Political Inside Game, Outside Game... All in One Day

January 31, 2012 · Filed Under CA Government, CA Politics, Legislation, Money In Politics · Comments Off 

You don't get many political multi-tasking days like this one: heated debate over legislation down to its final day to survive, a new alarm over the state's finances, and public disclosure of all the campaign cash raised by candidates and campaigns in 2011.

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Supremes Won't Block Redistricting Maps

January 27, 2012 · Filed Under Elections · Comments Off 

California's state Senate map is now set for 2012, after a 7-0 Supreme Court ruling. (Photo: CRC Map)

If the state Senate districts drawn by California's new citizens redistricting panel are going to be erased and redrawn this decade, it will only happen if a referendum qualifies for the November ballot and voters agree.

That's because the final legal attempt by GOP activists to block the map was resoundingly rejected Friday morning by the California Supreme Court.
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Podcast: Sales Pitch

January 27, 2012 · Filed Under Podcasts · 1 Comment 

Maybe all those years spent on the rough seas of California politics help explain why, so far, Governor Jerry Brown has charted a pretty successful course for his November tax initiative.

But there's a lot more sailing to be done before the voyage is complete. On this week's Capital Notes Podcast, we discuss Brown's cruise so far -- from successful fundraising to a good showing in the latest statewide poll.

Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and I also discuss this week's lawsuit filed by legislative leaders over the boundaries (or even existence) of the role for a state controller in the annual budget process.

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Note that we discuss the possibility of a redistricting ruling by the California Supreme Court (as we taped this on Thursday). Guess Anthony's source was right; that ruling is due at 10:00 a.m.

Reformers Team Up for November Ballot

January 26, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Government, Elections · 1 Comment 

Coming to the November ballot: government reform? (Photo: Getty/Eric Tahyer)

Advocates for major government reform have long lamented that if only they could find the financial backing for a political campaign, the voters would ratify changes to help end California's dysfunction.

Now, it looks as though the white knight has ridden in... on his own jet.

The reform group assembled and underwritten by billionaire Nicolas Berggruen, the Think Long Committee for California, today endorsed and pledged its support to the wide-ranging initiative drafted by another reform group, California Forward.

Wonder Twin powers, activate!
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If Not For Schools, Would Brown's Tax Hike Be A Dud?

January 24, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Education, Taxes, The Governor · 5 Comments 

A new survey finds voters disapprove of more education cuts. Is that driving support for Brown's tax hike?

Governor Jerry Brown will no doubt love the headline out of the brand new statewide public poll: 68% of likely voters say they support his November initiative to raise taxes and earmark the money for public schools.

But dig deeper into the poll and it's pretty clear that were it not for the linkage to schools, the Brown proposal would either be less popular... or fail to break the 50-percent barrier altogether.
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Brown's Early Tax Initiative Donors: Hospitals, Oil, Tribes

January 23, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Elections, Money In Politics, Taxes · 1 Comment 

Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative campaign reports more than $1.45 million in contributions. (Photo:Getty/Justin Sullivan)

Governor Jerry Brown looks to be off to a strong start in collecting cash for his November tax initiative, with cash coming from some of the same groups his predecessor argued were the problem in California politics.

Campaign finance records show as of this weekend, Brown had reported more than $1.45 million in contributions. Those dollars were raised in the first month of the governor's efforts, and will no doubt help pay for signature gathering now that his tax increase initiative has hit the streets.
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Dems Pre-Endorsements Presage Tough 2012

January 23, 2012 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections, Political Parties and Independents · 8 Comments 

The Democratic faithful cast early, early votes. (Photo via Twitter by Jason Moore)

For casual political watchers, it may be hard to believe that small gatherings of diehard Democrats in January will decide who wins races for the Legislature or Congress come November.

And yet, in some cases, that's exactly what could happen after this weekend. Welcome to the world of intraparty competition under California's new primary election rules.
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November's Ground Zero Initiative

January 22, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Politics, Money In Politics · 4 Comments 

The November election could feature a slugfest over an initiative focused on money in politics. (Photo: Getty/David McNew)

While talk about California's November ballot has focused largely on tax proposals or possible social and criminal justice measures, watch for the real political slugfest to be over an issue near and dear to the hearts of organized labor: union dues deducted from members' paychecks.

And the size of that slugfest may play a large role in determining the fate of other measures -- including Governor Jerry Brown's pitch for higher taxes.
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Podcast: State Your Case, Mr. Brown

January 20, 2012 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

Governor Jerry Brown has now performed his two expected duties of the month of January: a budget and, as we saw this week, the State of the State address.

Now, the tough work begins.

This week's Capital Notes Podcast mulls Brown's big mid-week speech and how it frames his agenda for the year to come. Joining me in the chat, and fresh off the first legs of the Guv's statewide campaign, are Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle.

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Brown Urges Action, Vision In State of the State

January 18, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, CA Politics, Elections, The Governor · 1 Comment 

"California is on the mend," said Gov. Jerry Brown in his State of the State speech. (Photo: Justin Short/Governor's Office)

If there's one takeaway from Governor Jerry Brown's 2012 State of the State address, it may be this: Brown faces the unique task this year of preaching both boldness and austerity... all at the same time.

The governor's roughly 20 minute speech before a joint session of the Legislature was a creative cocktail that blended a defense of his tax plan, the state's need for big thinking, and -- at times, it seemed -- the very reputation of his native California.

"Contrary to those declinists, who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams," said Brown before rattling off a list of what makes the Golden State one of a kind.
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