The two Republicans most likely to challenge Barbara Boxer in her bid for a fourth Senate term received lukewarm support in the most recent Field Poll of Republican voters. State Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) is favored by 20%, while businesswoman Carly Fiorina, who has not yet formally announced her candidacy, is at 21%. Nearly 60% of respondents were undecided. In matchups against the Republicans, Boxer holds leads of 17 points over DeVore and 14 points over Fiorina.
From an analysis of thousands of lobbyist disclosure reports, the Sacramento Bee has developed a database that tracks gifts to state lawmakers between January 2008 and June 2009. During those 18 months, lobbyists gave legislators, their staffs, and relatives about $610,000 in gifts, including concert tickets, 424 meals at the upscale Sacramento restaurant Spataro (average cost: $57 a meal), kegs of beer, and free travel to destinations from Hawaii to Hungary. (While legislators may not accept more than $420 in gifts annually from a single organization, there is no restriction on gifts to lawmakers’ friends and families.)
After California voters approved Proposition 8 in November 2008, restricting marriage to opposite-sex couples, a group of secular and religious leaders gathered in Pasadena to analyze the ways in which conservative religious communities contributed to the measure’s success. Their report examines how gay and lesbian religious organizing efforts have fallen short, and outlines strategies to guide future advocacy efforts.
Since 1973, six statewide special elections have been called (three of them since 2003). The Public Policy Institute of California looks at the issues, voter turnout and final results for each.
Proposition 1A would make significant changes to the size of the state’s reserve (“rainy day”) fund, and place new restrictions on its use. The California Budget Project examines the proposition’s complex formulas, and describes its potential impact on state budgeting practice and existing state programs.
What if we accepted that small measures are inadequate for reinvigorating a stalemated state legislature? What if the situation calls for big ideas, radical proposals? The New America Foundation has one: Personalized Full Representation for the 21st Century (PFR21), “a system of representation by means of regionally based legislative elections that will allow the state’s citizens to set the agenda for their regions and for the state as a whole.”
A new report from the Pew Hispanic Center covers the recent surge in Hispanic voter turnout in states critical to the 2008 presidential contest. Among the findings:
- Hillary Clinton would not have won the primary elections on February 5 and March 4 in California and Texas had it not been for the high turnout of Hispanic voters in those states. In California, Hispanic voters favored Clinton over Barack Obama by a margin of 67-32%. In Texas, the margin was almost identical — 66-32%. In New York, the margin was even wider — 73-26%.
- Turnout has been higher among Hispanics in this presidential election year than in 2004 (at least in 16 out of 19 states where exit polling permitted comparisons). In California alone, Hispanic voters accounted for 30% of the total voter turnout on February 5.
- More than half of Hispanic voters in the Super Tuesday Democratic primaries were younger than 45. More than one in five were between the ages of 17 and 29. Just one-third of white voters in the same set of primaries were under 45.
- AS of 2007, Hispanics made up 8.9% of the eligible electorate, up almost a full percentage point from 2004, according to the Census Bureau. That number is expected to rise as more Hispanics become naturalized and as more US-born Hispanics turn 18.
The California Property Owners and Farmland Protection Act, which has qualified as Proposition 98 on the June 3 ballot, defines rent control as a form of eminent domain and if enacted would provide that any rent control ordinance in effect prior to January 2007 become essentially invalid. Most of the cash thus far for the initiative has come from landlord and property owners’ groups and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Two groups that have signed on to oppose Proposition 98 are the AARP and the League of Women Voters.
There are currently 12 California cities with rent control ordinances, including several of the state’s largest urban centers: San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, San Jose, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, West Hollywood, Palm Springs, Los Gatos, Hayward, East Palo Alto, and Berkeley. (Thousand Oaks also had a rent control ordinance in effect but has gradually phased it out.)
Because California enacted vacancy decontrol measures in 1995, in communities with rent control, rental units have shown a huge discrepancy in price between vacated units, which landlords have been able to re-price beyond the standard allowable annual rent increase, and units with tenants who have remained put. Expect the number of vacated units (whether they are vacated voluntarily or involuntarily) in those communities to drastically rise if Proposition 98 becomes law.
Summing up last night’s statewide election results …
According to a recent report from the Pew Hispanic Center, the gap in party affiliation among Hispanics has widened drmamatically in the past 1 to 2 years. The gap in affiliation between Hispanics who identified themselves as Democrats and those who identified themselves as Republicans was only 21% in 2006. The gap is now 34%.
In 2004, 32% of Hispanic voters in California voted for George Bush. Bush lost the state by 10 percentage points. Hispanics constitute a strategic percentage of eligible voters in 4 out of 6 states where George Bush won in 2004 by 5 percentage points or fewer. (The 4 states are New Mexico, Florida, Nevada, and Colorado.) In California, Hispanics constitute a project 16.8% of the share of the projected atate vote in 2008. In states like California, where the vote for president could be closely contested, the participation of Hispanic voters could mean the difference between one party winning or losing the election. That reality is even more apparent in states like the four mentioned above, because the 2004 election was far more closely contested in those states.