Oct 25, 2012

Voters are divided over Jerry Brown's tax initiative less than two weeks before election day, Molly Munger's plan for schools is down and the Proposition 32 opponents are leading. Those and other findings are in the PPIC's latest statewide survey.


From Capitol Weekly: "When read the ballot title and label for Proposition 30, 48 percent would vote yes, 44 percent would vote no, and 8 percent are undecided. The margin has narrowed since September (52% yes, 40% no, 8% undecided). Proposition 30 would fund schools by increasing taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and the sales tax by ¼ cent for four years, and would also guarantee public safety realignment funding."


"Support is lower for Proposition 38, attorney Molly Munger's tax measure to fund education: 39 percent would vote yes, 53 percent would vote no, and 9 percent are undecided. Voters were evenly divided in September (45% yes, 45% no). Proposition 38 would increase taxes on earnings for 12 years, using a sliding scale, with revenues going to K-12 schools and early childhood programs and also, for four years, to repaying state debt..."


"Proposition 32 would bar unions, corporations, and government contractors from using money from payroll deductions for political purposes. It would also prohibit union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees, and bar government contractors from contributing to elected officials or their committees. While 39 percent of likely voters say they would vote yes on the initiative, 53 percent say they would vote no (7% undecided). Voters were more closely divided in September (42% yes, 49% no). Today, a strong majority of Democrats (68%) would vote no, a majority of Republicans would vote yes (56%), and independents are more divided (42% yes, 49% no). How important is the outcome of the vote on Proposition 32? Very important, say 51 percent. Just over half of "yes" voters (56%) and "no" voters (51%) consider it very important-an increase of 11 points on the "no" side since September."


One thing about the new political districts: They can cause bitter disputes within the same political party. Just take a look at Bob Dutton and his fellow Republicans.


From Jim Miller in the Press Enterprise: "Dutton’s campaign blasted the anti-Dutton mailer as inaccurate and a betrayal by the state party."


"They noted that the photo on the mailer was taken during all-night budget sessions in February 2009 when many state lawmakers slept at their desks."


“For what Bob has done for this party over the last 12 years, holding the caucus together during a very difficult period, and raising the money, for them to put their name on a hit piece is disgusting,” Dutton spokesman Chris Orrock said of the state party. Some of the money Dutton raised for the party likely is now being spent against him instead of helping GOP candidates in tough races, Orrock added."


The division over the governor's tax initiative may be due in no small part to Munger's Proposition 38, but she has no regrets, and Brown reportedly made an array of miscues.


From Patrick Range McDonald and Jill Stewart in the LA Weekly: "Brown's measure is stumbling, suffering in part from amateurish and self-inflicted wounds. Munger officially filed her tax plan in November 2011, far ahead of Brown, who was fighting off a powerful teachers union that wanted him to­ hit the rich harder. Brown eventually compromised with the union — but the delays left him filing his tax plan quite late, in mid-March. He then slyly got the legislature to pass a custom-designed law that changed the rules, placing his late tax, instead of Munger's early one, at the top of the November ballot. Munger tried to reverse that in court but lost. (History shows that lazy voters often choose the first ballot measure they read.)"


"But then, Brown had let the entire summer slip by without putting his face on Proposition 30, and he's now being quietly criticized within stressed-out Democratic circles. David Townsend, a veteran Democratic consultant in Sacramento, says Brown had no choice: "As soon as the [legislative] session was out, he had to veto a couple thousand bills, so once he finished that, he [was] on the campaign trail. I don't think it's a lack of commitment on his part, but ... he had to do his governor job."


"Perhaps. But by late September, Proposition 30's support had eroded to a bare 51 percent in the Field Poll. (This despite $52 million pouring in from huge special-interest backers as of mid-October. No on 30 has raised $32 million.) Just after that poll, the governor's camp made a poor judgment call, airing TV ads that plainly lied about who would control Brown's $6.8 billion to $9 billion in new tax revenue annually."


The process of returning control of the prison health-care system back to the system will begin next week, the first step in a long process of removing the system from federal control. 


From the LAT's Paige St. John: "California lost its authority after U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson declared in June 2005 that "extreme measures" were needed to fix a care network that killed one inmate each week through incompetence or neglect. Henderson said that despite repeated warnings from his court, sick prisoners continued to die "for no acceptable reason."


"The state had two such deaths last year, a level Kelso said is within reason: "There are limits to how perfect medicine can be."


"Attorneys for inmates who filed the lawsuit that led to Henderson's decision called this week's agreement "an appropriate starting point." But they expressed concern about the state's ability to run the entire prison healthcare system."


The signups from the new online voter registration system came in at a brisk rate prior to the Oct. 22 cutoff, and while the raw numbers have to be checked and validated, election officials and backers of the program are enthusiastic.


From Capitol Weekly's John Howard: "More than a million Californians used the state's new online voter registration system to sign up for the Nov. 6 election, putting the state nearer to a registration record set in 2009 of 17.33 million."


"Final figures on registration will be reported on Nov. 2, four days before the election. The online registration figures are raw and subject to revision as registrants are checked for accuracy and legality..."


"In the six weeks leading to the final Oct. 22 deadline, some 679,000 newly registered voters were added to the rolls. County election officials expect that number to rise as last-minute registrants are vetted and added to the rolls. The deadline was midnight Monday, with applications verified either by postmarks and online time-stamps. As of Sept. 7, the state's certified report showed 17,259,680 people registered to vote. In February 2009, voter registration stood at 17,334,275. Democratic registration is about 43.3 percent, Republicans 30.1 percent, minor parties about 5.3 percent, and those who decline to state any party affiliation are 20.1 percent."


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