Politics, politics

Feb 17, 2011

The California Supreme Court announced it will review a key piece of Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban on  gay marriage -- whether sponsors of an initiative can defend it in court when state officials refuse to do so. 


"That decision will not address the validity of Prop. 8 - which the court upheld as a state constitutional amendment in May 2009 - but may determine whether California continues to enforce the measure."


"If the court finds that the initiative's sponsors have the right to appeal, the federal court will take up the constitutional issues, which are likely to wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court."


"If the California court finds no such right, the federal court could allow same-sex marriages to resume without a final ruling on Prop. 8 -- although it could also decide that the measure's sponsors are entitled to appeal under federal law."


Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Democrats offered to trim state regulations in hopes of getting GOP support for the budget and taxes, and the Senate's GOP leader said his flock had no reason to support new levies.


First, the Democrats, from the LA Times' Patrick McGreevy: "He and Democratic Sens. Fran Pavley of Agoura Hills and Ron Calderon of Montebello stood behind a table holding 34 binders containing the 270-pound California Code of Regulations."

Chamber President Matthew Mahood said that if the state does undertake meaningful reform of its rules, his group and other business organizations may support a proposed ballot measure that would extend higher taxes and fees for five years to help balance the budget."


Then, the GOP, from the Bee's Susan Ferriss: "Senate Republicans have no interest now in providing votes to put Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax increase extensions before voters, even if Democrats agree to overhaul the state's pension system and enact a spending cap, the Senate's top Republican said Wednesday."


"Sen. Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga, in an interview with The Bee Capitol Bureau, said Democrats should prepare an all-cuts budget to erase the $26.6 billion budget deficit. He said Republicans may or may not provide votes for that approach."


Even if the governor's budget proposals appear on a special election ballot, other issues appearing before voters may affect the outcome -- such as the proposed tobacco tax and term limits. From Capitol Weekly's John Howard:


"But if the Legislature approves a special election on the budget to go on the ballot this spring – as Brown wants – both measures will appear alongside his budget plan. And that plan itself, because of its complexity, may be divided into several ballot measures. What was envisioned as a monolithic ballot is likely to have a lot of moving parts."


"Could the mix of measures, some overlapping, affect the outcomes on such issues as taxes? “Yes, especially since we are talking about a special election, because turnout is not going to be high. With a low-turnout election, the mix of other items on the ballot can have a significant influence on who shows up,” said Jack Pitney, a professor at Claremont McKenna College."


And the clock is ticking for lawmakers to get going on the budget, notes the Times' George Skelton.


"The Legislature needs to pass a compromise package within the next three or four weeks in order for Brown to call a special election in June. If that deadline is missed, the earliest balloting would be in late September, because voters tend to ignore political pitches during the summer vacation season."


"Of course, the governor and the Legislature wouldn't even need a special election — they could have handled the tax issue themselves — if Brown hadn't promised voters not to raise taxes without their permission. But now they're stuck with a politically smart but policy-dumb commitment."


Let's forget Capitol politics and take a look at our "The Man Who Designed Everything" file to learn about the man who, you guessed it, designed everything. Really.


"Arguably the most influential industrial designer of the 20th century, French-born Raymond Loewy (1893 - 1986) fashioned or utterly re-imagined a dizzying array of products and brands during a career spanning seven decades. Writer, illustrator, and co-founder of the Web's best blog, BoingBoing, Mark Frauenfelder has been fascinated by Loewy's work for years. In this gallery, Mark celebrates his favorite Loewy projects, and muses on the man's enduring appeal. Pictured: Loewy fine-tunes a model of a Studebaker sedan he designed."


"Note the tiny tailfins on the car in that drawing. In general, Loewy detested fins as a superfluous abomination. Some say he hated them because rival car designer Harley Earl, who worked at GM for decades, thought of them before he did; but I like to think that Loewy had the good taste to simply keep them in check. And by the way—how about that suit!"

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