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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« September 2004 | | November 2004 »
October 31, 2004

Who got it right last time?

This chart shows the final poll results in every presidential election back to 1936. It's interesting to see how close the polls have come to the actual result over the years, which seems contrary to conventional wisdom.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:02 PM

Field on health care measures

Latest Field Poll results:

Prop. 61: 54 yes, 29 no
Prop. 63: 56 yes, 31 no
Prop. 67: 37 yes, 50 no
Prop. 71: 54 yes, 37 no
Prop. 72: 41 yes, 42 no

Posted by dweintraub at 7:36 AM

October 30, 2004

Props 62, 64, 66, 68 and 70

Saturday's Field Poll results:

Prop. 62: 40 yes, 38 no
Prop. 64: 32 yes, 37 no
Prop. 66: 55 yes, 33 no, but 46-47 in final three days of polling.
Prop. 68: 17 yes, 72 no
Prop. 70: 22 yes, 64 no

Posted by dweintraub at 9:44 AM

October 29, 2004

Where's Arnold?

Busy man. Schwarzenegger is en route to Ohio for Bush, but he's taped a radio interview with Sean Hannity that is schedule to air at 1 p.m. as well as conversations with the California Report on public radio and the Dennis Miller show on CNBC.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:14 PM

$198 million raised in ballot fights

This won't come as a shock to anyone who watches much television: the California Voter Foundation reports that campaigns for and against the 16 propositions on Tuesday's ballot had raised a record $198 million by Oct. 15. Here is the full report.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:10 PM

October 28, 2004

Kerry 49, Bush 42 in Ca--Field Poll

A new Field Poll out this morning shows Kerry up by seven in California, 49-42. His lead is down from 53-41 in August and 49-40 in early October.

Nobody expects Bush to win in California, but Kerry can't be thrilled with a margin that is shrinking rather than growing in one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country. On the other hand, Field showed the same trend in Bush v. Gore in 2000, with Gore's lead shrinking in the final days to seven points. Gore won by 12. Democrats believe Bush's ceiling is right about where he is now -- 40 to 42 points.

Pollster Mark DiCamillo points out that California, increasingly, is two states in one, and this poll reflects that. One of the states is in the big cities and along the coast, where Democrats and moderate Republicans dominate. Kerry leads in LA County 58-34 and in the Bay Area by 63-28. In the Central Valley and in Southern California outside Los Angeles, Bush leads. Those areas, if they formed a separate state, would probably be a mid-sized "red" state for Bush, but are swallowed up here inside the rest of "blue" California.

One other note: Gore in 2000 had a 21-point advantage among women in California. Kerry in this poll has a lead of 14 among women, basically reflecting party preference.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:53 PM

Shelley shake-up

Secretary of State Shelley, under fire for, among other things, his handling of federal voter outreach funds, has shuffled his executive staff and promoted three people to top jobs. Bios from Shelley's office:

·Undersecretary of State Cathy Mitchell, a 23-year veteran of the agency who has served in the Corporations Division, State Archives, Elections Division, and Business Programs Division, where she most recently was Chief. She has also served as interim Chief Assistant Secretary of State;

·Chief Counsel Pam Giarrizzo, an attorney with the Secretary of State’s Office since 1993, serving in the Elections and Business Programs Divisions, and who also worked in the Legislature for 13 years; and

·Assistant Secretary of State for Communications Caren Daniels-Meade, who has more than 32 years with the agency, including 18 years as the Media Director, five years as Chief of Elections, and five years as Chief of the Political Reform Division, where she served most recently. She has 37 statewide elections under her belt.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:28 PM

Turn-out projection

Secretary of State Kevin Shelley predicts turnout will be 73 percent of registered voters, a record 12 million.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:55 PM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger does a No on 66 event this morning in LA, then several afternoon drive-time radio interviews before heading to Columbus, Ohio, to campaign for Bush.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:25 AM

Proposition 66

Supporters of Prop. 66, the measure to pull back on the state's Three Strikes sentencing law, are crying foul over Schwarzenegger's claim in new ads that the proposition would allow the release of more than 20,000 violent criminals, including child molesters, murderers and rapists. The Bee's Andy Furillo, who knows the prison system backward and forward and is covering the campaign, offers this explainer. Bottom line: the governor is right that the measure would release some bad guys. But not nearly as many as he says.

UPDATE: A local prosecutor, not an official spokesman for the NO on 66 campaign, says the governor's claim can be supported by an analysis of provisions that would change the way inmates get credit for good behavior. Those provisions, this source says, would let out thousands of inmates who haven't been getting good-time credits but would get them, retroactively, if the initiative passes.

UPDATE II: LA County prosecutor and blogger Patterico has his own, much more comprehensive analysis here.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:52 AM

October 27, 2004

Story of the day

Is the Howard Jarvis endorsement for sale? A lot of politicos think so, and the $1.8 million the group took in from the Prop. 70 folks furthered that belief. The Sacramento Bee takes a look at the issue in this story.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:03 AM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger did talk radio up and down the state this morning and is scheduled to appear in Los Angeles this afternoon at an event opposing Proposition 72.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:46 AM

Private prisons

Alex Tabarrok argues in this op-ed piece that Calfornia's prisons should be run by private companies. His logic is sound, though I don't know where he gets the figure that California has 300,000 prisoners. I think that's way high.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:45 AM

October 26, 2004

Speaking of new Republicans

Schwarzenegger gets a perfect score on bills sponsored by Equality California, the state's most active public policy group focused on gay and lesbian rights. Read their scorecard here.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:20 PM

Prop. 72

Wal-Mart says it will contribute $500,000 to the No on 72 campaign, after the pro-72 campaign made the retail giant a target of its message favoring a government mandate for employer-provided health insurance. This contribution strikes me as just enough to move Wal-Mart further into the focus of the campaign while falling well short of being enough to actually sway public opinion against the measure.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:44 PM

Story of the day

This one caught my eye:

A Valley radio mogul is donating more than $300,000 of air time to Republican candidates, a move unprecedented in California politics, according to this story from the Sacramento Bee.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:42 PM

Where's Arnold?

Campaigning today for Gary Podesto (for state Senate) in Vacaville.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:02 PM

What is he?

Still nothing official, but it appears that Schwarzenegger will jet to Columbus, Ohio on Friday to campaign for Bush, then fly back Friday night in time to campaign Saturday for California candidates and on ballot measures he favors and opposes. Schwarzenegger has one of his famous bus trips scheduled to begin in San Diego Saturday morning and conclude that evening at a Republican Party rally in Bakersfield.

It's interesting to watch the heat Schwarzenegger is taking as a Republican governor campaigning (barely) for a Republican president. Some people seem to think that being a moderate or centrist Republican means you are actually a Democrat or non-partisan. Schwarzenegger apparently thinks otherwise. He has always been a Republican. He ran for office as a Republican. He has governed as a (centrist) Republican. He spoke in prime time at the Republican National Convention about what it means to be a Republican.

Get it? He's a Republican. He's a Republican who is trying to move his party to the left on social issues (abortion, gays) and to the center on the environment. But as far as I can tell, he is still very much a Republican on foreign policy and economic issues. Democrats who think he is secretly one of them are fooling themselves.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:24 AM

October 25, 2004

Health insurance solutions

Reason Magazine science correspondent Ronald Bailey endorses an individual mandate for health insurance.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:23 PM

Story of the day

This one caught my eye:

It's about two elementary schools in the Silicon Valley that might just be the highest achieving public schools in California, and how they got that way. The story is in the Mercury News. Registration required.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:59 AM

Where's Arnold?

After his event for Poizner in Palo Alto, he heads up the peninsula to San Francisco, where he campaigns for Prop. 1A with Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:55 AM

October 22, 2004

Steve Poizner

Republican Steve Poizner, the millionaire techie trying to snag a Democrat-leaning Assembly seat in the Silicon Valley, has been running away from the Republican Party and portraying himself as all but an independent. But apparently there are limits to such a strategy. The biggest California Republican of them all, Arnold Schwarzenegger, plans a Monday visit to the district to campaign for Poizner.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:06 PM

Story of the day

If you only read one story about California today:

Republican Van Tran, a candidate for the Assembly from Orange County, and others in that region are showing how the Vietnamese-American community is gaining in political and financial firepower. The story is in the Los Angeles Times (registration required.)

Posted by dweintraub at 2:41 PM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger today unveiled a hydrogen-powered version of his favorite vehicle -- the Hummer -- at Los Angeles International Airport, where he opened the state's first retail hydrogen refilling station.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:03 PM

October 21, 2004

Democracy no longer so amok

Thirteen months ago, Leon Panetta was ridiculing the Davis Recall and Arnold Schwarzenegger and fretting about "democracy run amok." Monday he made nice with the governor in a wide-ranging, 90-minute interview at his public policy institute in Monterey. A complete transcript is here, in a pdf download.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:14 PM


Daniel Zingale, a former senior aide to Gray Davis and now a member of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board, earns $10,000 a month for his gig overseeing the way farmers treat their workers.

The California labor code states that members of that board "shall not engage in any other business, vocation or employment."

Yet Zingale this year has been paid $50,000 as a consultant to the No on 67 campaign, which seeks to defeat a ballot measure that would raise telephone taxes and give the money to emergency room care.

Fresno County farmer Dan Gerawan thinks this is wrong and has tried to force Zingale to resign. Zingale has refused and -- I'll bet this shocks you -- says he has a legal opinion that backs up his position.

The whole story is here, in the Fresno Bee.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:51 PM

Story of the day:

If you only read one story on California today:

The Chronicle has a nice piece on the wrap-up of Schwarzenegger's Performance Review Commission and a summary of what the commission endorsed and what it recommended discarding. Now it's up to the governor to decide how to proceed from here.

I think the scorekeepers who are going through the original report's 1,200 recommendations and assessing Schwarzenegger's ability to claim some sort of government overhaul victory based on how many he implements and how many he rejects, or sees defeated, are missing the point. The guy has shown time and again the ability to define his own battles. I expect him to narrow the list to a group of proposals that he believes he can successfully implement. Some will be big, structural changes and others will be from this collection of hundreds of smaller items. But I don't think it makes sense to assess it based on what the report or the commission recommended. The test is whether the final product brings real change, or not.

We also know that Schwarzenegger, by the time all is said and done, will be declaring victory, no matter what the rest of us might think of the result.

Note: I massaged the last few lines of this item and added a few words after the original posting.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:56 AM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger has nothing public on his schedule for Thursday. His office says he'll have private meetings in LA and Sacramento.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:49 AM

October 20, 2004

Story of the day

If you read only one thing about California today:

This LA Times account of the less salacious, but still interesting, parts of Schwarzenegger's Monterey speech. Among other things the governor discussed his views on free trade and stem cells, mentioned the need to reform Prop. 13 and said he might support an individual mandate for health insurance.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:11 AM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger is campaigning today in Ontario against Prop. 66, which would roll back the state's Three Strikes sentencing law, and in Fresno for Paul Betancourt, the Republican candidate for the 31st Assembly District.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:20 AM

Cold shoulder

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger jokes that Maria Shriver was so upset with his pro-Bush speech to the Republican National Convention that "there was no sex for 14 days." He made the comment at a leadership talk at the Leon Panetta Institute in Monterey. The quote is in this Reuters wire story. Hat tip: Prestopundit.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:56 AM

October 19, 2004

Expensive Bedfellows

A few weeks ago the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. endorsed Prop. 70, the initiative to expand Indian gambling. Today, the backers of the initiative reported contributing $1.8 million to a political committee controlled by the Jarvis organization. Nice.

The report is here, at the Secretary of State's web site.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:08 PM

Big tent?

"People have the right to be wrong."

--Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, on the California Republican Party's opposition to Proposition 71, the $3 billion bond measure to fund stem cell research.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:30 PM

Story of the day

The California story that caught my eye today:

A San Diego judge cleared the way for a trial to proceed on charges that Sempra Energy manipulated natural gas supplies and prices in California, beginning in 1996. The suit charges that Sempra's actions cost customers $9 billion and seeks penalties of $27 billion. The story is in the San Diego Union.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:35 AM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger will hold a noon event at the Sheraton in downtown Sacramento to offer his pitch against Propositions 68 and 70.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:18 AM

October 18, 2004

Flu vaccine

I am intrigued by the important argument that the government's involvement in the vaccine industry has helped lead to the current shortage. Particularly the idea that government purchasing in bulk has lowered the profit margin to such a point that companies no longer had an incentive to produce the vaccines. But I have yet to see any data supporting this hypothesis. Does anybody out there know where to find good data on the percentage of the flu vaccine purchased by the government (versus the private sector) over the years, and the price paid for that vaccine? I'll be checking the usual government sources but if anybody has quick access to this data I would love to see it.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:34 PM

Arnold to back redistricting reform

Schwarzenegger just endorsed Prop. 62, the open primary initiative. But he also took a much more important step for the long run. He offered a full-throated endorsement for reforming the way legislators draw district lines, and taking that power out of the hands of elected officials. He says he will be challenging the Legislature to put a reform initiative on the ballot. He doesn't say when, but I hope he means next year, in a special election. It's silly to let legislators pick their voters, when it should be the other way around. If Schwarzenegger can change that, he will truly deserve the reformist governor credentials he seeks.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:19 PM

Story of the day

The California story that caught my eye today:

The latest on Schwarzenegger's role in legislative races on the November ballot, from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:36 AM

Where's Arnold?

Schwarzenegger is back in the state after a weekend away, presumably in Sun Valley, Idaho. He's heading to the Monterey Peninsula today for an environmental event in Carmel to publicize his Ocean Action Plan and a speech on leadership in Monterey sponsored by the Leon Panetta Institute.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:29 AM

Film at 11, and 11:01, and 11:02

Glenn Reynolds is experimenting with video blogging. Is there a future for this in political blogs?

Posted by dweintraub at 6:53 AM

October 14, 2004

Merc, Chron back Poizner

Steve Poizner, the millionaire techy Republican trying to win what is supposed to be a safe Democratic seat in the Silicon Valley, today snatched the endorsement of both the San Jose Mercury and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:26 PM

Mary Cheney

There is a furor today over John Kerry’s mention of Mary Cheney in last night’s debate. Many people, including Dick and Lynne Cheney, say it was underhanded for Kerry to use the Cheney daughter as an example while answering a question about whether homosexuality is a born or developed trait.

While I don’t think Kerry’s tactic was a slur, because I don’t consider being gay to be something to be ashamed of, I do think there is something odd about both John Edwards and Kerry mentioning Mary Cheney in the debates. Beyond that, though, I think Kerry should call a press conference today and apologize.

If I were Kerry, I would say something like this:

“When I mentioned Mary Cheney in my answer to Bob Schieffer’s question last night, I in no way intended to hurt or offend the vice president, Mrs. Cheney or their daughter. Upon reflection, and after listening to their reaction, I realize I was wrong to mention her at all in the course of a debate with the president. I made a mistake, and for that, I apologize.”

There are honorable reasons and not so honorable reasons for Kerry to do this. An honorable reason is that it would be the right thing to do. He caused offense, and he should apologize.

A not so honorable reason is that in doing so, Kerry would further a point of contrast he has been trying to draw between himself and the president. Kerry has said over and over that the Bush is unable to recognize his errors, admit them and change course. Here Kerry could provide a very well publicized but low-risk example of his own ability to do just that.

Finally, and this is the worst reason of all, whatever strategic gain the Kerry campaign thinks it is getting by mentioning Mary Cheney would be advanced further by bringing still more publicity to the issue.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:51 PM

A different kind of health care spending says the campaigns for and against the five health care measures on the California ballot have passed the $50 million mark.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:10 PM

80 percent

of high school juniors tested in California are not ready for college English. Here is a story from the Bee.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:09 AM

October 13, 2004

Arduin quitting as finance director

Donna Arduin, Gov. Schwarzenegger’s Finance Director, is quitting, and her last day is Friday, according to a source close to the governor’s office. Arduin reportedly is set to open a national consulting firm that will do business in California, Washington and Florida, where she was budget director for Gov. Jeb Bush before coming to work for Schwarzenegger. Although Arduin arrived a year ago as an advocate for cutting spending, particularly in the state’s fast-growing health and welfare programs, she wasn’t always successful in debates within the governor’s inner circle. The final budget he signed in July contained billions less in cuts, and more borrowing, than the one she helped him write in January. Arduin is to be replaced, at least in the short term, by her chief deputy, Michael Genest.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:04 PM

September revenues

Not much new in the monthly report on revenues from the Department of Finance. Corporate tax receipts surged in September, coming in $373 million above forecast, or 29 percent. Income tax and sales tax revenues were pretty much on target for the month.

For the first quarter of the fiscal year, revenues are $564 million above projections. Extrapolate that out, as I am sure the governor would like to do, and you get a $2 billion bump over the fiscal year and $4 billion spread over this year and next, which is the current budget problem on which he's working. But it's still way too early to see a trend that would stretch that far.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:32 PM

October 12, 2004

Social Services director

Schwarzenegger has appointed Dennis Boyle as his director of Social Services.

Boyle has been director of the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services for the past nine years. Before that he worked as an analyst, manager and deputy director for 20 years in the California Department of Social Services.

UPDATE: He also named Greta Wallace, a social services lawyer, to head the Department of Child Support Services. Wallace has been an administrative law judge and counsel to the Department of Social Services for 13 years.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:27 PM

Lesson learned?

Schwarzenegger in a roundtable with foreign reporters in Hollywood, explains what he learned from his sexual harassment sensitivity training, according to this LA Times story:

In response to a question, Schwarzenegger said he had "learned my lesson" about groping women, an allegation that surfaced a year ago in The Times when he was running for governor.

Schwarzenegger admitted no wrongdoing, only saying "it is a totally different ballgame" now that he is representing the state of California instead of just himself.

The world "has changed so much that any kind of a comment you make to a woman now about her clothes or about this or that could be misinterpreted and could make someone uncomfortable and open the door to a lawsuit," he said.

Open the door to a lawsuit? Isn't the real lesson supposed to be that unwanted and unwelcome sexual advances -- or comments -- are simply wrong? Why can't he just say that?

Posted by dweintraub at 10:10 AM


Here is my column today on pundits in pajamas.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:22 AM

Field on health measures

A new Field Poll shows Prop. 72 -- the health care mandate -- leading by a wide margin though still under 50 percent, with a fourth of the voters undecided. Props. 61 (hospital bonds) and 63 (mental health) are also leading, while Prop. 67, the phone tax, is trailing.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:51 AM

October 11, 2004

Schwarzengger opposes Props. 61, 63 and 67.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger opposes Props. 61, 63 and 67 on the Nov. 2 ballot, his office says.

Schwarzenegger applauded the motives behind all three measures but said the state can't "overreach" amid a fragile economic recovery.

Prop. 61 is a $750 million bond for children's hospitals.
Prop. 63 is a surtax on million-dollar earners to expand mental health funding.
Prop. 67 is a tax on telephone calls to expand emergency room funding.

Schwarzenegger already has announced his opposition to Prop. 72, the health care mandate on employers.

He has not yet taken a position on the fifth healt-related measure on the ballot, Proposition 71, which would require the state to borrow $3 billion to finance stem cell research.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:56 PM

Gas tax and Prop. 42

This San Diego Union story says environmentalists will be pressing Schwarzenegger over the next year to raise the gas tax and use the proceeds for clean-air projects. I am wondering if he might go further and embrace the legislative analyst's option of raising the gas tax while proposing to repeal Prop. 42, which dedicated the sales tax on gas -- formerly a general fund revenue source -- to transportation programs. The Prop. 42 money has never actually gone to transportation, having been borrowed back by Davis and Schwarzenegger each year since the measure passed. And despite its superficial appeal, Prop. 42 never made much sense to begin with, being the logical equivalent of dedicating the sales tax on lumber to low-income housing projects. Anyway, it's a billion-plus-per-year piece of the state's structural deficit that might be erased by using the gas tax, perhaps a slightly higher gas tax, rather than the state's general fund for transportation.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:44 AM

October 8, 2004

Legal tightrope

The San Francisco marriage case has moved from process to substance, and today Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer's filed the state's opening brief in defense of a ban on same-sex marriage. His press release suggests the AG is conducting a vigorous defense of the law, saying it should be upheld no matter what standard of judicial review is applied. At the same time, he is backing basically separate but equal rights for domestic partners.

"Committed and loving relationships between two individuals deserve recognition under California law,” Lockyer said. “The obligations and benefits that attend such relationships form the cornerstone of nurturing families and a stable society. For more than a century, however, the people of California have affirmed through initiative and by the actions of their elected state legislators that those obligations and benefits are available through marriage to opposite-sex couples, and, now, through domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. Any change to this long-standing policy is best reserved to the judgment of the voters and the state legislature.”

Posted by dweintraub at 3:46 PM

The Law on Personal Names

I think the following paragraphs are probably about as good a gauge as any for where you stand on the personal freedom ideological spectrum. From a New York Times feature on the naming laws in Denmark, they made me want to go screaming from my keyboard:

At its heart, the Law on Personal Names is designed to protect Denmark's innocents - the children who are undeservedly, some would say cruelly, burdened by preposterous or silly names. It is the state's view that children should not suffer ridicule and abuse because of their parents' lapses in judgment or their misguided attempts to be hip. Denmark, like much of Scandinavia, prizes sameness, not uniqueness, just as it values usefulness, not frivolousness.

"You shouldn't stand out from anyone else here; you shouldn't think you are better than anyone else," said Lan Tan, a 27, Danish woman of Singaporean and Malaysian descent who is trying to win approval for her daughter's name, Frida Mei Tan-Farndsen. "It's very Scandinavian."

Read the whole thing here.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:16 PM

Drug ads

After this column Tuesday on prescription drug costs, I’ve received some calls and letters mentioning the cost of pharmaceutical advertising, especially those ubiquitous television ads for everything from Viagra to Flonase. If not for those big advertising budgets, readers seem to be saying, couldn’t the drug companies spend more money on research and development, or reduce prices? In a word, no.

Think about it. Companies spend money on advertising only if their research shows it benefits the bottom line. Otherwise, why bother?

Suppose we ban the ads. Fewer ads mean fewer customers for the drug companies. Fewer customers mean less revenue. Less revenue, usually, means lower profits. But it also means less money for research and development. And it’s hard to see how having less money on hand would leave the companies free to lower their prices. They might even have to raise them.

So, while the ads are irritating and some observers are quick to conclude that the ad budget diverts valuable resources to a frivolous purpose, unless you can show that they don’t work, it’s difficult to see how prohibiting advertising would ultimately help consumers.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:08 AM

Field: Schwarzenegger still riding high

Despite rejecting a pile of bills sent to his desk by Democrats hoping to weaken his connection to voters, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger remains popular, with 65 percent of Californians telling the Field Poll that they approve of his performance. But Golden Staters don't want him running for president, even if the the rest of the country amends the constitution to make it possible. Also: a plurality thinks the state is on the right track for the first time since 2000.

NOTE: The poll's interviews were conducted Sept. 24-29, as Schwarzenegger was vetoing many of those Democratic bills. So the results don't necessarily reflect the opposition's effort to make hay from his policy decisions.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:01 AM

October 7, 2004

Happy Anniversary

One year after Californians voted to recall Gov. Gray Davis, the scene is remarkable mostly for what didn’t happen:

--The state did not devolve into political chaos, with a leadership vacuum at the top.

--The recall hasn’t spawned an endless cycle of new recalls, and no one has tried to oust the new governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, from office. Nor has there been an epidemic of recalls across the country.

--Wall Street didn’t abandon the state of California, the state’s credit rating didn’t plummet (it rebounded) and the budget didn’t spin out of control.

--California government did not descend into partisan gridlock. If anything, it emerged from partisan gridlock into an improved atmosphere of bipartisan cooperation and collaboration.

--California politics has not been transformed. The monied interest groups that controlled the Capitol a year ago are still there, though a few them – namely the public employee unions and Indian tribes – have a bit less influence than they used to. The Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, now has the power to stop bills it doesn’t like. But the style and feel and rhythm of the place remains little changed.

A few things did change:

Californians paid $4 billion less in taxes than they otherwise would have, illegal immigrants didn’t get drivers licenses, the workers compensation system got some further fixes, and Indian gaming tribes got permission to expand on the condition that they give more money to the state treasury and grant their neighbors, their employees and customers rights they did not have before. Also, the voters are happier with the performance of their government – the executive and the Legislature – and have rated Schwarzenegger about as highly as any governor who has served in the last half century.

The recall was not a revolution. It was an election. Voters were given an opportunity to re-do the 2002 election, when they had expressed disdain for both major candidates, give a vote of confidence or no confidence to the incumbent, and start fresh with a new leader. They did that and, contrary to much of the punditry, survived. So did democracy. Life goes on.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:09 AM

More bad news

For Kevin Shelley. Former aides tell the Bee that his staff tried to use election outreach workers to reach out for campaign cash instead.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:07 AM

October 6, 2004

Congress passes Cal-Fed

Congress passed the Cal-Fed water bill today, $395 million package that represents the first major changes in California's water systems since the 1960s. Read about it here.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:04 PM

Grocery workers

Some other grocery stores get a taste of the class-action medicine already familiar to the big-box crowd:

Supermarket janitors in California have won a $22.4 million settlement from three grocery chains and a cleaning contractor after claiming in a class-action lawsuit that they were worked 14 days out of 15, denied breaks and not paid for overtime.

About 1,000 California janitors joined the class-action suit, which was filed in November 2000 in state court in Los Angeles against the supermarket chains and the cleaning contractor they employed, Building One Service Solutions.

The chains were Safeway and Vons, which settled for $14 million; Albertsons, which settled for $4.5 million; and Ralph's, which settled for $3 million. Building One Service Solutions settled for $900,000.

From the Chronicle. Read the whole thing here.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:14 AM


My colleague Peter Schrag says Schwarzenegger can't really be considered "pro-business" until he starts spending more on the kind of infrastructure and education programs that made California great.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:04 AM

October 5, 2004

Kerry-Bush in California

Almost no one seriously expects Bush to contend for California, but two independent polls released today show him creeping up on Kerry here just at the time you might expect the Democrat to be putting the president away. The Field Poll has it at 49-40, with Kerry's lead having shrunk from 53-41 in August and 55-40 in May. The latest poll was taken before and after the debate, and while Californians gave the win to Kerry, their impressions didn't have much effect on their preference for president. One interesting tidbit: before the debate, Californians, no matter their preference, said by a 59-21 margin that they expected Bush to win reelection. After the debate that margin shrunk to 50-28.

The other poll is by the Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State, run by former Mercury News political editor and Gray Davis aide Phil Trounstine. The survey institute's poll has Kerry up by just six, at 48-42. That compares to the last poll by the same group, in July, when Kerry was up 50-39.

The San Jose State poll isn't online yet, but should be here later today.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:07 AM

Martha Escutia

Ever since Don Perata narrowly defeated Martha Escutia in the vote to replace John Burton as Senate leader, the Capitol has been buzzing with rumors that Escutia wasn't giving up, that she hoped to challenge Perata after the November election. Now the Oakland Tribune has a story saying the plan is alive and well, though Perata is confident he can hold back any coup attempt.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:58 AM

October 4, 2004

High court stays out of contraception fight

The US Supreme Court has refused to step into a dispute between the state of California and religious organizations that don't want to provide insurance that includes coverage for their employees' contraception needs.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:13 PM


Recent reports on the rise in Latino family income, car companies marketing to Latinos and now a reduction in the California population projection based on lower Latino birth rates are evidence that straight-line projections about economics, demographics and culture are almost always wrong. Second generation and third generation Latinos are, like immigrants before them, assimilating and moving into the middle class. The only question is whether they can do so quickly enough to carry the first generation wave that's behind them.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:12 AM

October 2, 2004

Problems in Florida

For two companies that advised Schwarzenegger's California Performance Review on technology issues. The AP story is here, via the Chronicle.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:29 AM



At Crossroads, a panel of experts and the public debate the future of health care in California. We'd like you to join the conversation.

Daniel Weintraub


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