 on Tuesday to approve the deal.

The settlement gives Graham $200,000 cash, plus lifetime health benefits that officials valued at roughly $250,000. In exchange, the 56-year-old Graham agreed to retire from his $150,000-a-year job on May 31.

Enjoy your morning and Dan Walters’ Daily video: Will independents thrive on June 5?