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Green Party opposes special-election measures

Make a note on your calendars: This was the day on which the Green Party of California and the California Republican Party were on the same page. Well, sort of.

The Green Party, which said it polled its members and county councils before coming to a decision, y today urged state voters to vote against on all propositions on the May 19 special ballot.

“We oppose the cuts in transportation, education, social services and other humane services, and we oppose this deal even though we were told that great hardship would result if (this) rotten deal failed to pass,” said Michael Rubin, who analyzed the measures for the Green Party of Alameda County. “Even more we oppose the process which offers us a ‘choice’ of being shot in the leg or shot in the arm, but did not offer us the choice of using our collective wealth to meet human needs.”

Proposition 1A, the spending cap/rainy-day fund measure, would create more problems and require billions more in cuts to needed social services, the Greens say; Proposition 1B, providing money previously promised to school districts, and Proposition 1C, to borrow money against future lottery revenue, are merely there to sweeten the bitter pill of 1A, they say. The Greens rejected 1D and 1E because they say the measures steal money from taxes created to benefit children and the mentally ill, and they said 1F — preventing pay raises for state elected officials when the budget is in deficit — is ineffectual.

State GOP leaders last month voted to oppose all the measures too — but they’re doing it because they oppose any and all tax increases, and believe the state budget should be slashed far beyond the cuts already made.

Strange bedfellows, indeed.

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Monday is voter registration deadline

This Monday, May 4 is the last day to register or re-register to vote in the May 19 special election, wherein voters will decide on six budget-related ballot measures.

To be eligible to register to vote in this election, a person must be a U.S. citizen and California resident; at least 18 years old on Election Day; not in prison or on parole for a felony conviction; and not deemed by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote. Voters must re-register if they have moved, changed their names, or wish to change their political party affiliation (the latter of which makes no difference in this election).

Voter registration cards are available from county elections offices, public libraries, city halls, post offices and DMV offices, or can be downloaded from the Secretary of State’s Web site. Voter registration cards require an original signature and must be submitted in person or through the mail; a registration card postmarked on or before May 4 will be accepted as meeting the registration deadline.

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Special election turn-out historically low

Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir

Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir

Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir has compiled some dismal turnout data for special elections in California.

The most recent congressional special election was in April 2008 to replace the late Rep. Tom Lantos: Overall turnout was about 25 percent but turnout on election day was less than 7 percent.

Weir is among a growing number of election officials who would like Legislature to pass a law that would allow counties the option to hold mail-only elections if turnout is expected to be low. It costs a fortune to put on a precinct-based election where so few people show up at the polls, and money is especially tight in county coffers these days.

Contra Costa faces the prospect of two or more special elections this year in addition to the May 19 statewide election. An election to replace Rep. Ellen Tauscher, D-Alamo, will likely occur sometime this summer and if voters select someone who occupied a legislative seat, a subsequent special election will be needed to replace him or her.

Here is what Weir found:

SD 26 March 24, 2009                7.91% turn out, 3.3% turn out at the polls         May 19, 2009*                Scheduled

CD 12 April 8, 2008                25.9% turn out, 6.9% turn out at the polls

June 3, 2008*                No Data Posted.

AD 55 December 11, 2007        11.56% turn out, 5.64% turn out at the polls

February 5, 2008*        43.29% turn out (vote by mail data not available)

CD 37 June 26, 2007                12.35% turn out, 7.12% turn out at the polls
August 21, 2007                9.02% turn out, 4.04% turn out at the polls

AD 39 May 15, 2007                14.27% turn out, 10.24% turn out at the polls
No Runoff

CD 50 April 11, 2006                38.86% turn out, 18.20% turn out at the polls
June 6, 2006*                41.04% turn out, 17.67 % turn out at the polls

SD 35 April 11, 2006                19.14% turn out, 14.14% turn out at the polls
June 6, 2006*                28.18% turn out, 12.13% turn out at the polls

CD 48 October 4, 2005                22.80% turn out, 8.3% turn out at the polls
December 6, 2005        25.70% turn out, 8.,89% turn out at the polls

AD 53 March 8, 2005                17.69% turn out, 11.09% turn out at the polls
No Runoff

CD 05 March 8, 2005                27.72% turn out, 12.34% turn out at the polls
No Runoff

CD 32 April 10, 2001                35.25% turn out, vote by mail results not available
June 5, 2001                37.60% turn out, vote by mail results not available

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It ain’t just a river in Egypt.

The “Budget Reform Now” campaign for the six state-budget-related measures on the May 19 special election ballot issued a news release last night quoting Placer County Sheriff Ed Bonner, the California State Sheriffs’ Assocaition’s president, on the Public Policy Institute of California’s latest poll:

“It is clear from this poll that Californians are less than satisfied with the status quo when it comes to our economy and our government – Props 1A through 1F are aimed at putting an end to the dysfunctional business as usual in Sacramento. As a county sheriff charged with protecting my community I know first hand the harm our budget rollercoaster does to the resources law enforcement needs to do our jobs. We are confident that as voters learn more about how Props 1A through 1F work together to address California’s budget problems both in the short and long term they will join us and the hundreds of thousands of teachers, seniors, workers, taxpayer advocates and many other Californians in voting yes on Props 1A-1F on May 19.”

It’s nice to be confident. The poll, however, showed not only that a majority of voters aren’t in favor of five of the six measures, but also that the Legislature’s and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popularity are near or at record lows. And with the election looming seven weeks from this coming Tuesday, there’s not much time left in which to find somebody high-profile and popular who can effectively make a case for these measures.

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Another Republican for the CD-10 special election

Conservative activist, author and former radio talk show host Melanie Morgan sent an e-mail yesterday saying she’s “squealing like a schoolgirl” to announce that Catherine Moy – executive director of the Move America Forward group of which Morgan is chairwoman; co-author with Morgan of “American Mourning;” and a Fairfield City Council member – will run in the special election to succeed Rep. Ellen Tauscher, assuming Tauscher is confirmed to a high-ranking State Department post.

“The conservative counter-insurgency has begun, and I’m going to do everything in my power to get Cat elected,” Morgan wrote. “Cat has terrific name recognition in the area, a devoted following and she is entirely capable of running this race and winning it – as a rock-solid conservative who has never voted to raise a single tax, and has a solid record on national defense working relentlessly with the largest pro-troops grassroots organization in the country.”

I don’t know Moy, as Fairfield is outside the area we often cover here; I intend to call her tomorrow. Fairfield does fall within the 10th Congressional District that Tauscher now serves, but the district’s slices of Solano, Alameda and Sacramento counties together don’t come close to matching the bulk Contra Costa County provides; it’ll be hard for someone without significant Contra Costa name recognition to come out on top of this race. And as I’ve noted before, the district’s Democrats have an 18-percentage-point voter registration edge over Republicans, so that’s an obstacle, too.

Other Republicans considering a run include 2008 GOP nominee Nicholas Gerber of Moraga; California Republican Party Vice Chairman Tom Del Beccaro and Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf. Democrats mulling a run include state Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo; former Assemblyman Joe Canciamilla, D-Pittsburg; former BART director and retired PG&E executive Dan Richard of Walnut Creek; and former Lafayette Mayor Scott Talan.

For an excerpt from an article about Moy by Morgan, published Friday on WorldNetDaily.com, follow me after the jump…
Continue Reading

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Poll shows record high discontent in California

A new poll released a few minutes ago at the California Constitutional Convention Summit in Sacramento shows that 82 percent of voters believe the state is on the wrong track.

It is the highest level of unhappiness since the Bay Area Council began doing the survey in 2002. (The council is the chief sponsor of the summit.) Pollsters conducted the telephone poll of 800 voters between Feb. 3-5 and it has an error rate of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

Just 11 percent though the state was on the right track. (Who are these people, anyway? Did they take this survey while they were on the beach in Hawaii?)

Reasons for the gloom cited included the budget deficit, gridlock in Sacramento, bureaucracy, poor schools and high taxes.

Disapproval ratings for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature are in the tank, too, at 60 and 71 percent respectively. (For comparison purposes, Obama’s disapproval rating was 17 percent.)

The chief purpose of the poll, though, was to gather public opinion on whether state should convene a Constitutional Convention, a group that would examine some or part of the state Constitution and place reforms before voters.

Most voters have never heard of it. It was 1879 when California last convened such a group.

But after a series of explanations about what a convention could accomplish, about half the respondents said they would support it.

In an interesting side note, the poll found that 67 percent of those asked supported an open primary in theory. The poll was taken before the Legislature placed an open primary measure on the June 2010 ballot.