Death penalty

Oct 23, 2012

Largely lost in the advertising blitzes over the big-ticket tax initiatives is the measure to outlaw the death penalty. But that may change with the launching of a new TV campaign.


From the LAT's Maura Dolan: "The campaign to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life without parole launched radio and television advertisements Monday, depicting capital punishment as a futile exercise that costs taxpayers and coddles criminals."


"With only two weeks left before the election, the Proposition 34 campaign is spending more than $2 million on ads that will air in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Polls suggest the measure has been struggling but gaining ground."


"Do you know we have the death penalty in California?" actor Edward James Olmos asks in a radio spot for Proposition 34. "You might not, because we almost never use it."


The lineup of ballot propositions gets the once-over from Capitol Weekly, which put together a voter guide to help people wade through the tangle of measures.


From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "California’s 2012 ballot lineup contains the most far-reaching proposals for public-education finance in 25 years. But equally significant to California’s political landscape is the acceleration of a trend in which a small number of wealthy individuals pour in tens of millions of dollars to push their political beliefs."


"In terms of impact on public education, this year’s election -- in Propositions 30 and 38 -- offers the most crucial choices since voters approved Proposition 98 in 1988, the public school-funding guarantee."


"But unlike Proposition 98, which sought to protect schools from annual budget cuts in the Legislature, the Nov. 6 election allows voters to decide whether to provide money for schools by making an end-run around the Legislature entirely and going directly to the voters’ pocketbook."


The power of incumbency is dramaticallty demonstrated in races for Congress, such as in the L.A. area, where House members enjoy a 7-to-1 edge in campaign cash.


From the LA Daily News' Pamela Nonga Ngue: "Los Angeles-area incumbents have raised $18.7 million in contrast to their challengers' $2.5 million, according to reports filed last week at the Federal Election Commission. In five districts, challengers reported raising no money at all."


"Democrat Rep. Henry Waxman is the only local incumbent who has less money to spend than his opponent. His challenger, Bill Bloomfield - founder of a successful Internet company - contributed $3.8 million to his own campaign."


"The money gap reflects a longstanding advantage for sitting members of Congress and suggests that recent reforms to California's election rules still leave an unlevel playing field. "I don't think that incumbents will have any less of an advantage," said Gary Jacobson, a political scientist from the University of California San Diego. "In the typical district, the incumbent is such a strong favorite that good candidates don't even show up."


State Sen. Mimi Walters, an Orange County Republican, will stay on the ballot after all, following her victory in a civil suit filed by Democratic challenger that sought to kick her off.


From the OC Register's Brian Joseph: "The case was brought by the senator’s Democratic opponent, Newport Beach attorney Steve Young, who said it stretches the bounds of credibility to believe that Walters moved from a 14,000-square-foot mansion in Laguna Niguel, where her husband was still registered to vote, to a 570-square-foot Irvine apartment with no dishwasher or washer and dryer hookups."

"Walters, a Republican, has long been associated with Laguna Niguel, where she served on the City Council and was elected to two terms in the Assembly and one in the Senate. But last year the new California Citizens Redistricting Commission redrew the state’s legislative districts. To run in the newly drawn 37th Senate District, Walters says, she moved to Irvine.

Under state law, state legislators are required to live in the districts they represent."


"A Sacramento County Superior Court judge ruled late last week that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear questions about the qualifications of members of the state Legislature. His ruling denied Young’s petition to have Walters’ name removed from the ballot."


Jailed L.A. County Assessor John Noguez is staying put: A judge refused to reduce his $1.16 million bail.


From the LAT's Jack Dolan: "Los Angeles County Assessor John Noguez, who has spent the last six days in jail after his arrest on suspicion of taking bribes to lower property tax bills, will stay behind bars a while longer."


"On Monday, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba refused to reduce Noguez's bail below $1.16 million -- the amount the county allegedly lost in tax revenue due to the scheme, prosecutors claim."


"Noguez's attorney, Michael Proctor, said Noguez would not be able to make that bail. He had asked Torrealba to consider a bail of about $400,000. Torrealba also set bail at $1.16 million for Ramin Salari, a tax consultant accused of bribing Noguez to lower property taxes for his wealthy clients. Salari is expected to put up the money and be released, said his attorney, Mark Werksman."

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