Capitol Alert

The latest on California politics and government

November 6, 2012
California voters approve corporate tax hike for budget, clean energy

California voters approved a complex corporate tax change that would result in out-of-state firms paying an estimated $1 billion more annually for the state budget and clean energy programs.

The initiative was leading 59 percent to 41 percent late Tuesday with 43 percent of the vote counted.

Proposition 39 was backed almost entirely by billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who spent $32 million on the campaign.

The initiative would initially pump $500 million into the state budget and education in the first half of 2013. Thereafter, it would also devote about $500 million for clean energy, in addition to $500 million for the budget and education each year.

ELECTION 2012
Vote results: Customize your races
Sacbee.com's Election Central: News, photos, video
Voter Guide: Candidates, issues
California propositions
Sacramento Bee endorsements
Live today: Tell us if you voted. Report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace. Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

November 6, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown declares victory for Proposition 30

Gov. Jerry Brown thanked supporters for helping him secure passage of Proposition 30 Tuesday evening, saying "we had to overcome a lot of obstacles....We overcame them."

The measure held a narrow lead with 43 percent of the vote counted.

Proposition 30 is the linchpin to Brown's budget plan this year and in years to come as California faces ongoing challenges balancing its books.


ELECTION 2012
Vote results: Customize your races
Sacbee.com's Election Central: News, photos, video
Voter Guide: Candidates, issues
California propositions
Sacramento Bee endorsements
Live today: Tell us if you voted. Report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace. Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

November 6, 2012
'Three strikes' change wins California voter approval

Voters have approved a revision of California's landmark Three Strikes sentencing law, passing a measure that eliminates 25 years-to-life sentences for inmates whose third felony offense is not a serious or violent crime.

Proposition 36 changes the 18-year-old law, considered the nation's toughest, by allowing inmates to seek new hearings if their third strike was not violent or serious, and is estimated to save the state $70 million to $90 million annually.

ELECTION 2012
Vote results: Customize your races
Sacbee.com's Election Central: News, photos, video
Voter Guide: Candidates, issues
California propositions
Sacramento Bee endorsements
Live today: Tell us if you voted. Report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace. Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

November 6, 2012
Jerry Brown puts TV before party, calls results 'pretty good'

Gov. Jerry Brown said tonight that prospects of passing his initiative to raise taxes are "pretty good," though few at his election night party heard him -- or even knew Brown was speaking.

The Democratic governor made his remark in a brief appearance on NBC Nightly News, while supporters cheered speakers on stage at an election night party at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento.

Brown is scheduled to arrive later this evening, but not before doing another network interview.

A handful of reporters huddled around a television in the noisy ballroom with Brown on a TV. Later, as they were waiting for his second interview, a guest asked them to turn the channel back to the favorite at this party, MSNBC.

November 6, 2012
Proposition 38 rejected by voters

Voters on Tuesday handily rejected Proposition 38, an initiative raising income taxes on middle- and upper-class households for education.

Wealthy activist Molly Munger and her husband spent more than $47 million on the initiative this year, mostly on statewide advertising that tried to convince voters her measure was most beneficial for California schools.

In mid-October, Munger incurred the wrath of advocates for Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 when she ran a week of ads criticizing his campaign as "misleading" and for allowing lawmakers to tap the money.

Though Munger had a well-funded campaign, she lacked the institutional support that Brown's enjoyed, plus her measure faced an uphill battle trying to convince middle-class voters to raise their own income taxes.

With about 18 percent of the vote counted, the measure was trailing, 74.5 percent to 25.5 percent.

ELECTION 2012
Vote results: Customize your races
Sacbee.com's Election Central: News, photos, video
Voter Guide: Candidates, issues
California propositions
Sacramento Bee endorsements
Live today: Tell us if you voted. Report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace. Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

November 6, 2012
Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative leads in early exit polling

Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative led in an initial exit poll Tuesday evening, giving comfort to advocates who grew concerned when recent surveys showed flagging support in the final month of the campaign.

Proposition 30 led 53 percent to 47 percent in a California exit poll conducted for The Bee by Edison Research. The numbers are subject to change as the evening wears on.

The initiative would raise income taxes on top earners and the statewide sales tax by a quarter-cent on the dollar to generate roughly $6 billion annually for the state budget, which pays for education, social services and public safety. The tiered income tax hike kicks in retroactively for the 2012 tax year at $250,000 for individuals and $500,000 for joint filers.

November 6, 2012
Pelosi's road to majority hits roadblock before CA polls close

PELOSIBB DNC 0382.JPGHouse minority leader Nancy Pelosi predicted earlier this year that the road to a Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives would run through California.

"Simply put, to win back the House, to succeed in our drive for 25 ... California Democrats will lead the way," the former House speaker said in a speech at the California Democratic Party convention last winter.

Not so much.

Television network projections showed Republicans securing another two years in control of Congress before the polls in California even closed today, thanks to GOP wins in other parts of the country.

Still, a handful of GOP-held seats in California are expected to be close calls tonight. Reps. Dan Lungren, Jeff Denham and Mary Bono Mack are among the Republican incumbents facing a serious challenge.

RELATED STORIES:

Democrats optimistic about keeping Senate; House likely to stay GOP-led

Democrats' chances of big California congressional gains dim

ELECTION 2012
Vote results: Customize your races
Sacbee.com's Election Central: News, photos, video
Voter Guide: Candidates, issues
California propositions
Sacramento Bee endorsements
Live today: Tell us if you voted. Report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace. Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

November 6, 2012
Jerry Brown found 'human quality' in surrogate dog Sutter

Pet License Plates.jpgIt caused more than few eyes to roll when it was announced last month that Gov. Jerry Brown would dispatch his pet dog to visit Democratic field offices on behalf of Proposition 30, Brown's initiative to raise taxes.

But it was inexpensive, as campaign activities go, and it required no time of Brown's. Jennifer Fearing, of the Humane Society of the United States, would tour Sutter, the Pembroke Welsh corgi, around.

The press swooned.

Television and light newspaper coverage was abundant. In one city, Fearing said, Sutter "got the key to the city from the mayor - on a live shot!" As she arrived with Sutter at a campaign party this evening at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, Fearing said the two had logged 3,200 miles.

On Sunday, the Democratic governor had finished a series of campaign stops in Los Angeles when he was asked about the dog's involvement in the race.

"I think there are a lot of people who like animals, more than you think," Brown said. "And I also think there's a certain human quality that it adds ... in a campaign world which is very mechanical, driven by polls, focus groups and scripted commercials, to have an element of spontaneity."

There are certain liabilities that a politician accepts when he appoints an animal to be his surrogate, interacting with people on live television. But Sutter is exceedingly well behaved.

It may also be true, as Brown said, that "his favorability ratings are higher than mine."

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown and first dog, Sutter Brown, promote sales of specialty license plates in Los Angeles on May 2, 2012. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

November 6, 2012
Election Night Extra: What to watch for tonight

In case you missed it:

The Bee's online election coverage began at 7 a.m. Here are highlights:

Here's what to watch in California's legislative and House races.

Few problems were reported across California, and fraud isn't weighing heavily on voters' minds.

Charles T. Munger Jr. has spent more than a half-million dollars to tell Californians that yes on Proposition 40 means no.

Gov. Jerry Brown voted for Proposition 34 to abolish the death penalty and then planned to go hiking. Watch our video.

Minor political parties aren't doing very well in the election.

VIDEO: Dan Walters asks whether California elections should borrow from Oregon.

Returns from the East Coast have started trickling in, while tallies of California's vote-by-mail ballots turned in ahead of Election Day should be available at sacbee.com shortly after the polls here close at 8 p.m.

While you're waiting, check out The Bee's Election Central for photo, video and news related to California campaigns.

Use our interactive map to predict the outcome of the presidential vote.

Join us at SacBee Live and tell us if you voted and report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace.

Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

On mobile: iPhone and Android apps, or m.sacbee.com

Sign up now for breaking news email alerts: www.sacbee.com/email

Follow on Twitter: @sacbee_news

Join us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/sacramentobee

November 6, 2012
Few reports of lines, aggressive poll monitors across California

By Jim Sanders
jsanders@sacbee.com

Long lines at the ballot box, overly aggressive poll monitors, malfunctioning machines - hundreds of complaints were reported about voting today, but generally they were minor and affected only a small fraction of Californians.
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"By all accounts, everything is going very smoothly," Shannan Velayas, spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said about 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The election hotline manned by the secretary of state's office had received 6,700 calls by mid-afternoon, but only about 200 of them were complaints, Velayas said.

November 6, 2012
Munger spends $600,000 urging yes on Prop. 40

By Jim Sanders

jsanders@sacbee.com

The Election Day tally is in: Charles T. Munger Jr. has spent more than a half-million dollars to tell Californians that yes on Proposition 40 means no.

In other words, voting yes means opposing the referendum and retaining new Senate districts that were drawn for today's election. No group has formally campaigned to redraw those districts, which are supported now by both the Democratic and Republican state parties.

Even the sponsors of Proposition 40 have abandoned their measure, urging support of the new Senate maps. But Munger and others are concerned that voters mistakenly could check the wrong ballot box.

November 6, 2012
Minor political parties fare poorly this time around

By Jim Sanders
jsanders@sacbee.com

Today's biggest election loser?

Minor parties, perhaps.

Of 320 state and federal candidates on today's California ballot, only seven are members of minor parties.

A majority of the minor-party candidates are running for president -- Roseanne Barr, Peace and Freedom Party; Thomas Hoefling, American Independent Party; Jill Stein, Green; and Gary Johnson, Libertarian.

California's new top two primary system allowed only the two highest vote getters in the primary election to advance to today's runoff in state Senate or Assembly races -- and no minor party candidate survived in a district where both a Democrat and Republican squared off in June, records show.

Three minor-party candidates, all from the Peace and Freedom Party, remain in the running for legislative seats: Mary Catherine McIlroy, Senate District 9, based in Alameda County; Lee H. Chauser, Senate District 33, Los Angeles County; and Eugene Ruyle, Assembly District 15, Alameda and Contra Costa counties.

Five additional candidates are not tied to any party. Four of them are seeking a congressional seat - Marilyn Singleton, Terry Phillips, David R. Hernandez, and Bill Bloomfield. The lone independent seeking a legislative seat is Chad Walsh.

Only 5 percent of California voters are minor-party members. Twenty-one percent of the electorate expresses no party preference. Democrats lead Republicans in voter registration 43 percent to 30 percent, records show.

November 6, 2012
Voter fraud not among top concerns of California voters today

By Jim Sanders
jsanders@sacbee.com

Trivia quiz: What were the three most common election issues cited by the 1,900 callers to the secretary of state's statewide hotline during the first several hours of balloting today?

Answer: By far, callers had questions about the location of their polling place, whether they were registered to vote, or what to do with their vote-by-mail ballot, said Nicole Winger, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

There were no complaints of fraud, intimidation or other crime, and only a spattering of reports about a polling place that did not open exactly at 7 a.m., perhaps because an alarm clock malfunctioned, Winger said.

"The first two hours of election day, by all accounts, have gone very smoothly, Winger said shortly before 10 a.m.

She cautioned, however, that county registrars of voters also field calls about polling place problems, so the state would not necessarily be aware of every complaint fielded.

The secretary of state's hotline, for Californians who experience a problem casting their ballot, is (800) 345-VOTE.

In Sacramento County, long lines were not unusual the first two hours of balloting, with some polling places reporting up to 30 people waiting to vote, said Alice Jarboe, assistant registrar of voters.

Jarboe said long lines at peak periods are not unexpected, however, during presidential elections in a county of 700,000 voters.

No complaints of misbehavior at polling places had been received, she said.

November 6, 2012
Jerry Brown votes for measure to repeal death penalty

Jerry Brown.JPGOAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown this morning said he voted for a ballot initiative to repeal the death penalty, after declining during the campaign to say how he would vote on the measure.

The Democratic governor had maintained a careful distance from Proposition 34. Despite his longstanding moral reservations about capital punishment, Brown enforced the death penalty as state attorney general and promised during his gubernatorial campaign in 2010 to uphold the law if elected.

Brown's vote was as expected. He was 21 when he persuaded his father, then-Gov. Pat Brown, to grant convicted rapist Caryl Chessman a temporary stay of execution. Later, as governor from 1975 to 1983, Jerry Brown vetoed death penalty legislation, though his veto was overridden by the Legislature.

Near his home in the Oakland hills this morning, the governor was asked about Proposition 34 outside the fire station where he cast his ballot.

"I voted 'Yes,'" he said. "Of course."

PHOTO CAPTION: A Dalmatian dog watches as California Gov. Jerry Brown, left, votes Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, at a fire station in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

November 6, 2012
VIDEO: An optimistic Jerry Brown casts ballot, plans to go hiking

OAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown stood this morning at a stand of microphones down the road from his home in the Oakland hills, outside the fire station where he votes, optimistic his ballot initiative to raise taxes may do even better "than most of you are probably expecting."

Brown's campaign for Proposition 30, his initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, is expected to result in a close finish. The political implications are enormous for Brown, who has sought to raise taxes almost since taking office.

The Democratic governor acknowledged the difficulty he had in failed negotiations with the Legislature over taxes immediately after taking office last year, and later in his feud with the proponents of alternative tax proposals.

November 6, 2012
Students vote for two proposed tax increases in landslide in mock election

By Jim Sanders

jsanders@sacbee.com

While Californians were flocking to the polls this morning, the two proposed tax increases on this year's statewide ballot already had passed by a landslide in a mock election at one Sacramento-area high school.

Gov. Jerry Brown's Proposition 30 and the Proposition 38 income tax measure pushed by Molly Munger captured 82 percent and 62 percent of the vote, respectively, in voting by about 1,100 students at Florin High School in the Elk Grove school district.

President Barack Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney almost as handily as the San Francisco Giants dumped the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Nearly nine of every 10 voters gave Obama thumbs-up.

November 6, 2012
What to watch in California's House and legislative races

In addition to the presidential vote and eleven high-profile ballot measures, 154 congressional and state legislative seats are up for grabs today in California.

Changes to the state's political landscape, such as the top-two primary and political maps drawn for the first time by a citizens' commission, and heavy spending by outside groups in state and federal races have produced more competitive contests than in years past.

Those dynamics can make it hard for even the most observant political junkie to know where to turn his or her attention once the polls close at 8 p.m. To help, we've created an Election Day cheat sheet to describe some of the trends we're tracking and questions we'll be asking as we analyze tonight's results.

November 6, 2012
Dan Walters Daily: Should California elections borrow from Oregon?

VIDEO: Dan ponders the possibility of all-mail voting in California.

Have a question you'd like Dan to answer? Post it on our Facebook page.

See other Dan Walters Daily clips here.

November 6, 2012
AM Alert: What to watch for on Election Day

Election Day has finally arrived.

First, the most important reminder: polls here in California open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m. You can find your polling place via this link.

Still figuring out how to vote in those down-ticket races you haven't considered? Compare candidates and ballot-measure arguments with our Voter Guide.

We're guessing that 8 p.m. can't come soon enough for most of our Alert readers out there.

Political junkies are eagerly awaiting the results in the many close -- and costly -- contests on today's ballot. Others are just glad that their commercial breaks and mailboxes will soon get a break from all those political ads.

Even though President Barack Obama is expected to win handily in blue California, the fates of many down-ticket races and ballot measures are in play.

In addition to 11 statewide measures up for a vote, California is home to more competitive candidate races than in years past, thanks in part to the state's new political maps, drawn for the first time by a Citizens Redistricting Commission, and a new primary system that allows two members of the same party to face off on the fall ballot.

So what will we be tracking tonight? Here's a sample of some of the biggest questions heading into today's balloting:

•Will voters give a thumbs up to Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase? How will wealthy attorney Molly Munger's rival tax, Proposition 38, fare?
•Was labor's $66 million in campaign contributions and extensive ground game enough to hold off Proposition 32, which would make their ability to collect cash for political purposes more difficult?
•Will legislative Democrats hold a veto-proof supermajority in the state Senate for the first time in more than four decades?
•Which candidate will prevail in the dozens of competitive congressional and legislative races taking place across the state, including 28 featuring two members of the same party on the ballot?

We might not know all the answers tonight, especially in the closest contests. But we'll have you covered with what we do know throughout the day and night at sacbee.com.

The Bee's online election coverage, which begins at 7 a.m., will include Election Day dispatches from throughout the Sacramento region, exit polling about what voters were thinking as they cast their ballot, live chats with reporters on various issues and, of course, results. Returns from the East Coast should start trickling in after 3 p.m., while tallies of absentee ballots turned in ahead of Election Day should be available at sacbee.com shortly after the polls here close at 8 p.m.

While you're waiting, check out The Bee's Election Central for photo, video and news related to California campaigns.

Use our interactive map to predict the outcome of the presidential vote.

Join us at SacBee Live and tell us if you voted and report what's going on at your polling place, in your neighborhood, at your workplace.

Share a photo: email breakingnews@sacbee.com

FIELD POLL: The record 18.2 million Californians eligible to vote in today's election isn't expected to lead to an all-time high in turnout levels. Field is estimating that 12.7 million residents will participate in the balloting, about 1 million fewer voters than in 2008. Laurel Rosenhall has more on the prediction and what it could mean for California contests in today's Bee. The full release is available here.

CAKE AND CANDLES: Assemblyman Jeff Gorrell, R-Camarillo, celebrates his 42nd birthday today. It's probably safe to assume he's hoping voters gift him a second term in the lower house.

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Capitol Alert Staff


Jeremy White Jeremy B. White covers California politics and edits Capitol Alert's mobile Insider Edition. jwhite@sacbee.com. Twitter: @capitolalert

Amy Chance Amy Chance is political editor for The Sacramento Bee. achance@sacbee.com. Twitter: @Amy_Chance

Dan Smith Dan Smith is Capitol bureau chief for The Sacramento Bee. smith@sacbee.com

Christopher Cadelago Christopher Cadelago covers California politics and health care. ccadelago@sacbee.com. Twitter: @ccadelago

Micaela Massimino Micaela Massimino edits Capitol Alert. mmassimino@sacbee.com

Laurel Rosenhall Laurel Rosenhall covers the Legislature, the lobbying community and higher education. lrosenhall@sacbee.com. Twitter: @LaurelRosenhall

David Siders David Siders covers the Brown administration. dsiders@sacbee.com. Twitter: @davidsiders

Dan Walters Dan Walters is a columnist for The Sacramento Bee. dwalters@sacbee.com. Twitter: @WaltersBee

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