The Bright Coast

Progressive Thoughts from San Diego Alums on Law, Politics, and Culture

Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Brown’

WTF has Obama Done So Far? & other progressive victories

Posted by brightcoast on November 4, 2010

See WTF here:


California elections favored all of our Bay Area, particularly San Francisco candidates. I.e. Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom, and Kamala Harris- though the race for AG was so close (allegedly 0.2% by some accounts) counties have some additional time to complete their recounts. Honestly, I question whether an attorney with the name Cooley doesn’t have the subconscious advantage of sharing a name with a major global law firm. In fact, it may not come as a surprise to some to hear that Democrats swept the officer positions, although many incumbents were simply reelected (e.g. Controller & Treasurer).

Complete California election results available here: SOS site

Prop 19, which would have allowed for statewide regulation and taxation of marijuana did not pass, which is actually not surprising. It is a common misconception that Prop 19 itself would have decriminalized marijuana, as The Governator recently signed Senate Bill 1449 (by Senator Leno also of SF), removing the misdemeanor charge from possession of less than an ounce. Possession of this amount is now considered an, “infraction,” while maintaining the $100 fine. Article here. I was quite surprised of the means I learned of the bill, an out of state acquaintance, due to the utter lack of attention it received in the media. In fact, none of my California attorney friends had heard of this seemingly monumental change.

Here’s what I really want to know, what exactly is an avoirdupois ounce of marijuana? As in:
(b) Except as authorized by law, every person who possesses, while driving a motor vehicle upon a highway or on lands, as described in subdivision (b) of Section 23220, not more than one avoirdupois ounce of marijuana, other than concentrated cannabis as defined by Section 11006.5 of the Health and Safety Code, is guilty of an infraction punishable by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).
Link to entire bill here

More exciting, perhaps only to the legal community, is the fact that Prop 25, which changes the California Constitution to lower the threshold number of votes required to pass the budget from 2/3 to a simple majority, passed. This was of course in tandem with Prop 26 which requires a 2/3 vote for some local fees and taxes. Together, therefore (in theory of course), the Legislature can go about its business of balancing the budget via program cuts and fanagling the numbers without the corresponding months of bickering, notorious for months of delay in actually passing anything.

Lastly, what would a post from the Bay Area be without a huge congratulations to our San Francisco Giants, World Champions! What an amazing series, and I don’t ordinarily watch baseball. GO GIANTS!!


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California: Blue (But Not Green?) to the Core

Posted by demkid on November 1, 2010

On the eve of a potentially historic midterm election for the Republican Party, there are wild celebrations in the Bay Area, as the San Francisco Giants have won their first World Series in 56 years.  24 hours from now, it looks like some of the only significant celebrations for Democrats across the country will also be in the Bay, as Jerry Brown is poised to become only the second governor in California history to serve more than 2 terms (he’ll eventually pass Earl Warren as longest-serving ever), and Barbara Boxer will be re-elected to a new Senate with a reduced number of Democratic colleagues.

In the governor’s race, despite spending $163 million of her own fortune to bombard California voters for 18 straight months, Meg Whitman will soon be miraculously silenced.  After all of that spending (because of it?), her favorability rating winds up somewhere in the high-30s.  Pretty pathetic.  Sure, there’s a 13-point registration advantage for Democrats in California, but with all of that money and in a year which could surpass 1994 in terms of a nationwide Republican wave, it doesn’t look like she’ll be anywhere close to Governor Brown when the votes are counted tomorrow.  In the final polls (taken in the past week), her deficit is anywhere from 4-11 points, with an average of -7.  What went wrong?  People can blame this all on the housekeeper scandal, but her numbers started heading south before that news broke.  I’d say simply that the answer to that question is comfort.  Voters are more comfortable with Jerry Brown and feel like he’d be more effective at leading the largest state in the Union.  They look at Meg Whitman and in addition to the housekeeper thing, they think that she’s trying to buy the election, is out of touch with normal people, is inexperienced, doesn’t have a clear plan, hasn’t voted, etc.  Even with all of the punditry, most of the time it’s simply about comfort.

The same goes (to a lesser degree) with the Senate race.  It can be argued that Barbara Boxer is way too liberal, even for a blue state like California.  It’s going to be a big year for Republicans, but one of the most liberal Senators will survive, if only by the lower single-digits.  Unfortunately for state Republicans, their die was cast when they sent millionaire Carly Fiorina through in the June primary.  Californians can barely tolerate Babs (her favorability ratings are poor as well), but they absolutely can’t tolerate a conservative.  Fiorina is anti-choice, anti-environment, and that just won’t work in the Golden State.  Barbara Boxer won this race back in June, because while she’s extremely left-of-center, that will still always be more comfortable for Californians than someone extremely right-of-center.  Fiorina can compare herself to moderates like Dianne Feinstein all she wants, but voters haven’t been fooled.  Fiorina won the primary by referring to her opponent as a RINO, a demon sheep, but that demon sheep (Tom Campbell) was the only one who could have unseated Barbara Boxer.  Fiorina trails by 3-8.  Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight gives her a 3% chance to win tomorrow.  The Junior Senator will remain for 6 more years.

In other statewide races, it looks as if the one and only hope for Republicans is in the contest to succeed Jerry Brown as Attorney General.  There, Steve Cooley has averaged the slightest of leads over Democrat Kamala Harris.  The final verdict could have to wait on that one until well into Wednesday.  I’d be surprised if any other Republican wins a statewide contest tomorrow, but the Lt. Governor race could also be fairly close.

Here in California, we’re of course known for our propositions, and the most publicized has been, of course, Proposition 19, which would legalize marijuana possession and cultivation in the state.  Leading for much of the way, the ballot measure has slipped in the final polling, and trails from anywhere between 2 and 8 points.  It doesn’t look like voters are quite ready to add a green tint to California’s blue state reputation.  The other big propositions are 20/27 (redistricting), 23 (to suspend AB32), and 25 (simple majority for budgets).  The following are the Bright Coast’s foolproof predictions for the midterms which include these measures:

CA GOV: Brown 51, Whitman 43

CA SEN: Boxer 50, Fiorina 45

CA AG: Harris 46.8, Cooley 46.3

Prop 19: 53-47 NO

Props 20/27: Prop 20 passes and puts congressional redistricting in hands of commission

Prop 23: 58-42 NO

Prop 25: 59-41 YES

US HOUSE: GOP 240, DEMS 195 (61 seats)


Posted in California, Election 2010, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Second Coming of Sarah Palin?

Posted by demkid on June 5, 2010

The 2010 California Primary is just 3 days away, and it’s looking like it will be a night for the women, at least in the hotly-contested GOP races.  Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, saw her once formidable 50-point lead in the GOP governor’s race slip to single digits over Steve Poizner.  However, it looks as if her tens of millions spent on bombarding Californians with annoying television commercials have done enough to stem the tide.  In the final Field Poll released yesterday, Whitman has extended her lead over Poizner to 26 points, and is ahead 51%-25%.  I’m sure we just can’t wait for more of her commercials in the next 5 months, this time attacking Governor Brown.  (She’s already started this by referring to “Sacramento politicians like Steve Poizner and Jerry Brown…”)  In any case, despite her considerable funds, I think she’ll have her ass handed to her in November, as she’ll be painted as way too conservative for California.

On the Senate side, however, I’m slightly more nervous about November’s outlook, but pleased about the pending GOP nomination.  In the final Field Poll released just this morning, former HP CEO Carly Fiorina (from now on simply referred to as “Carly!”) has opened up a large margin over her two challengers, Congressman Tom Campbell and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.  She leads 37%-22%-19%, and looks to be headed to a short-haired showdown with Senator Boxer in November.  I say that I’m slightly nervous here, more so than in the governor’s race, primarily because of the politics of the Democratic candidate.  We all know that Barbara Boxer is one of the most liberal politicians around, but she’s become a California institution, and voters seem to be comfortable with her, even though the average person is more moderate.  Fortunately, GOP voters are selecting a conservative Republican with close ties to Sarah Palin, as opposed to the socially moderate Campbell.  Insiders know that if Campbell was the nominee, Boxer would be in serious trouble, because Campbell’s politics are likely more in line with Californian’s values.  Moderate Republicans can do well here (take Arnold, for example), but it’s been a long time since a conservative has held a significant statewide office.  Take that along with the most recent statewide registration figures which show Democrats outnumbering Republicans 45%-31%, and the challenges for a conservative in this state become clear.

While I think Boxer clearly has the edge over Carly!, I’m a little worried about the big bucks that Carly! will surely pump into her campaign in the coming months.  She also seems more likable than Meg Whitman, for example, and she definitely has a Sarah Palinesque vibe.  If you’ve seen any of her commercials lately, you get the sense that she could be the second coming of Palin (referring to herself by her first name only, for example), and the politics definitely match.  For instance, in her most recent TV ad, she refers to climate change as “the weather.” Here’s Sarah! touting Carly’s! true conservative values, like being pro-life and pro-NRA:

This is what puts me a little more at ease about the November election.  Are Californians going to elect Sarah Palin lite?  I have a seriously difficult time imagining that.  However, lots and lots of money can make any race interesting, and the “Golden Parachute Twins” are about to fall right into Californian’s collective lap.  Buckle up!

PS – Carly! also has a spotty voting record, just like Meg.  Brilliant, ladies.

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Billionaire Blues: Whitman’s Declining Fortunes

Posted by demkid on May 19, 2010

The primary season officially kicked off yesterday, with the defeat of former-Republican/now-Democrat Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania.  Here in the Golden State, we are still 3 weeks away from our set of primaries, which will determine candidates for a number of statewide offices.  The highest of these offices is, of course, governor, and the eventual victor in November will sadly be replacing our current Cauleefornia-pronouncing superhero.  I guess all good things must come to an end!  In any case, I’ve already voted absentee for our former-governor/next-governor Jerry Brown (who would break and likely keep the record for the longest-serving California governor in history), who is generally running unopposed in the Democratic primary.  The contest to face off with Governor Brown in November pits billionaire Meg Whitman against millionaire Steve Poizner, and while it didn’t look like a race for the majority of the campaign, this battle has turned into a dogfight and should be extremely entertaining in the next 20 days.

Less than 2 months ago, Whitman, the former eBay CEO, had a 50-point lead on the state Insurance Commissioner.  No, I’m not making that up.  Of course, this wasn’t too surprising, as Whitman had used million after million on TV and radio spots for quite some time, and no one really knew who Steve Poizner was.  However, in the past month, Mr. Poizner decided to start fighting.  His first set of ads were fairly weak (remember the car going over the cliff?), but fortunately someone eventually told him that he needed to get aggressive.  He pulled Whitman into an ad war about which Republican had better conservative credentials, brought up her former support of Barbara Boxer, attacked her on immigration, and is now going after her long history of non-participation at the polls.  These attacks seem to be paying off, as the latest poll in the race (by Survey USA) shows that Poizner is now within the margin of error, and trails Whitman 39-37.  An update to the 50-point gap PPIC poll comes out this week, and should give a better indication of whether Poizner’s efforts are paying off:

It will be an affirmation of a collapse of epic proportions, a $60 million machine that would be in receivership if the currency were bankable ideas. After all that cash, all those gauzy ads and marketing schemes, all that trouble to insulate Whitman and elevate her as the inevitable candidate, it’s basically back to square one. With three weeks to go.

Whitman is clearly in an uncomfortable position.  The fact that she’s a political novice is really starting to show, and this could prove troubling as she tries to hold onto her once-enormous lead.  I watched the second of two GOP primary debates recently, and was really impressed by Poizner’s performance as compared to Whitman’s.  (If you’re a junkie like myself and have some free time, you can watch the debate here.)  Her response to Poizner’s latest attacks comes in the form of a 60-second defensive TV ad which is seriously weak and probably confuses a lot of people:

Whitman folks say her own comeback started with a widely panned ad that has the former CEO of eBay looking into the camera reassuring Republican voters that she’s “working hard to defeat” Barbara Boxer, leaving open the question of who Whitman is actually running against. She also defends her position on immigration, the issue that Poizner has seized by announcing his support of the Arizona anti-illegal immigration law, and by accusing Whitman of supporting amnesty.

It’s lots of fun seeing the Whitman campaign go into panic mode.  She was so inevitable for so long, but now GOP voters are starting to pay attention to the race, and many aren’t too comfortable with what they’re seeing and hearing about her.  Will she be defeated after having put $68 million (and counting) into her own campaign and owning a 50-point lead in the polls?  It would be one of the greatest collapses in modern California politics.

Update: The new PPIC poll just came out.  It shows that Whitman’s former 50-point lead has been reduced to single digits.  She now leads Poizner 38-29 among GOP voters.  (Compare this to a 61-11 lead back in March.)  For the full report, see here.  The headline states, “Stunning Drop in Whitman’s Support Transforms GOP Race for Governor.”  No kidding.  Other interesting poll results are that Governor Brown leads Whitman by 5 points and Poizner by 13 points in hypothetical general election matchups.  The GOP Senate primary is also extremely close, with Carly Fiorina leading her opponents, Tom Campbell and Chuck DeVore, 25-23-16.  36% are still undecided.  Senator Boxer holds leads over all 3 GOP hopefuls, and has a surprising overall approval rating of 50%.

Posted in California, Election 2010, Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Quick Tip for Future Office Seekers: Vote!

Posted by demkid on September 29, 2009

One of the easiest things to check into and then use as political ammunition is your opponent’s voting record (or lack thereof).  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that issue come up over the years, but it’s been quite a bit.  It usually is brought up in smaller races, but ever so often a candidate for larger office is caught having not voted in numerous previous contests.  That’s exactly what came out recently about Republican candidate for California governor, Meg Whitman.  Whitman, the former eBay CEO, was discovered to have not voted “over several decades in five states where [she] has lived since 1979.”  Nice.  Of course, this is such a simple thing to use against her throughout the campaign, and one of her opponents didn’t waste much time.  Steve Poizner (who are these people, by the way?) said, “in the history of America, no one has been elected governor of a state with Meg Whitman’s 25 year history of no show voting.”  Ouch.  Yeah, this just re-establishes the fact that Whitman is just a rich woman with no political experience (and no previous political interests, for that matter) trying to buy her way into the governor’s office.  It definitely isn’t a new concept in California!  Here’s part of Whitman’s statement:

“Voting is a precious right that all Americans should exercise. I have repeatedly said that my voting record is inexcusable. I failed to register and vote on numerous occasions throughout my life. That is simply wrong and I have taken responsibility for my mistake.” said Whitman in her statement.

Well, if she’s said it repeatedly, then I’m sure CA voters will forgive her!  I don’t really get what “taking responsibility” means, though.  How does one take responsibility for not voting in the past?  I’ve acknowledged my indiscretions and I reeeallly promise to vote in every single election from now on, no matter how insignificant it may be!  I’ll even vote more than once to make up for the times I didn’t vote!  Who knows.

As a quick sidenote on the current state of the race, Jerry Brown seems to be well-positioned against all three current Republicans in the race, while his primary opponent, Gavin Newsom, isn’t as strong.  You can see a collection of the recent head-to-head polls here.

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