A Supporter and Opponent Explain Prop. 31’s ‘Community Strategic Action Plans’


Sacramento Capital. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Proposition 31 might win the battle for the longest and most complex ballot measure. At more than 8,000 words Prop. 31 is an opus to California Forward‘s attempt to restructure and rebuild California’s government from the core. To do that it outlines nine main changes:

  1. Establishes a two-year budget cycle
  2. Permits the governor to make unilateral budget cuts during fiscal emergencies
  3. Requires all bills to be published three days prior to a vote
  4. Forces lawmakers to identify a funding source for new programs or tax deductions
  5. Requires performance reviews
  6. Defines specific goals for the state budget and all local government budgets
  7. Allows local governments to establish “Community Strategic Action Plans”
  8. Allocates $200 million a year in sales tax to those plans
  9. Allows local governments to transfer local property taxes among themselves.

Whew, that’s a lot.

But one component of the initiative is particularly opaque: What are these “Community Strategic Action Plans”? What are they supposed to do? KQED called California Forward’s Executive Director Kristin Connelly to ask her specifically about the plans. California Forward wrote and sponsored Prop. 31. Continue reading

Now a Target, Lungren Wants Campaign Finance Reform

Photo from Office of Dan Lungren

The New York Times this week ran an article about some GOP incumbents who are not so big right now on the whole Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which has resulted in unprecedented amounts of money flowing into electoral campaigns. One of those disgruntled incumbents is the Sacramento-area’s Dan Lungren, locked in one of the most tightly contested races in the country against Democrat Ami Bera.

From the Times:

An expansive onslaught of negative political advertisements in congressional races has left many incumbents, including some Republicans long opposed to restrictions on campaign spending, concluding that legislative measures may be in order to curtail the power of the outside groups behind most of the attacks…

Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over campaign-finance issues, has been a target of negative advertisements. He has drafted legislation that he said would force more responsibility for the tone and messages of the campaign onto the candidates and political parties and away from the third-party groups. The staff of Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, is also working on proposals…

Lungren said the attacks on him began just months after the 2010 election, with radio advertisements and automated phone calls. They have accelerated into an onslaught of television commercials in what has become the most expensive House race in the country. Lungren’s opponent is Ami Bera, a doctor and Democrat.

“What I’m trying to do is transform the system so people participating as candidates can be held responsible for what is said,” Lungren said of the legislation he is drafting.

He said the 2012 experience could be transformative for other Republicans who have spent the past six months enduring the grim piano music and disconsolate faces of “voters” in negative ad after ad, sometimes against them, sometimes on their behalf but always without their signoff.

“We had to see how this worked out for a cycle,” he said. Full article

Continue reading

Archive: KQED Public Radio’s ‘Forum’ Examines 10 State Propositions

Michael Krasny in studio

Through the studio glass: Michael Krasny hosts KQED's daily call-in show "Forum."

Here at KQED, we take elections pretty seriously. It’s a time when our mission of educating the public comes to a head — the messages coming from the campaigns are unrelenting and taken as a whole can present a confusing picture. So helping you cast an informed vote is our aim.

That was the philosophy behind our state proposition guide. Some people, however, prefer listening to reading. For those folks we present a complete archive of Forum’s 2012 state proposition shows. Some are an hour long, some are half an hour, but all present views from both sides and include community input we received via calls, emails, Facebook and Twitter. So sit back, turn up your speakers, and take a listen…


Prop. 30: Gov. Brown’s Tax Increase for Education, Public Safety

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New Breed of Campaigns Using Technology to Micro-Target Voters

by Aarti Shahani

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As election day inches closer, campaign workers are entering high gear with door-knocking and phone-banking. This year, they’re also reducing paper cuts by using new digital technologies to reach voters. But the true value of the latest election apps, of course, will turn on whether they get out the vote.

East Bay congressional candidate Eric Swalwell, whose campaign is using the latest get-out-the-vote-technology

East Bay congressional candidate Eric Swalwell, whose campaign is using the latest get-out-the-vote-technology. Photo: Cy Musiker/KQED

Door Knocking Goes Digital

Ariel Kelley, a local campaign director with a group working for San Francisco supervisorial candidate David Lee, is sipping coffee at a neighborhood cafe in the city’s Richmond district. Tapping the floor with her 3-inch heels, Kelley watches her door-knocking team from a website on her MacBook.

“I get to see in real time exactly where they are, using the GPS on the cell phone that they’re holding. This is Charlie’s territory right here,” she says, referring to a volunteer out in the field.

Kelley is monitoring Charlie’s every move on Anza and Balboa. She sees the name, age and party of the targeted voter, plus the exact time – down to the microsecond – of the visit. Kelley sees the encounter is over when a green dot turns into a red check mark. Continue reading

Audio: Nader Tells Bush Haters It’s Still Not His Fault

(Don LaVange: Flickr)

(Don LaVange: Flickr)

by Lisa Aliferis and Jon Brooks

Some liberals still like to play the alternative-history parlor game called “What if Ralph Nader Hadn’t Run For President in 2000?” The chain of events in this butterfly-effect narrative unfolds something like this:

  • Without Nader on the ballot, the votes he received in Florida go instead to Al Gore, giving Gore the presidency, uncontested.
  • George W. Bush becomes a spokesman for Valvoline instead of the nation’s 43rd chief executive
  • Under President Gore, Sept. 11, the Iraq War, the Hurricane Katrina disaster, and the financial crisis never happen. The nation enters into a Pax Americana in which prosperity reigns, the environment is protected, and Honey Boo Boo is taken into the care of child protective services.

Continue reading

Making Sense of the Very, Very Complicated Prop 31

(Justin Brockie:Flickr)

Among other items, Prop. 31 gives California's governor new powers over spending during a fiscal emergency. (Justin Brockie:Flickr)

Among the 11 propositions on the statewide ballot this fall is a measure that would bring sweeping changes in governance to California. As Rachael Myrow suggested Friday morning on The California Report, it would also win a prize for “most changes in one measure.” The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has identified nine big ideas in Prop 31.

To break it down, Myrow turned to John Myers, political editor for Sacramento television station KXTV.

Here’s the edited transcript of their conversation:

RACHAEL MYROW: Who’s behind the measure? What is “California Forward”?

There has been a long, raging debate in government reform circles about whether we need incremental change or large systemic change. I think Prop. 31 puts its foot in both categories.”

JOHN MYERS: California Forward is a bipartisan group, formed a few years ago to work on ideas about how to fix what’s broken in California governance. They’ve been bankrolled by foundations. Their political activity is mainly bankrolled by a billionaire international investor, and that political activity really focused on this initiative — which they got on the ballot with his help.

RACHAEL MYROW: They’ve held forums around the state in recent years talking about how to make California government more effective. What is it they propose with Prop. 31? Continue reading

Rising Asian-American Political Star From Calif. is Romney’s Chief Policy Director

By Frank Stoltze

One of Mitt Romney’s top advisors is a rising Asian-American political star from Southern California. As Romney’s chief policy director, 34-year-old Lanhee Chen plays a key role in advising the Republican presidential nominee on foreign and domestic issues.

Lanhee Chen in 2007. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

At the GOP Convention in Tampa in August, Asian-American journalists from around the country couldn’t wait to talk to Lanhee Chen. They peppered him with questions about Mitt Romney’s immigration policy and views on Asia.

Chen responded to one of the reporters, “Well, I mean obviously there are some challenges in the region. China is becoming increasingly aggressive in the South China Sea.”

Chen, dressed in a sport coat and open collar, answered questions easily, until a reporter asked a more personal question, about his role as one of the few prominent Asian Americans inside a Republican campaign for president.

“I’m not really ever sure what to say about that, but it is interesting to look around and realize that most people don’t look quite like you do,” said Chen.

Lanhee Chen was born in Rowland Heights, just east of downtown Los Angeles, to parents who immigrated to the United States from Taiwan. He is something of the classic second-generation success story — he holds four degrees from Harvard, including a law degree and Ph.D. Chen is a policy wonk, but also a skilled Romney spokesman who has appeared on Fox News to represent the campaign. Continue reading

Election Road Trip: Central Coasters Hungry For Substance, Sick of Campaign Negativity

The election is just over a month away now, and unlike in the past, California has multiple Congressional seats — nearly a dozen, in fact — where the outcome is truly up in the air. As part of our election series “What’s Government For?” we’re out to hear what voters say they want from their elected officials.

Lois Capps and Abel Maldonado at a debate (Scott Shafer/KQED)

We’re hitting the road, or should I say the beach, on the Central Coast, where a hotly contested congressional race is under way. The new 24th Congressional District includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, plus a small part of northern Ventura County. One person told me that living here is like being in a National Geographic Magazine — it’s that beautiful.

As I walk along the beach near Morro Bay, I come across two people, Gary Ubaldi and his wife Gail. They both say they’re registered Democrats, but he says they’re open-minded.

“I believe I’m very open-minded,” Ubaldi says. “I know my wife is. I mean she listens to both sides of every argument and would vote for who she felt was the best candidate, period. Regardless of party.” Continue reading

Super PACs Pour On the California Cash in National Battle For House

By Tara Siler

(Brendan Smialowski/AFT/Getty Images)

(Brendan Smialowski/AFT/Getty Images)

The recent redrawing of California’s congressional districts would seem to favor Democratic candidates in this deep-blue state.

But there are still 11 competitive House seats across California, and there’s a dogfight under way for every one of them, in large part because Democrats need 25 House seats to take control of Congress from Republicans. So national political groups on both sides are dumping buckets of campaign cash into races here in hopes of maximizing gains — or limiting their losses.

One of the more hotly contested races is in the Sacramento area’s 7th Congressional District. In fact, it’s considered one of the most competitive in the country

Volunteer Judy Vonn is working the phones for Democratic candidate and physician Ami Bera, who is challenging GOP incumbent Dan Lungren for a second time. Continue reading