2012 General Election

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Map: Money Flowing to California Propositions by State

In a post-Citizens United world, keeping track of money in politics is more critical than ever. Now the great people at Peninsula Press have crunched data from the California Secretary of State — donations to any campaign for-or-against any of the 11 propositions on the November ballot.

Peninsula Press then joined that money data with U.S. zip codes so anyone can look, interactively, at how much money is flowing to proposition campaigns, from California and from across the country. Pick your prop and take a look. How much is the rest of the country donating heavily to props here at home?

Works best on the Chrome browser…

San Diego Mayoral Candidates Fighting to Appeal to Undecided Voters

City Councilman Carl DeMaio (R) and Congressman Bob Filner (D) are facing off in the San Diego mayor's race.  Credit: DeMaio and Filner Campaigns

Republican City Councilman Carl DeMaio (left) and Democratic Congressman Bob Filner (right) are facing off in the San Diego mayor's race. (Images: DeMaio and Filner campaigns)

On a sunny day this fall, Republican city councilman Carl DeMaio and San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders walked through a local, bayside park to a podium surrounded by a barrage of news cameras and reporters.

It was a good day for DeMaio. The mayor, a fellow Republican, was endorsing him — despite the two being long time political foes.

“Only one candidate has demonstrated the detailed knowledge of our city that will be required from his first day on the job.” Sanders intoned. “Only one candidate has the focus and the energy that will sustain him through difficult times. That candidate is Carl DeMaio.”

Sanders’ endorsement was followed a few days later by the announcement that Democratic philanthropist Irwin Jacobs was also supporting DeMaio.

But it hasn’t been a bad season for Democratic Congressman Bob Filner either. He’s consistently led in the mayoral polls. Still, as the election draws closer, the outcome is becoming harder to predict. Different polls yield different results. In mid-October one poll gave Filner a seven point lead, while another put DeMaio ten points ahead. Continue reading

Video: Props 30 and 38 Both Promise to Help Schools — in Different Ways

There’s a lot riding on the November 6 election for California’s once prized public education system. With $6 billion in trigger cuts looming due to the state budget deficit, two competing tax measures on the ballot propose to temporarily help fill the gap. Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30 would raise the state sales tax a quarter cent and income tax on those earning more than $250,000 annually. Competing Proposition 38, sponsored by millionaire attorney Molly Munger, would increase income tax on a sliding scale for those earning at least $7,316 a year.

On Friday, KQED’s This Week in Northern California examined the competing propositions.

Voters Supportive of Local Measures for Schools; More Skeptical of Statewide Solutions

Voters in Redwood City approved a local tax for district schools earlier this year. (Ana Tintocalis: KQED)

Voters in Redwood City approved a local tax for district schools earlier this year. (Ana Tintocalis: KQED)

Redwood City is a suburb just south of San Francisco. In recent years, the city has restored its historic downtown area and cleaned up its neighborhoods. But one thing remains the same: the Redwood City school district still gets the lowest amount of state education funding compared to neighboring communities — a result of the state’s complex school funding formula. That rubs 78-year-old Redwood City education advocate Margaret Marshall the wrong way. “It’s not fair and it’s wrong,” she says.

Marshall served on the district’s school board back in the 1980s. But when the state cut millions from education funding over the last two years, she took action. Marshall and an army of volunteers spent hours drafting a local parcel tax for Redwood City schools this past spring. Parcel taxes have become extremely popular among public school districts because the money raised goes directly into local campuses and teachers.

“If [voters] see the money being spent on their block, on their street, in their child’s school, they’re at least willing to consider that tax increase.”
But passing this kind of measure is tough. It requires a “supermajority” vote — two-thirds voter approval.

Redwood City tried three times before to pass a parcel tax, but this time Marshall says voters were finally ready to listen. “I had more coffee and cups of tea in the little coffeehouses locally,” she tells me. “But when you take the time to explain it to someone, one-on-one, you feel better about it. I think lots of times people distrust because they don’t understand what is happening.” Continue reading

Suit Filed Against Arizona Campaign Donor Group

Wednesday was the deadline, and now the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has filed suit in Sacramento Superior Court. The watchdog group wants the Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership to release all documents related to a mysterious $11 million contribution, including emails and texts.

At issue is whether Americans for Responsible Leadership violated state law by accepting donations earmarked for specific campaign purposes in California. The group instead sent a letter to the FPPC saying they had no contributors who had specified that their funds be used in state campaigns.

But Ann Ravel, FPCC Chair, says that is not the issue. “The standard of trust is not whether or not (money) was earmarked, but if those contributors knew or should have known the money would have come to a campaign in California.” 

The FPPC expects a quick decision by the court. It says the November 6th election is drawing near.

The FPPC is the state agency charged with upholding California’s Political Reform Act which includes reporting requirements about the disclosure of donors supporting or opposing state ballot measures.

Locals React to Anti-Soda Tax Campaign in Richmond

By Andrew Stelzer

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(Rex Sorgatz: Flickr)

(Rex Sorgatz: Flickr)

From the get-go, the face of Richmond’s proposed tax on sugar sweetened beverages has been city Councilmember Jeff Ritterman. “If we’re successful we’ll make history,” he tells me.

Ritterman is a retired cardiologist who got the council to put the penny-per-ounce tax on next month’s ballot. He says improving the health of the local community isn’t the only goal.

“Once the sugar-sweetened beverage taxes become ubiquitous — and I’m pretty sure they will, it’s just a question of when,” he says, “if we are victorious it will happen a lot sooner.”

But the health issues behind the tax have taken a back seat to questions about how the city will spend the money the tax would raise.

The main argument from Measure N opponents is that the tax proceeds won’t necessarily go to fight obesity. While there is an accompanying measure before voters to direct the money to obesity-fighting efforts, the money raised would go into the city’s general fund. Billboards and flyers all over town — paid for by the American Beverage Association, a soft drink lobbying group — drive that “general fund” message home.

Continue reading

Prop. 40: Candidate for Strangest Ballot Measure Ever

(California Secretary of State)

(California Secretary of State)

There’s a lot to be confused about on this November’s ballot — opaque fundraising, complicated language, unclear outcomes. In a crowded field of confusion, Proposition 40 is one of the leaders in this election, because you have to think twice about voting for the outcome that you want. Tuesday morning on The California Report, host Rachael Myrow spoke with John Myers, political editor for Sacramento’s KXTV, to better understand the proposition.

To start off, Myrow pointed out that Prop. 40 is a referendum, which is different from an initiative.

Here’s the edited transcript of their discussion:

John Myers: A referendum is a different question for the voters, unlike an initiative, which asks the voters to create a law. A referendum asks, “Do you want to overturn an existing law? Do you support an existing law?” So, if you vote “yes” on Prop. 40, you are saying, “Yes, I support the existing law of political districts for the California State Senate.” We may remember that these were drawn by a citizens panel in 2011. A “yes” vote says, “Yes, I like the maps that the independent citizens group drew.” A “no” vote says, “No, I do not like them. I want them redrawn.” So this is a chance for people to weigh in on those maps that were drawn for the State Senate, one of the maps that they drew last year.

Rachael Myrow: It’s good that you mention that, because I think a lot of people think, “Wait a minute, didn’t the Citizens Redistricting Commission have to do with more than just State Senate maps?” But that’s specifically what Proposition 40 is talking about. Continue reading

Final Presidential Debate 6 p.m.: Webcasts, Fact-Check, Live Blogs

We’re in the final sprint now. Election Day is just 15 days away, and tonight is the third and final presidential debate live from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. Bob Schieffer of CBS News and host of Face the Nation will moderate.

His format sounds suspiciously like that of the first presidential debate. Schieffer has picked six topics — although not necessarily to be discussed in this order:

  • America’s role in the world
  • Our longest war – Afghanistan and Pakistan
  • Red Lines – Israel and Iran
  • The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – I
  • The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism – II
  • The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s World

Schieffer will open each segment with a question, and the candidates will have two minutes to respond. Then it’s Schieffer’s job to “facilitate a discussion” for a total of 15 minutes on each topic.

The debate starts at 6 p.m. PT.

Here’s the NewsHour Live Stream:

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

Continue reading

Election Road Trip: What Does Silicon Valley Want from Government?

“From the City to the Valley.” This transit map reflects the modern reality that “Silicon Valley” has grown to include the entire San Francisco Bay Area.Credit: Stamen Design

In downtown San Jose, the cavernous, cool ZERO1 Garage is the conceptual epicenter for a wide-ranging art exhibition. Seeking Silicon Valley is an artistic exploration that includes 100 exhibits at 45 museums, galleries, and studios across the Bay Area.

Jaime Austin is one of the curators. Forty years ago, “Silicon Valley” referred to a small clutch of high tech companies in the Santa Clara Valley. Today? “It’s a network of freeways, a network of people, a network of technology, a network of companies and a network is something fairly abstract,” Austin says. “Silicon Valley, at least to me, is really more of an idea, than it is a place.”

Austin stands in front of what looks like a Bay Area public transit map — except the transit is anything but public. It’s a map of corporate bus routes that more than 44-thousand people use to commute to Google, Apple, Facebook and the like. The map (by Stamen Design of San Francisco) is jaw-dropping for its size and complexity — and for what it says about the way Silicon Valley has grown over the last 40 years.

“You know, the idea of San Francisco and Silicon Valley being two different types of cities with two different types of industry is no longer true. The greater San Francisco Bay Area is now interconnected. Because we really are one giant ecosystem.” Austin says.

“That’s one place where government can be a driver — is in providing some sort of guarantee for markets that we think are crucial and that won’t exist otherwise.”

That ecosystem is also one of the nation’s biggest economic drivers. Like it or not, Silicon Valley has a relationship to cultivate with government. Internet industry analyst and author Larry Downes says some of the most intractable political issues trickle down as big business problems across the world of High Tech. Take for instance, patent law. Continue reading