A (Very) Political Reform

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

I missed Republican Assemblyman Jeff Gorell’s Thursday press conference announcing his proposal to make the Secretary of State office a “non-partisan” position, and moving the responsibility for title/summary writing to that office. I was in Soledad that morning training two dozen government officials in how to lead a non-partisan public process. The irony. I met […]

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Are We “Nudging” California Voters to Register No Party Preference?

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

The recently announced party registration numbers in California have pundits buzzing about the continuing growth of “No Party Preference” voters alongside the declining memberships in the Democrat and Republican parties. “Indie voters have growing clout in California elections” blares a KPCC headline, and reporter Sharon McNary goes on to list reasons ranging from online registration […]

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California’s 20th-Century “Voting Experience”

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

A drive through the office parks of Silicon Valley may fool you into thinking California is a state with its eyes focused firmly on the future. But there’s nothing like a national report from a presidential commission on state election systems to make you feel like you’re living in the Dark Ages. Silicon Valley, meet […]

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Imagine There’s No (Republican) Party…

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

With the latest entrant into California’s Secretary of State campaign comes this irony: I’m not the best-known Republican in the race, but I am the only Republican. When I asked Dan Schnur’s advice about my run for Secretary of State last April, he asked me why I was running. My answer was simple: with my […]

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Advice from Ike I Like

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

The subject of not one, but two best-selling biographies (this one and this one) published in the last 18 months, the record of Dwight Eisenhower has many historians and political pundits pining for the days of strong, pragmatic leadership. Consider Joe Scarborough’s upcoming book, The Right Path: From Ike to Reagan, How Republicans Once Mastered […]

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Do We Have a “Grover Norquist Problem”?

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

The recent news from the political research firm Grassroots Lab, that registered Republicans comprise a majority of California’s local government elected positions, has sent shockwaves through the Party’s ranks. In a state where Democrats are a super majority in the Legislature and hold every statewide office, the fact that Republicans serve in about half of […]

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Why Are CA Democrats Defunding Democracy?

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

There are three ways legislators can attempt to prevent a law from taking effect – and they vary in terms of transparency to the public. The first, most obvious way is that they can vote against it, and hope to persuade enough colleagues on board to vote with them. But once passed into law, a […]

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Did Democracy Bankrupt Our Cities?

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

In a recent bracing post titled “Detroit’s Death by Democracy,” George Will located the root of that city’s problems not in its lack of economic diversification but in our very system of government: democracy. Will wrote that the Motor City’s recently filed bankruptcy provokes “worrisome questions about the viability of democracy in jurisdictions where big […]

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Improve the Voting Experience through Competition

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

For those of us interested in improving civic engagement here in California, the latest news from the state auditor that the Secretary of State has mismanaged $131 million in federal funds for California meant to improve our voting access is cause for weeping and gnashing of teeth. The monies were allocated by the feds under […]

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Who SB 71 Really Hurts…

Pete Peterson
Candidate (R) for California Secretary of State, and Executive Director of the Davenport Institute for Public Engagement at Pepperdine’s School of Public Policy

I know Sacramento is located geographically in California, but there are days when it acts so contrary to what is happening around it, that it makes one wonder whether the Capitol is somehow situated in a parallel universe. Let me get this straight: at a time when the public has learned via public records requests […]

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