Author Archives: KQED News Staff and Wires

It’s Over: Bera Beats Lungren

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Republican Rep. Dan Lungren has lost his re-election bid to Democratic challenger Ami Bera in one of California’s most hotly contested congressional contests.

Voters from the Sacramento suburbs ousted the veteran lawmaker in the race for the state’s newly redrawn 7th Congressional District. This was the second attempt for Bera, a 45-year-old physician who failed to unseat Lungren two years ago.

The Associated Press called the race for Bera on Thursday. He defeated Lungren 51.1 percent to 48.9 percent.

Bera’s win adds to Democratic gains in California’s congressional races. The state’s majority party benefited from an independent redistricting process that was in full effect for the first time this year.

Before the Nov. 6 election, California’s congressional delegation had 33 Democrats, 19 Republicans and one vacancy in a Democratic district.

ACLU, EFF Challenge Human Trafficking Proposition in Court

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(AP and KQED) The American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging California’s new voter-approved law to boost penalties for those convicted of human trafficking and increased monitoring of sex offenders.

Voters approved Proposition 35 on Tuesday with 81 percent of the vote.

In its lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the ACLU and the EFF argue that a provision of the measure restricts the First Amendment rights of registered sex offenders.

The initiative requires all registered sex offenders in California to provide the police with their email addresses, user names and Internet service providers. Continue reading

Gov. Brown’s Proposition 30 Passes by Solid Margin, Will Fund Schools

California Gov. Jerry Brown during a rally on Monday in support of Proposition 30. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

California voters soundly passed Proposition 30, 54 to 46 percent. Many considered it the biggest measure on this California ballot.

Gov. Jerry Brown crisscrossed the state in recent weeks making his pitch, supported by union leaders, teachers and others keen to avoid the “trigger cuts” that would have hit had Prop. 30 failed. But even before the final count was in, the governor was in a buoyant mood at the Yes on 30 election night party in downtown Sacramento.

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Gov. Brown had a lot on the line with Prop 30. It imposes a temporary 1/4-cent sales tax and raises income taxes on the wealthy for seven years.

The failure of Prop. 30 would have triggered $6 billion in education cuts. And the governor staked his reputation on the measure, making it his top priority. Continue reading

Not So Fast, California, Many Votes Still Uncounted

(David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

If you followed our election night live blog, you saw reports from other news outlets predicting wins and losses for the state propositions. Hold your horses, folks. Mark DiCamillo, director of the non-partisan Field Poll, reminds us that there are still many outstanding (eg: mail-in ballots) that haven’t yet been counted.

“There could be as many as 2 million votes outstanding by the time all the votes are counted tonight,” said DiCamillo.

That means we’ll have to wait until Wednesday morning at the earliest for final results — potentially even later in the week.

With one exception: Proposition 38.

Molly Munger, the backer of the measure which would have raised taxes for K-12 education, gave a concession speech Tuesday night.

In the meantime, you can keep an eye on the Secretary of State’s site or the state proposition map included in our election coverage; and local county registrar pages for races important to you.

Obama, Romney Race to Reach Every Voter in Battleground States

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The White House the prize, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney raced through a final full day of campaigning on Monday through Ohio and other battleground states holding the keys to victory in a tight race. Both promised brighter days ahead for a nation still struggling with a sluggish economy and high joblessness.

“Our work is not done yet,” Obama told a cheering crowd of nearly 20,000 in chilly Madison, Wis., imploring his audience to give him another four years.

Romney projected optimism as he neared the end of his six-year quest for the presidency. “If you believe we can do better. If you believe America should be on a better course. If you’re tired of being tired … then I ask you to vote for real change,” he said in a Virginia suburb of the nation’s capital. With many of the late polls in key states tilting slightly against him, he decided to campaign on Election Day in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where he and Republicans made a big, late push.

The presidency aside, there are 33 Senate seats on the ballot Tuesday, and according to one Republican official, a growing sense of resignation among his party’s rank and file that Democrats will hold their majority. Continue reading

Watchdog Agency Accuses Arizona Group of ‘Money Laundering’

(401(K) 2012: Flickr)

(401(K) 2012: Flickr)

The California Fair Political Practices Commission released a statement Monday morning saying the Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership violated California law by engaging in “campaign money laundering.”

As the Los Angeles Times reports:

In a stunning reversal, an obscure Arizona nonprofit at the center of a legal battle over secret political contributions released on Monday morning the identity of its contributors, which it had been fighting tooth and nail to keep secret.

But the disclosure did little to shed light on who was behind the $11-million donation to a California campaign fund. The Arizona group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, identified its contributors only as other nonprofits. Continue reading

Voice of a Young Voter: A Former Foster Youth Driven to Fix the System

Kashawna Williams

An estimated 46 million eligible voters in this year’s election are between 18 and 29 years old – part of the Millennial generation. Will those young voters sway the election? What issues do young people feel are important? What role do they think government should play in their lives?

KQED and three other public media organizations on the West Coast are exploring those questions in a series called “Voices of Young Voters.” We fanned out to college campuses around the Bay Area to hear from those who are just coming of age politically. Over the next few days we’ll share some of their stories.

Lillian Mongeau spoke to Kashawna Williams, an administrative justice major at Ohlone College in Fremont. She grew up in the foster system and says it needs fixing…

I just know that in this day and time, the only experience I have really, like, seen, has really been bad. Because I just seen a lot of like, shortages, in a lot of things that we need nowadays.

I’m emancipated foster youth, and even those sections from those things have been cut. So there’s a lot of things that they’re touching that people need out here to survive. And taking it from the people that need it and giving it to the people that don’t need it. Like, you know?
I had a major experience with back and forth to different homes and courts and trials. That’s why I’m majoring in administrative justice right now because I feel there’s something in that system that needs to be fixed. And I don’t know what it is. That’s why I’m studying to see, where is the shortage at?

Click play on the audio clip to hear Kashawna Williams

Voice of a Young Voter: Ross Rothpanhar On Appreciating Government Services

An estimated 46 million eligible voters in this year’s election are between 18 and 29 years old – part of the Millennial generation. Will those young voters sway the election? What issues do young people feel are important? What role do they think government should play in their lives?

KQED and three other public media organizations on the West Coast are exploring those questions in a series called “Voices of Young Voters.” We fanned out to college campuses around the Bay Area to hear from those who are just coming of age politically. Over the next few days we’ll share some of their stories.

Ross Rothpanhar

Ross Rothpanhar

by Lillian Mongeau

Ross Rothpanhar is a public health major at University of California, Berkeley. He says growing up poor made him appreciate government services.

So, I am Cambodian American. My parents are actually refugees from Cambodia. Growing up, we weren’t really privileged as like other Americans. We were overshadowed a lot, especially with the model minority myth where like, Asians excel.

People assume we do not need resources, but in fact my family needed a lot of resources. For a long period of time my family lived under the poverty line, and we are still barely at the poverty line right now. So the government systems to help people who do need the assistance is really vital.

Growing up and coming through the educational system, it’s really hard for me, a person like me to come to Cal. I was really fortunate to come to Cal. I had to go through a lot of obstacles and a lot of barriers and I had to go out and find a lot of resources myself instead of having resources come to me. I think government should focus on helping a lot more people that have been overshadowed and not very focused on.

Obama, Romney Debate Foreign Policy in Final Debate

U.S. President Barack Obama (R) debates with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. (Rick Wilking-Pool/Getty Images)

BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama sharply challenged Mitt Romney on foreign policy in their final campaign debate Monday night, saying, “Every time you’ve offered an opinion you’ve been wrong.” The Republican coolly responded, “Attacking me is not an agenda” for dealing with a dangerous world.

Romney took the offensive, too. When Obama said the U.S. and its allies have imposed crippling sanctions on Iran to halt nuclear weapons development, the Republican challenger responded that the U.S. should have done more. He declared repeatedly, “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran.”

Despite the debate’s stated focus on foreign affairs, time after time the rivals turned the discussion back to the slowly recovering U.S. economy, which polls show is the No. 1 issue for most voters.

They found little agreement on that, but the president and his rival found accord on at least one international topic with domestic political overtones — Israel’s security — as they sat at close quarters 15 days before the end of an impossibly close election campaign. Each stressed unequivocal support for Israel when asked how he would respond if the Jewish state were attacked by Iran.

“If Israel is attacked, we have their back,” said Romney — moments after Obama vowed, “I will stand with Israel if Israel is attacked.”

Both also said they oppose direct U.S. military involvement in the efforts to topple Syrian President Bashir Assad. Continue reading

Obama, Romney Tangle in 2nd Presidential Debate

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) — An aggressive President Barack Obama accused challenger Mitt Romney of peddling a “sketchy deal” to fix the U.S. economy and playing politics with the deadly terrorist attack in Libya in a Tuesday night debate crackling with energy and emotion just three weeks before the election.

Romney pushed back hard, saying the middle class “has been crushed over the last four years” under Obama’s leadership and that 23 million Americans are still struggling to find work. He contended the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya was part of an unraveling of the administration’s foreign policy.

The president was feistier from the outset than he had been in their initial encounter two weeks ago, when he turned in a listless performance that sent shudders through his supporters and helped fuel a rise by Romney in opinion polls nationally and in some battleground states.

When Romney said Tuesday night that he had a five-point plan to create 12 million jobs, Obama said, “Gov. Romney says he’s got a five-point plan. Gov. Romney doesn’t have a five-point plan. He has a one-point plan. And that plan is to make sure that folks at the top play by a different set of rules.”

Obama and Romney disagreed, forcefully and repeatedly — about taxes, the bailout of the auto industry, measures to reduce the deficit, energy, pay equity for women and health care as well as foreign policy across 90 minutes of a town-hall style debate.

Immigration prompted yet another clash, Romney saying Obama had failed to pursue the comprehensive legislation he promised at the dawn of his administration, and the president saying Republican obstinacy made a deal impossible.

Romney gave as good as he got. Continue reading