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A Less-Is-More or a More-Is-Less Legislature?

New Initiative Will Drastically Reform California Electoral Process

“Neighborhood Legislature” initiative cleared to gather signatures to qualify measure for the November 2014 ballot

(SACRAMENTO)—”California’s Secretary of State today gave the Neighborhood Legislature initiative the green light to begin gathering signatures to qualify the measure for the November 2014 election ballot. The revolutionary measure will re-draw legislative districts to create smaller Assembly and Senate districts with true local representation, which will, in turn, hold elected officials more accountable to the people they are elected to serve and drastically reduce the amount of money now required to run for office. 

“ ‘California’s population Read more »



Ten years Ago Today — California’s First Recall Election

On October 7, 2003, California voters removed Gov. Gray Davis from office and replaced him with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Davis, a Democrat, was the first California governor to be recalled although previous governors, including Jerry Brown and Ronald Reagan, were targeted.

It was the first time in 92 years enough signatures were gathered to call a special election under the state’s recall process, enacted by voters in 1911 ostensibly as a way to break the stranglehold of Southern Pacific Railroad and other business interests on the Capitol.

The historic significance of the election was masked behind an almost carnival- like atmosphere fueled by Read more »



New Round of Clawing in GOP Board of Equalization Cat Fight

Below is the latest campaign email from Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, a Dana Point Republican, vying with Sen. Mark Wyland, an Escondido Republican, for a seat on the state Board of Equalization. 

A key element of Wyland’s campaign has been the bankruptcy of Point Center Financial — a firm run by Harkey’s husband, Dan. Wyland’s choice of issues doesn’t sit well with the termed out Orange County Assemblywoman: 





Wyland was first to bare claws with this “Taxpayers for Wyland Board of Equalization” email blast in August:

State Legislator and candidate for Board of Equalization, Diane Harkey’s husband Read more »



Proposed Ballot Measure Claims to Strengthen Freedom of Religious Speech

Both the California and federal constitution are explicit on the subject of religious freedom:

“Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed,” reads the 12-word declaration in Article I, Section 4 of California’s constitution.  With only this 21-word exception:

“This liberty of conscience does not excuse acts that are licentious or inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state.” 

Additionally, says the third of the four sentences in the section:

“The Legislature shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

Counting the fourth sentence, which says religious beliefs don’t prevent someone from being Read more »



Who GIves a F*CK About “Hope” Anyway?

The card at left and below adorned the tables at a December 14 Birthday Party for California Democratic Party Chair John Burton, who turned 80 the following day. Burton, former president pro tempore of the state Senate and longtime San Francisco Assemblyman, expressed gratitude and a measure of surprise at reaching the milestone. 

Brainstorming and bankrolling of the handbills is the work of a member of Congress who chooses to remain anonymous.


(Numbered, autographed lithographs no doubt will be available through the state Democratic Party in 2013.)




First Assembly Constitutional Amendment of the New Legislative Session a Non-Starter

The first constitutional amendment in the Assembly introduced in the two-year legislative session that began December 3 won’t be appearing on the state ballot.

First, a two-thirds vote is required to place it on the ballot. That’s great if the author were a Democrat who hold super-majorities in both the Assembly and the Senate and, should they wish to, can palce anything they want before voters without a single GOP vote.

Unfortunately, the author of the measure, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Hesperia, is a Republican.

On the off chance Donnelly can escape political reality, the policy change proposed in Read more »



Study Shows Social Media Has Different Take on First Presidential Debate Than Mainstream Media

President Obama floundered – or got flummoxed – in his first debate with GOP rival Mitt Romney, according to most initial polls and media reports.

But the assessment of the debate on social media was less critical of the president, according to an October 5 analysis by the Pew Research Center Project for Excellence in Journalism.

This is probably a good thing for President Obama because so-called independent voters tend to be more likely to be engaging in Twitter back-and-forths and scanning Facebook posts.

Independent voters, particularly younger ones, broke hard for Obama in 2008 in part because his campaign reached out to them Read more »



Not A Lot of Surprises in The Candidates and Ballot Measures the GOP Recommends

(Have yet to meet the “Volunteer Republican Neighborhood Precinct Representative,” however.)



The Rep. Dan Lungren Campaign Mailbag Begins to Runneth over

The Sierra Club Independent Action committee has spent $625,000 through September against Rep. Dan Lungren, a Gold River Republican. The once-a-decade redrawing of legislative lines make Lungren’s seat less safe for the GOP. Democrats and their allies are taking a shot.

Click on the headline to see one of three mailers to date paid for by the Sierra Club claiming Lungren is beholden to the oil industry. I one, Lungren is “$elling out California.” Another says Lungren “Protects Big Oil, Not California.” Similar television commercials echo the message.