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A musical primary post-mortem

When I’m having a good day, or sometimes when I’m down, I sometimes give myself a gift on the limited budget available to me as a reporter: a 99-cent splurge on new iTunes song for my iPod. And so as the primary election winners strut and the losers lick their wounds, here are a few suggestions for songs they might want to add to their playlists:

Meg Whitman, the billionaire former eBay CEO who spent $71.1 million out of her own pocket to buy the Republican gubernatorial nomination: “Money” by Pink Floyd, or “Killer Queen” by Queen

Steve Poizner, buried under Whitman’s $71.1 million and a 37-percentage-point deficit in the election results: “Wipeout” by the Surfaris

Chris Kelly, who spent $12 million out of pocket to lose the Democratic primary for Attorney General to San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris by 17 percentage points; PG&E President and CEO Peter Darbee, whose company spent $46.4 million on the unsuccessful Proposition 16; and Mercury Insurance Group President and CEO Gabriel Tirador, whose company spent $15.9 million on the unsuccessful Proposition 17: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” by the Beatles

Carly Fiorina, who as the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate has had the last laugh after people snickered at her “demon sheep” ad attacking rival Tom Campbell: “Sheep” by Pink Floyd

Abel Maldonado, the appointed incumbent who – despite winning the GOP’s nomination to try to keep the lieutenant governor’s office – knows his party wants him and needs him but there ain’t no way it’s ever gonna love him: “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” by Meat Loaf

Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco mayor who won the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor but might have his own words from 2008 on same-sex marriage come back to haunt him in November’s general election: “Like It Or Not,” by Madonna

Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles District Attorney who broke from California tradition by being a moderate capable of winning a Republican primary: “Middle of the Road,” by the Pretenders

Tom Torlakson, the Antioch Assemblyman who placed second and so will go to a November runoff – at which time he’s likely to pick up a lot of the Democratic votes that went yesterday to third-place finisher Gloria Romero, along with stronger Democratic turnout overall – against former school district superintendent Larry Aceves for state Superintendent of Public Instruction: “Time Is On My Side,” by the Rolling Stones

Mike Villines, the Clovis Assemblyman and former Assembly Republican Leader widely berated within the GOP for OKing a budget deal with tax hikes last year, who now is eight-tenths of a percentage point – 11,204 votes – behind political unknown Brian FitzGerald, an Insurance Department attorney from Napa who raised no money, in the GOP primary for Insurance Commissioner: “Living on the Edge” by Aerosmith

Brian FitzGerald, who might want to ask himself, “Well, how did I get here?” : “Once in a Lifetime,” by the Talking Heads

Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010
Under: 2010 election, 2010 governor's race, Abel Maldonado, Attorney General, ballot measures, Carly Fiorina, Chris Kelly, Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Lt. Governor, Meg Whitman, Mike Villines, political humor, Propositions, Steve Poizner, Tom Torlakson, U.S. Senate | 7 Comments »

Both sides still paying Prop 11 debts

Amid other campaign finance news emerging today (Jerry Brown has scads of cash with which to run for governor in 2010! Jack O’Connell doesn’t!), it seems both sides are still paying down their bills from the battle over Proposition 11, the redistricting reform ballot measure approved by 51 percent of voters in November.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California Dream Team laid a cool quarter million dollars on the Yes on 11 campaign’s account and Stanford University physicist Charles Munger Jr. — son of Berkshire Hathaway billionaire Charles T. Munger — gave $117,000 yesterday; earlier this month, former laundry service magnate William Bloomfield Jr. of Manhattan Beach anted up $33,000 on Jan. 15, and Cypress Land Company president Brian Harvey of Los Angeles gave $50,000 on Jan. 12.

Meanwhile, the Voter Education and Research Fund – a independent committee backed by former state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland – put $38,000 into the No on 11 campaign’s coffers Tuesday, atop $12,500 it had chipped in back on Jan. 9. Nice to see Perata and his friends at VERF didn’t skip out on the bills entirely, given Perata moving $1.9 million in November and December from his Leadership California committee – which ostensibly had been raising money to help combat Proposition 11 – into his own legal defense fund for use in fending off a years-long federal corruption probe.

Posted on Friday, January 30th, 2009
Under: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Perata, Election 2008, Jack O'Connell, Jerry Brown, Propositions | No Comments »

Should Election Day be a holiday?

Coming soon to a department store parking lot near you is a new initiative petition that would make Election Day a state holiday.

Proponents argue that such a holiday would improve turn-out. Voters could freely show up at their precincts without the hassle of leaving home early or getting out of the office in time to vote.

Sounds good to me. I’m heartily in favor of anything that boosts voter turn-out and gives me a day off at the same time. Oh, wait, I guess I would be working anyway.

Read more for the press release from the Secretary of State on the initiative: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
Under: Election reform, Propositions | 3 Comments »

California Democratic Party takes initiative positions

The California Democratic Party’s executive board met a few days ago and voted on its positions on the ballot measures on or appeared headed to the Nov. 4 general election ballot: (The Democratic Party sent out a corrected list today, which is reflected below.)

YES – Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act for the 21st Century.

YES – Treatment of Farm Animals. Statute.

YES – Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Statute.

NO – Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Constitutional Amendment.

YES – Nonviolent Offenders. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Statute. *

NO – Criminal Penalties and Laws. Public Safety Funding. Statute.

NO – Renewable Energy. Statute.

NO – Limit on Marriage. Constitutional Amendment.

NO – Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Constitutional Amendment and Statute. *

NEUTRAL – Bonds. Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Statute.
NO – Redistricting. Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

*NOTE: a press release sent yesterday incorrectly stated the CDP’s position on two propositions.  On the Criminal justice system, victims’ rights initiative, the correct position is NO.  And on the sentencing of violent offenders initiative, the correct position is YES.

Posted on Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
Under: 2008 presidential election, Democratic politics, Propositions, State politics | No Comments »

10th ballot measure headed for November ballot

The November election ballot is getting heavy.

The 10th statewide ballot initiative has been certified, a bond measure for alternative fuel vehicles and renewable energy.

The other nine, per the Secretary of State, are a high-speed rail bond; a measure relating to the treatment of farm animals; a children’s hospital bond; a parental notification for abortion measure; a measure involving the sentencing of nonviolent offenders; a measure regarding increased criminal penalties and public safety funding; a measure creating renewable energy generation requirements for utilities; a measure that would amend the state Constitution to define marriage as “between a man and a woman;” and a measure involving victims’ rights in the criminal justice system.

An additional 18 measures are pending signature verification and counts or proponents are still gathering signatures.

Oh joy.

This ballot may end up heavy enough to double as a tire chock after the election. But heck, it’s not all bad. All that money earmarked for promoting and fighting these measures will help keep the state’s political consultants employed during these tough economic times.

Read more for the full text of the Secretary of State’s press release today: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2008
Under: 2008 November election, Propositions | No Comments »

Civil rights groups protest governor’s redistricting plan

Civil rights groups today denounced Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s redistricting reform proposal as deleterious to California minorities.

‘Voters First’ puts minority voters last,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of tge National Association Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund. “The (initiative) is a flawed strategy for achieving open and accountable redistricting in California. It fails to guarantee diversity, expertise or accountability within the commission it creates, and represents a step backwards for the political progress of California’s minorities.”

The governor is backing a ballot measure called the California Voters First initiative that would strip the Legislature of its authority to draw legislative district boundaries and turn it over to an independent commission.

Read on for the civil rights groups’ press release:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2008
Under: Election reform, Propositions | No Comments »

Governor stumps for signatures … again

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger loves California’s initiative process even though voters haven’t always gone along with his ideas. But he’s at it again, this time with another stab at redistricting reform.

In this photo, he’s stumping for signatures in a Sacramento restaurant for his California Voters First Act.

The act would strip state legislators of the power to draw their own political boundaries. It would create a 14-person independent citizens commission comprised of five Democrats, five Republicans and four individuals not registered as a member of either major party to draw district boundaries for the Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization.

The Legislature would continue to draw congressional district boundaries in an apparent effort to avert a political fight with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that “first we wanted to take care of what’s going on here in California with the legislative seats.”

Every decade following the Census, states redraw their political boundaries to reflect population shifts. Election reform advocates have long called for an end to putting that job in the hands of the same lawmakers who benefit from the outcome, a system that allows political parties to carve out safe seats and preserve party numbers.

Schwarzenegger in 2005 endorsed an initiative that would have turned over redistricting to a panel of judges but voters were suspicious of giving the power to judges and handily rejected it. The governor and state political leaders later vowed to link to term limit and redistricting reform but neither side fulfilled their promise. Instead, Democrats promoted an unsuccessful term limit modification measure in February.

Now, Schwarzenegger has teamed up with Democrat and former California Controller Steve Westly, the AARP, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, California Common Cause, and the League of Women Voters of California to put the California Voters First Act on the ballot in November.

For more information on the proposed ballot measure, check out

Photo provided by governor’s campaign: Governor Schwarzenegger and Former Controller Steve Westly greet diners at a Sacramento restaurant and ask them to join them in supporting the California Voters FIRST Act which would reform California’s redistricting process. Photo Credit: John Decker

Posted on Wednesday, March 5th, 2008
Under: California Legislature, Election reform, Propositions | No Comments »

IGS offers Feb. 5 proposition guide

The Institute of Governmental Studies Library at UC-Berkeley has compiled resource guides on the California propositions that will appear on the Feb. 5 ballot:

All seven ballot measures are covered, including:

– Narrative overviews with historical background and legal aspects

– Arguments for and against

– Links to official voter information from the California Secretary of State

– Links to key websites, polls, editorials, and newspaper articles

– A table of endorsements by organizations and newspapers

The website is intended as a resource for voters, journalists, students and scholars and it will be updated as the election approaches.

Posted on Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
Under: 2008 presidential primary, Propositions | No Comments »