Fixing 3 Strikes?

November 3, 2004 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comments Off 

Governor Schwarzenegger also told reporters today that he would consider changes to the state's three strikes law, even after he helped convince voters to reject a package of changes on Election Day.

The governor says he thought Proposition 66 was the wrong plan, and only got involved with the campaign because he didn't think voters really knew that there was organized opposition.

Even so, he says changes might be in order. "I'm going to have conversations with Attorney General Bill Lockyer, and with the legislators, to look into the three strikes system and see if there is anything that ought to be adjusted."

Critics of the 1994 law say it unfairly punishes criminals whose third "strike" is a non-violent crime.

Arnold: A Limit On New Slot Machines...

November 3, 2004 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comments Off 

Governor Schwarzenegger is now hinting that Indian tribes that still have not renegotiated with him may soon miss their chance at having more slot machines.

In a wide-ranging and extensive news conference this afternoon with the Capitol press corps, the governor said he is currently negotiating with five more Indian tribes, and said he is not willing to allow but so many more slot machines, in total, in California.

The comments were noteworthy, in that the deals he agreed to earlier this year were widely interpreted to say that tribes could have all the slot machines they wanted, as long as they paid the state handsomely for them.

"We have an exact plan of how many slot machines this state can take," the governor said. "And we will not go above that number." Schwarzenegger wouldn't say what the number was, and may have been directing his comments at some of the major tribes that have remained on the fence... and even some of the tribes that backed the now-defeated Proposition 70.

68 Degrees... Or Else!

November 3, 2004 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comments Off 

An interesting sight in the governor's briefing room, Room 1190 of the state Capitol, just moments before Governor Schwarzenegger walked in for his post-election news conference.

An employee of the state's Department of General Services was walking back and forth with a small device in his hand, that kind of resembled those portable bar-code scanners in department stores.

What was it, several of us asked? A temperature gauge, as it turns out. The DGS worker said that Schwarzenegger prefers the room to be exactly 68 degrees. And soon after, the air conditioner kicked in, presumably to just that temperature.

The DGS "temperature tech" (my term, not his) said he's also assigned to keep Schwarzenegger's office the same pleasant 68 degrees.

Reading The Tea Leaves...

November 3, 2004 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comments Off 

As of this writing, we're still not sure of how some of the larger issues from Election Day will end up. But we can assemble a few tidbits from the California political scene:

* Coattails: Your overall opinion of Governor Schwarzenegger will inevitably color whether you think he has more strength at the ballot box than his predecessors. His successes on Election Day are clearly headlined by the defeat of Propositions 68 and 70... but the other ballot initiatives are more muddled. Then there's the Legislature, where his endorsements have largely left the Democratic majorities untouched. That fact will no doubt be the story from Sacramento on Wednesday. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-LA) has called a news conference for 11:30am Wednesday morning in his Capitol office. And the governor himself is now holding a news conference at the state Capitol at 1:00pm. Reporters (myself included) are bracing for the spin.

* Getting Their Money's Worth?: A quick check of the latest campaign finance records shows almost a whopping $80 million dollars was spent either for-- or against-- the two Indian gaming initiatives on the ballot. And at the end of the day, the state of tribal gambling in California is exactly where it was before all of this began.

* Getting His Money's Worth?: Republican Steve Poizner really wanted a seat in the state Assembly-- so much so, that the Silicon Valley multi-millionaire spent some $6 million dollars of his own money to win in the 21st Assembly District near Palo Alto. Unfortunately for Poizner, it's a district drawn to favor Democrats. In the end, even the endorsement of the governor didn't help the GOP moderate, who looks to have now lost by about 5,000 votes. Early calculations show he spent about $86 of his own money for each vote he received.

* Protecting Local Government: If Election Night trends hold, voters will have said yes to Proposition 1A and no to Proposition 65. A brief explainer: Prop 65 was the result of signatures gathered by local officials across the state earlier this year, when they believed the governor and lawmakers were going to take local money-- yet again-- to help balance the budget. Later, the governor negotiated a deal with local officials, resulting in Prop 1A... a replacement measure. But some critics say Prop 65 would have actually provided more protection for local revenues than Prop 1A. Regardless, a new mandate now apparently exists on how (or how not) to balance the state budget... and yet another tool that lawmakers have used in recent years is off the table. So, too, is long-term massive borrowing (Prop 58 took care of that in March). And with next's year's deficit projected at near $6 billion dollars... how that gets resolved is anyone's guess.

Nothing Left To Do... But Wait

November 2, 2004 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comments Off 

Election Day is a painfully long day for everyone involved in politics-- candidates, campaign workers, and political journalists alike. Weeks and months (sometimes years) of work is finally in the hands of the voters. I've known many politicos who find themselves at the gym, at a matinee movie, anything to fill the morning and afternoon before returns start to come in by mid-evening... and, as many believe again this year, into tomorrow morning.

If you're reading this (and we hope you are!) you obviously care about more than just the too-close-to-call race for the White House. So some California notes to keep in mind as we await the returns to start trickling in sometime after 8:00pm:

* Who Turns Out: Even in a state that was all but ignored nationally, the official projection is that 12 million Californians will turn out to vote. That would not be a record percentage-wise, but it would be a record when it comes to actual votes cast.

* How We Vote: This is the first real test of the many changes made in California voting systems sparked by the Florida chaos in 2000. Many election watchers will keep an eye on the 10 counties where touch-screen machines were allowed to be used, as long as voters also have the option of using standard paper ballots. Some of the systems were prone to failures in March, and California is largely seen as a bellwether state in how officials have worked to resolve those problems.

* What We Vote On: 16 ballot propositions, 100 members of the Legislature, countless local elected officials and ballot measures. There's always a fear of voter fatigue, of people who simply can't make it all the way through the ballot and either abstain on many items, or just vote "no" to be safe.

* How Much Can Arnold Lift?: For once in his life, not a literal question. This time, Governor Schwarzenegger will be judged-- rightly or wrongly-- by how several ballot propositions, and some of his chosen legislative candidates, fare by the end of tonight. The polls suggest Proposutions 68 and 70 (Indian gaming) are dead on arrival, so that's a win for the guv. Prop 66 (amendments to "three strikes") was doing well in the polls until last week, when Schwarzenegger's TV ad hit the airwaves, and support started to wane. And while the governor endorsed Prop 62 (open primaries) and Prop 71 (stem cell research), he's been all but missing in the campaigns for those initiatives. Pundits also doubt he will move the numbers much in the Legislature. Democrats currently control the Assembly 48-32 and the Senate 25-15. Projections are that no more than 1 or 2 seats in each chamber will switch parties, at the most.

The California Report will offer live coverage of Election Night 2004 beginning tonight at 8:00pm, on our stations across the Golden State. We hope you'll join us.

Nothing Left To Do… But Wait

November 2, 2004 · Filed Under Uncategorized · Comments Off 

Election Day is a painfully long day for everyone involved in politics-- candidates, campaign workers, and political journalists alike. Weeks and months (sometimes years) of work is finally in the hands of the voters. I've known many politicos who find themselves at the gym, at a matinee movie, anything to fill the morning and afternoon before returns start to come in by mid-evening... and, as many believe again this year, into tomorrow morning.

If you're reading this (and we hope you are!) you obviously care about more than just the too-close-to-call race for the White House. So some California notes to keep in mind as we await the returns to start trickling in sometime after 8:00pm:

* Who Turns Out: Even in a state that was all but ignored nationally, the official projection is that 12 million Californians will turn out to vote. That would not be a record percentage-wise, but it would be a record when it comes to actual votes cast.

* How We Vote: This is the first real test of the many changes made in California voting systems sparked by the Florida chaos in 2000. Many election watchers will keep an eye on the 10 counties where touch-screen machines were allowed to be used, as long as voters also have the option of using standard paper ballots. Some of the systems were prone to failures in March, and California is largely seen as a bellwether state in how officials have worked to resolve those problems.

* What We Vote On: 16 ballot propositions, 100 members of the Legislature, countless local elected officials and ballot measures. There's always a fear of voter fatigue, of people who simply can't make it all the way through the ballot and either abstain on many items, or just vote "no" to be safe.

* How Much Can Arnold Lift?: For once in his life, not a literal question. This time, Governor Schwarzenegger will be judged-- rightly or wrongly-- by how several ballot propositions, and some of his chosen legislative candidates, fare by the end of tonight. The polls suggest Proposutions 68 and 70 (Indian gaming) are dead on arrival, so that's a win for the guv. Prop 66 (amendments to "three strikes") was doing well in the polls until last week, when Schwarzenegger's TV ad hit the airwaves, and support started to wane. And while the governor endorsed Prop 62 (open primaries) and Prop 71 (stem cell research), he's been all but missing in the campaigns for those initiatives. Pundits also doubt he will move the numbers much in the Legislature. Democrats currently control the Assembly 48-32 and the Senate 25-15. Projections are that no more than 1 or 2 seats in each chamber will switch parties, at the most.

The California Report will offer live coverage of Election Night 2004 beginning tonight at 8:00pm, on our stations across the Golden State. We hope you'll join us.

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