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THE NOONER for November 30, 2012

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First off, let me say thanks to California Political Maps for their sponsorship of the Nooner over the last two weeks! Lots of Nooner readers have ordered awesome maps using the coupon code "Nooner", which gets you 15% off. 

SD04: Late ballots dipped Jim Nielsen below 49.8% in the special election for SD04, meaning there will be a runoff on January 8 against Democrat Mickey Harrington.

CD31: DCCC Chair Steve Israel has already reached out to Pete Aguilar to encourage him to consider another run in the San Bernardino seat in 2014. [Alex Isenstadt @ Politico] You have to imagine Joe Baca was hoping to get that phone call.

DECISION DAY: Today is decision day in the U.S. Supreme Court, as the justices hold their conference and vote on which cases to grant certiorari and grant a hearing. It takes four of the nine justices to vote to grant cert, and the decisions will likely be announced Monday.

The court is considering ten same-sex marriage petitions, including California's Hollingsworth v. Perry. California's case is unique in that the legal issue is over the creation of a right to same-sex marriage and whether voters have the right to subsequent remove that right, creating different classes of citizens. The other cases are primarily related to state same-sex marriage laws (both creation and elimination of the right) and the application of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. 

Supporters of same-sex marriage in California do not want the court to take the case, as by not taking review, the Ninth Circuit's holding that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional would take effect, and same-sex marriages would resume. Proposition 8 supporters want review of the California case and vindication that there is a societal interest in "traditional" marriage. In the article below, Emily Bazelon notes that superstar legal team David Boies and Ted Olson would love to argue the issue before the Supremes, but that would create the risk of overturning the Ninth Circuit and hurting their clients.

Here are some great articles on the topic:

 

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BALLOT FATIGUE?: Yesterday on Twitter there was a discussion about Proposition 30, how many voters participated, and whether the gamesmanship in rearranging measures helped put it over the top. Well, let's take a look. Most counties are expected to submit their final tallies today, but enough votes are in that there shouldn't be any significant changes in the data.

Thus far, there have been 12,798,124 ballots counted, for turnout of 70.1%. There appear to be about 100,000-200,000 ballots outstanding. The two biggest outstanding counties appear to be Sonoma and Contra Costa, although there have been wildly different estimates of Los Angeles County ballots left. From my count, L.A. has 5,444 ballots left if their initial report of outstanding ballots was correct:

Election night ballots: 2,368,283
Reported late ballots: 792,658
Total= 3,160,941

Registrar Dean Logan's tweet yesterday of total counted: 3,155,497
Leaves 5,444

Thirty-six counties have reported all their ballots, and today most counties should submit their final counts (although they have until Tuesday).

Back to ballot measures. As you may recall, the Legislature last year adopted SB 202 on a party-line vote to move all ballot measures (except Prop. 28 and 29) to general elections. The main goal of that move was to tip the scales against Proposition 32, which most analysts believe would have passed with the small 31% turnout we saw in June. The Legislature than adopted AB 1499, again on a party-line vote, to put constitutional amendments at the top of the ballot in order of qualification. This moved Jerry Brown's tax measure to the top, along with Prop. 31, California Forward's government and budget reform proposal.

There is academic research that suggests that the further down the ballot, voter fatigue sets in and people are more likely to abstain or vote for the status quo. [h/t Rachel Linn]

Obviously, not every voter casts a ballot on every issue, including the "top of the ticket," as demonstrated:

  • Ballots cast for President: 12,621,480 (98.6%)
  • Ballots cast for U.S. Senate: 12,194,604 (95.3%)
  • Ballots cast for State Assembly: 11,370,804 (88.9%)

So, let's look at our eleven measures. Those with the greatest voter participation are Propositions 30 (Brown's tax), 37 (food labeling), 32 (union dues), and 34 (death penalty). Those with the least voter participation are 40 (redistricting), 31 (gov't reform), and 39 (clean energy tax).

Based on this, ballot order didn't make much of a difference. Rather, those with the most significant campaigns drew more than those with smaller efforts. And, the simpler the better. I can't even tell you what Prop. 31 would have done, and the "yes means no" of the redistricting referendum was confusing. Still, with a moderately high voter turnout and with significant participation by new and young voters, it's impressive that nearly 9 out of 10 voters weighed in on every ballot measure. It's particularly impressive when faced with this in the voting booth.

 

Measure Total Votes % of Total Voters Participating
Not final data. As of 11/30/12 at 5 a.m.
Proposition 30  12,284,655 96.0%
Proposition 31  11,413,294 89.2%
Proposition 32  12,065,352 94.3%
Proposition 33  11,884,326 92.9%
Proposition 34  12,063,527 94.3%
Proposition 35  12,019,271 93.9%
Proposition 36  12,005,648 93.8%
Proposition 37  12,156,612 95.0%
Proposition 38  11,966,238 93.5%
Proposition 39  11,730,166 91.7%
Proposition 40  11,275,253 88.1%

 

THE READS:

Have a great weekend and stay dry,
Scott

 

TOP HEADLINES ON AROUNDTHECAPITOL.COM AS OF 12:00PM
Proposition 30's Impact Beyond Education Into Health Care
Paige Brettingen @
neontommy.com
Proposition 30, which passed with 54 percent of the vote, will prevent deeper cuts to public education by raising taxes on residents earning above $250,000 over the next seven years and increasing California’s sales tax by a quarter of a cent for four years. Benton is hopeful that with more public education funding - particularly the 11 percent of tax revenue that is supposed to go to community colleges - more resources and education will be offered to caregivers who provide assistance to the elderly and disabled, many of whom are their own family members.

Preparations Under Way For Possible Gay Marriages In California
David Siders: Democrats want 'this hotel to work' @
sacbee.com
More than two years after a federal judge in San Francisco ruled California's Proposition 8 unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide today if it will take up the landmark gay-marriage case. If it elects not to grant review, gay and lesbian Californians who have waited for years to wed are preparing to do so as early as next week.

Ease Rules On School Tax Vote, Says State Senator
John Myers @
news10.net
In a sign that Democrats in the Legislature may not totally be ceding their newfound power over on the issue of taxes, one prominent state senator says he intends to push for a statewide vote on making it easier for local communities to raise parcel taxes to help schools.

More Soda Tax Measures May Be Coming - Sfgate
sfgate.com
The tax proceeds, estimated to be about $3 million annually, would have gone to after-school sports programs, parks, juvenile diabetes education and other programs to combat childhood obesity. "Soda is a huge public health problem whose cost we all have to bear," said Pond, a construction project manager. The defeats in Richmond and El Monte were so overwhelming that few cities are likely to waste the time and money trying again, said Chuck Finnie, vice president of a San Francisco political consulting firm that helped fight Measure N for the beverage industry. If activists are serious about fighting obesity, they should "focus on measures that increase access to ... quality health care and a nutritious diet," Finnie said. Ritterman, meanwhile, is busy pushing cities, counties and public health groups to consider soda taxes, hopefully improving on the model he put forth in Richmond. If he could do it again, Ritterman said, he'd make it clear baby formula and possibly soy milk are excluded, and propose taxing distributors or consumers directly instead of business owners.

California Senate budget head wants to lower tax increase hurdle
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
The Democratic head of the Senate budget committee said today he wants California voters to lower the threshold for school parcel taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent.

Prop. 8 Supporters, Opponents Await Supreme Court Decision
Maura Dolan and Jessica Garrison @
latimes.com
Foes of gay marriage hope U.S. justices will block legalization, while backers are divided on the best route to same-sex unions.

California's 70-plus Democrats Hang On To Power
Dan Walters @
sacbee.com
This month's election not only bolstered Democrats' total control of California's politics but also tightened the grip of party leaders who will never see their 70th birthdays again.

Renewed Push For A 55 Percent Threshold To Pass Parcel Tax
John Fensterwald @
edsource.org
It didn't take long for a Democratic senator among the newly empowered supermajority in the Legislature to go after a low-hanging fruit: lowering the threshold for passage of a local parcel tax for education.

CCPOA's spending focus
Jon Ortiz @
blogs.sacbee.com
Political spending by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association reflects how public employee unions faced a divided political battle on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Mtc Building Price Soars To $218 Million - Sfgate
sfgate.com
Things are looking up for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's controversial plan to transform the old tank factory and postal facility at 390 Main St. into a suitable place for regional agencies to cohabit - particularly the price tag. The massive 1942 building, which the MTC bought last year for $93 million, will be gutted and rehabbed to house the commission, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District and, most likely, the Association of Bay Area Governments. Steve Heminger, the commission's executive director, on Wednesday told the Bay Area Headquarters Authority, a group of commissioners overseeing the creation of the new regional government headquarters, that the main reasons for the cost increase include: -- The inclusion in the budget of the $15 million cost of buying and installing technology, fixtures and furnishings for the government agencies inhabiting the building. Commissioners said that though the remodeling plans are far from luxurious, they wanted to see if the costs of the agency offices could be trimmed, and also asked for estimates on revenue from tenants, who would lease space on two floors. The authority serves a number of functions, starting with the administration of Proposition K funds from the voter-approved transportation sales tax, and includes transportation planning.

California Ranks Second In Itemized Deductions
Kevin Yamamura @
blogs.sacbee.com
California taxpayers rank second in the nation in itemized deductions as a share of income, a noteworthy fact as national leaders consider tax policy changes that may restrict how much people can itemize, according to the Tax Foundation.

Health Insurance Rates Could Shoot Up
Victoria Colliver @
sfgate.com
California health insurers are proposing double-digit rate increases for hundreds of thousands of policyholders, drawing criticism that health insurers are padding their profits as the nation prepares to carry out the federal health care law.

Barbara Boxer Endorses Wendy Greuel For L.A. Mayor
William Nottingham @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Southern California -- this just in

Obama asks the GOP to keep middle-class taxes low for Christmas
Christi Parsons @
latimes.com
HATFIELD, Pa. – President Obama cast himself in the role of Santa Claus during a visit to a toy factory on Friday, suggesting that Republican lawmakers get only a lump of coal in their stockings if they don’t work with him this month to extend tax cuts for the middle class.

State Steps Up Enforcement Of Digital Privacy Protections
accessing this site, you accept our @
baycitizen.org
A handful of mobile app makers that defied an order from state Attorney General Kamala Harris to post a written ...

Small Union Is Causing Big Problems For Ports
Los Angeles Times @
latimes.com
The disruption is costing an estimated $1 billion a day at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, on which some 600,000 truckers, dockworkers, trading companies and others depend for their livelihoods.

Audit Faults Lausd For Not Reporting Charges Of Sexual Misconduct
Howard Blume @
latimesblogs.latimes.com
Los Angeles school officials have been slow to act on some sexual misconduct allegations and often failed to notify, as required by law, the state agency that oversees the credentials of teachers, state auditors have concluded.

EBay's double tax base in Europe prompts calls for investigation
Tom Bergin @
mercurynews.com
Britain and Germany may have missed out on a combined $1 billion in sales tax since online marketplace eBay picked a tiny Luxembourg office as its base for EU sales, a shift that lawmakers say should now be investigated.

Teacher union scored big on school, college races
utsandiego.com
The American Federation of Teachers continues to expand its clout on school and community college boards in San Diego County, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars this election season to get at least 11 of its candidates elected.

Obama's victory margin keeps growing in slow tally
James Rainey @
latimes.com
Three weeks after the presidential election, President Obama continues to slowly build his margin of victory over Mitt Romney. The political analyst most closely following the tally now projects that Obama will eventually best the Republican by about 5 million votes and earn 51% of the total.

Nancy Pelosi Re-elected Minority Leader
Wyatt Buchanan, Michael Collier, Richard Dunham, Bob Egelko, Joe Garofoli, Marisa Lagos, Carolyn Lochhead, Carla Marinucci, @
blog.sfgate.com
House Democrats re-elected Nancy Pelosi as their leader Thursday, this time unanimously. Now in the leadership for a decade, Pelosi is one of the longest serving party leaders ever, and of course was the first female Speaker and first female minority l...

Audit Finds Billions In Unverified Medicare Spending
washingtonpost.com
Medicare has paid doctors and hospitals billions of dollars to switch from paper to electronic health records without verifying that the new systems meet required quality standards, according to a federal audit released Thursday.

Allow South State Power Plant Work, Gov. Brown And Others Tell JPMorgan
Dale Kasler @
sacbee.com
Rows of transmission towers in Los Banos carry power lines linking Southern and Northern California. JPMorgan Chase has been accused by California officials of manipulating the power markets for profit.

AM Alert
Laurel Rosenhall @
blogs.sacbee.com
Four California therapists who work with people who want to suppress homosexual feelings are going to court today in Sacramento to try to block implementation of Senate Bill 1172.