CA120: Politics in the digital age

An illustration using hard-drawn images on green data paper. (Maksim Kabakou, via Shutterstock)

This past election cycle rewrote the rules for digital campaigning. Most media coverage, especially after the election, has focused on how a brand of digital terrorism – viral campaigns based on fake news stories, fueled by fake social media accounts and hacked computers – put before voters a mix of negative messages and falsehoods that had a huge impact on the U.S. presidential campaign.

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Capitol Weekly podcast: Paul Mitchell

Campaign data expert Paul Mitchell.

Let’s talk data: California political numbers cruncher Paul Mitchell sits down with Capitol Weekly Editor John Howard to chat about all things digital. Consider this: The past election cycle rewrote the rules for digital campaigning. Most media coverage, especially after the election, has focused on what Paul calls in today’s CA120 column “digital terrorism” – viral campaigns based on fake news stories, fueled by fake social media accounts and hacked computers.

News

Drought’s not over for everybody

Localized flooding on the American River near Folsom Dam. (Photo: David Greitzer

Most Californians are – finally – out of the drought, but the record-setting rains have not washed away emergency conditions for all residents. Gov. Jerry Brown’s April 7 executive order lifted the drought state of emergency for 54 of California’s 58 counties.

Opinion

Needed: Good-time credits for lifers

Sunlight streams through the bars of a prison cell. (Photo: nobeastsofierce, via Shutterstock)

OPINION: Proposition 57’s 50 percent good time credit should be applied retroactively to all incarcerated people, including lifers who committed violent crimes. Contrary to popular fears, releasing reformed lifers may be the best thing we can do to reduce violent crime.

News

In the weeds: A close look at bills, amendments, resolutions

The state Capitol in Sacramento, viewed from 10th Street toward the West Steps.(Photo: Timothy Boomer)

In the state Capitol, there are three types of measures that can be considered by California lawmakers – bills, constitutional amendments and resolutions. All are printed by the Office of State Publishing and are made publicly available –usually by the next day – online and at the Bill Room in the basement of the old section of the state Capitol.

Opinion

In defense of cap and trade

The power plant in El Segundo, Calif. (Photo: Don Solomon)

OPINION: One of California’s tools in fighting climate change and promoting clean air is the emissions reduction program known as cap and trade. Cap and trade is one part of California’s broader approach to growing clean energy jobs and investment — and it works best in concert with the state’s full suite of policies.

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California pedestrian deaths decline — finally

Pedestrians crossing Hollywood Boulevard. (Photo: Sean Pavone)

Pedestrian deaths are on the rise throughout the nation, but California is bucking the trend. Preliminary data by the Governors Highway Safety Organization shows an increase in pedestrian fatalities throughout the United States, rising 12 percent to 5,997 in 2016. Yet California, home to the highest number of pedestrian deaths for years, is finally seeing a drop.

Opinion

Gaming the system in asbestos lawsuits

A worker removes asbestos-laden material from a building roof. (Photo: Bjoern Wylezich)

OPINION: First, the lawyer sues the solvent company and receives a full recovery after trial or settlement. Then, the lawyer files a claim before the bankruptcy trust for the same exact harm. Of course, it’s entirely possible the plaintiff was exposed to multiple different brands of asbestos. If that’s the case, then the trust should know about exposure to other asbestos from solvent companies.

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Appeals court allows pension cuts, backs San Diego

A view across the rail years of downtown San Diego. (Photo: Welcomia, via Shutterstock)

Calpensions: In another ruling allowing pension cuts, an appeals court last week overturned a state labor board ruling that a voter-approved San Diego pension reform was invalid because the city declined to bargain the issue with labor unions.

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