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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« October 2004 | | December 2004 »
November 30, 2004

Nurse-patient ratios

The California Nurses Assn. says they are expecting 2,000 nurses to descend on the Capitol Wednesday to protest Schwarzenegger's decision to delay the full implementation of state-mandated nurse-patient ratios. My recent column on the subject is here.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:54 PM


Maria Shriver, in a Vanity Fair interview, disses John Kerry by way of explaining why she broke from her family pattern to marry an immigrant movie star:

"Everyone assumed that I was supposed to marry someone like a John Kerry, some preppy that had gone to Harvard or Yale. I didn't want to marry those boys. I did not like them. I had been around them my whole life. I interrupted the story line. I wanted out of that suffocation. I wanted someone different. I married my authentic self."

Posted by dweintraub at 6:00 AM

November 29, 2004

Happy 20th, West Hollywood

Boi From Troy, the gay Republican sports fan blogger, celebrates the 20th anniversary of the incorporation of West Hollywood, the 1.9 square mile gay enclave in Los Angeles known affectionately as "Queerville." He describes his town as the first democracy to elect a majority-gay governing body and notes that the "sky did not fall."

Posted by dweintraub at 2:31 PM

Medical marijuana

Editing the AP's Supreme Court coverage, Eugene Volokh clarifies what the medical marijuana case is about: states rights.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:13 PM

November 24, 2004

California Exurbia

The other day Ron Brownstein and Richard Rainey of the LA Times (registration required) did this story showing that Bush defeated Kerry in 97 of the 100 fastest growing counties in the nation, an analysis that vividly illustrated the Republicans’ current advantage in exurbia. That prompted me to do a parallel analysis for California, using growth figures for 2000 through 2003. Here is what I learned.

Bush beat Kerry in California’s six fastest growing counties. They were:

Placer 63-37
Riverside 58-41
San Joaquin 54-36
Merced 57-42
Stanislaus 59-41
San Bernardino 56-44

Kerry won the next two fastest growing counties – Sacramento (49.7-49.5) and Yolo (60-39). Yolo, by the way, is home to University of California, Davis.

Bush won 14 of the next 15 fastest growing counties.

So overall in California, Bush won 20 of the 23 fastest growing counties.

It’s also interesting to peek at the other end of the spectrum.

Three of the four slowest growing counties went for Kerry, and they provided the Democrat among his biggest margins in the state:

55. Marin. 74-26
56. San Francisco 83-15
57. San Mateo 70-29

The three counties basically had almost no net growth between 2000 and 2003.

The final county was tiny Sierra, which actually lost population and went for Bush, an outlier that doesn’t really fit into this discussion.

All of this is interesting. But as I have said before, I don’t see the Republicans winning presidential elections here anytime soon by demographics alone. Down by 1.3 million votes, they need a sea-change in political attitudes among the electorate or a candidate who crosses over better than George W. Bush.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:51 PM

Maria's not the only angry one

Phil Angelides is circulating an online petition to tell Schwarzenegger how angry Californians are that he helped reelect the president.

"We won't soon forgive or forget the Governor's role in Bush’s re-election," the treasurer tells supporters, "nor will we allow Schwarzenegger to continue pushing the Bush agenda in California."

Posted by dweintraub at 11:51 AM

November 23, 2004

'Economic Armageddon'

Here is a sobering economic prognosis from a major inside player. Via Prestopundit.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:54 PM

20/20 Vision

Can you think of a health care procedure that is on the cutting edge of its field, in high demand, reports high satisfaction from those who get it, is lightly regulated, generally not covered by insurance or government programs -- and whose price has steadily dropped since it was first introduced? Read Alex Tabarrok's report here.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:36 AM

Don Perata

The Don Perata investigation gets messier by the day, with new reports that his children are also subjects of the probe involving the senator's legislation and business interests. Senate Democrats are in a bind, as they don't want to over-react to an investigation that might be politically motivated but also don't want to be stuck with a leader who is hampered by the investigation or formal charges. At this point it still looks as if Perata will be formally installed as Senate leader on Dec. 6.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:32 AM

Lynch and the wire

A San Diego Gas & Electric executive is suing PUC Commissioner Loretta Lynch for her role in secretly tape recording a conversation at a Carmel resort that was later used in a television news report on lobbying of PUC board members. The story is in the LA Times. (registration required).

Posted by dweintraub at 11:19 AM

November 22, 2004

Drivers licenses

According to this New York Times story (registration required), the issue of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants is among the stumbling blocks holding up passage of the intelligence reform bill in Congress. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, a key Republican negotiator, wants to ban licenses for illegals, while President Bush does not want such a provision in the bill.

An excerpt:

Mr. Bush intervened to try to rescue the talks about 7 p.m. Friday, when he telephoned Mr. Sensenbrenner from aboard Air Force One, en route to Chile, with a plea that Mr. Sensenbrenner compromise and drop his insistence that the bill contain a provision banning the issuance of driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

Mr. Sensenbrenner had long championed the idea, which he depicted as a means of blocking terrorists from obtaining official government identification; several of the Sept. 11 hijackers had been issued driver's licenses. But it was opposed by White House officials and many lawmakers from both parties as unnecessary and an infringement on the rights of state governments.

"What the president was stressing to me was that he would like to get this issue off the table because the Congressional agenda and the presidential agenda were going to be very ambitious" next year, Mr. Sensenbrenner said of Mr. Bush's request for quick passage of an intelligence bill. "I didn't want to give up on the driver's license provision," he said. "But out of respect for him, if he asked me to, I said I would give up on it."

Either way, the bill has the potential to get Gov. Schwarzenegger off the hook. Obviously, if the feds ban them, his hands are tied and he can quit negotiating with California Democrats who are pushing him to approve the licenses. If Sensenbrenner drops his move and the bill instead contains guidelines for the states to use, then the governor can apply those and tell conservatives he is simply following federal law.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:05 PM

Does this compute?

I am still trying to wrap my mind around this Sacramento Bee story from Sunday, in which the good people of Davis are reported to be prepared to simultaneously limit building permits to 250 a year while approving "affordable housing" subsidies for people earning $100,000 annually. Something tells me that if they keep this up, those subsidies are going to have to get bigger and bigger. I suppose it's sustainable in a closed loop like Davis as long as everyone is willing to pay more and buyers on the upper end can keep sharing their wealth with those at the lower but still expensive end. But it hardly seems like a model that would work statewide.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:16 AM

Safire on the foreign born

A year ago Bill Safire was scolding Californians for having "voter remorse" after electing Gray Davis and then opting to recall him from office. Now he has endorsed a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- to allow Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for president.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:09 AM

Do-it-yourself risk assessment

Over at Cafe Hayek, the libertarians are debating the idea of abolishing the FDA. Sound crazy? Read Don Boudreaux's sensible take. It's not going to happen, but his logic can surely be applied to many other areas of regulation where the status quo is not yet quite so sacred.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:02 AM

November 19, 2004

Nurse ratios

My column Tuesday on nurse-patient ratios prompted a lot of reaction, including a few from nurses who pointed out the unintended consequences of a state edict requiring a certain number of RNs per patient in various wards. One hidden effect: hospitals are using relatively fewer licensed vocational nurses and nurses aides, leaving the RNs, while better staffed, to do more of the work, including work that is not directly related to the medical care of patients. Here's how one nurse sees it:

"I've worked as an RN since 1977, and these ratios are a mixed bag, at best. They give newer nurses a false sense of security. The nurses talk of how much they look forward to the ratios being lower, not realizing there is simply no way hospitals will be able to staff LVN's and nurses aides at the same levels they do now. I know of one hospital in Santa Monica that layed off all of its LVN's. The ratios encourage tunnel vision, and discourage teamwork and an attitude of everyone helping out wherever needed on the floor. If a nurse has one or two patients doing poorly--it doesn't matter what her ratio is. What will matter is the other nurses pitching in and helping out--which they can't do without violating the ratios..."

Posted by dweintraub at 8:29 AM

E-voting in Florida

I got this email from a critic of the Berkeley study on Florida e-voting. It raises some interesting points:

I have just read through the UC Berkeley paper you linked about e-voting. There is a pretty significant pair of errors in it.

The assumption is made (but never disclosed) that in an honest election, e-voting patterns would mirror those of paper voting. But in fact, there is no way to know this. For example, marginal Democratic voters -- and since the error they purport to find is about 2.5%, we are talking about the margins -- in the Democratic counties could well be older retirees from New York and more frightened by electronic voting, while Republican voters in those Democratic counties could be younger and actually attracted by e-voting; even younger Democratic voters could have been more moved by 9/11 than older Democrats, and might also be less afraid of e-voting.

The second assumption is that if there is an actual discrepency between the results as obtained by the e-voting=1 model (use of electronic voting machines) and the e-vote=0 model (no e-voting), that the correct way to interpret this is that there were between 130,000 and 260,000 "excess votes" for Bush. But mathematically, it's equally valid to suppose that there was a Republican suppression factor in the 2000 and 1996 elections -- that is, that the Democrats cheated in counting punchcards in heavily Democratic districts in past elections -- which they were unable to do in 2004 with the electronic voting machines.

In fact, it is easier to cheat with punch cards: for one easy example, if you take a stack of ballots and push a long stylus through the "Gore" hole, this will have the effect of turning Bush votes into uncountable Bush and Gore double votes, while leaving Gore votes undisturbed. This requires no computer sophistication at all (or even a high-school diploma) and can be done by the lowest level of poll worker, long before the cards even leave the individual precinct.

All that the study actually found was that Bush's support in Democratic counties of Florida increased more than the level one would have expected from projecting Republican support in 1996 and 2000, and that this increase seems correlated to electronic voting. It does not and cannot tell us whether those "excess" votes are in fact legitimate or a result of fraud... for all that the authors pretend that's what they have found.

Rick Hasen at the Election Law blog has some additional analysis of this at his site.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:56 AM

November 18, 2004

Revenues up $471 million in October

State revenues exceeded forecasts by $471 million in October and are now up by more than $1 billion for the first four months of the fiscal year, according to the Department of Finance. Much of the gain is attributed to a surge in corporate tax revenue. You can see the department's full report here.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:51 AM

E-voting questions

A UC Berkeley team of researchers is joining the fray over e-voting and possible fraud, suggesting in a report this morning that more than 200,000 votes in the 2004 presidential election in Florida might be open to question because of suspicious patterns in votes recorded electronically versus those cast on paper. More on this later.

UPDATE: The link to the full report is here.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:25 AM

November 17, 2004

Happy Anniversary

One year after taking office, Gov. Schwarzenegger hasn't exactly lived up to his pledge to sweep the "special interests" out of the Capitol. Instead, he has shattered all fund-raising records for a first-year governor, raking in $26 million, and now he has established a foundation to pay his $7,000 a month tab at the Hyatt Hotel across the street from the Capitol. The past three governors all lived rent-free in a suburban home purchased by a similar, privately funded foundation. This one will pay the hotel bill while also raising money to build or buy a permanent governor's mansion somewhere in the Sacramento area.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:49 AM

November 16, 2004

Talk talk

I am going to do a live online chat here at 10 am Wednesday. Topic: Schwarzenegger's first year.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:12 PM

More on blue v. red in California

Here's another breakdown of the blue and red California, from a Public Policy of California report on the changing Central Valley demographics. The population of the Central Valley is 6.2 million, about the size of the state of Washington and larger than the population of 36 other states.

All four major subregions of the valley voted for Bush:

Upper Sacramento Valley: 56-42
Sacramento Metro: 54-45
North San Joaquin Valley: 56-43
South San Joaquin Valley: 63-36.

The rest of the state favored Kerry over Bush by a margin of 57-42.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:15 AM

New ideas from DMV director

Joan Borucki, Schwarzenegger's nominee to head the DMV, has advocated tracking motorists with GPS devices so that the state can charge for the use of roads by the mile rather than through the gasoline tax, the LA Times reports (registration required). The gas tax, because it is charged by the gallon, has been shrinking, relatively, as cars become more fuel efficient, even as the mileage driven on state roads continues to climb. The tracking devices Borucki favors could also be used to implement congestion pricing, which charges motorists more at peak hours to alleviate back-ups. I am a fan of congestion pricing but would be wary of placing government trackers on every car, given privacy concerns. Still, I think it's great the governor is promoting people who have new ways of looking at old problems.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:52 AM

November 15, 2004

Senate unity

Two more notable committee chair nominations from Senate-leader-to-be Don Perata: Martha Escutia for Energy and Sheila Kuehl for Natural Resources and Water, with water having been moved over from Agriculture. Not good news for the leadership-coup-still-coming theorists. Whither Migden?

Posted by dweintraub at 4:58 PM

'Power Play'

Public Utilities Commissioner Loretta Lynch, whose term ends in January, plays whistleblower in a two-part piece on KCBS News in Los Angeles focused on the energy companies' wining and dining of her fellow commissioners. Among other things, Lynch brings the news crew into a Carmel resort where the energy firms are hosting the commissioners as part of a conference. She also allows the station to tape her luncheon conversation with an energy lobbyist who tells her why he attended a fundraiser for Assemblywoman Carol Liu, who is the wife of PUC President Michael Peevey. The pieces are heavy on the gotcha angle and light on the policy details, but the meat within the stories it that Lynch is accusing her fellow commissioners of selling out to the utilities and the private generators at the expense of consumers. You can download the pieces of this page at the KCBS web site.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:08 PM

More jobs

California added more than 43,000 jobs in October, dropping the unemployment rate to 5.7 percent, its lowest level since September, 2001. The full report can be downloaded from this site.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:25 PM

More Democrats

Gov. Schwarzenegger has announced the appointment of two more Democrats to second-tier but important posts in his administration. Joan Borucki will head the DMV while Donna Dell leads the division of Labor Standards Enforcement. From the governor's office bios:

Joan Borucki, 48, has more than 24 years of experience working within state government on transportation issues. Most recently she served as a team leader for the California Performance Review. Prior to working with the Performance Review, Borucki served for nearly two years as chief deputy director of the California Transportation Commission. In this role she advised commission members regarding programming and allocation of funds for the construction of highway, passenger rail and transit improvements throughout the state. She began her career at CalTrans in 1980 as a system planning program manager. She served in various capacities within the department throughout her career from federal liaison to the assistant to the director in 1992 and later as the budget program manager. In 1999 she served as the new technology deployment manager and in early 2002 became deputy district director for planning.

Donna Dell, 56, of Walnut Creek, has been appointed chief of the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement for the Department of Industrial Relations. She has served as the senior vice president of human resources and chief employment counsel for ABM Industries since 1994 where she successfully oversaw company growth from 38,000 to 70,000 employees. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $111,768. Dell is a Democrat.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:18 AM

Lite gov, 2006

Aides to Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock are circulating polling data purporting to show that their man is a prohibitive favorite to win the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor in 2006 and then defeat such potential Democrats as John Garamendi and Jackie Speier. McClintock would surely be formidable. But his high positive ratings are a residual of the recall campaign, where the Democrats, for their own reasons, actually sought to portray him as a principled good guy while ignoring his conservative ideology. In any real campaign against him, a Democratic nominee would certainly go after his positions on abortion, social spending and the like, turning those lofty poll numbers around fairly quickly. Still, if he runs, it would be a fun race to watch.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:46 AM

Role playing

This LA Times story (registration required) has some good news: the state prison guards union is feuding with Rod Hickman, the agency secretary. The correctional officers are unhappy with the reforms Hickman is pushing and with the end of the open-door policy that, in past administrations, was moving closer to letting the union run the prisons. Hickman says he thinks the union has an important role, but not an all-important one.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:39 AM

November 12, 2004

Freeing the facts

This NY Times piece on the role of blogs in fanning, and then debunking, stories of fraud in the presidential vote carries at least a mildly handwringing tone, as if somehow this turn of events was unfortunate. I disagree. While I think the claims of fraud ranged from overwraught to nutty, I have no problem with them being aired, nor with the blogs that spread them. Blogs are simply people communicating with one another, or in this case, with many anothers. This is something folks were talking about at the water cooler and in the bars. No reason they shouldn't be talking about it in the blogs. The story does show the beauty of blogs in that the medium also played a role in knocking down the very charges that were spreading on the net. As Mickey Kaus has said, this is the way it should work in the information age: a cooperative and sometimes competing effort to get as much information as possible in the public domain as quickly as possible, and let people sort it out along the way. Eventually, the weight of the evidence will favor one side or the other and thinking people will see that. Non-thinking people won't ever accept the facts whether the blogs play a role in spreading them, or not.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:26 PM

If you care

CNN is reporting that the Peterson jury will have a verdict at 1 p.m.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:45 AM

November 11, 2004

Advice for Democrats

Dan Gerstein's take on how the Democrats can become the majority party again is the best I have seen yet. It's available here, for a limited time, at the Wall Street Journal online.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:26 PM

Pitch man

Give Schwarzenegger credit for thinking outside the box. But this strikes me as a little too far outside. He wants to re-open California's trade offices and pay for them by cutting television commercials in Japan for which he'd be paid millions of dollars, then hand over the money to the state.

The trade offices have a history of being cushy jobs for political cronies, with little evidence that they actually bring business or investment to California. They were closed last year to save money and because of reports that their performance had been exaggerated by state officials. They should be private endeavors if they exist at all.

Here's a story on Schwarzenegger's idea, from the Bee.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:11 PM

November 10, 2004

Senate leadership

Incoming Senate Leader Don Perata has just named his two top lieutenants in the Senate Leadership: Gloria Romero as majority leader and Kevin Murray as caucus chairman. Assuming that both are elected as expected by the caucus when it convenes on Dec. 6, Romero will be the highest ranking woman in the history of the Senate. It's probably no accident that both are from Los Angeles, the base of Perata rival Martha Escutia, who has been rumored in the Capitol to be mulling a second run for the leadership before Perata's victory is made official.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:21 PM

On red California

As many of you know by now, California is pretty cleanly divided between “blue,” Democratic leaning counties along the coast and “red” Republican counties inland. The votes from Nov. 2 are still being counted, but I have crunched some numbers to compare the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections and to see how the vote in each region changed from one election to the next.

If you define “blue” California as essentially the nine Bay Area counties plus Los Angeles, Gore beat Bush there last time by about 1.7 million votes. The margin was 3.3 million to 1.6 million. In the other 48 counties, including a few that went for Gore, Bush won by 400,000 votes. His margin was 2.9 million to 2.5 million. Overall, Gore took the state by about 1.3 million votes.

In 2004, Kerry is winning in the 10 blue counties by about the same margin Gore did, 3.3 million to 1.7 million. But in the 48 red counties, Bush is doing better than he did four years ago. This time his edge has grown from about 400,000 to about 600,000. He is winning there by a margin of 3 million votes to 2.4 million.

If those 48 counties formed a state of their own, the 3 million votes Bush won there would make the new state his third largest vote total, after Texas and Florida. And his margin of 600,000 votes over Kerry would be his second largest, after only Texas.

So while Republicans are making progress here, they shouldn't start celebrating yet. If they continue to improve at their current pace, it would take decades to become competitive in California. A quicker route would be to nominate a center-right candidate who could somehow hold and continue growing the red county advantage while also cutting significantly into the Democrats’ blue-county edge.

Also, just like in the rest of the country, the population is tending to move from the blue counties to the red in California. The inner Bay Area is going to shrink as a proportion of the electorate over time, as is Los Angeles, while the Central Valley and Southern California outside Los Angeles will become a larger and larger share of the electorate. As this happens, the question is whether the blue county residents will bring their values and political preferences to the heartland, or whether their move inland will alter their world view and thus their politics.

Here is the latest map from the Secretary of State’s office, which uses green where the rest of the world thinks blue.


Posted by dweintraub at 10:59 AM

Bear Flag Republic II

This group thinks California should secede from the union to save itself from the reign of Bush.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:36 AM

On birth control and choice

Doesn't the Daily Kos have it exactly backward in this post, where he complains about pharmacists refusing to sell birth control pills because doing so violates their religious beliefs? I support abortion rights and all kinds of birth control, but I fail to see a problem in private business owners deciding what products they want to sell in their store. Moreover, Kos (and Planned Parenthood) are miffed at proposed laws in several states that would protect the right of pharmacists to make their own business decisions. Yet Kos and his allies oppose these laws by saying the problem is Republicans want to impose their values on the rest of us. It seems to me the imposition comes when the government requires a business owner to sell a certain product, not when the government protects the right of the business person to operate as he chooses.

Says Kos:

Republicans seek to impose their version of "values" on the rest of us, while liberals trust people to make such choices for themselves. We truly believe in freedom.

But he is saying he most definitely does not trust pharmacists to make choices, only their customers.

I like to drive Toyota vehicles. If my local car dealer decides to stop selling Toyotas and sell only Hondas, should I be able to get the government to force him to keep selling Toyotas, so that I can buy one? And would such a law be evidence of my trust in people to make choices for themselves? I think not.

Those of us who believe in birth control should patronize pharmacies that sell the products we want to buy while leaving the others alone, and leaving the government out of it. Is that so hard?

Posted by dweintraub at 7:30 AM

November 9, 2004

Henning to lead EDD

In another surprising appointment, Gov. Schwarzenegger has just named Patrick Henning to head the Employment Development Department. Henning has been a legislative consultant to Democrats on labor issues for 17 years, and most recently has been staff director for Sen. Richard Alarcon, one of the most liberal members of the state Senate and now a candidate for mayor of Los Angeles. For most of the 1970s he was a labor union organizer for various unions around the country. Henning is the son of Jack Henning, a former undersecretary of Labor for President John F. Kennedy and a longtime labor leader in California.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:49 PM

Government salaries

Several cities in California, most notably Oakland, have been resisting attempts by the media to obtain information on the salaries of government workers. This is madness, of course. If the public does not have the right to know what we are paying our public servants, then government "by the people" is a meaningless phrase. Fortunately, a court has now stepped in and ordered Oakland to release the data. Unfortunately, the city will probably appeal. The story is in the Contra Costa Times.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:35 AM

County committees

This story from The Times (registration required) does a good job in showing how county party committees are now a major conduit of funds from private interests to political candidates in California. The avenue was opened up by Prop. 34, the campaign finance measure approved by voters in 2000, which sharply limits direct contributions to candidates but allows donations to party committees in far greater amounts. Once again, the lesson is clear: campaign finance "reform" doesn't stop or even slow the flow of political money. It only makes it more difficult for the public and the press to track.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:29 AM

November 8, 2004

The gift economy

The LA Times on Sunday had a great piece (registration required) detailing all the gifts interest groups have given Schwarzenegger's staff, including several that skirted the rules by giving the gifts to the spouses and children of the governor's aides. A Schwarzenegger spokeswoman gamely tried to excuse the largesse, claiming it was necessary to rebuild bipartisan cooperation in the Capitol. If Schwarzenegger is serious about ending unnecessary perceptions of conflicts and favoritism, he will quickly announce a ban on all such gifts to people who work for him. They make enough money to pay their own way to NBA basketball games.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:44 AM

November 5, 2004


Latest tally on what it cost Silicon Valley zillionaire Steve Poizner to finish second in a race for the state Assembly: $78.44 of his own money per vote. He spent $5.65 million and came away with about 72,000 votes.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:52 PM

Tamminen named cabinet secretary

Gov. Schwarzenegger has just named his EPA Secretary, Terry Tamminen, as his new cabinet secretary in the governor's office. Tamminen came to know Schwarzenegger during the campaign last year, through Bonnie Reiss and Bobby Kennedy Jr. He was brought in to advise Schwarzenegger on environmental issues and was kept on to run the Cal-EPA. Although he is not registered to a party, Tamminen is viewed as a moderate if not a liberal on environmental issues, and his appointment, replacing Republican Marybel Batjer, appears to be another move to the left for this increasingly eclectic administration.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:47 PM

November 4, 2004

And here is Campbell on taxes:

“I think there’s a mistake that sometimes happens in politics. If you are a social moderate folks assume you are not a fiscal conservative. The two are not inconsistent. My record in Congress and in the state Senate is one of a quite conservative positions on fiscal matters, against the growth of big government, as much government as we need but no more than we need. And fiscal responsibility. That we pay for what we get."

"The governor makes the policy, but I will tell you my advice to the governor will be to not have any increase in taxes. My advice to the governor will be that that’s exactly what people expect. That California will get out of its fiscal problems by increasing tax burdens on people. That’s exactly what sends businesses out of the state. I want business to come back to our state. I want people to think we are fiscally responsible. The easiest thing to say is we will just spend all we want and make people pay for it through the tax system."

Posted by dweintraub at 12:40 PM

'Why would I listen to losers?'

At his press conference today, Schwarzenegger was asked if he would listen to new Senate Leader Don Perata's advice to raise taxes. His reply was not diplomatic. But it was clear:

"Why would I listen to losers? I mean let’s be honest…They have lost every single ballot in the Bay Area. Everything. The big spenders wanted to go increase taxes. Many different taxes and fees. They lost all of that. In Los Angeles it lost. People don’t want to be taxed. They feel like it’s the government’s responsibility to live within the means of what they get. Rather than every single time to go out and say let’s spend more. We ran out of money. We spent too much. Let’s go and spend more. The Democratic candidates, all of those things that have been proposed in tax increases have lost. Therefore why would we go and follow a losing formula? It doesn’t make any sense.”

Posted by dweintraub at 12:36 PM

A stunner

Gov. Schwarzenegger has just named his new finance director: Tom Campbell, the former congressman from Stanford and now dean of the UC Berkeley business school. Widely respected, smart guy, moderate Republican. His selection will immediately send shivers through the Republicans to Schwarzenegger's right and delight the Democrats in Sacramento. All will assume, rightly or wrongly, that Campbell's arrival signals a greater willingness by the administration to raise taxes. I think that is probably getting ahead of the game. I think it signals, first, a willingness to think creatively about the state's fiscal problems and a desire to push for reforms that will slow the growth in spending without doing fundamental damage to programs and services on which people depend.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:27 AM

Bad day for Newsom

San Francisco voters rejected the mayor's proposals for a sales tax hike, a business tax increase and a housing bond.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:48 AM

Of hedges and bullies

The newest member of the Kennedy clan to win public office -- Bobby Shriver -- was inspired to run after an arrogant bureaucracy threatened to fine him because his hedges were higher than permitted by city ordinance. Shriver, the brother of Maria Shriver, nephew of John, Robert and Ted Kennedy, is now a councilman-elect in what some people describe as the "People's Republic of Santa Monica."

Shriver, a Democrat, tells the LA Times (registration required) that he wants to tackle homelessness and spend city money to help the public schools. But he also wants the city government to start treating its constituents with "respect," he said.

It was the respect issue that sparked the 17-year Santa Monica resident to enter elective politics.

Two days before Thanksgiving last year, city officials cited him for hedges that were too high. Threatened with thousands of dollars in fines, he organized residents to protest what they felt was heavy-handed code enforcement. The city withdrew.

Shriver said the episode showed him that city government had lost sight of its purpose of serving people.

"I got mad at the way I was being bullied and the way my neighbors were being bullied," he said.

Note to Shriver: Hedge-height restrictions are only the beginning. You have stumbled upon your party's biggest weakness. Follow the trail to bigger game -- health care, education, transportation, maybe? -- and you could become your party's most important reformer.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:30 AM

November 3, 2004

Prop. 66

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger took credit Wednesday for helping to kill Proposition 66, the measure to roll back the state's Three Strikes sentencing law, but then immediately pledged to sit down with supporters of the measure to seek common ground. He said he was open to the idea of changes in the law that would meet his standard for protecting public safety.

"If there is something wrong with it that should be adjusted, then we should do that," Schwarzenegger said.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:46 PM

State Senate

Incumbents win; party favored in each district also wins. Schwarzenegger's big play, unseating Sen. Mike Machado of Stockton, fails. Democrats in control, 25-15.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:29 AM

State Assembly

All incumbents win, party favored wins every district. Schwarzenegger candidates in contested races for open seats all lose. Democrats control 48-32.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:27 AM


No reversals overnight.....Prop 66 failed 47-53. Prop 72 was 49-51, trailing by about 160,000 votes.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:23 AM


55 percent to 44 percent with 99 percent counted.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:20 AM

November 2, 2004

I wonder why

Arnold didn't take credit for reelecting GWB by putting him over the top in Ohio. Maybe he is saving that for tomorrow.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:58 PM

Prop 72

With half the vote counted, the health care mandate is losing by about 125,000 votes out of 5 million counted. It is still too close to call, but based on where the votes have been counted and where they have not yet been tallied, I would say the chances are that it will fail. Still a ton of votes to be counted in Southern California outside LA, where the measure is losing badly.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:46 PM


Just declared victory. I am not sure for what. He did pretty well on ballot measures but mostly by killing stuff he didn't like. He said the voters gave him "tools" to do his job. Not clear what those might be. And the Legislature looks like a wash, with most of his candidates, as expected, losing. But with this governor everything is always fantastic, everything is a victory.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:42 PM

State Senate

Looks like nothing will change. Machado winning, Maldanado winning, Kehoe winning. Status quo is 25-15 Democrat.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:24 PM


It looks like AD 53 and 54 are the only ones that might go down to the wire. Either could still go either way.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:21 PM


With 22 percent of the vote counted, Kerry is up 53-46. Still plenty of urban votes to be counted It's hard to see him matching Gore's 2000 performance (+12) with that kind of start.

UPDATE: 52-47 with 24 percent counted.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:19 PM


In very early returns, Republican hopes for winning some Assembly seats are still alive in several districts. AD 21 in the Silicon Valley, AD 30 in the San Joaquin Valley, AD 35 in Santa Barbara, and AD 76 in San Diego are still in play. But so few votes have been counted that these could all still easily go Democratic and other districts could come into play.

UPDATE: Add Assembly District 54 (Kuykendall-Karnette) to that watchlist.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:36 PM

Barbara Boxer

Wins a third term in the US Senate.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:59 PM

Stem cells

Looks like Prop. 71 will pass, handily.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:34 PM

Stay tuned

We'll be blogging here later tonight, after the polls close in California.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:33 PM

About exit polls

Mark Blumenthal, aka Mystery Pollster, has another excellent post, this one a primer on how to make sense of exit polls, especially leaked mid-day results.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:15 PM

Harris Poll has two winners

The Harris Poll has one of the more intriguing takes on the election that I have seen. The company's traditional phone poll, which has been one of the most accurate in the business over the years, has Bush up narrowly ,with Kerry gaining at the end. But the company's new online poll (a scientific poll, not a self-selected sample) has Kerry winning. Based on the online poll, Harris believes that the cell-phone-no-land-line crowd represents about 6 percent of the electorate and is heavily for Kerry. See the results of both polls here.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:07 AM

November 1, 2004

October revenues

October is a relatively modest month for state tax receipts, but even so, the state's recent streak of rising revenues appears to have continued. Preliminary corporate tax returns for the month were $375 million, which was more than $100 million above the projection for the month and 44 percent higher than October, 2003. On the personal income tax side, receipts not counting withholding from wages totaled $419 million, compared to projections of $280 million.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:22 PM

Libertarians on Iraq

This brief summary of a recent debate between pro-war and anti-war libertarians has some of the smartest analysis I have read on Iraq. Would that our now concluding presidential debate could have contained one-tenth the wisdom found here. My two favorite ideas:

Oil shares. Empower Iraqis and kill the U.S.-wants-our-oil theme by granting every Iraqi citizen a share of the country's oil revenues. The idea, similar to the way Alaskan oil revenues are shared with that state's citizens, has been kicking around but still not taken seriously. I think it's brilliant.

Trade police for soldiers. Announce that for every Iraqi police officer (I would add, or solider) successfully trained and put on the job, one coalition soldier will be withdrawn. That would make it clear that our desire is to establish a civil society and get out, not stay forever. And it would put the blame for our continued presence on the insurgents who are killing the newly trained cops and soldiers.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:49 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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