Board of Equalization Chair Jerome Horton chats with colleague Diane Harkey in the Capitol. (Photo: AP/Rich Pedroncelli)
Whether you liked it or not, the state Board of Equalization successfully blocked a gas tax increase. This saved Californians 4-cents-a-gallon at the pump, but handed Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers a $617 million hole in the state budget. What caused this rather dramatic policy move? I keep being drawn to the extraordinary events surrounding the 2011 redistricting of the BOE, which has four directly elected members.
The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo SchnepfDesign, via Shutterstock)
Clearly, Washington, D.C., and Sacramento share many things in common — including such negatives as a hyper-heated political culture, insularity and a pervasive sense of entitlement. And California’s Legislature is obviously based upon the federal legislative model. Nonetheless, their legislative rules are different, so let’s take a look at some of the major distinctions.
Investigators probe the London premises of Cambridge Analytica last week, after a search warrant was issued by a High Court judge. (Photo: Yui Mok/Press Association, via AP)
It hasn’t been long since we learned of a presidential campaign that used personal information gleaned from Facebook apps to enhance voter files, and target voters and their friends with political messaging. This campaign was so sophisticated that they could identify people who would be swayed by particular messages, were more persuaded by messages about immigration, education, or health care, were likely or unlikely to vote, or even were likely to volunteer or donate money.
An image depicting the varied responses in political polling. (Illustration: Tim Foster/Capitol Weekly),
ANALYSIS: The public opinion polling industry in many ways is at a crossroads. For years public polls were run with live telephone interviews using a system of “random digit dialing” or RDD, which allowed a poll to be based on samples which would be naturally balanced since all potential voters had the same probability to be administered a phone survey.
An illustration of the electorate. (Image: M-SUR, via Shutterstock)
ANALYSIS: Pew Research recently released a report titled Commercial Voter Files and the Study of U.S. Politics, which initially looked like a really interesting piece for someone like me who works in voter files every day. But one paragraph in, I nearly laughed out of my chair. The reason? There is a big difference between voter files and panels.
The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: Kris Wiktor)
The burning question of the day: Should Joint Rule 10.5 be changed? If you, like most normal people, have little interest in the Capitol’s battles, then this question prompts a big yawn. But if you engage in the interminable wars over legislation, then this issue is a very, very big deal. So pay attention, you may be tested on this later.
Assemblymember Melissa Melendez at a Capitol Park rally supporting her whistleblower protection bill. (Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/AP)
Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law whistle blower protections Capitol staffers. Now, legislative employees in California will have the same protections as all other state employees. But a question arises: Will the new law, which passed both Democrat-controlled houses without a dissenting vote, really make much of a difference?
Gov. Brown delivers his 16th state of the state address. (Photo: Screen capture, ABC 7 Los Angeles).
Jerry Brown professes to not be interested in legacies. Yet his 16th and final state-of-the-state speech last week was all about a legacy – his own. The governor talked about how dire the state’s fiscal situation was before he became governor. Then he talked about how good things are now that he’s been in charge for the last seven years.
Balancing the political power between L.A. and the San Francisco Bay Area. (Illustration: Tim Foster, Capitol Weekly)
ANALYSIS: With five months to the 2018 gubernatorial primary election, there is a natural tendency to try and find the single major factor that will determine the outcome. Will it be Donald Trump, absentee voters, young people, the gas tax, racially polarized voting, the open primary, North versus South, the growing number of independent voters, the new registrants since President Trump was elected, or 25% of the electorate who registered to vote in 2016? The fact is, it will be all of these things.
View of downtown San Diego and central rail yards. (Photo: welcomia, via Shutterstock)
ANALYSIS: Something that isn’t too surprising for legislators or Gov. Brown as California continues to be on the forefront of environmental policies: A major survey shows strong majority (62 percent) of Californians believe air pollution is a problem in their part of California. Two-thirds (66 percent) believe the effects of global warming have already begun, while 58 percent believe it is a serious threat to California’s economy and quality of life.