Analysis

In end game, Brown reverts to the conventional

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.

Analysis

CA120: North versus South in 2018 primary

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.

Analysis

Californians, economics and environmental protection

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.

Analysis

CA120: Alabama election a wave — or just a ripple?

Democrat Doug Jones on election night in Alabama, declaring victory over Republican Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate special election. (Photo: Screen capture, CNBC)

ANALYSIS: Last week’s U.S. Senate election in Alabama marked for many political observers the first striking evidence that the coming year will bring a “wave election” which could wash Republican majorities out of Congress and trickle down to gubernatorial and legislative seats. It seems like a big turnaround based on just one election result.

Analysis

The art of influencing legislation

The state Capitol in Sacramento. (Photo: N.F. Photography)

ANALYSIS: Influencing legislation is a complicated business. There is no high-tech computer model that can predict whether a bill introduced in the California Legislature will become a law and, if so, the form it will take. However, there are many, knowable influences that regularly shape state legislation in California.

Analysis

The art of the deal, Capitol style — Part II

The state Capitol in Sacramento at night. (Photo: Susanne Pommer)

Cutting deals is part of the Capitol culture — it’s how laws are made. But does this deal-making come close to the legal line, or even cross it? Let’s continue our review of California criminal statutes that might apply to the wheeling and dealing of the Legislature.

Analysis

The art of the deal — Capitol style

The Assembly chamber in the state Capitol, Sacramento. (Photo: Felix Lipov, Shutterstock)

We often read about the “wheeling and dealing” among elected officials that occurs in state capitols across this country, including Sacramento. While some Capitol observers refer to it as lawful deal-making, others characterize it as improper, or even unlawful, vote trading. So which is it?

Analysis

Voters like Brown, Feinstein, but also seek change

Gov. Brown at Hall of Fame ceremonies in Sacramento last year. (Photo: By Randy Miramontez)

ANALYSIS: California is a solid Democratic state, Republicans in the foreseeable future have little chance of winning a statewide office, and Democratic icons Jerry Brown and Dianne Feinstein viewed more positively than negatively. But voters still want change.

Analysis

‘New Democrats’ flexing muscle

A Democratic gathering listens to presidential contender Bernie Sanders at a March 2016 rally at the Wiltem Theater in Los Angeles. (Photo: Joseph Sohm)

ANALYSIS: Moderate Democrats are nothing new — they have been around for decades. In the 1980’s a group of moderate Democrats called the “Gang of Five” unsuccessfully tried to unseat Speaker Willie Brown. Today, they are more organized and go by the name, “New Democrats.” Generally, a New Democrat is one who, like Republicans, is business-friendly on some key issues, such as taxes and regulation, and skeptical of some environmental controls that curtail economic growth.

Analysis

‘Junior’ budget bills slip into view

The Assembly chamber in the state Capitol, Sacramento. (Photo: Felix Lipov)

ANALYSIS: During the budget negotiations in September, there was talk in the Capitol about whether it was proper – or even legal – for California lawmakers to pass two measures amending the state budget that had been adopted three months earlier. These two bills, known as “junior” budget bills, were approved along with a half-dozen budget trailer bills making numerous policy changes in state law for the 2017-18 fiscal year.  Gov. Brown signed them all.

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