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Daniel Weintraub

California Insider

A Weblog by
Sacramento Bee Columnist Daniel Weintraub

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« September 2006 | | November 2006 »
October 31, 2006

Schwarzenegger on "Citizen Voice"

I noted the other day that political analyst Gary Dietrich had secured online audio interviews with every major statewide candidate save one: the governor. Now he's completed his set. You can listen to Schwarzenegger here.

Not much new there, but two things caught my ear. One was his comment that he wants to "create equal education for every child." Remember that if he is reelected and the "adequacy" discussion begins again early next year. It's not at all clear what that means and how the state might achieve it.

Also in this interview, Schwarzenegger says flatly that he will put redistricting reform back on the ballot if legislators don't pass something by 2008, but he says he will give lawmakers plenty of time to get on board and work out a compromise.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:52 PM

Reiner Commission cleared on key charge

The state auditor has cleared the (former) Reiner Commission of misusing public funds to promote universal preschool. The auditors did find a long list of other missteps in the commission's bidding and contracting processes. But on the main charge, the auditors said the commission had "clear legal authority" to run the ad campaigns that it did. If that's the case, then the state may need a new law restricting the use of public funds for political campaigns. The documents that were unearthed on the commission's work showed that its members decided the public was not ready for universal preschool, then launched a political/public relations campaign with tax dollars, targeted at voters, to change that mindset. It was legal because it was not connected to any particular initiative on the ballot, including Prop. 82. It was, in other words, an "independent expenditure" of public funds on behalf of a political cause. If that's legal now, it shouldn't be in the future.

Otherwise, we could see the governor spending millions of tax dollars to promote redistricting reform, or the Legislature launching an advertising campaign for single-payer health care. Yes, the First Five commission had explicit authority to promote children's programs. But if the real test is whether the promotion is tied to a ballot measure, then there's no reason why other parts of state goverment can't get in on the act.

Here is the key quote from the audit:

Between 2000 and 2006 the state commission used four media and public relations contractors to conduct mass media campaigns related to various issues, including promoting the value of preschool. During this time, the Office of the Attorney General received three ballot proposals that either related to preschool or that, if enacted, would have affected the work of the state commission. Two of these proposals ultimately qualified for the ballot. Because of the timing of the state commission's publicly funded media campaigns and the ballot proposals, concerns arose as to whether the state commission inappropriately spent public funds on campaign activities or on political advocacy. Our review determined that the state commission had clear legal authority to conduct its public advertising campaigns related to preschool. We also found that the content of these advertisements and their timing were consistent with applicable legal restrictions related to the use of public funds for political purposes and confirmed that the state commission did not contribute any of its public funds to campaign accounts used to support the various ballot measures.

UPDATE: Here are some more damning tidbits that don't deal with the ad campaign issue but which Sen. Dave Cox thinks are worth looking at:

--Email correspondence between GMMB Senior Vice President Roy Behr to GMMB employees Ben Austin, Rachel Rednik and Patricia Owen, and former First Five Chief Deputy Director Joe Munso, stating that “running your expenses through our contract is a favor that GMMB is doing for Rob [Reiner].” In this same email, Behr acknowledged that “we are accepting liability for every one of your expenses, many of which are very clearly outside the terms of our agreement with the State.” GMMB is the political consulting firm that Rob Reiner has used in each of his political endeavors.

--The First Five Commission “intentionally used some memorandums of understanding with counties to avoid having to comply with state contracting requirements related to competitive bidding.”

--The First Five Commission “failed to enforce the terms of its contract by paying invoices from one of its media contractors, which totaled $673,000, for fees and expenses that were prohibited under the payment terms of the contract.”

--“For three contracts valued at more than $47.7 million, where [First Five] received less than three bids in response to a call for bids, [First Five]…did not ensure the best interests of the State by failing to perform an adequate cost analysis that justified the award of those contracts.”

--The First Five Commission “also agreed to pay $1.2 million more than it should have for administrative overhead because it did not follow state policy that limits such payments.”

--The Auditor was unable to confirm that the Commission’s database from which samples were selected included a complete universe of contracts. The Auditor identified 11 instances in which gaps in the sequence of contract numbers assigned occurred and staff either could not explain the reason for the gaps or suggested that the contracts may have been canceled; however, the Auditor could not verify their explanations.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:05 PM

Not a nervous Nellie

Gray Davis was a "nervous Nellie" when it came to granting parole, says the Mercury News, but Schwarzenegger has been more willing to follow the recommendations of the parole board even at the risk of being blamed if one of his parolees turns into a Willie Horton.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:28 AM

Three for a 'path to citizenship'

Phil Angelides lays out his plan for comprehensive immigration reform in an op-ed in the LA Times. It's interesting how much Angelides, Schwarzenegger and Bush agree on this issue. Angelides rightly faults the feds for not following through with commitments, and he doesn't like the fence that Bush was forced by his fellow Republicans to support, but on the big picture, the three of them are not all that far apart.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:49 AM

California uninsured--by the numbers

The California HealthCare Foundation has just released a very helpful new report profiling the state's uninsured population. You can find it here. That page also includes an invaluable link to more than a dozen spreadsheets with detailed data backing up the charts and graphs in the report. Health care policy junkies should definitely link to that one or download it for future reference.

Speaking of the future, after the election I am planning to solicit ideas for expanding access to health care in California. I hope to use your ideas as the basis for an ongoing, online discussion on the issue as the reelected governor or the new governor put their oft-promised health care proposals together. Feel free to send me something anytime. But I'll be asking again after Nov. 7.

Here are some highlights of the CHCF study:

--California has a higher proportion of uninsured residents and lower rates of employer-based coverage than the nation;

--Almost 40% of California’s uninsured work for small employers with fewer than 25 workers;

--Seventy-one percent of the state’s uninsured children are in families where the head of household works full time, all year;

--Nearly 1 in 3 uninsured have family incomes of $50,000 or more; and Latinos, which represent more than half of California’s uninsured residents, are much more likely to be uninsured than any other ethnic group;

--Non-citizens make about about a third of the state's uninsured population.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:12 AM

October 30, 2006

That's some leftward lunge

The California League of Conservation Voters just released its 2006 legislative scorecard, and the governor scored a 50 percent. That's lower than the 58 percent he scored on the league's rating sheet for his first two years in office.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:18 AM

A good deal if you can get it

John Doolittle's campaign debts include $39,595 in fundraising fees owed to Sierra Dominion Finanial Services, the company his wife owns and operates out of their Virginia home. That means that if Doolittle wins and empties his campaign account in the process, he will be raising on the order of $40,000 that will go directly from donors to his family's bank account to retire that debt. Instead of getting their usual 15 percent commission on campaign contributions, the Doolittles will be getting 100 percent of that new money flowing in. Actually, they will be getting 115 percent, because Julie will have to raise $46,000 in order to retire John's debt to her company and pay herself another 15 percent on the money she is raising to retire the debt. Amazing.

If he loses, I wonder if Julie's company will forgive the debt, or will Doolittle's friends still be willing to give him that kind of dough?

Posted by dweintraub at 9:01 AM

LAT: 4 out of 5 on bond measures

The Times doesn't like 1C, the housing measure.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:38 AM

'Killing jobs does not benefit workers'

The LA City Council is thinking about extending its minimum wage regulation, originally applied only to city contractors, to airport hotels as well. The LA Times opposes the idea, and is starting to tire of the council's attempts to micromanage the local economy:

That so few members of the council abide by basic principles of economics is a disturbing indicator of the degree of control that organized labor exerts over city government. Repeat after us: Killing jobs does not benefit workers.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:37 AM

Merc: No on 87

The San Jose paper says the oil tax measure is bad on principle and policy.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:31 AM

Real fuel for real people

The Sacramento Bee gets real on liquified natural gas:

There are no easy solutions here, only very hard choices with very real tradeoffs. Natural gas is a bedrock of the state's energy policy for reasons that make great sense. This requires access to the gas that the state needs. That requires one LNG terminal, most likely, for now. It's easier to be against an LNG terminal than for a real alternative.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:27 AM

October 28, 2006



The red dot shows where I stand on the ideological map, according to the world's shortest political quiz.

You can take the quiz here.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:51 AM

October 27, 2006

A real Hail Mary

How bad is it? Jon Fleischman is asking his readers to pray for Dick Mountjoy's campaign against Dianne Feinstein. Seriously.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:28 PM

Online candidate interviews

Political analyst Gary Dietrich has posted unedited online audio interviews with all the major party candidates for statewide office at his Citizen Voice Web site. All except one. Gov. Schwarzenegger, Dietrich says, is the only candidate who has not agreed to an interview.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:25 PM

More mud in AG's race

The former employee who accused Jerry Brown of going soft on his longtime aide, friend and guru in a sexual harassment case is going public with her allegations.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:44 AM

SurveyUSA: Schwarzenegger, 55-37

The fundamentals of this SurveyUSA poll are very similar to the PPIC poll released Thursday. Even the margin is the same, although the 55 percent top line is kind of eye-popping. One thing they do is reduce the "other and undecided" vote by focusing the question on the two main candidates.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:53 AM

'Why prison reform doesn't happen'

In a long and comprehensive piece, Jackie Speier lays out her take on what ails the state's prison system, and how to fix it.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:44 AM

Supes gone wild

San Francisco has 11 local measures on the ballot Nov. 7, from mandatory sick pay for all employees to "question time" for the mayor and impeachment proceedings for the president. I hadn't realized that any four members of the 11-member board of supervisors can get together and slap something on the ballot with no hearings or analysis. The Chronicle editorial board offers a rundown of the choices here.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:33 AM

The marriage that dare not speak its name

The LA Times thinks California should follow New Jersey's example and grant all the rights of marriage to domestic partners. I think we pretty much have already, in a piecemeal fashion.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:26 AM

A 'policy stinker'

The Union-Tribune remembers when Clinton and Gore were centrists. Then lobs this bomb:

With Clinton, we suspect he is trying to cuddle up to Hollywood tycoon Steve Bing, the prodigious Democratic donor and 87 supporter whose help Sen. Hillary Clinton covets in her expected 2008 presidential bid.

With Gore, we assume it is just one more manifestation of his frenzied attempt to establish himself as secular pope of the global green cult. No one should be surprised if Gore someday becomes the first nanny-state politician to be more upset with fast-food restaurants because of their discarded food wrappers than their unhealthy burgers and fries.

Whatever Clinton and Gore are up to, we hope Californians recognize their malarkey for what it is and remember the basics about Proposition 87. It won't reduce our dependence on foreign oil or reduce the cost of gasoline. It is a badly drafted mess. Its crucial initial support came from a businessman who hopes to take advantage of it. In considering how to describe Proposition 87, a long list of adjectives comes to mind, but “moral” is not one of them.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:21 AM

Merc: No on 89

Like almost every other paper in the state, the Mercury News says the nurses overeached when they tried to rig the initiative process with unbalanced contribution limits.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:16 AM

October 26, 2006

No LAT poll on state races

If you're waiting for the final pre-election LA Times Poll to check it against PPIC and Field, forget about it. Kevin Roderick reports that budget woes at the Times have forced them to drop their usual late-October poll on the governor's race and state issues. No word on whether there will be an exit poll.

: There will be an exit poll, Roderick reports.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:58 PM

'The governor's campaign is a fraud'

The Angelides campaign is out with a new ad that tells voters they can’t trust Schwarzenegger and then reminds them that Angelides wants to fully fund the schools, roll back college tuition and give them a middle-class tax cut.

Angelides adviser Bill Carrick had this to say about the message the ad is trying to convey:

“The governor’s campaign is a fraud. He’s pretending to be something he’s not…He cut school funding, tried to cut pensions, and took over $100 million in special interest money in violation of the promise he made in the recall.”

In a conference call with reporters, Carrick was also asked about the PPIC poll results. He said he was puzzled at why the poll showed essentially the same margin today as it did a month ago.

“I think they’re wrong," he said. "I think they’re fundamentally wrong. I think it’s an exaggerated, conservative white look at the electorate.

“We think we’re behind. But we think it’s single digits.”

Posted by dweintraub at 10:23 AM

Audit of CSU Fullerton turns up a mess

An internal CSU audit has found a mess of waste and abuse, including conflicts of interest, in the IT department at CSU Fullerton.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:15 AM

Who's in the ER, and why?

A survey for the California Health Care Foundation finds that half of insured patients who have been to an emergency room say their condition could have been handled in a doctor's office. The report says same-day appointments and evening and weekend hours could go a long ways toward relieving ER overcrowding.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:06 AM

More bang for their bucks

Bill Cavala sees a low turnout coming, and he fears the Indian gaming tribes' $8 million independent expenditure will be that much more important down the stretch. He also thinks Angelides is toast.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:52 AM

The Proposition Song

Kim Alexander and her Cal-Voter singers now have a video version up of their Proposition Song. As usual, it's a great summary of the ballot summary. You know it's going to be spot on right from the start when they manage to make the distinction that Prop. 1A is about the sales tax on gas as opposed to the gas tax. That's some amazing subtlety for a song that covers 13 props in just three minutes.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:27 AM

LAT: We're not ready for some football

It looks as if LA and the NFL will not be getting together. A new stadium would simply cost too much. And the LA Times says that's ok. Here's the best line:

"All of this means a prospective owner would be on the hook for at least $2 billion. That's a hefty investment. You could buy a major metropolitan newspaper with that kind of money."

Posted by dweintraub at 6:01 AM

Merc: No on arbitration

The voters in the city of Santa Clara are going to be voting on whether to give public safety unions the right to binding arbitration. The San Jose Mercury says they should vote no.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:54 AM

PPIC: Schwarzenegger 48, Angelides 30

A new PPIC poll shows Schwarzenegger with a huge lead going down the stretch -- 48-30 among likely voters.

Other highlights:

Which issue do you want to hear the candidates discuss?

Immigration -- 21 percent
Education -- 19 percent
Budget, fiscal -- 10 percent
Jobs, economy -- 7 percent
environment -- 4 percent
health care -- 4 percent

Whose ads have you seen the most in the past month?

Angelides -- 37 percent
Schwarzenegger -- 25 percent


1B 51 yes-38 no
1C 56 yes-34 no
1D 51 yes-39 no
1E 53 yes -36 no
84 42 yes -43 no

Schwarzenegger approval 47-45

Right track-wrong direction 44-46

Bush approval 32-62

Posted by dweintraub at 5:47 AM

October 25, 2006


In one of the bolder moves lately by a single company to protect its economic interests, Intuit, the tax-preparer software company, has put $1 million into a new independent expenditure committee that has begun buying time for Tony Strickland for Controller. The controller sits on the Franchise Tax Board. The FTB decides, if the Legislature lets it decide, whether to let Californians file their taxes electronically, directly to the state, without using the handy software Intuit supplies. Intuit used to like its hometown guy, Steve Westly, until Westly became a champion for the idea of letting people file simple tax returns using software on a state site. Now it looks as if the Turbo Tax guys think John Chiang looks too much like a Westly protege.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:23 PM

Chron: Garamendi for lt. gov

The Chronicle says the job actually does carry a few responsibilities, and the paper thinks Garamendi would carry them out better than McClintock.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:35 AM

Unite Here tries to unite Latinos, Blacks

Erin Aubrey Kaplan writes here on the effect of immigrant labor on black employment in the LA hotel and restaurant industry. A new labor contract calls for more outreach and recruitment among African-Americans.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:33 AM

More local ballot measures

Thanks for your suggestions on local ballot measures to watch on Nov. 7. Here are some of those that you highlighted:

San Mateo County Measure A: 1/8th-cent sales tax increase to pay for new parks.

Kern County Measure I: A new half-cent sales tax increase for transportation.

Measure Y in Santa Monica and Measure K in Santa Cruz: Both define marijuana possession as the "lowest priority" for local police departments.

Santa Cruz Measure G: Sets the local minimum wage at $9.25 per hour.

Sacramento and Yolo County Measure L: SMUD, the public utility based in
Sacramento, is trying to expand to Yolo County, kicking out PG&E.

Here is my original list.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:35 AM

Competitive pressures

Tension is building between charter schools and the districts from which they take students. The San Jose Mercury has some suggestions for easing it.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:18 AM

October 24, 2006

Local ballot measures

I'm looking for suggestions on local ballot measures we should be following on Nov. 7. So far, these have caught my eye:

Sacramento County Measures Q and R: A quarter-cent sales tax increase and an advisory measure urging that the money raised be spent on a new downtown arena for the Sacramento Kings.

San Francisco Measure F: Requires employers in the city to provide paid sick leave to their workers for their own use or to care for a sick family member or friend.

San Diego City Propositions B and C: Mayor Jerry Sanders' proposals to require voter approval for public employee penson increases and to allow the city to more easily contract with private firms to provide public services.

Los Angeles Proposition R: Loosens city council term limits (allowing three terms instead of two) and adopts new ethics provisions.

Santa Clara County Measure A: New general plan with stricter growth limits.

Fresno County Measure C: Extend half-cent transportation sales tax for another 20 years.

Orange County Measure M: Extend half-cent transportation sales tax for another 30 years.

Please email me if you know of others I should be watching.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:11 AM

'The teacup travails of the bourgeoisie'

Will Wilkinson thinks the left's focus on economic insecurity is no more valid than Bush's constant reminders about national security. Both warnings are meant to make us feel more insecure so that their sponsors can win elections and policy debates.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:46 AM

Tunneling in

Debra Saunders is raising questions about the claims being made by the backers of Proposition 1B.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:43 AM

The latest model

Last year it was Hiram Johnson. This year it's Earl Warren. A biographer of the cross-filing governor who became chief justice of the Supreme Court looks at the parallels with Schwarzenegger. But Jim Newton thinks Warren came by his centrism "more honestly" than Schwarzenegger because Warren was an early backer of universal health care while Schwarzenegger once antagonized public employee unions. No word in this piece on how sending Japanese-Americans to internment camps fits into the "honest moderate" equation.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:38 AM

Hiding the ball

With two weeks to go before the election, this can't be said often enough: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has no plan to balance the state's budget, or, if he does have a plan, he's not sharing it with the voters. John Myers takes a look at the issue here, on his blog and, linked, KQED radio.

Schwarzenegger is staring at a $5 billion gap between projected revenues and spending next year -- and that's assuming the economy performs as expected. Unless he is bailed out by higher tax revenues than his own economists have told him are likely, Schwarzenegger is going to have to propose deep spending cuts, or break his pledges on taxes (he won't raise them) or borrowing ("live within our means.") When asked about this on the campaign trail, he says he doesn't talk about "hypotheticals." But the real hypothetical would be a scenario under which he does not face a shortfall. If all goes according to plan, he will.

For those keeping score at home, the last governor who ran for reelection facing a shortfall he refused to talk about was Gray Davis. The say-no-evil strategy worked for him, too. For a while.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:05 AM

October 23, 2006

Bing tops off the tank

Stephen Bing has dropped another $3.5 million into the Prop. 87 kitty.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:43 PM

A man, not a baby

Tired of the same old political ad styles? So is Michael Nelson of Rifftrax. So he's layered his own sound track on a Schwarzenegger ad and an Angelides ad to give you a chuckle. Definitely, check them out.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:48 PM

Is that what she meant to say?

Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi:

"The gavel of the speaker of the House is in the hands of special interests, and now it will be in the hands of America's children."

From the LA Times via Mickey Kaus.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:51 AM

Merc, CoCo Times: Schwarzeneggger for governor

The papers in San Jose and Contra Costa back Schwarzenegger for a second term. This makes it pretty much a clean sweep of the major dailies for the governor. The Bee, The LA Times, the Chronicle, the San Diego Union-Tribune have all endorsed Schwarzenegger. Pretty amazing when you consider what most of these papers thought of him three years ago, or even one year ago.

UPDATE: At least one major daily did endorse Angelides: La Opinion.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:37 AM

October 22, 2006

Plenty of passion, just not for the job

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom says he's losing his love for the job and might not run for a second term, let alone higher office.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:49 PM

Mystery man

Phil Angelides can talk longer, and more intelligently, about the connections between government policy, the economy, and private life than any candidate I've seen for statewide office in California in 20 years. I don't always agree with him. But when he is at his best, he's a very interesting and engaging professor of California government. Yet that Phil Angelides seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. He rarely appears in campaign events and has been almost completely absent from campaign commercials.

On Monday, the Angelides campaign has two events scheduled. One is to complain about a voter intimidation tactic used by a no-chance GOP congressional candidate in Orange County who has been condemned and ostracized by his entire party, including the chairman of the Orange County Republican Party. The other event is to rip Schwarzenegger again for saying, in their debate, that some of the proposals he pursued last year in the special election were "good ideas." Angelides has a very positive, powerful vision for what he would like to do as governor to help California build its future. That vision contrasts with the case-by-case policy development of the incumbent. But it's as if Angelides doesn't want the voters to know about it.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:32 PM

October 20, 2006

And now he'd like to shred the aides who told that story

Phil Angelides is such an obsessive micromanager that he once supervised the purchase of an office shredder while on the road. He had staffers express mail him samples of shredded papers from competing machines so he could make the decision. So says this LA Times profile.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:42 AM

Counting pre-hatched chickens

Dan Schnur shares his Schwarzenegger coattail index, in which he projects how big a landslide for the governor it would take to elect downballot Republicans from McClintock to Parrish.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:36 AM

Closet right-winger?

Jon Fleischman still isn't happy with the number of Republican judges Schwarzenegger is appointing. But he notes that the percentage has gone up since Susan Kennedy arrived!

Posted by dweintraub at 11:33 AM

'Desperate and idiotic'

That's how Steve Lopez is describing Phil Angelides' decision Thursday to go on the Adam Carolla show.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:25 AM

CoCo Times: No on 83

The Contra Costa paper says legislation passed this year makes the ballot measure unnecessary.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:45 AM

LAT: McPherson for SOS

The Times likes his nonpartisan style.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:41 AM

SDUT: Schwarzenegger

The Union Tribune says the governor is a complex political figure, but the case for his re-election is easy.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:40 AM

SacBee: McNerney for Congress

The Sacramento Bee says it's time for Pombo to go.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:38 AM

October 19, 2006

From the horse's mouth

So this week Phil Angelides picked up the phone and started speed dialing political reporters, the rare unsolicted call from a major party candidate for governor. Did he want to talk about taxes, or health care, or education, or even explain why his campaign has been so woeful to date? Nope. Phil was calling to personally deliver the message that he was about to start dragging Schwarzenegger through the mud. Bob Salladay reflects here on the new Angelides strategy and his method of announcing it.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:00 PM

Executive Life audit

Garamendi's people are touting this state audit released today as a vindication of his performance on the Executive Life matter, which has dogged him for more than a decade. I am sure Dan Walters will be parsing the details soon.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:29 AM

Just what they needed

OC Republican Party leader Scott Baugh tries to do damage control on a party nominee for Congress linked to an effort to suppress the Hispanic immigrant vote. Baugh is calling for the nominee -- Tan Nguyen -- to withdraw from the race.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:25 AM

Only in California...


The candidate who has spent the week ripping Schwarzenegger as a racist and a groper stands by for an appearance on a raunchy FM radio show, as a 400-pound black man named “Master” french kisses a geriatric woman on a dare to win tickets to a tour of Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion. Phil Angelides takes a spin on the Adam Carolla show.

"I'm not going to make out with anyone," he says as he goes on the air.

UPDATE: Angelides riffs on taxes and immigration and then turns personal, saying Schwarzenegger’s hair looks like it was “dipped in tang” and calls the governor the “Santa Ana wind of blowhards.” When the host, unaware that Schwarzenegger has pushed for and enacted a program to subsidize one million solar roofs, says not enough has been done on that issue, Angelides jumps right in. “We haven’t seen any progress” on that issue, Angelides says, because Schwarzenegger has taken more money from the oil companies than anyone but Bush.

Overall, Angelides holds his own for nearly an hour, showing he's not as humor-challenged as he usually appears to be.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:46 AM

On access to health insurance

Here's my column from today's Bee on the difference between Schwarzenegger and Angelides on health care.

And here are two more things worth reading on the subject:

A PPIC study released today that says SB 2, the employer mandate bill repealed by the voters in 2004, would have driven down wages and cost tens of thousands of low-wage workers their jobs while not doing much to expand access to insurance.

A David Leonhardt essay in the New York Times on how American desires are behind the ever-rising cost of health care.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:52 AM

Letter traced to GOP candidate

The latest on that intimidating letter sent to immigrant voters in Orange County: state investigators think it is connected to a Republican candidate for Congress running against Rep. Loretta Sanchez.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:38 AM

CoCo Times: Garamendi

It's interesting to see how many California newspapers say they were torn by having to choose between John Garamendi and Tom McClintock for lieutenant governor. The two men have almost nothing in common, personally or ideologically. I suppose it is a tribute to McClintock's integrity that so many left-leaning ed boards have even given him a second thought. In the end, though, most of the papers are going with Garamendi. The Contra Costa Times is the latest.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:22 AM

On being a listener

Phil Angelides...has not demonstrated the leadership traits required to build coalitions that can overcome the egos, ambition and partisan rivalries that stand in the way of progress in Sacramento. Angelides has struggled to inspire Democrats in this election. In his meeting with us, many of his answers gave no indication that he either heard or cared about the question -- time after time, he defaulted to his wind-up stump monologues about education or closing tax loopholes.

That's from the San Francisco Chronicle endorsement of Schwarzenegger. It's fair to say the same problems cost Angelides the Bee's endorsement.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:04 AM

October 18, 2006


Ezra Klein on a new survey of Americans' views on health care:

As for what's driving all these high costs, the reported culprits, in descending order, are excess profits of drug and insurance companies, medical malpractice lawsuits, fraud and waste, overpaid doctors, administrative costs, unnecessary treatments, unhealthy lifestyles, expensive new treatments, the aging population, and better medical care. That's depressing. In order to get an accurate view of what's driving health costs, you'd need to basically invert that list. To say the American people have it backwards is to be unusually precise.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:25 PM

Going after Jerry

Two Northern California Republican county chairmen say they're filing a lawsuit tomorrow to try to get Jerry Brown knocked off the ballot for failing to meet the minimum requirements of the attorney general's office. As far as I know, the only requirements (in statute, not in the constitution) are that the person be licensed to practice law before the state Supreme Court for at least five years prior to taking office...

Posted by dweintraub at 4:14 PM

CalPERS to let governments prepay for retiree health benefits

CalPERS today took the first steps toward setting up a way for government agencies to set aside money to pay for retiree health benefits they have promised their employees. The money would be invested by CalPERS just as pension contributions are today, and the investment earnings would help defray the cost of the benefits. A release on the program is available here.

I wrote about this problem in my Sunday column.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:16 PM

A virus to be?

The public financing folks say their ad for Proposition 89, the "clean money" initiative, has been a “huge sensation” online and is demonstrating the power of viral marketing. But the numbers don’t seem all that eye-popping so far. Sara Nichols, the communications director for the 89 campaign, said in a conference call at noon that the ad was viewed 16,000 times in its first 48 hours on YouTube, making it the number one political ad on the video-sharing web site at the moment. She said the ad has been seen by10 times more people than have seen Bill Clinton’s ad supporting Prop. 87. But still, 89 is going to need about 4 million votes to win on Nov. 7. That virus is going to have to spread far and fast. More than 1.2 million people have viewed this "sweet, tired cat." Maybe the clean money people should try to hire the cat to front for the initiative.

Note: An earlier version of this item mentioned that the props would need perhaps 6 million or 7 million votes to win. If this were a presidential election, perhaps. But it's more likely that turnout will be closer to the neighborhood of 8 million or so. Thanks to Chuck for pointing out that slip.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:21 PM

UT: One more for DiFi

One day after backing Jerry Brown for AG, the Union Tribune throws its support behind Dianne Feinstein for another term in the Senate.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:46 AM

Doolittle did something

John Doolittle has been accusing his opponent of "aiding and abetting" sexual predators because he is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union. Now the Bee has a story about Doolittle going into court a few years back to speak as a character witness for a dentist who was accused of fondling his patients.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:18 AM

October 17, 2006

Oh, mom

A Kos diarist who was wondering about all those shallow voters who hated Schwarzenegger last year but like him now gets his answer -- in an unexpected place.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:42 PM

Desperation time

Phil Angelides is accusing Schwarzenegger of backing the apartheid regime in South Africa, based on what he says are "news reports." Bob Salladay thinks Angelides is talking about charges that emanated from a book that quoted longtime Schwarzenegger antagonist Rick Wayne. This is ugly stuff, but there's some good news for Schwarzenegger: Angelides is going down and dirty in search of the black vote three weeks before Election Day. Not a good sign for a Democratic nominee. Next perhaps we can expect Phil to show up with a photo he says he has of the governor taking a campaign contribution in a state building...

Posted by dweintraub at 3:17 PM

I smell a focus group

The Rebuild California folks behind the infrastructure bonds are rolling out their television ads, which are built around the inspiring theme, "What's in it for me?" All of the ads start out with that line and then give a few examples of projects in each region that might be built with the bond money. You can see the ads at the campaign web site, here.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:08 PM

State revenue red flags

The Department of Finance projections for October tax revenues were almost precisely on the dot -- $5 million short on total revenues of $10.3 billion. But the data buried within the numbers raise some red flags.

Personal income tax revenues from estimated payments -- those that typically reflect capital gains on investments -- were up yet again, $337 million above the $2.5 billion projection and 23 percent above October 2005. But taxes from withholding on wages, which reflect current economic activity, were below projections and only 3 percent higher than a year ago. Revenues from the sales tax and the tax on corporate profits were also below projections. It's only one month, but all of these signs appear to be pointing to an economic expansion that is at least pausing, if not losing steam. If not for a robust stock market and profit-taking on real estate, revenues would have been down significantly for the month. Still plenty of time left in the fiscal year for a rebound, but these are points to keep your eye on if they start to become a trend. With the state already expecting a $5 billion operating shortfall in January, it can hardly afford a revenue slowdown.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:01 PM

300 million and counting

Joel Kotkin imagines what the United States (and the world) will be like when our population reaches 400 million.

An excerpt:

Ideologues on the left and right both consider America's changing racial mix as something certain to undermine society. Conservatives generally see the possible emergence of a "majority minority" population as precursor to social crackup and the demise of traditional Anglo-Saxon values. Leftist intellectuals envision a nation where Anglo-Saxon norms are demolished in favor of a hodgepodge of quasi-autonomous ethnic communities. Both sides miss the point entirely. Few people immigrate to America so they can recreate conditions they fled in Mexico, Iran, China or Cuba. And even if the first generation might feel some tug of the old language and culture, virtually every study of the second generation indicates increasing integration into the American mainstream, both linguistically and culturally.

Several factors will accelerate this process. One is the continuing movement of minorities and immigrants into the suburbs, which tend to be less hospitable to the creation of segregated racial enclaves. If you want to find the newest and biggest Chinese supermarkets, Hindu temples, or mosques, the best place to look is not the teeming cities but the outer suburbs of Los Angeles, New York or Houston. Just travel to places where few Manhattan or Washington pundits venture, like Ft. Bend County outside Houston. The largely affordable middle-class suburb has a population that is just under half white, one-fifth African-American, one-fifth Hispanic and around 12% Asian. It's the new American melting pot, and, more or less, it's working.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:14 AM

Let 'em go at it

I agree almost entirely with what Dan Walters says here about the format of this year's one and only gubernatorial debate.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:53 AM

Doolittle and the feds

Here's the latest on why Doolittle has paid lawyers $38,000 to represent him in the Justice Department's investigation of congressional corruption. He's not under investigation, Doolittle says, he's just trying to clear his name. Huh?

Posted by dweintraub at 5:48 AM

Chron: No on Pombo

The Chronicle says Rep. Richard Pombo is "an embarrassment" and should be retired.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:37 AM

SDUT: Shake it up

The San Diego Union Tribune wants more mavericks in state government, so it is endorsing both Jerry Brown for AG and Tom McClintock for lieutenant governor.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:28 AM

SacBee: no on Kings arena plan

The Sacramento Bee opposes a quarter-cent sales tax on the ballot to pay for a new arena for the NBA's Sacramento Kings.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:24 AM

October 16, 2006

Rasmussen: Schwarzenegger up by nine

The latest poll in the governor's race, by Rasmussen, has Schwarzenegger up by 49-40. That's smaller than the margin in other recent polls but larger than the last California poll by Rasmussen, which had Schwarzenegger leading 47-39.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:04 PM

Fun times in San Diego County

Barry Jantz has all the hot stuff today. First he links to a newspaper report saying Bonnie Garcia told a group of students that she wouldn't kick the govenror "out of bed." Then he leads us to a story out of Encinitas, along the SD County coast, where a constituent has erected a billboard calling a local city councilwoman a whore.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:01 AM

Chron: no on 83

Forcing sex offenders to live in rural areas will not necessarily make us safer, the Chronicle says.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:50 AM

LAT: Garamendi for lt. gov

The LA Times says John Garamendi is best suited for what the paper says is a useless job.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:47 AM

October 15, 2006

Terminator 2?

The Sacramento Bee and the LA Times both endorse Schwarzenegger for a second term.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:07 AM

October 13, 2006

No suicide missions

If the unions really are shifting their resources away from Angelides to the downballot Democrats, it might do more harm than good. If Angelides goes into a free-fall or simply holds steady and the final public polls show him hopelessly behind, that's likely to depress Democrats, hurt turnout and damage the prospects of the party's other candidates on the ballot. It's hard to believe that an extra million dollars is going to make the difference for Garamendi even as the top of the ticket is imploding.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:52 AM

AB 32: Meaningless blather?

If you think California is really going to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020, take a look at what Cato is saying about the "Kyoto charade."

Posted by dweintraub at 8:14 AM

Bubba for biomass

Bill Clinton is supposed to appear at a UCLA rally this morning on behalf of Prop. 87, the oil tax initiative.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:19 AM

LAT: No on 89

Yet another newspaper says the nurses went too far when they tried to use public financing as a cover for their attempt to rig the initiative process.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:14 AM

Reform redux

Schwarzenegger refuses to back down on his pledge to pursue the "good ideas" he pushed in the 2005 special election. And the Union-Tribune is happy to hear it.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:10 AM

Merc: Garamendi for lt. gov

The Mercury says the insurance commissioner is more collaborative and less dogmatic than his conservative opponent.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:07 AM

October 12, 2006

Union dues are safe

The governor tells the Chronicle ed board that paycheck protection is not one of the "good ideas" that he will revisit if reelected.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:31 AM

'The best...attack'll see...this year!!!'--California Insider

You know how movie producers like to pull dramatic quotes from the reviews and highlight them in their promotions? The same is true with political consultants. The Garamendi campaign is doing that now with the Bee's review of McClintock's latest ad.

In this ad watch, Amy Chance said one snippet of film was "completely misleading." The clip in question was of Garamendi at a hearing. Most of the ad is about his role in the Executive Life insurance mess, and at the end of the commercial, the announcer asks:

"Can you afford to trust Garamendi again?"

At which point Garamendi, in the clip, says:

"I'm not prepared at this time to answer that question."

And the ad ends there.

My colleague found that misleading because the question to which Garamendi was repsonding had nothing to do with Executive Life. But when I saw the ad I never assumed that it did. I thought it was simply a creative way to use Garamendi answering, or not answering, their question: can you trust him?

At any rate, The Garamendi camp has now taken the Bee's complaint about context out of context. Here's the headline on their latest press release:


They're asking stations to pull the ad, calling it “manifestly defamatory and actionable."

I've always wondered if movie reviewers try to write blurbs that will be quoted in the ads, or try not to. Do political writers have to worry about that too?

You can see the ad for yourself here.

This is far from the best political ad, or even the best attack ad, you will see this year, or even this month. But it might be the most controversial.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:38 AM

Chron: No on 89

A huge supporter of public financing says the "Clean Money" initiative is dirty:

This measure is terminally flawed by the other half of what it does -- its selective restrictions on contributions to ballot propositions. This provision represents a blatant attempt by one special interest to neutralize its potential opponents. It is a corruption of the "clean money" concept.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:04 AM

LAT: No on 90

But the paper would still like to see some eminent domain reform.

Posted by dweintraub at 8:01 AM


Another thing on which they agree: Poochigian and Brown are both distancing themselves from Lockyer's global warming lawsuit against the auto companies.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:59 AM

OC Reg: Strickland for controller

Chiang's penchant for investment activism rubs the Register the wrong way.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:55 AM

Merc: Yes on 86

Another paper sets aside its qualms about ballot-box budgeting and endorses the tobacco tax increase.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:52 AM

October 11, 2006

Who's your candidate?

KPCC radio has a cool tool on its web site that asks you a series of questions on various issues and then tells you which of the candidates for governor is closest to your views on each. Be prepared, though, they have not dumbed this thing down.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:52 PM

An awkward moment

Chris Reed asks Bill Lockyer whether he supports Cruz Bustamante for insurance commissioner.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:41 PM

Chronicle: Brown for AG

The Chronicle says the state's "top cop" is about more than law enforcement, and Brown's the one on all of those other issues.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:47 AM

LAT: Lockyer for treasurer

The LA Times says the attorney general has his flaws, but he's still better than Parrish.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:45 AM

'Impolite, inconsistent, imprudent...'

Ruben Navarrette thinks the governor needs a lesson or two on assimilation -- and hypocrisy.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:42 AM

October 10, 2006

LAwsuit seeks to block LA schools takeover

Some members of the LA school board and a coalition of local groups filed suit today to block the mayor's partial takeover of the district.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:19 PM

Got a question for Richard Pombo?

The congressman printed what he says was his home number in a mailer to voters, and now Hank Shaw has reprinted it in his blog.

UPDATE: Here is a direct link to Shaw's blog. Thanks to those who sent it along.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:35 AM

Better late than never

With less than a month to go before the election, Phil Angelides is rolling out a bio ad that begins to tell voters who he is and what he stands for. The ad's not bad.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:24 AM

Anything you can do...

The Chronicle pans the governor's race debate and says they will do better when they host a live webcast of a debate between the candidates for controller at 2 p.m. today.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:07 AM

Merc: Bowen for secretary of state

The Mercury News gives Mcpherson props for bringing stability to the office but says what the state needs now is dynamism, which Bowen would provide.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:59 AM

October 9, 2006

Chron: No on 86, 87 and 88

The San Francisco Chronicle takes a three-part whack at a slate of measures promoted by the paper's liberal allies.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:17 PM

LAT: Yes on 86

The LA Times hates ballot-box budgeting. But it wants to make an exception for the tobacco tax hike.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:15 PM

Wanted: new moderator

The San Diego Union-Tribune thinks Schwarzenegger won the debate hands-down, and Angelides was the big loser. But the paper takes a moment to poke a stick at Stan Statham as well.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:14 PM

Merc: Poizner for insurance commissioner

The San Jose Mercury News says Steve Poizner can't match Cruz Bustamante's record in public office -- and that might be a good thing.

Posted by dweintraub at 2:10 PM

Wedding bliss

Back from a weekend in San Diego. Missed watching the debate live so I could go to a family wedding instead. After watching the tape, I'm glad I did. What a waste. It may be time to end political debates as we know them. Talking points. Jargon. Canned one-liners (dinner with Teddy Kennedy). Exaggerations (taxes, Bush links). Blah, blah, blah. It didn't change the race and wouldn't have even if anyone were watching. The wedding was great, by the way. And absolutely no one was talking about the governor's race. The Chargers, yes. Padres? Yup. Kids, travel, music, careers. But no politics. I'll have a bit more to say about the debate in Tuesday's column.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:38 PM

October 6, 2006

Trouble for LA schools takeover

The rank and file members of the LA teachers union, rebelling against its leadership, has voted to oppose Mayor Villaraigosa's partial takeover of the district.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:14 AM

Not exactly a leftward lunge

The conservative FlashReport highlighted 20 bills they hoped the governor would veto. He vetoed 14 of them, or 70 percent. He signed five and let one become law without his signature.

The interesting thing is that of the six that became law, only one -- the prescription drug discount bill -- represented a change in position for Schwarzenegger this year. The others were either positions he had taken earlier (global warming, minimum wage) or nanny-state ideas that he'd never previously opined on (cell phones while driving, tethering your dog). Hardly the stuff, I'd say, of a dramatic and sudden shift to the left.

I'll have more to say about this topic in my Sunday column.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:04 AM

Whose gaffe?

It doesn't look as if the Democratic outrage over the governor's assimilation comments is getting much traction. This story in the Bee and this one in the Mercury were the only daily reporting I found in a quick run through the Web sites this morning. If that's where it ends, the Democrats should consider themselves fortunate. They're not going to gain votes by ripping the governor for saying that immigrants, to be successful, need to learn English and assimilate into the American fabric and culture. Yes, he was taking a risk in singling out Asian-Americans (the model minority?) for assimilating more quickly than Mexican immigrants, a generalization which, even if accurate, might offend some. But this was no flip comment on bloodlines and temperment. It was a well-reasoned explanation of what works and what doesn't work for immigrants in the United States, by someone who knows something about the subject. By highlighting it, the Dems are only doing the governor a favor.

Andre Pineda has been saying some interesting things about ethnic politics lately. Wonder if he will weigh in on this development.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:38 AM

PE: McPherson, Poizner

The Riverside Press Enterprise endorses two Republicans for down ballot jobs.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:24 AM

CoCo Times: Yes on 84

The Contra Costa paper favors the parks and water bond measure.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:23 AM

Out of state, out of mind

The Chronicle doesn't think much of the governor's stop-gap prison overcrowding measure.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:21 AM

LAT: No on 1A

Sometimes I feel as if I am the only person in California who thinks it's nutty to dedicate a slice of the sales tax to transportation construction, especially when the state is still spending more from its general fund than it's taking in from taxes. Alas, I am not alone. The LA Times agrees.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:18 AM

They really liked that hemp bill

"A disturbing willingness to support larger, secretive government." That's how the Orange County Register sees the governor's recent round of bill signings and vetoes.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:15 AM

Is it true that you're a deficit spender?

Some tough questions for Saturday night's debate, courtesy of the San Jose Mercury News.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:12 AM

October 5, 2006

Gay marriage ban upheld

In a 2-1 ruling, a panel of the First District Court of Appeal has upheld Proposition 22, California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage. Gay rights activists say they will appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Posted by dweintraub at 4:18 PM

Schwarzenegger: assimilation is good

Arnold Schwarzenegger
AP Photo

The California Democratic Party was helpful enough today to send out a clip of Schwarzenegger talking about immigration and assimilation, and a transcript, which I have confirmed is accurate and have posted below. They also held a conference call for reporters with minority activists which I was unable to catch.

The Democrats seem to think that the governor's words will somehow damage him in the campaign. I am puzzled at that. In fact, if they manage to fan this into a controversey, I think it will backfire on them and actually help Schwarzenegger. It will clearly help him with white voters, and probably with black and Asian voters as well. And I wouldn't assume that it even hurts him with Latinos.

Here is what he said:

The people always ask me what was the secret to your success here in America, and I always say that number one it's the land of opportunity; that anyone can make it in this country if you work hard. But by working hard, what do we mean by that? That means, not just working, physically working, but it means that you make an effort to become part of America. That you learn the language, that you learn the history of America and that you learn the way Americans do business. And you have to become part of America. And that is very difficult for some people to do especially, I think, for Mexicans because they are so close to their country here so they try to stay Mexican but try to be in America so there's this kind of back and forth and what I'm saying to the Mexicans is you've got to go and immerse yourself and assimilate into the American culture become part of the American fabric. That is how Americans will embrace you. That was my, I think the secret, if there is one, to success. I was embraced by the American people because I love America, I learned the language and I made every effort to become an American. That is I think what this is all about. So it has nothing to do with anything else. This is my advice, someone can take the advice or someone can ignore the advice it's perfectly fine with me. But it's my advice, as an immigrant, how to be successful in America and how to be accepted in America.

The backstory here is that this may have something to do with the remaining recordings that the Angelides campaign has and which they are pressuring Schwarzenegger to release. The question that prompted Schwarzenegger's statement above was prefaced by a reference to the tapes and the possibility that on them the governor says something about assimilation.

UPDATE: The gov's campaign has put out a statement by Orange County businessman and supporter Mario Rodriguez that mentions "private" meetings and conversations a couple of times. Not sure we will ever hear the private recording the Dems are hinting about, but there's some pretty serious preemptive damage control going on here:

"Governor Schwarzenegger has talked about the need for immigrants to assimilate in private, in public, and in writing many times before, including during private meetings with Latino leaders, which I have attended. During our recent private meeting, the Governor made precisely the same points he made this morning.

"The fact that Phil Angelides and his campaign are attempting to make a political issue out of these comments today screams of desperation and is yet another example of why Phil Angelides is not prepared to lead the state of California."

UPDATE 2: OK. The missing link. The letter sent by Angelides lawyer Lance Olson to the governor's office demanding release of the tapes mentioned that the recordings included comments revealing his "views on the assimilation of immigrants." Sorry I missed that earlier. (Thanks to Katie Levinson for the pointer.)

Posted by dweintraub at 4:12 PM

Rosenfield backs Poizner

Harvey Rosenfield

Individual and interest-group endorsements for candidates don't get a lot of play in this space. But today, Harvey Rosenfield, the author of Proposition 103, which ushered in regulation of the insurance industry in California, is endorsing Republican Steve Poizner for insurance commissioner. That's definitely a man-bites-dog endorsement, and one worth noting. Rosenfield says he's for Poizner because Poizner has promised to vigorously enforce 103 and won't take insurance industry money for his campaigns.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:20 AM

The digital campaign

Patty Berg is running a "paperless" reelection campaign. I do think she is right that digital campaigning is in our future. But as of now, it's a bit easier on an incumbent in a safe district than a challenger or someone running in an open seat.

Posted by dweintraub at 7:09 AM

What's the rush?

Bill Lockyer/AP Photo

The Chronicle isn't thrilled with Bill Lockyer's indictment of HP's executives.

And Mike Langberg at the Merc says HP is no Enron.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:21 AM

Political prophylactic?

The LA Times thinks Schwarzenegger's veto of the condoms-for-prisoners bill was a cynical act.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:16 AM

U-T: Yes on 83

The Union-Tribune says "Jessica's Law" has some problems. But on balance, the paper says, the measure would improve the state's handling of violent and repeat sex offenders.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:13 AM

OC Reg: No on 84

The Orange County Register thinks the "clean water" proposition smacks of pay to play initiative politics.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:10 AM

On preventing police coercion

The Mercury News takes a look at Schwarzenegger's veto of two bills meant to ensure the fair administration of justice.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:07 AM

October 4, 2006

Schwarzenegger declares prison emergency

The governor has declared a state of emergency in the prisons and unilaterally ordered the Corrections agency to ship as many as 5,000 inmates out of state to relieve overcrowding.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:05 PM

Lockyer to charge HP execs

Patricia Dunn/AP photo

Bill Lockyer is filing criminal charges against former Hewlett Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn and four others for their roles in the company's "pretexting" scandal, reports the Washington Post.

Posted by dweintraub at 1:45 PM

Speaker Pelosi and friends

Nancy Pelosi/AP Photo

Sherry Greenberg isn't waiting for the elections. She's got the new, all-powerful California congressional delegation mapped out for you, starting at the top:

If Democrats take back Congress, California will enjoy unprecedented clout and power in the Capitol. Nancy Pelosi will be the first Speaker from California. At a minimum, five committee chairs will be Californians. And, California's 33 Democratic Members, perhaps as many as 35 if McNerney and Brown defeat Pombo and Doolittle, will equal more than 15% of a majority vote in the House. And, with the potential candidacies of both Xavier Becerra and Hilda Solis for House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair, fellow Californians might have an additional seat at the House leadership table. That power will be the most ever consolidated in the hands of the representatives of one state.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:31 PM

Who knows what?

Nunez and Schwarzenegger/AP Photo

Steve Maviglio emails to say that Bill Bradley is at least half wrong. The speaker, Maviglio says, has not been told by either the governor or his office what is on the recordings that the Angelides campaign downloaded and might one day release.

Posted by dweintraub at 12:23 PM

'Oppressive and terrifying'

The city of Escondido is poised to pass a ban on landlords renting to illegal immigrants. The San Diego Union-Tribune says that's a terrible idea.

An excerpt:

The ordinance would empower city officials to fine, jail and suspend the business license of any apartment owner who fails to evict illegal immigrants. Here's how it would work: If officials received a complaint, they would order landlords to collect personal information from the tenants in question. The city then would forward the information to federal authorities for a determination of the tenants' legal status. If tenants turn out to be illegal aliens, the landlord must remove them in five days.

Let that sink in for a minute. The reliance on outside complaints conjures up nightmare scenarios of Minuteman vigilantes prowling apartment complexes looking for people who look like illegal aliens. Oppressive and terrifying for all renters, it's downright ruinous for landlords.

Apartment owners generally are forbidden from releasing tenants' personal data unless a court orders it. What's more, evictions take months under California law, and federal law strictly forbids withholding housing opportunities based on race, national origin or “arbitrary classifications.” So Waldron, Gallo and Abed seek to impose a cruel choice on owners of the city's 20,000 rental units: Go to jail or go broke defending federal discrimination charges.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:44 AM

Tales on the tape

Remember all those audio recordings that the Angelides campaign downloaded from the governor's web site but never released? Angelides has pressured Schwarzenegger to release the recordings as public documents, with the implied threat that he might do so if the governor does not. Bill Bradley says the remaining recordings feature Schwarzenegger disparaging his Democratic buddies, Senate Leader Don Perata and Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, in private conversations. Bradley says the governor has already told the Democratic leaders what he says on the tapes.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:10 AM

CoCo Times: Yes on 1A

The Contra Costa Times says the sales tax on gas ought to be permanently shifted from the general fund to transportation construction.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:51 AM

LAT: Poizner for insurance commissioner

The LA Times thinks Bustamante would be a "step backwards."

Posted by dweintraub at 5:48 AM

October 3, 2006


Posted by dweintraub at 10:00 PM

Confused deer are the new black

Catching up with Phil Angelides' pledge to pull California's National Guard troops out of Iraq, Roger Simon says watching the candidate discuss his proposal on Fox was like "watching a one man herd of deer caught in all the headlights on the Santa Monica Freeway simultaneously."

Posted by dweintraub at 1:16 PM

Almost too realistic

Salladay knocks one outta the park with his peek at the governor's instant message traffic with Senate Leader Don Perata.

Posted by dweintraub at 9:38 AM

PE: Bring back Jerry Brown

The Oakland mayor is now "a pro-development, union-wary, anti-crime liberal. He would make a surprising and capable attorney general." So says the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:35 AM

OC Reg: No on the bonds

The Orange County Register doesn't want to build a bunch of stuff, and what stuff we do need to build, the paper says, can better be done by local government or private enterprise.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:26 AM

The custodians of capital

Meeting with the Sacramento Bee’s editorial board on Monday, Oakland Mayor and attorney general candidate Jerry Brown at first said he had ruled out, then said he hadn’t ruled out, ever running for governor again.

“I’m not ruling it out, because you know, I’m not ruling it out until – it’s so far into the future. First of all, it's a silly question. I’m 69 years old. I’ll be 78. In eight years I’ll be 77. I will have to raise $50 million. How the hell am I going to do that?”

Brown then said he thought attorney general would be a more interesting job because it comes with more freedom to act without having to cajole the Legislature.

Of the governor’s job, he said,

“It’s a difficult job for a Democrat. We’ve only had four Democrats since 1880. Only two have served , manage to get to the eighth year, only two, my father and I. That means other than the Browns, there’s no one, there’s no one since 1850 who has been a Democrat and has seen their seventh year as governor. So that’s a little, so that has to give you some pause.

We asked him why he thought that was so.

“The demands of the party and resistance of the oppositional interests collide in away that undermine your image, if not in four years certainly in eight. Therefore as you keep pushing for the less powerful and finding ways to constrain capital, the custodians of capital find your presence tiresome, and they mobilize. People want the government to do good and doing good means you have to restrict and tax and do all these things. After a while, people get tired of all that good, because it doesn’t feel good, after a while…Then some other fellow comes along and he’s a Republican and he is going to make it morning in California again. And that always happens.”

Posted by dweintraub at 5:21 AM

Field: Lt. Gov. race a dead heat

The latest Field Poll shows Garamendi's lead over McClintock down to two points, within the margin of error.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:13 AM

October 2, 2006

Orange County, Red County

As someone who grew up durng the height of the Cold War, I still can't get used to the fact that "red" is now supposed to mean conservative, with the default that blue means leftist, all because of some network television graphics on Election Night. Be that as it may, a new, mostly online publication has sprung up in Orange County, and it's calling itself It includes a blog but is more than a blog, sort of a micro-local collection of essays and links about politics, life and culture in Orange County. Among the contributors are some names folks in the Capitol will recognize: Curt Pringle, John Campbell, Scott Baugh and Matt Cunningham, whose OC Blog has been folded into theis new product. Hugh Hewitt is promoting it heavily. What caught my eye was a series of blog items by Cunningham and editor-in-chief Scott Graves about their efforts to train for the Red County Half Marathon in early December, after a dare from Hewitt. Apparently neither one has done much serious exercise lately, and their musings, which run on a separate sub-blog called The Couch Potato Diaries, are entertaining.

Posted by dweintraub at 3:32 PM

Going South

Garry South obviously has no love for Phil Angelides, but he says here that it's time for Democrats to recognize that the governor's race is all but lost and start making sure that the party doesn't also lose a bunch of downballot races.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:45 AM

California's roads ranked worst

A national group that monitors road conditions has just given the Proposition 1B campaign some ammo: five of the seven worst major cities for road conditions are in California, starting with San Jose. The annual report is here.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:20 AM

Lockyer appoints monitor for Getty Trust

Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer has found that former J. Paul Getty Trust President Barry Munitz violated his legal duty when he used Trust employees to run his personal errands, and that the Getty's trustees improperly allowed use of charitable funds to pay the travel expenses of Munitz' wife and to buy gifts of artwork for retiring board members. Lockyer has appointed former Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp to monitor the trust, the first time a California attorney general has taken such an action. The trust has already reached a settlement with Munitz that will require him to repay $250,000 and forfeit benefits that could have been worth $2 million. You can read Lockyer's report here.

Posted by dweintraub at 11:17 AM

San Jose State poll: Schwarzenegger 46, Angelides 33

The Survey and Policy Research Institute at San Jose State says Schwarzenegger is 13 points ahead, and the attempt by Angelides to tie him to Bush isn't working.

Posted by dweintraub at 10:01 AM

The benefits tsunami

Jim Boren says that citizens too bored by government accounting to pay attention to public employee benefit issues may live to regret it.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:21 AM

Contra Costa: No on 88

The Times says the parcel tax initiative is one of those measures that is "so flawed one wonders how it ever attracted enough signatures to qualify."

Posted by dweintraub at 6:15 AM

Chronicle: No on 85

The Chronicle says the parental notification initiative is a "deceptive rehash" of a measure voters rejected a year ago.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:12 AM

LAT: No on 83

The LA Times joins a large (but probably irrelevant) group of newspapers to oppose the "Jessica's Law" initiative:

Money quote:

These may sound like effective crime prevention tools, but they wouldn't be. Most evidence shows satellite tracking devices don't reduce sex crimes. The program could cost tens of millions of dollars a year when fully implemented, possibly more. The housing restrictions would make it effectively impossible for parolees to find homes in most California cities, pushing them into rural areas or underground.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:10 AM

OC Reg: Yes on 1A

The Register thinks it's good government to dedicate the sales tax on gas to transportation construction.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:06 AM

Merc: No on 90

The property rights initiative, the Mercury News says, would make it almost impossible for local government to regulate growth and development.

Posted by dweintraub at 6:02 AM

Cruz control

The Sacramento Bee endorses Steve Poizner for insurance commissioner over Cruz Bustamante.

Posted by dweintraub at 5:58 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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