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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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See, it’s OK to disagree.

Just yesterday, I saw San Francisco State University Assistant Professor Ramon Castellblanch angrily denouncing Proposition 1A, the spending-cap/rainy-day-fund measure on the May 19 special-election ballot, claiming it would be “devastating” to the future of public higher education in California.

Apparently state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, who helped broker the budget deal that put Proposition 1A before voters, doesn’t hold a grudge. Steinberg’s office today announced Castellblanch, a Democrat from Benicia, has been appointed to the California Board of Pharmacy.

The board adopts rules and regulation for the proper and effective enforcement and administration of the pharmacy profession including licensing and enforcement of state and federal laws. Castellblanch’s term will expire June 1, 2012.

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May 19 ballot pamphlets are ‘in the mail’

Mailing of state-issued pamphlets for the May 19 statewide special election are lagging behind the schedules of Bay Area election offices, which began sending vote-by-mail ballots on Monday.

For folks who haven’t made up their minds yet, the ballot pamphlet contains overviews of the six statewide measures and the arguments for and against each of the questions.

“The Secretary of State’s office tells us that they will finish mailing out the pamphlets by April 27,” said Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir. “But as of (Wednesday afternoon) no Bay Area voter has received a pamphlet.”

In the meantime, voters can wait for the  pamphlet to show up in their mailboxes or download it online at www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov.  Voters may also pick up a copy at the following county election offices:

n Contra Costa County Registrar of Voters: 555 Escobar St. in Martinez. Contact the office at 925-335-7800 or www.cocovote.us.

n Alameda County Registrar of Voters: 1225 Fallon Street G-1 in Oakland. Contact the office at 510 267-8683 or www.acgov.org/rov.

n Solano County Registrar of Voters: 675 Texas St. in Fairfield. Contact the office at 707-784-6675 or www.solanocounty.com.

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Skinner set to speak

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley

Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, will speak Wednesday at a meeting of the Diablo Valley Democratic Club about the ballot propositions on the May 19 statewide special election ballot.

The event will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the Ygnacio Valley Library, 2661 Oak Grove Road in Walnut Creek.

In addition, Joyce Kingery of the League of Women Voters of Diablo Valley will discuss her organization’s recommmendtions.

Rudy Ramirez, campaign manager for Measure D in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District will discuss Proposition 1B.

And Cally Martin of First 5 Contra Costa will speak about Proposition 1D.

The Diablo Valley Democratic Club serves Concord, Clayton, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek and Martinez. Meetings are open to the public. For Information, visit www.dvdems.org or call 925-946-0469.

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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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More from Schwarzenegger’s SF speech

The governor visited San Francisco today mainly to stump for the May special election budget-reform agenda, but lots of other topics came up during a question-and-answer period as well.

For example, he said he’s “absolutely” in favor of extending Legislative term limits; former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez had the right idea with last year’s Proposition 93, but would’ve fared better with voters if he’d packaged term limits with redistricting reform to prove he wasn’t “acting out of selfish reasons.” Nunez, along with then-state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, were among lawmakers who would’ve been “grandfathered” into longer tenures had the measure passed.

Lawmakers need two or three years just to learn the ropes and get up to speed, Schwarzenegger said today; under current rules, that’s half the time someone can spend in the Assembly. “I think it’s a disservice to the California people,” he said.

Lots more, after the jump…
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