Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

With 11 statewide measures on the November ballot, voters will soon get plenty of opportunity to speak their mind. Which is just how they prefer it, voters said in a new Public Policy Institute of California study released last night.

PPIC found that more than eight in 10 Democrats, Republicans and independents said they believe voters should have a say in state spending and taxes rather than leaving it up to the Legislature and governor.

The superior wisdom of the voters is one of the only things the divided electorate could agree upon. Elsewhere in its report, PPIC said that Democrats and Republicans have grown more polarized than in 2000. More Democrats consider themselves "liberals" now than before (52 percent versus 46 percent in 2000), while more Republicans consider themselves "conservatives" (70 percent versus 58 percent in 2000).

On a related note, PPIC will hold a morning-long event today at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento to discuss recent changes in California governance, such as reducing the budget vote threshold from two-thirds to simple majority in the Legislature. Registration starts at 9 a.m.

Elsewhere in Sacramento, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. to emphasize disaster preparedness with the American Red Cross. He will discuss a new "Capital Region Ready" program that helps locals prepare for natural disasters "including catastrophic floods, wildfires and earthquakes."

The event will take place at Garcia Bend Park, which abuts a levee along the Sacramento River.

And the campaign to repeal the death penalty will hold a 2:30 p.m. press conference featuring Brian Banks, a linebacker with the United Football League's Las Vegas Locomotives who was wrongly convicted of rape in 2002. The Locomotives are in town to play the Sacramento Mountain Lions.

Banks was exonerated earlier this year and had served five years in prison. Though Banks didn't face a death sentence, the Proposition 34 campaign wants to make the case that others could wrongly be on death row.

Finally, happy 45th birthday to Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom. We just, ugh, God, hope he can avoid the indignity of celebrating in Sacramento.

Editor's note: The Proposition 34 press conference has been moved to 2:30 p.m.



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