Virtual landlord unlocks campaign websites—for a fee

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Andrew Naylor was working at a digital advertising firm in Silicon Valley when the “a-ha” moment struck. It was 2008, and money—more than $83 million—was gushing into the advertising world as Californians prepared to vote on Prop. 8, the measure to limit marriage to heterosexual couples (later ruled unconstitutional.) “I saw what was happening with […]

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Hey Big Spenders: Three Multimillionaires Stake a Claim on State’s Ballot

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


California has more billionaires than any other state, and an abundance of direct democracy. Those two facts intersect during election season, when spending by wealthy donors helps determine which initiatives make it on the ballot, and how many TV commercials and mailers campaigns can buy. Their donations carry the potential to influence state policy for […]

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Political Paradox? Prop. 59 asks Californians to condemn a big-money system long used here

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Six years after Citizens United—the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that says corporations and unions have a 1st Amendment right to unlimited campaign spending—presidential candidates across the spectrum have condemned the campaign finance system it shaped. “Corrupt,” says Bernie Sanders. “Pernicious,” says Hillary Clinton. “A broken system,” says Donald Trump. The issue is getting extra attention […]

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Climate Retreat? Legislature Could Ditch Plan To Radically Cut Emissions

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Gov. Jerry Brown has taken the national stage to tout California’s fight against global warming, telling cheering throngs at the Democratic National Convention that the state has “the toughest climate laws in the country.” Yet inside the state Capitol, the fate of the policy’s centerpiece—legislation to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions—is in peril. One ominous […]

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Ballot of the Bulge: Why a new law isn’t shrinking the ballot much – yet

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Protracted policy questions. Big-money battles. Contradictory proposals that are difficult to discern. It’s shaping up to be an all-too-typical fall election—once again confronting  California voters with an unwieldy ballot. This wasn’t supposed to happen. After polls confirmed that California voters were frustrated by ballot overload, lawmakers two years ago made changes aimed at pre-empting at […]

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Sex, Drugs and a Controversial AIDS Activist

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


As an AIDS activist 30 years ago, Michael Weinstein helped defeat an inflammatory ballot measure that could have quarantined Californians with the disease. Today, Weinstein has turned to the ballot to advance his own controversial vision for public health. President of the Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which has clinics around the world, Weinstein is […]

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Quizzing the Candidates 

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


The eight-page document reads like a contract, asking candidates seeking a seat in the Legislature to pledge support for workers organizing unions. It lists priority issues – including health care, immigration and retirement benefits – and asks if the candidate will be a “supporter,” “champion” or “partner” as the union pursues its agenda in Sacramento. […]

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Why Your Signature is Worth More than Ever

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Democracy has a price. And at the moment, it’s higher than ever in California. With a presidential election coming up this fall, dozens of groups are trying to get measures on the ballot — asking voters to sanction recreational marijuana, stiffen gun controls, increase cigarette taxes and pass numerous other laws. The competition among them […]

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New GOP leader wants to give ‘a hand up’

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


A month after taking over as the California Assembly’s Republican leader, Chad Mayes brought his caucus to a shelter for homeless mothers. The lawmakers listened as women shared stories of drug abuse and recovery. They poked their heads into rooms crowded with bunk beds. They greeted children bouncing balls on the playground. “It’s important to […]

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How Did Eric Linder Win The Left And The Right?

Laurel Rosenhall

Reporter, CALmatters


Several times in the last year, Assemblyman Eric Linder (R-Corona) pushed the green “Yes” button on his desk when most of his Republican colleagues pressed “No.” He broke from his party to vote for labor-backed bills requiring more disclosure of health care rates, new layoff protections for civil servants and a system for workers to […]

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