California’s Democrats: Stronger than Ever

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

So let me get this straight: Democrats hold supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature for the first time since 1883. They hold all of the state’s constitutional offices. Their registration advantage over Republicans is as large as its been in modern history. Democrats have four more seats in the state’s Congressional delegation than […]

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Assembly GOP Should Dump Conway, Not Nestande

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, whose official bio says she is “recognized for her ability to bring people together,” yesterday ousted San Diego Assemblyman Brian Nestande as Chair of the Republican Caucus. This marks the second member of the already-tiny GOP Caucus to feel her wrath. And while Nestande hasn’t left the Caucus yet, some, […]

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Will the PUC Force California to Become the First State to Regulate the Internet?

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

Last Friday, Facebook became a $140 billion company, the latest success story in the Golden State’s technology industry that employs nearly 930,000 Californians, according to an estimate from the TechAmerica Foundation. Yet incredibly, even with Gov. Jerry Brown telling the Silicon Valley Leadership Group that his administration is moving to cut regulations, the California Public […]

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Tax Hikes Without a Vote? A Back Door to New Revenue

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

Crossposted on Capitol Weekly There’s plenty of reasons for progressives to hate California Forward’s do-gooder “government reform” ballot measure that may yet find its way toward appearing on the November ballot. It contains a built-in spending cap, upsets the balance of power between the Legislature and the Governor, and diverts state-generated revenue from the general […]

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What Really Went Wrong with GOP’s Pension “Reform”

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

There’s been plenty of hand-wringing during the last week about the decision by California Pension Reform to suspend their effort to put a measure on the November ballot that would have slashed retirement security for millions of Californians. The Sacramento Bee’s “State Worker” columnist Jon Ortiz had a post-mortem in the paper last week that […]

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Is ConsumerWatchdog.org Only Watching Out for Itself in the Legislature?

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

ConsumerWatchdog.org, formerly known as the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, is on the warpath. It is fighting legislation sponsored by Los Angeles area Democratic Assemblymembers Mike Feuer and Mike Gatto that would require proponents of ballot measures to include a provision to raise the revenue to pay for them. And it’s pushing hard for the inclusion of “intervenor fees” in AB 52, a bill also authored by Assemblyman Feuer, that would regulate health plan rate increases.

Last week, an article in POLITiCO, the Beltway-based national political publication, revealed why.

According to POLITICO, ConsumerWatchdog.org “stands to gain millions” from passage of the rate regulation bill. The newspaper’s investigation revealed that the organization has raked in more than $7 million in “intervenor compensation” from 2002-2010.

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In the Redistricting Debate, Just the Facts, Please!

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

I’m hoping everyone is enjoying reading long-time Republican Tony Quinn and I battle it out here on Fox & Hounds and elsewhere on the relatively mundane subject of redistricting. In his last post, Mr. Quinn’s resorted to a personal attack on my character. But I’m not going there, and will keep this simple and factual.

There is an open legal question under Propositions 11 and 20 about how to achieve population equality. It is nothing new.

This issue has been raised as one that would need resolution throughout the Commission process. It was raised during the training for the three auditors who screened applicants. It was raised during the training for the first eight commissioners. And it was raised during training for the full commission.

There were new ambiguities in the law created by Propositions 11 and 20. First, they broadened other competing criteria. Second, they added the phrase “allowable by law” to the equal population standard. It is reasonable to read that as allowing more flexibility to maintain other criteria like minimizing city and county splits. It is reasonable to believe that was not the intent. It is certainly a reasonable discussion for the Citizens Redistricting Commission.

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Criticism of Redistricting Commission’s Progress is Unfounded

Steven Maviglio
Principal of Forza Communications, a Sacramento-based public affairs/campaign firm

Another week, another blast at the Citizens Redistricting Commission from redistricting “expert” Tony Quinn. His latest article comes with the inflammatory headline, “Redistricting Commission tries to repeal One Person, One Vote.” You would think the Commission was trying to reinstate slavery or take away a woman’s right to vote. But no, all the Commission did was take a preliminary step to interpret an ambiguous area in redistricting law.

Here is the background. The U.S. Supreme Court has traditionally upheld state redistricting plans where the populations of districts are balanced within 10%. The Court added some additional complexity in the 2004 case Larios v. Cox saying such deviations needed to be justified by “legitimate state interests” and not “tainted by arbitrariness or discrimination” (more on this later).

A separate set of cases by the California State Supreme Court have found that under the state Constitution districts should be balanced within 2%. The hitch is that all those cases pre-date the passage of Propositions 11 and 20 which changed the California State Constitution. How will the Court interpret the population equality standards under the new rules? The Commission decided to give itself more flexibility and begin with the federal standard and then see how far they could tighten things down later.

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