In the week since the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling upholding key parts of President Obama’s health care law (“Obamacare”) – namely, the individual mandate that everyone buy insurance - Americans have been inundated by an endless deluge of analysis and commentary. Making sense of it all is challenging, so here are 10 good resources that help connect the dots. Continue reading
The message was short but – for a lot of young people – pretty sweet:
“Effective immediately, up to 800,000 young people living in the U.S. illegally will no longer be subject to automatic deportation.”
And with that executive order, announced June 15, President Obama shook up in America’s immigration policy.
At least a little bit. Continue reading
Gerrymandering: it ain’t nothing new in California politics.
For much of the state’s history, the legislature has firmly controlled the once-a-decade redistricting process. New district lines are typically redrawn in a way that directly favors whichever party is in control.
Demographic techniques like splitting apart cities, carving up ethnic enclaves, and leaping across vast geographic swaths to bundle like-minded voters are common gerrymandering tools long used by pols to solidify power. Continue reading
When lawmakers control the redistricting process – as they do in most states - self-interest inevitably plays a big role in how electoral maps are redrawn. It puts the power in the hands of incumbent legislators eager to squash political competition. A Republican lawmaker would likely want to redraw his own district to include as many Republican voters as possible; and vice-verse for a Dem. Continue reading
It seems relatively straightforward, right? Every 10 years the population changes and state government officials redraw district lines to make sure populations are equal.
Welcome to the wild world of redistricting.
We’re in the heat of election season, so you’ve likely heard it mentioned a bunch recently. But how exactly does redistricting work? And, more importantly, why should you care?
Redistricting can be a pretty confusing process, and because it’s so complicated, a lot of voters don’t know much about it, or how it applies to them. But it has a pretty major impact on the power balance of our political system, and on how much your vote ends up counting on election day. Continue reading
That’s the underlying question that Proposition 29 poses to California voters, who go to the polls in June to decide if smokers should pay an extra buck in taxes for a pack of cigarettes.
What would Prop 29 do?
If passed, the measure – called the California Cancer Research Act – would add an additional dollar to a pack of cigs and other tobacco products sold in California (amounting to five more cents/cigarette). It would more than double the current tobacco tax rate – the most dramatic increase in the state’s history.
The estimated $735 million (annually) in new revenue (adjusted for tax revenue lost from the projected decrease in sales) would go toward a special fund administered by an appointed committee to support research on cancer and other tobacco-related diseases, as well as prevention and enforcement initiatives. None of it would be used for medical treatment. Continue reading
“I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
What better way of explaining Super PACs than through a music video! Might not make the Top 40, but it should. The folks at Explainer Music do it justice.
California has a lot of state parks. 278 to be exact – more than any other state in the U.S. Some are tiny specks on the map – mini historic sites that you may have driven by without even noticing. Others are vast swaths of land – thousands of preserved acres of old growth forest, sweeping vistas, pristine beaches. Size and stature aside, each has it’s own significance, and the majority were spearheaded as a result of citizen-led campaigns to make the land public and accessible to anyone who wanted to visit. Continue reading