OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Jerry Brown’

Asm. Wagner: Does the Governor’s Budget Pay Down “Wall of Debt” or Simply Add More Bricks to the Wall?

Posted by Newsletter Reprint on January 19, 2013

This came over the wire from Assemblyman Don Wagner’s office yesterday…

California State Assembly Seal
Don Wagner | District 68

Image

Does the Governor’s Budget Pay Down “Wall of Debt” or Simply Add More Bricks to the Wall?

Governor Brown has made paying off budgetary debt the cornerstone of his fiscal austerity program.  The Republican Leader of the Assembly referred to this as “channeling his inner Republican” in a recent radio interview.  This raises the following questions: what is budgetary debt?  Why is it important to pay it off?  Does the Governor’s budget meet that challenge?  The Fact Check found:
  • California budgetary debt topped $35 billion at its height.  As of the end of the 2012-13 budget year, California will owe $27.8 billion in budgetary debt.
  • While the Governor committed to repaying debt if his taxes were approved, his current budget lowers debt payment by $1 billion, putting repayment behind schedule.
  • Using one-time money to pay back budgetary loans would help the state avoid a fiscal cliff in the future.

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Posted in 68th Assembly District | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Brown Bringing Tax Hammer Down On Lumber

Posted by The Master Cylinder on August 2, 2012

Perhaps the state motto should be changed to “The Taxman Cometh. And Cometh. And Cometh.” That’s the animating spirit of state policy under Governor Jerry Brown, whose Adminstration deals with the huge perma-deficit by levying taxes hither and thither without regard to the human or economic cost.

The Brown Administration’s is proposing a budget trailer to “reform” the Timber Harvest Plan by creating a Lumber Retail Sales tax that would be assessed on the purchase of any lumber product at the point of sale.  The funds generated from this tax would be used to fund state and industry regulatory agencies.

At what cost? This proposed tax would target small businesses and do-it-yourself consumers who utilize lumber products. Many of these small businesses, which use lumber regularly, have already been devastated by recent financial events.

Home builders, carpenters and roofers – just to name a few – were very successful during the housing boom, and now many can barely find work.  Under this plan, when these hard-working Californians do find work, their cost of doing business will be even higher. How can any intelligent policy maker or elected official consider this is a smart plan to promote economic recovery.

Why would any administration want to harm consumers and small business by forcing them to pay additional taxes? Is making it harder for a prostrate industry to recover pro-growth or even compassionate? That’s a question the Brown Administration and supporters of this tax need to answer.

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Tax Initiative Committee Raises Almost 8 Million

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on July 31, 2012

It has been a relatively slow news day after yesterdays Santa Ana craziness. One thing that popped into my inbox from Capitol Weekly was an article about the Jerry Brown tax initiative committee raising almost 8 million dollars through the final week of July.

Taxes being raised in California is not a very popular concept right now and most experts believe that the tax increases will fail unless a lot of money comes in to  help the campaign. A great barometer for this is the slim margin of defeat for the cigarette tax that was on the ballot this past June. If voters are unwilling to pass a tax on cigarettes in California then it will be an uphill battle to get any other kind of tax raised.

However, with almost 8 million dollars raised at this early point in the campaign it will make for a very interesting and probably close race.

Another question that some have is what impact the Molly Munger PTA initiative (Proposition 38) would have on this as Munger is clearly not happy that her initiative was moved lower on the ballot. Proposition 38 has raised almost 9 million dollars during the same time period.

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Travis Allen: Too Squishy for the Assembly

Posted by OC Insider on July 23, 2012

Travis Allen’s contributions to Democrats are well-documented, as reported by Jon Fleischman at the Flash ReportRoxana Kopetman at the OC Register, and even Art Pedroza at OC Politics Blog.

Allen’s explanation to Kopetman is that he has “some friends on the other side of the aisle and a family member on the other side of the aisle” who twisted his arm into going to fundraisers for Democrats.  The family member he references is his uncle, Frank Barbaro, the Chairman of the Democratic Party of Orange County.  Barbaro told the OC Register’s Frank Mickadeit that he convinced Allen to make donations to Barbara Boxer and Jerry Brown.

The question Republicans voters should be asking is, “If Travis Allen’s arm can be twisted to donate money to liberal Democrats, can his arm be twisted to vote for tax increases, higher spending, more business regulations, anti-gun laws, pro-illegal immigration policies, and high-speed rail?”

If his friends and uncle tell him to vote for liberal policies, will he fold like he has before?

In case anyone forgot, here’s the list of Allen’s donations to Democrats:

If Travis Allen can be persuaded to give thousands of his own dollars to Democrats, will it be that hard for him to give away taxpayer dollars to liberal spending programs?

Posted in 72nd Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Judge Rules Against Munger, Brown’s Ballot Measure Arrangement Bill Stands, Propositions Numbered at Last

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 10, 2012

As I wrote about here, Molly Munger filed suit to stop AB 1499 from taking effect. AB 1499, which Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on June 27, changed the order that ballot measures appear on the ballot.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley rejected Munger’s suit entirely.

Consequently, his temporary restraining order preventing the Secretary of State’s office from numbering the ballot propositions has ended.

The Secretary of State’s office has now numbered the ballot measures, so these are the propositions for the statewide ballot for November:

Proposition 30 – Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. (This is Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure.)

Proposition 31 – State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. (This is the two-year budget measure.)

Proposition 32 – Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute. (This is best known as Stop Special Interest Money Now.)

Proposition 33 – Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 34 – Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 35 – Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 36 – Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 37 – Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 38 – Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute. (This is Molly Munger’s tax measure.)

Proposition 39 – Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute. (This is Tom Steyer’s tax measure.)

Proposition 40 – Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

Arguments for and against these ballot propositions are due to the Secretary of State by 5:00 PM today.  In case of multiple arguments being submitted, the Secretary of State’s office is required by law to give priority to the official proponents, followed by bona fide associations of citizens, and then individuals.

Rebuttal arguments are due by 5:00 PM on Thursday, July 19.  Litigation regarding these statements must be filed by 5:00 PM on Monday, August 13.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Custom Campaigns has done some consulting work for Stop Special Interest Money Now, now known as Proposition 32.  For the record, we do not accept payments for blogging and require disclosures when a blogger has a potential conflict of interest in a blog post, unless it’s something really obvious, like a blogger blogging about their own candidacy for office.)

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Field Poll: Brown Tax Leads, Even Split on Munger & Steyer Taxes, High-Speed Rail Decreases Support for Brown Tax

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 9, 2012

Since you’re reading this post, you obviously passed the test we posted on Friday to avert being knocked off the Internet.

Three tax measures have qualified for the November ballot, sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown, multimillionaire heiress attorney Molly Munger, and billionaire businessman Tom Steyer, respectively.

Ballot Measure Proponents Jerry Brown, Molly Munger, and Tom Steyer

Munger Sues State

The battle between Munger and Brown on ballot measure numbering has a hearing scheduled today at 9:00 AM. (Munger asked the court to delay the hearing for another nine days, stating the Los Angeles County Registrar of Voters had refused to supply documents or completely answered questions, but was apparently unsuccessful in getting the delay.)  For more details on the suit, read my post from last Monday (note that on Thursday, the Legislature approved legislation moving the water bond from the 2012 ballot to the 2014 ballot; the water bond would have been Proposition 30 regardless of Munger’s lawsuit, so when reading that post, just remove Proposition 30 and subtract one from the numbering of all the other measures; other than that, everything in the post is still current information).

If Munger prevails, her ballot measure will be Proposition 36 rather than Proposition 38, Brown’s ballot measure will be Proposition 37 rather than Proposition 30, and Steyer’s will be Proposition 38 rather than Proposition 39.  In other words, if Munger prevails, the ballot order will be six other measures, the Munger measure, the Brown measure, the Steyer measure, and two other measures.  If Brown prevails, the ballot order will be the Brown measure, seven other measures, the Munger measure, the Steyer measure, and the Senate redistricting referendum.

Brown’s Income and Sales Tax Increase Measure Leads, But is Threatened by High-Speed Rail

The latest Field Poll finds Governor Jerry Brown’s income and sales tax increase ballot measure leads 54%-38%, with 8% undecided.  (The poll found a similar result in May, with the measure leading 52%-35%, with 13% undecided.)   Brown’s tax increase ballot measure leads among every demographic and geographic group, as well as liberals, moderates, Democrats, and independents.  Only conservatives and Republicans oppose the measure.  However, not all is rosy for the Brown tax increase measure…

21% of the measure’s supporters indicated that they would be less inclined to support the Brown tax increase if the high-speed rail funding bill was approved.  Conversely, only 5% of the measure’s opponents indicated that they would be more inclined to support the Brown tax increase if the high-speed rail funding bill was approved.

(The poll was completed shortly before the Senate passed the high-speed rail funding bill 21-16 on Friday and the Assembly passed the bill 51-27 on Thursday.  Brown is expected to sign the bill this week.)

The high-speed rail bill’s approval may very well endanger Brown’s tax increase initiative.  Ballot measures typically lose support as campaigns wear on, and the high-speed rail may send support for Brown’s tax increase measure under 50%, making it that much more difficult to pass once the campaign season begins in the fall.

Voters Evenly Split on Munger Income Tax Increase Measure

Molly Munger’s income tax increase ballot measure has voters perfectly split, with 46% supporting it and 46% opposing it.

Republicans oppose the Munger income tax increase, Democrats support it, and independents are evenly split.  Conservatives and moderates oppose it while liberals support it.  Men oppose it while women support it.  Whites oppose it, Latinos support it, and other ethnic groups were split.

Voters under 40 support the Munger income tax increase measure while voters over 40 oppose it.  Union households support it while non-union households were split.  People making less than $40,000 support it while voters making more than $40,000 oppose it.

As expected, San Francisco Bay Area voters support the Munger income tax increase measure while other Northern Californians oppose it.  Strangely, Los Angeles County voters are evenly split on the measure while other Southern Californians were supportive, upending the typical result of LA County being less tax-averse than other Southern Californians (in this same poll, on the Brown and Steyer measures, the more-expected result of LA County being less tax averse than the rest of Southern California occurred).

Voters Evenly Split on Steyer Singles Sales Factor for Business Income Tax Calculation Measure

Tom Steyer’s measure requiring the singles sales factor for business income tax calculation has voters effectively split, with 44% supporting it and 43% opposing it.

Conservatives and Republicans oppose the Steyer single sales factor measure while independents, moderates, Democrats, and liberals support it.  While both genders were split within the margin of error, men were more likely to oppose while women were more likely to support.  Whites oppose the measure, Latinos support it, and other ethnic groups were evenly split.

Voters under 40 support the Steyer singles sales factor measure, voters over 65 oppose it, while middle-aged voters were even split.  Union households were supportive while non-union households were evenly split.  Voters making making $40,000-$99,999 support the measure while those making more than $100,000 oppose the measure.  Oddly, those making less than $40,000 were evenly split.

The San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County support the Steyer single sales factor measure while the rest of Northern and Southern California oppose it.

Will the LA County Measure R Sales Tax Extension Accidentally Kill All the Tax Measures?

In 2008, LA County voters approved Measure R, a 0.5% sales tax increase to fund transportation projects that took effect July 1, 2009, and expires 30 years later in 2039.  Inexplicably, the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to place an extension of Measure R on the November 2012 ballot to add 30 years to the 0.5% sales tax increase making it expire in 2069.

Just four years into a thirty-year tax, voters are being asked to make it a sixty-year tax.  If approved, nearly all people who vote on this ballot measure will be dead by the time the tax expires.

It seems strategically odd to ask for an extension so soon after the initial passage.  It would have seemed more strategically sound to wait until 2030 or so when Measure R was nearing expiration.

The placement of the Measure R extension on the November ballot means LA County voters will be faced with four tax measures on their ballot.  Voter tax fatigue will take its toll in LA County.

Why does LA County tax fatigue matter to the rest of the state?  Well, 1/4 of all Californians live in Los Angeles County.

Look at Prop 29: it failed by 0.6%.  The San Francisco Bay Area went overwhelmingly for it.  Most of Northern and Southern California went overwhelmingly against it.  Los Angeles County narrowly went against Prop 29.

This Measure R extension may be the inadvertent death knell of the tax-related statewide ballot measures in November.

LA County support is pivotal for any tax measure hoping to pass in California.

What the Three State Ballot Measures Would Do

For those of you who are wondering what the three state ballot measures would do…

Brown’s measure (likely Proposition 30 or Proposition 37, it is officially titled, “Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. “) would increase personal income taxes for amounts above $250,000 per year for seven years and raise the state sales tax by 0.25% for four years. Specifically, income taxes on amounts:

  • between $250,000-$300,000 would increase by 1% to 10.3%
  • between $300,000-$500,000 would increase by 2% to 11.3%
  • above $500,000 would increase by 3% to 12.3%

Sales taxes in OC would climb to 8%, except in La Habra, where it would go to 8.5%. LA County sales tax would go up to 9%.

For seven years, 89% of the tax money is allocated to K-12 schools with 11% to community colleges. On a permanent basis, 1.0625% sales tax would be permanently removed from the Prop 98 education funding formula to fund local public safety realignment programs.

Click here for the Legislative Analyst Office’s official fiscal analysis of the Brown measure.

Munger’s measure (likely Proposition 36 or Proposition 38, it is officially titled, “Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute.”) would increase personal income taxes on nearly all Californians for twelve years.  Specifically, for individuals who are not heads of households, income taxes on amounts:

  • between $7,316-$17,346 would increase by 0.4% to 2.4%
  • between $17,346-$27,377 would increase by 0.7% to 4.7%
  • between $27,377-$38,004 would increase by 1.1% to 7.1%
  • between $38,004-$48,029 would increase by 1.4% to 9.4%
  • between $48,029-$100,000 would increase by 1.6% to 10.9%
  • between $100,000-$250,000 would increase by 1.8% to 11.1%
  • between $250,000-$500,000 would increase by 1.9% to 11.2%
  • between $500,000-$1,000,000 would increase by 2.0% to 11.3%
  • between $1,000,000-$2,500,000 would increase by 2.1% to 11.4%
  • above $2,500,000 would increase by 2.2% to 11.5%

For heads of households, income taxes on amounts:

  • between $14,642-$34,692 would increase by 0.4% to 2.4%
  • between $34,692-$44,721 would increase by 0.7% to 4.7%
  • between $44,721-$55,348 would increase by 1.1% to 7.1%
  • between $55,348-$65,376 would increase by 1.4% to 9.4%
  • between $65,376-$136,118 would increase by 1.6% to 10.9%
  • between $136,118-$340,294 would increase by 1.8% to 11.1%
  • between $340,294-$680,589 would increase by 1.9% to 11.2%
  • between $680,589-$1,361,178 would increase by 2.0% to 11.3%
  • between $1,361,178-$3,402,944 would increase by 2.1% to 11.4%
  • over $3,402,944 would increase by 2.2% to 11.5%

For the first four years, 60% of the tax money is allocated to K-12 schools, 10% to early childhood programs, and 30% to repaying state debt. For the remaining eight years, 85% of the tax money is allocated to K-12 schools and 15% to early childhood programs.

Click here for the Legislative Analyst Office’s official fiscal analysis of the Munger measure.

Steyer’s measure (likely Proposition 38 or Proposition 39, it is officially titled, “Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.”) would permanently impose the single sales factor calculation on income taxes for multistate businesses.

For five years, $550,000,000 would be allocated from the state General Fund into the “Clean Energy Job Creation Fund,” which would be used for energy efficiency retrofits and alternative energy installations in government buildings, local government energy retrofit financial assistance programs, and job training and workforce development programs.

Click here for the Legislative Analyst Office’s official fiscal analysis of the Steyer measure.

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Molly Munger Files Suit Over Ballot Measure Placement; Judge Halts Numbering Until 7/9

Posted by Chris Nguyen on July 2, 2012

On June 27, the State Senate passed AB 1499 on a near-party-line 24-15 vote (Democrat Joe Simitian of Palo Alto joined the Republicans in voting against the bill, with Republican Sharon Runner of the Antelope Valley not voting), the State Assembly passed the bill on a party-line 50-24 vote (with three Republicans, two Democrats, and one Republican-turned-independent Nathan Fletcher not voting), and the Governor signed the bill into law.

So what exactly does AB 1499 do?  It changes the order that ballot measures appear on the ballot.  Because this bill was a budget trailer bill, it has already become law, rather than waiting until January 1, like the average bill.

Under the law as it existed on June 26, this was the order of how measures appeared on the ballot:

  1. Bond measures proposed by the Legislature
  2. Constitutional amendments proposed by the Legislature
  3. Other measures proposed by the Legislature
  4. Initiative measures
  5. Referenda

However, AB 1499, which is now the law of the land, changed the order thusly:

  1. Bond measures (regardless of whether they were put there by the Legislature or initiative)
  2. Constitutional amendments (regardless of whether they were put there by the Legislature or initiative)
  3. Measures proposed by the Legislature that aren’t bonds or constitutional amendments
  4. Initiative measures that aren’t bonds or constitutional amendments
  5. Referenda

Molly Munger (a Democrat and the sister of Republican Charles Munger, Jr.) has filed suit to stop AB 1499 from affecting the November 2012 election.

Why is she doing this?

Well, take a look at my previous post (which went online just hours before AB 1499 made its way through the Legislature) that noted the likely order of the ballot measures.  Then, take a look at what the order will be if AB 1499 is allowed to move forward unfettered:

Proposition 30 – Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012 (This was the water bond deal of 2009 authored by then-Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill that the Legislature put on the 2010 ballot before moving it to the 2012 ballot.)

Proposition 31 – Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. (This is Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure.)

Proposition 32 – State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. (This is the two-year budget measure.)

Proposition 33 – Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute. (This is best known as Stop Special Interest Money Now.)

Proposition 34 – Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 35 – Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 36 – Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 37 – Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 38 – Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 39 – Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute. (This is Molly Munger’s tax measure.)

Proposition 40 – Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 41 – Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

(Any initiatives or referenda that qualify now are too late for the November 2012 ballot and will have to wait for another election.  However, the Legislature can still add measures to the ballot or remove the Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012 from the ballot, which would alter the numbering of the propositions.)

See what happened in the ballot measure sequence because of AB 1499: Molly Munger’s tax measure is buried near the bottom of the ballot while Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure will be either first or second on the ballot (depending on if the Legislature removes the water bond from the ballot).  Without AB 1499, the two measures would be neighbors on the ballot.

Munger obtained a temporary restraining order from Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley preventing Secretary of State Debra Bowen from officially numbering the ballot measures.  But for Frawley’s order, she would have done so today.  However, Frawley blocked her from officially numbering the ballot measures until after Frawley holds a hearing on Munger’s suit on July 9.

Not only does Munger challenge the applicability of AB 1499 to the November 2012 ballot, but she also challenges the order of qualification, asserting that the Registrars of Los Angeles and Alamenda Counties improperly validated petitions for Brown’s ballot measure before they validated petitions for her ballot measure, as they are required by law to validate petitions in the order received (yes, Munger’s signatures were turned in before Brown’s).

Should Munger achieve a total victory on July 9 (a week from today), then this will be the ballot order for November:

Proposition 30 – Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2012 (This was the water bond deal of 2009 authored by then-Senate Republican Leader Dave Cogdill that the Legislature put on the 2010 ballot before moving it to the 2012 ballot.)

Proposition 31 – Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute. (This is best known as Stop Special Interest Money Now.)

Proposition 32 – Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices Based on a Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 33 – Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 34 – Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 35 – Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 36 – Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 37 – Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative Statute. (This is Molly Munger’s tax measure.)

Proposition 38 – Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment. (This is Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure.)

Proposition 39 – Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.

Proposition 40 – State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute. (This is the two-year budget measure.)

Proposition 41 – Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.

Why does ballot order matter?

Sadly, location on the ballot actually affects odds of passage.  The earlier on the ballot a measure appears, the higher its chances of passing.  I don’t have the figures for ballot measures, but there are studies that have shown being the first person on the ballot in a long list of candidates can boost a person’s vote by as much as 5%.  (This is why candidates appear on the ballot in a random ballot lottery rather than alphabetically.)

To people who vote “yes” on ballot measures because they appear earlier and “no” because they appear later, please for the love of democracy, leave your vote on ballot measures blank!  Your ballot still counts even if you don’t fill out every slot.  If you just want to vote for Obama or Romney, your vote will still count even if you leave the rest of your ballot blank.  Let informed voters who have studied the issues cast their votes for the propositions on the ballot.  While I’m here, if you don’t know anything about candidates in down-ticket races, do not automatically vote for the candidate who appears first or has the longest name.  Let informed voters who have studied the candidates cast their votes for offices on the ballot.

Alas, there is no point to the admonition above since people who read political blogs (like you, dear reader) are not the people causing this problem, as you’re the ones actually seeking information on the issues.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Custom Campaigns has done some consulting work for Stop Special Interest Money Now, tentatively Proposition 33 under AB 1499, or Proposition 31 if AB 1499 is prevented from taking effect for the November 2012 ballot.  For the record, we do not accept payments for blogging and require disclosures when a blogger has a potential conflict of interest in a blog post, unless it’s something really obvious, like a blogger blogging about their own candidacy for office.)

Posted in California | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Governor Brown Appoints First Tribal Advisor

Posted by Cicero on February 8, 2012

Back in September at the Tribal Alliance of Sovereign Indian Nation convention at the Sheraton Grand in Sacramento, the governor announced he was creating a position to serve as a direct link between the Governor and the over 100 Indian Tribes in California. Today the Governor announced that Cynthia Gomez will serve as the Tribal Advisor and also as executive Secretary for the Native American Heritage Commission.

The position was created by Executive Order B-10-11 to bolster communication between the Brown Administration and Tribal Governments. Gomez will advise Brown on matters relating to legislation, policy and regulation. The position does not require Senate confirmation and the total compensation for the Democrat Gomez will be $140,000 a year.

Gomez is a graduate of the Lorenzo Patino Law School in Sacramento and has most recently been working as chief justice of the Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians Tribal Court since 2010.

Whether this is an efficient use of $140,000 in tax dollars remains to be seen. The description of Gomez’s job seems overly broad in its “legislation, policy and regulation” directive. Hopefully Gomez genuinely finds a way assist California’s most underserved tribes and is not a $140,000 mouthpiece with services available to highest bidder for the state’s most influential tribes and their business partners.

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Secretary of State Website Debacle

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on February 1, 2012

For anybody who was looking to research campaign finance data on the Secretary of State website in the month of December, you likely found yourself out of luck. The site was constantly crashing and facing numerous functionality issues. In response to these issues, Senator Alex Padilla, who ironically happens to be running for Secretary of State, is urging Governor Jerry Brown to take control of the database H/T LA Times blog on the story.

It would be really nice if they would simply update the technology that they are using to run the website. Realistically, upgrading that website (assuming it is being used by less than hundreds of thousands of people) shouldn’t cost that much money to upgrade it or to host it. They could even go through and make the website more user-friendly during the process.

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