Getting On Ballot Only Half the Battle

February 14, 2012 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Elections · 1 Comment 

Successful ballot measure campaigns in California can cost millions of dollars. (Photo: Getty/Kevork Djansezian)

As every smart politico knows, there are two distinct stages of direct democracy in California: getting your proposition on the ballot and then getting voters to actually ratify your proposition.

And so in a few cases this season, the real question may be not whether a measure qualifies for the November 6 statewide election... but rather will there'll be enough money to get it over the goal line.
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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: Rock the (Budget) Vote

January 13, 2012 · Filed Under Podcasts · Comments Off 

We've talked in years past about the state budget essentially being placed on the ballot, but rarely have the stakes been as high as they will be in 2012 -- for either the state or the state's chief executive.

This week's Capital Notes Podcast looks at the ever sharpening budget debate of 2012... or is, instead, the rapidly entangling policy issues and political narratives?

I'm joined by Anthony York of the Los Angeles Times and Marisa Lagos of the San Francisco Chronicle. We also check in on the week's big court fight over redistricting, and a new chapter in the long debate over whether initiative titles and summaries are truly apolitical.

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The Frenzy Over ProPublica's Redistricting Report

December 21, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics · 13 Comments 

Did Democrats unduly influence the drawing of California's new 9th congressional district? (Photo: CRC Map)

It should come as little surprise that California's political class is all abuzz over a new and lengthy report on the state's first ever independent redistricting process, one that describes in great detail private machinations apparently employed to help influence the final placement of district lines.

But the reaction has been so predictably partisan -- Republicans calling for a formal investigation, Democrats attacking the report as overblown hype -- that it's hard to discern the substantive jabs from the superficial spin.
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Reporter's Notebook: From Budget Cash to Court Clash

December 10, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, CA Budget, CA Politics, Elections · 1 Comment 

Few things make eyes bleary and heads throb more than reading government ledger sheets and complex, legalese court rulings. Throw in some minutiae about best budget practices and gubernatorial style... and you've got a full week.

Hence, the weekend cleanup from the Reporter's Notebook.
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710,924 Signatures for Overturning Senate Map. And Yet...

Citizens Redistricting Commission

The sole challenge to the work of California's citizen redistricting panel appears to have crossed a significant milestone over the weekend, but still faces some tough odds to actually blocking the use of the panel's work in 2012.

Starting last Thursday and concluding on Sunday, the political team that pushed the referendum against the state Senate districts drawn by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission turned in 710,924 signatures to elections officials in 57 California counties -- enough, they believe, to place the measure on the November 2012 ballot.
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Notebook: Pension Politics, DiFi's Free Shot?

October 30, 2011 · Filed Under CA Budget, CA Politics, Elections · 3 Comments 

There's probably nothing harder than prognosticating the politics of hot button issues or high profile campaigns. There's also nothing more fun -- that is, if you're a political junkie.

Hence the inspiration for a weekend edition of the Reporter's Notebook.
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Redistricting Referendum Timeline Tight... or Impossible?

October 15, 2011 · Filed Under CA Politics, Elections · 2 Comments 

Senate Map/CA Redistricting Commission

California's top elections official belives there won't be enough time for a court-appointed panel -- if one is chosen -- to redraw the state's political maps for the 2012 elections.

That's the gist of a legal filing by Secretary of State Debra Bowen in the California Supreme Court fight over the maps drawn by the state's Citizens Redistricting Commission. And it highlights not only a simmering debate over how to interpret the language of 2010's Proposition 20, but the long and bitter history of redistricting fights in California.
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A Hefty Redistricting Referendum

August 26, 2011 · Filed Under Ballot Measures, Elections · 6 Comments 

CA Citizens Redistricting Commission

When the petition to overturn the new state Senate maps hits the streets this weekend, it's going to be not a page, but a packet.

Signature gatherers are being required to tote along not just a page for voter signatures, but also a copy of the formal resolution certifying the districts, the entire statewide map, and maps of all 40 Senate districts.... thus running as much as eight pages.
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