Democratic Party Supporters’ Money Backs Redistricting Reform

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

There appears to be a widening crack in the wall of Democratic Party opposition to redistricting reform.

Recent ballot measures attempting to reform the redistricting process, which creates district boundaries from which candidates run for legislative offices, has often pitted one major political party against the other.

Not this time.

While some Democrats are claiming that Proposition 11, the redistricting reform on the November ballot, is a “Republican power grab,” and the state Democratic Party is officially opposed to Proposition 11, usually faithful donors to Democratic causes are putting up money in support of the measure, reports the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Wildermuth.

The Chronicle lists heavy financial hitters such as John and Ann Doerr, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, Sacramento developer Angelo Tsakopoulos and Los Angeles investor Eli Broad, all of whom have donated large checks to the Democratic Party and the Democratic Central Committee, on board the Prop 11 wagon.

The Proposition 11 effort is co-chaired by former Democratic state controller Steve Westly, who has written about redistricting reform on Fox and Hounds.

Other notable Democratic politicians on board are former Governor Gray Davis and former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg.

The measure also has strong support from good government groups like California Common Cause, which often sides with Democratic positions on bills and issues.

Back in June I wrote on this site that there was a good chance Prop 11 could pass. Democratic spokesman Steve Maviglio commented on my piece that there were a number of reasons that Democrats would soon rally around the No campaign. My comments and Steve’s response are here.

I don’t see that happening, yet. Maybe it will as Election Day gets closer but evidence indicates as more Democrats come aboard the Yes campaign it will be impossible for the No on 11 campaign to make the usual “us versus them” argument.

That’s a good thing because redistricting and fair governance should be debated on merits, not on loyalties to a particular political party.

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Economic Suicide

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Rumors of a budget deal are one thing. But the vast majority of the Republicans in the Legislature have no desire to be participants in the assisted economic suicide of California. New figures on California’s tax burden are out from the Tax Foundation; California’s tax burden is now up to sixth highest in the nation. Republicans know that they were not elected to move California down the road to higher taxes and more burdensome regulations coupled with an abject failure to address waste and fraud.

In a prior budget battle, a handful of Republican legislators signed off on a Gray Davis budget and were rewarded with severe electoral retaliation. (Think Johannessen, Briggs, etc.) But this year, all but a handful of GOP legislators believe – and rightfully so – that a tax increase will solve absolutely nothing and, in both the short and long term, inflict irreparable damage to the Golden State.

We’d be surprised to see a budget this week or even next, for that matter.

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Effects of Prop. 2 — the UN-SAFE Food Initiative

Vice President, J.S. West Co.

This November, Californians will be voting on Proposition 2 – the ‘Standards for Confining Farm Animals Statute.’ As a 4th generation family farmer, I oppose Prop. 2 – a risky, dangerous and costly measure for California that, if passed, will:

  • threaten Californians food safety and public health
  • hurt California agriculture, the state’s #1 economic industry
  • drive nearly all California egg farmers, including cage-free farmers, out of business in the state.

Californians need to understand that Prop. 2 is not about the treatment of animals, instead it is about the standards for housing egg-laying hens. California’s current housing standards are the most stringent in the nation protecting farm animals’ well being and keeping our food safe.

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Will A Real Spending Cap Complete the Budget Deal?

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Is there a budget deal?

Senate President Pro tem Don Perata says he has reached an accommodation with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on the budget, although as of this writing there is no confirmation from the Governor’s office.

The key trade-off is reported to be a temporary sales tax increase for a rainy-day fund, spending cap and some spending cuts.

If there is a deal, Perata will bring the measure to a vote in the Senate, and the buzz around the Capitol is that he may have the votes in the Senate to pass the compromise, including the two Republican votes he needs.

If so, the budget end game will fall on the Assembly. Pressure will build to get the deal done. The Key — the spending cap. What exactly is it, and how tightly can the cap be screwed on?

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Defining Public’s Interest

Charles Crumpley
Editor and Publisher of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal

If you read this newsletter, you probably know what it means to take on a fiduciary responsibility. That’s the duty to handle other people’s money responsibly, to invest it in a way that maximizes return and to put the investors’ interests ahead of the fiduciary’s interests.

But apparently California’s big public pension funds aren’t too acquainted with that definition. Instead, Calpers, the California Public Employees Retirement System, and Calstrs, the California State Teachers Retirement System, have been pushing their so-called socially responsible investment plans.

Several years ago, they stopped investing in countries that didn’t have labor unions and a free press. They dumped stocks in tobacco companies and businesses they didn’t think were “socially responsible.” Instead, they boosted investments in businesses they did like and real estate, much of it in California.

The decision to make the giant funds become socially responsible was pushed by then-state Treasurer Philip Angelides, a Democrat, in the dawn of this decade. Funny how the definition of “socially responsible” favored the friends of Democrats, who got beneficial funding, but punished the friends of Republicans, who got screwed.

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A Guide to Web 2.0 for Business

Chandra Sharma
Political Communications, Redistricting and New Media Strategist

Amid the rapid growth of online social media over the past handful of years, many small businesses have been left out of a medium that has been used very effectively by big business to target and interact with a key youth demographic. For those of you still wondering how to get started with Web 2.0, the E-Commerce Times published a guide this morning — Where There’s a Web, There’s a Way: A Business Guide to Getting Social.

It’s not the most comprehensive reference on Web 2.0 out there by any means, but the guide does a good job of explaining on how many tools can be integrated from the prospective of a small business, and it should provide a great starting point for those looking to get their feet wet with the social media phenomenon.

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Jerry Brown’s New Ballot Labels

Joel Fox
Editor and Co-Publisher of Fox and Hounds Daily

Attorney General Jerry Brown successfully altered the title of Proposition 8 on the November ballot. Initially, Brown had labeled the initiative to declare marriage only between a man and a woman: Limit on Marriage. After the California Supreme Court ruling allowing same-sex marriages Brown changed the label to: Eliminates Right of Same Sex Couples to Marry. He then beat back a court challenge by the initiative’s proponents and kept the new title in place.

Emboldened by this blessing from the Court, the AG considered looking at some of the other propositions so as to reveal a better understanding of these initiatives.

Here, reveled for the first time, is a list of the old ballot labels and the AG’s new improved ballot monikers.

Proposition 1. Safe, reliable, high-speed passenger train bond act for the 21st century

New Ballot Label: Safe? Reliable? High Speed passenger train bond act, hopefully to be finished in the 21st century

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The MTA Tax

Michael D. Antonovich
Los Angeles County Supervisor

The MTA tax measure currently being championed by the City of Los Angeles is dead on arrival in many parts of Los Angeles County, and will not come close to meeting the two-thirds threshold for voter approval in November.

Placing a flawed sales tax measure on the ballot with no chance of passage is the ultimate waste of taxpayer dollars. My constituents, cities and unincorporated communities in the San Gabriel, San Fernando, Crescenta, Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys–which make up 20% of the County’s population–have already begun registering their vocal opposition to the sales tax measure.

Our long-term transportation needs do require significant public investment in mass transit alternatives, as well as highway improvements, public-private partnerships, and other congestion relief measures like traffic signal synchronization, inland intermodal freight transfer facilities, highway-rail grade separations, and regionalization of air traffic to LA/Palmdale and Ontario Airports.

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The Perils of Initiative Tax Increases

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Rose King is a well-regarded policy consultant and advocate for mental health treatment. She has written a stinging indictment of the "botched implementation" of Proposition 63, the Mental Health Services Act of 2004, which blames both state bureaucracy and the use of the initiative process itself. King makes some cogent points about the pitfalls of policy making by initiative.

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3D Failure — How the GOP Is Losing California

Michael Shires
Associate Professor of Public Policy, Pepperdine University

California’s Republican Party is losing ground dramatically across the state. In the Fresno Bee, John Ellis describes how it is even failing in one of its last bastions of power-—the Central Valley. There are three dimensions to the collapse of the party of Ronald Reagan in the Golden State, and all three reflect a collapse of leadership at the highest levels.

First, there is an abject failure to reach out to the youngest voters in the state. With high schools and universities dominated by union teachers and left-wing professors, there is a serious vacuum of clear messages about what the party stands for in the youth world. There is a near-total absence of youth and energy in the party’s outreach plans.

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