CA Treasurer Bill Lockyer backs Redistricting Measure

Chandra Sharma
Political Communications, Redistricting and New Media Strategist

After gaining mention yesterday by announcing his opposition to the lottery proposal in this year’s budget deal (first reported here on F&H by Joel Fox), CA State Treasurer Bill Lockyer made waves earlier today by announcing his support of Proposition 11, the Schwarzenegger-backed redistricting measure.

Lockyer spokesman Tom Dressler is quoted by Capitol Alert as saying, "allowing the Legislature to set its own district boundaries presents an untenable conflict of interest, and on that principle he supports Prop. 11."

Although the measure has gained the backing of a handful of Democrats, most notably Governor Gray Davis and former State Controller Steve Westly (who blogged about his support for the measure here on Fox&Hounds in June), Lockyer has become the first statewide elected Democrat to endorse the measure.

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Governor Schwarzenegger’s positions added to Endorsement Grid

Chandra Sharma
Political Communications, Redistricting and New Media Strategist

Governor Schwarzenegger’s recently released positions on the election’s twelve ballot measures have been added to the Fox&Hounds Endorsement Grid. Positions taken by the San Diego Union-Tribune editorial board have been added as well.

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Assembly Democrats going for a Supermajority?

Allan Hoffenblum
Publisher of the California Target Book and owner of Allan Hoffenblum & Associates

For Democrats to achieve a veto-proof “supermajority” in the state Assembly come next Tuesday, they must pick up six seats currently held by a Republican, while holding on to AD30, which is the sole Democratic held seat that is being seriously contested.

Last August, the California Target Book put out it’s Assembly Target List, listing six Republican held districts that the editors believed would be the Democrats’ best opportunities to pick up seats: Assembly District 10 (suburban Sacramento), AD26 (Central Valley), AD15 (East Bay), AD37 (Ventura County), AD78 (inland San Diego County), and AD80 (Imperial County).

From the get-go, the Assembly Democratic leadership and/or independent expenditure committees supporting their agenda put big bucks behind their nominees in four of the above mentioned districts: ALYSON HUBER in AD10, JOAN BUCHANAN in AD15, MARTY BLOCK in AD78, and MANUEL PEREZ in AD80.

Now, it appears they are going after all six.

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Fixing the Budget

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

The governor’s call for a special session of the legislature to deal with the budget problem served as a perfect backdrop for the budget panel at the Milken Institute’s annual state of the state conference yesterday in Beverly Hills.

The budget hole the governor and legislature have to deal with may get bigger if state Treasurer Bill Lockyer has his way. As reported on Fox and Hounds Daily yesterday, Lockyer said at the conference he would join Senator Dianne Feinstein to oppose the piece of the recently signed budget deal to securitize the lottery. That provision is supposed to provide $5-billion for the state coffers but must be approved by the voters in a special election that the governor will call next year. If it is defeated at the polls, the budget hole will be that much deeper.

The panel, moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, consisted of Republican Senate Leader Dave Cogdill, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, Senior Advisor to the Governor David Crane, newly appointed Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor, as well as Treasurer Lockyer.

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Rate This

David S. White
Principal of the Law Firm of David S. White & Associates, West Los Angeles, specializing in litigation, arbitration and mediation of real-estate-related disputes and litigation since 1977; www.dswlawyers.com

According to Gretchen Morgenson’s piece in the October 24, 2008 NYT Op-Ed Page, (“They’re Shocked, Shocked, About the Mess”), this is an actual email between:

“(t)wo analysts at S.& P. speaking frankly about a deal they were being asked to examine.

“Btw — that deal is ridiculous,” one wrote. “We should not be rating it.”

“We rate every deal,” came the response. “It could be structured by cows and we would rate it.”

First, some background, so we can all appreciate just how outrageous this admission is. According to everybody’s friend (mine anyway) Wikipedia, “S&P” means: “Standard & Poor’s (S&P) is a division of McGraw-Hill that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks and bonds. It is one of the top three companies in this business, along with Moody’s and Fitch Ratings.”

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Lockyer and Feinstein to oppose Lottery proposal in Budget Deal

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

At the Milken Institute’s State of the State conference today, California Treaurer Bill Lockyer said he would join with Senator Dianne Feinstein in opposing the governor’s proposal to use the lottery to help fix the budget hole. This propsal was part of the budget deal. If defeated in next year’s special election, another five billion dollar hole will appear in the budget.

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A Few Canaries in the Coal Mine To Think About

Patrick Dorinson
Host of The Cowboy Libertarian Radio Talk Show in Sacramento

The term “canaries in the coal mine” has been around for a long time. Unfortunately we are a nation of urbanites, suburbanites, and ex-urbanites who have no idea what it means. For that matter most Americans have no idea where their food comes from either, but that is a story for another day.

Here is the best definition I have found, courtesy of wisegeek.com.


“Life for an actual canary in a coal mine could be described in three words – short but meaningful. Early coalmines did not feature ventilation systems, so miners would routinely bring a caged canary into new coal seams. Canaries are especially sensitive to methane and carbon monoxide, which made them ideal for detecting any dangerous gas build-ups. As long as the canary in a coal mine kept singing, the miners knew their air supply was safe. A dead canary in a coalmine signaled an immediate evacuation.”

In modern terms, the canaries were an early warning system to keep the miners out of danger.

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Threatening Businesses Over Proposition 8

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

Threatening businesses that have made donations in the Proposition 8 campaign on gay marriage has become a weapon used by both sides in the debate. Opposing Proposition 8, Californians Against Hate, created specifically to draw attention to donors who contributed to the measure, organized boycott efforts against some business contributors as reported in the Wall Street Journal and elsewhere. ProtectMarriage.com, a leading group supporting Prop 8, announced it will publicize any business that donates against the measure unless that company also makes an equal donation to the Yes side. Rest assured, that publicity is intended to be negative.

Asking consumers to be political activists with their dollars is not a new phenomenon. Some have argued it is a good way for people to become active in politics. University of South Carolina history professor Lawrence Glickman argued in a 2005 Boston Globe piece that, “The fact that so many Americans are not only ardent consumers but avid consumer activists suggests that they see consumption not only as a private pleasure but as a public good.”

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Lottery: The Schools Win Again!

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Modernizing the State Lottery and allowing the state to “securitize” (get an advance on) future revenues are well-known elements of the budget deal hammered out in September. A constitutional amendment and related changes to the lottery initiative will be proposed to voters at the next statewide election. The Governor estimates that these changes will result in a $5 billion bump in revenues in 2009-10, which will be used “to pay down debt and fill the rainy-day fund in the out-years.”

But one of the lesser-known features of this deal will be to disconnect the Lottery from its original purpose to supplement public school and college budgets. Instead, any surplus revenues beyond prizes, administration, and loan repayment will be deposited in the state General Fund. In return, the amount of lottery spending for public education this year will be added to the Proposition 98 guarantee, and increased as the constitutional minimum floor is raised. This is not a trivial change: for the eight years through 2006-07 (most recent data), lottery revenues increased by 34 percent while the Prop 98 guarantee increased by 54 percent.

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Pay now, pay later — but by all means pay more

Loren Kaye
President of the California Foundation for Commerce and Education

Much of the debate over controlling greenhouse gases is a variation of “pay now or pay later.” Pay a higher price (for a light bulb, refrigerator, or automobile) and save on more efficient operation later.

Since autos and light trucks account for more than a quarter of all GHG emissions in California, regulators are focusing their attention on more efficient automobiles. New technology to produce highly efficient cars will cost more, but the Air Resources Board, claims that “because these technology improvements will also reduce the operating cost of vehicles … the average consumer will ultimately save $30 a month.”

But are regulators considering all the operating costs of smaller or more efficient vehicles when determining a net benefit in purchasing and operating these vehicles? Perhaps not.

A recent report in the Wall Street Journal reveals there is more to cost than buying fuel. The cost to insure smaller or high technology vehicles is more than for larger or less fuel-efficient cars. And it isn’t a small difference.

For example, for a 40-year-old male, the miserly Honda Civic costs $412 more a year to insure than its big cousin, the Honda CR-V SUV, because small cars have higher premiums for personal injury protection for occupants and because they are more likely to be stolen than larger cars. So the better fuel efficiency of the Civic (assuming the current price of gas at $3.35 a gallon) won’t come into play until that car has been driven more than 13,600 miles.

A 2009 Toyota Camry hybrid costs $655 more a year to insure than its non-hybrid sibling – mostly because parts replacement is much more expensive for the high-tech vehicle. This means the fuel saving benefit for the hybrid will not become apparent until the car has been driven more than 18,450 miles.

Since the average passenger car in California travels less than 12,000 miles a year, these examples suggest there would be far less overall consumer savings than suggested by better fuel mileage alone. Advocates for cost-effective greenhouse gas reduction measures should take note, and include the full cost to the consumer of vehicle efficiency mandates.

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