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Brown Signs Bag Ban, Martins Beach Access Law, and Ends Gay/Trans Panic Defense

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Sep 30, 2014 at 17:44:32 PM PDT

SeaOttersdotComCalifornia becomes first state in the nation to ban plastic bags, but it could be headed to the ballot

by Brian Leubitz

Early next year, California will become the first state in the nation to bag plastic bags. Maybe:

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and other businesses on Tuesday.
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An industry group representing plastic-bag makers, called the American Progressive Bag Alliance, said Tuesday they plan to put a referendum on the ballot in 2016 to repeal the California ban.(WSJ)

If the bag companies are able to referendum the bill, it would mean that the ban wouldn't go into effect until after the 2016 election. Given that the companies seem willing to pile money into a campaign, it seems something of a foregone conclusion that we will see an election on this one.

In other big legislation news, tech mogul Vinod Khosla was dealt a blow in his attempt to close the road to Martins Beach, a surfer favorite. Khosla has been fighting for a couple of years to close the road, in courts and against the legislation that Gov. Brown signed on Tuesday. Basically the law requires negotiation with Khosla for a year, and then authorizes eminent domain of the road if the negotiations are fruitless.

In other news, the LGBT community got a big victory with the Governor signing a bill that bans the use of the "gay panic" and "trans panic" defenses.

Simply put, gay panic is the notion that acts of violence are partly justifiable when a person's all-consuming hatred for LGBT people causes them to go berserk or act with "diminished capacity." It's a heinous defense tactic that banks on a judge or jury's own homophobia, apportioning some blame onto victims in order to get a murder charge downgraded to manslaughter. Leaning on a "heat of passion" line of thinking deliberately turns a trial into something out of a pulp novel. Gay panic benefits from anti-LGBT bias, and adds to it as well, by dredging up ancient stereotypes of gays as sexual predators who can't be trusted not to curb their appetites.
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But it's no longer a justifiable defense in Golden State courtrooms, since Assemblymember Susan Bonilla (an East Bay Democrat) has pushed a bill banning both gay panic and transgender panic as legal defenses through the legislature. Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 2501 into law over the weekend, continuing to put the state at the forefront of LGBT rights. (SF Weekly)

It is easy to overlook this bill, or think this is some historical relic. But this is real, and really offensive every time it is used. It is a big step forward for civil rights in California and across the country.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Brown Signs Ban against Spying on Consumers Using Rent-to-own Computers

by: consumercal

Fri Sep 19, 2014 at 14:37:51 PM PDT

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill sponsored by the Consumer Federation of California to protect consumer privacy by restricting the use of spyware on rented computers.

Thanks to Assembly Bill 2667 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica), consumers who rent a computer or similar electronic device in California will not fall victim to the use of invasive privacy technologies by the merchant or manufacturer who sold the item. The Assembly and state Senate each approved the bill without opposition.

"Now that our legislation is signed, rent-to-own companies will no longer be able to use spyware to collect passwords and credit card and medical records, and to activate webcams on rented devices," said Richard Holober, executive director of the Consumer Federation of California. "Consumers in California will now be protected against this unwarranted information gathering that makes consumers more vulnerable to identity theft and other fraud."

The need for safeguards to protect consumers against egregious privacy violations has been documented by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). On March 10, 2014, the agency issued its Final Order Settling Charges that Aaron's Inc. Allowed Franchisees to Spy on Consumers via Rental Computers. The FTC had previously taken action against software manufacturer DesignWare LLC and seven rent-to-own companies, including Aaron's, on this issue.

"Keystroke logs displayed usernames and passwords for access to email accounts, social media websites, and financial institutions. Screenshots captured additional confidential details, including medical information, applications containing Social Security numbers, and bank and credit card statements. Webcams operating secretly inside computer users' homes took photographs of computer users and anyone else within view of the camera. These included images of minor children as well as individuals not fully clothed and engaged in intimate conduct," according to the FTC.

"When consumers contract with rent-to-own retailers for a laptop or other electronic device, they are often unaware that these devices can contain invasive software," Assembly Member Bloom said when his bill went to the governor. "This bill protects consumers from having their personal information, including photographs, financial information and medical records, taken without their knowledge or consent."
The rent-to-own industry is big business, with a reported $8.5 billion in revenues. The ranks of its customers more than doubled between 2003 and 2012, to 6 million. Four in 10 earn under $24,000 - part of a vast, vulnerable population whose immediate needs exceed their weekly paychecks. With AB 2667, Californians will be better protected in the privacy of their homes.

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Gov. Brown's Pen is Busy

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Sep 29, 2014 at 10:24:12 AM PDT

California State Capitol 2Governor is tearing through the stack of legislation on his desk

by Brian Leubitz

The Horseshoe is busy. Very busy. And it isn't just the governor and his legislative staff. Those folks who post his press releases on the website must be pulling all-nighters.

If you check the Governor's official press release page, you will see a slew of signed and vetoed legislation. And that is just a fraction of what the bills that they are actually going through. The press releases from legislators, interest groups, and the governor are generally flying fast and furious.

Perhaps to emphasize his middle of the road politics these days, the Governor has taken exactly that approach to new labor legislation. He signed legislation that will hold businesses liable for subcontractor's labor violations, but he also vetoed a bill that would have made it harder for BigAg to stall new contracts with farm laborers. Despite the latter bill being dubbed one of the CalChamber's top "JobKillers", the bill made it through the Legislature. That's usually quite the feat, but with Sen. Steinberg pushing it, shouldn't be too much of a surprise. In his veto message, Gov. Brown says he wants to view the whole process rather than nibbling at one side or the other.

In another major piece of legislation, the governor vetoed a drone surveillance measure by Republican Asm. Jeff Gorell

Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown on Sunday vetoed a bill that would have required law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to use drones for surveillance.
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The bill, AB 1327, would have required the government to secure a warrant from a judge before using surveillance drones except in cases of environmental emergencies such as oil or chemical spills. Three other states have placed a moratorium on drone use by state and local agencies. (LA Times)

Given that the bill carried substantial support from both parties in the Legislature, one would expect to see a similar bill in the next session. Although, from the Governor's veto message, it may need to be defined on the basis of the federal and state constitutions without adding too much in the way of new privacy rights. It might be something of a threading the needle task for whomever takes up the task.

Of course, that is just the start, to get a full record keeping, you can check out the Governor's Legislative Updates on his official press release page.


Discuss :: (0 Comments)

LA Times Op-Ed: No on 46 Campaign "Jaw-Droppingly Deceptive"

by: Brian Leubitz

Thu Sep 25, 2014 at 16:18:42 PM PDT

LA Times Editorial Board Member pens op-ed against deceptive campaign tactics by insurance funded No on 46 campaign

by Brian Leubitz

The members of the LA Times Editorial Board don't frequently go this far out on the limb against a ballot measure campaign. But check out this op-ed from a member of that board, Jon Healey, calling out the No on 46 campaign:

Even by the political world's low standards of truthiness, a new commercial being aired by the No on Proposition 46 campaign is jaw-droppingly deceptive.
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Opponents are also trying to persuade voters that the measure would expose their personal health to more prying eyes. But that is, in a word, baloney. Proposition 46 increases the risk of medical data being hacked to the same degree that building a snowman increases the risk of low temperatures. Yet a new television commercial being run by the No on 46 campaign would have you believe that the measure would practically put your medical records up on EBay.
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The implication is that the proposition would either create or pump more personal information into a database that's less protected than other online repositories. None of that is true. (LA Times / Jon Healey)

I support Prop 46 for a number of reasons. The cap on non-economic damages in MICRA has been devastating for patients across the state. It makes some patients "cheaper" by emphasizing concrete economic damages like lost income. Yes, an insurance company CEO would have brought home more definable money than a child, but does that really mean that only malpractice against the rich and established should give rise to a claim? It means that killing a patient is frequently cheaper than causing expensive long-term health consequences.

Yes, Prop 46 can be a bit confusing, but it has one clear underlining goal: improving patient safety. That is what the CURES requirement would do by decreasing prescription interactions, and that is what the drug testing requirement would do. Maybe you have quibbles about the means to the end goal, but the goal is clear: patient safety.

Could CURES, the prescription database, use some work? Of course, but to blithely state that the government should not maintain any of records? Newsflash: the government already has a ton of personal data. They have your income tax records and social security records. We trust the government with that data, yet somehow hackers are going to focus their efforts on a prescription drug database?

This is California, the home of innovation. We can build a database that makes patients safer and maintains their privacy. Are we really going to shy away from all computerization of our records, or should we only trust the insurance companies with our records?

All of these objections are a way of making the issues fuzzy by the NO campaign. But Prop 46 would bring at least some semblance of hope to the families that have had to deal with the loss of a loved one to medical malpractice that things can get better. That's why California leaders like Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer and Candace Lightner, the founder of MADD, are supporting Prop 46.

I recommend you see through the typical campaign insanity and vote YES on Prop 46.

Discuss :: (2 Comments)

Wouldn't Kashkari's world be amazing?

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Sep 22, 2014 at 15:57:44 PM PDT

IMG_9936 copyGOP candidate for governor pictures very different GOP than actually exists

by Brian Leubitz

Neel Kashkari made a big speech this weekend at the California Republican Party's convention. It was meant to do two things: shore up his base and project a vision of a moderate party that could face California's future challenges. In many ways, these goals are diametrically opposed to each other.

It may have accomplished the base aspect, with convention goers seeming to be happy. Or at least they told the media that they were happy. Of course, it still wasn't enough for Controller candidate Ashley Swearingen to be convinced:

Delegate Matt Kauble of Cerritos said he voted for Kashkari's tea party rival, Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks), in the June primary but was impressed by Kashkari's passion about relieving poverty and his desire to appeal to a multiracial audience.
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Ashley Swearengin, running for controller, told reporters Friday that she hadn't made up her mind between Kashkari and Brown because she hadn't yet had a chance to meet with the Republican. State party chairman Jim Brulte labeled her strategy "Felony stupid" in an email exchange with other party members. (LA Times)

I must say, "felony stupid" is really an underused term. I think I'll add it to my daily conversational repertoire. At any rate, base consolidation is a question best answered by FlashReport and the similar outlets. But the question of whether he, and the CRP, can speak to the broader California electorate is a different beast. So that's where he comes up with this:

"When they said we don't care about the poor, we don't care about minorities, they have no idea what they're talking about," Kashkari said.(LA Times)

He backed all that up with historical connections, including the GOP's support of the Civil Rights Act. And that is partially true. The civil rights legislation of the 60s and 70s wouldn't have occured without the support of Northern Republicans. Except that most of those Republicans (see Chaffee, Lincoln) have left the GOP for the Democratic Party. And then there is the small matter of the now widely acknowledged Southern strategy.

Wouldn't it be great if Kashkari's vision were actually true? I would love to live in a world where there was robust debate between two parties focused on how to best ensure that no American went to bed hungry or homeless. But that world is not this one. No matter how you try to dress up the Republican party, especially the California Republican party, it is still a right-wing organization with signed contracts of inflexibility.

Maybe in another generation or so we could see two (or, preferably, more!) parties that can speak to the California electorate giving voters real options. But the CRP that Kashkari hopes to lead is not that one.

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Was (Is) Six Californias a Trojan Horse?

by: steve.chessin

Tue Sep 16, 2014 at 23:11:27 PM PDT

( - promoted by Brian Leubitz)

[Even though I was planning to take a break from blogging for a while, something has been nagging me at the back of my mind about Six Californias. Since a brief email exchange I had with Mr. Draper indicates he may try again - which is why I have "Is" in the title - I decided I should post my concerns.]

According to the story of the Trojan Horse, the Greek army wanted to invade Troy but couldn't breach Troy's well-defended walls. So they pretended to give up, and built a giant wooden horse as an appeasement gift. The Trojans saw the Greeks sail away, leaving the wooden horse just outside the walls, so in their joy at their apparent victory the Trojans opened their gates and brought the horse inside.

Unbeknownst to the Trojans, the Greeks had left a small band of their best soldiers inside the horse. In the middle of the night, as the Trojans, exhausted from their day-long victory celebration, slept soundly, the Greeks left the horse via a trap door  and opened the gates so that the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back, could enter Troy and take the city.

There's More... :: (2 Comments, 733 words in story)

Alex Padilla Will Bring Innovation and Efficiency to the SoS Office

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Sep 15, 2014 at 07:52:01 AM PDT

The Honorable Alex PadillaEffective legislator will bring new energy to SoS office

by Brian Leubitz

I'm not as big of a critic of Debra Bowen's time in office as some others. To be clear, while the office could have done a better job in some areas, like Cal-Access and some other very important data tools, she has made a concerted effort to make the voting process transparent. That being said, maybe we need a different type of leader in that office now.

With the recent news that Sen. Alex Padilla was leading Republican electoral neophyte Pete Peterson by a relatively slim 43-36 lead in the recent Field Poll. Of course, name ID on both candidates is very low, and much of those numbers are due to party ID alone. Peterson has a history in the think tank world that makes him appear pretty nonpartisan. And he probably would play most issues pretty straight down the middle. But, there are a few differences, and these differences tend to come up at the most important times.

During the primary I endorsed Derek Cressman because he has a history of fighting the all-consuming power of money in politics. He had this to say of Sen. Padilla:

As a lifelong champion for campaign finance reform and open government, I am proud to support Alex Padilla for Secretary of State. Alex will bring his energy, smarts and experience to work to get things done -- and he's a champion of the reforms that will make California elections more fair and just. (Derek Cressman on Alex Padilla's website)

I know there is a bit of hand wringing out there, especially after that poll. But Sen. Padilla will work to make our elections fair and increase transparency. As a legislator, he has looked for ways to innovate, and he will continue to do so as Sec. of State.

You can find out more about his campaign on his website here: www.padilla4sofs.com

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Governor's Debate Gets Fiesty

by: Brian Leubitz

Fri Sep 05, 2014 at 08:18:10 AM PDT

Governor and challenger spar in sole debate

by Brian Leubitz

Neel Kashkari had his big moment in the spotlight last night at the governor's debate. Jerry Brown remains the prohibitive favorite with a 19.5 point lead in the RCP polling average. At this point, it would take something of a disaster on multiple fronts for Kashkari to surge past Brown.

But Brown is taking nothing for granted. His big war chest remains at the ready in case anything changes, and he is directly taking on his challenger. It began with a strong barb at Governor Brown from Kashkari:

His 40 years in government has left them out of touch with the struggles of working families. He has declared a governor -- a california comeback. It is not only go we have the had the best schools in california. Today's schools are ranked 46th out of 50 states. We used to have a vibrant job market. Today it is 44th out of 50 states. (CSPAN transcript)

And it just got more testy as it went along, closing with a nice summary by the Governor:

Four years ago when i came to Sacramento the place was in a shambles. A majority of people in California now feel we are on the right track. Five years ago only 13% felt we were on the right track. We are taking care of water and workers compensation and created a rainy day fund. {Before I arrived...}We lost 1.4 million jobs. Since i have been elected almost 1.3 million have come back and that isn't by accident.

And today's Field Poll confirms that topline number:

Californians are taking a more positive view of the direction of the state than then did four years ago when near record proportions (80%) felt the state was seriously off on the wrong track. Currently, slightly more voters believe the state is moving in the right direction (43%) as feel it is off on the wrong track (41%).

That is a big change. Yes, there is still work to do, but today California functions in a way it never did under Gov. Schwarzenegger. There are a lot of factors for that, but certainly Brown can claim a big chunk of that credit. He has made a difference in Sacramento, bringing competence and a steady firm hand on the tiller.

Kashkari attempted to talk about his "middle class plan" at every opportunity, but fundamentally it is just more Arnold-esque hooey. Lower taxes, and the jobs will flow. Meanwhile back in the real world, Brown can point to what he has already done with Prop 30 in bringing financial stability to the state for the past few years.

The whole debate is just under an hour, and worth a viewing (or two). You can watch it here or use the handy iframe to the right.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

A Few Bills of Note: Plastic Bags, Accreditation, Uber

by: Brian Leubitz

Fri Aug 29, 2014 at 10:50:45 AM PDT

(I'll be on KALW Your Call at 10AM on Tuesday morning to talk about the recent legislative session. - promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Santa Monica Fourth of July Parade photo by  Lori NafshunAs legislative deadline draws near, bills aplenty

by Brian Leubitz

It's that time of year again. The season for quickie news stories proclaiming one new law or another. With the legislative deadline coming at the end of the month for bills to get out of the Legislature, we will be seeing plenty more in the next few days. In fact, I'll be on KALW's Your Call on Sept. 2 at 10AM to talk about a few of the noteworthy bills. But before we get there, let's take a look at a few already on the move.

Senate Bill 270 by Senators Padilla, de León and Lara, passed off the California State Assembly Floor yesterday on a 44-29 vote, after falling three votes short of passage earlier this week.

The bill now advances to the State Senate for final confirmation where it is expected to be taken up before the legislature adjourns on August 31.

"The State Assembly spent a great deal of time debating the merits of this issue over the last several months, and especially this week," said Mark Murray, Executive Director of the bill's sponsor, Californians Against Waste. "In the end, it was the reports of overwhelming success of this policy at the local level that overcame the political attacks and misinformation from out-of-state plastic bag makers."

Moving to community colleges, you may have heard a bit about the mess that was CCSF's accreditation process. Earlier this week, the accreditation commission had to acknowledge, after their attorneys failed to properly redact the information, that they did not take the recommendation of their site visit committee. That committee recommended probation, rather than the far more harsh "show cause" status. That set alarm bells off across the City and state, with the SF City Attorney suing the commission and a new law:

A bill that seeks to make the accreditation system for California's 112 community colleges more transparent landed on the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown this week after receiving unanimous support from the state Senate and Assembly.

Brown has until Sept. 30 to veto or sign into law Assembly Bill 1942, which would require an accrediting agency to report accreditation decisions to the Legislature, such as last summer's vote by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges to revoke City College of San Francisco's accreditation.(SF Examiner)

One of the biggest complaints about the SF situation has been the fact that the commission has been so opaque. Few could actually understand the process, partially because they intentionally tried to make it that way. This bill, approved unanimously in both chambers, is a good step forward.

Finally, on the "sharing economy" front, Uber and Lyft dropped their objections to AB 2293, Asm. Bonilla's insurance requirement bill. Bonilla dropped the requirement for drivers without paying customers to $200,000 from $500,000 while keeping the requirement at $1million when passengers are in the car. Without the objections from two sharing companies, the bill should sail through the Governor's office.

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Assembly Passes Victim-Centered Sexual Assault Policy

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Aug 26, 2014 at 10:26:05 AM PDT

Kevin de Leon Oath of OfficeWould require unambigious affirmative consent

by Brian Leubitz

The Assembly passed Sen. Kevin de León's SB967 yesterday, requiring two-sided affirmative consent on college campuses.

A bill doing so, SB967, passed the Assembly on a 52-16 vote Monday as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations. It now heads back to the Senate for what is expected to be a final vote on amendments.

The bill by state Sen. Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles, changes the definition of consent for campuses investigating sexual assault cases by requiring "an affirmative, unambiguous and conscious decision" by each party to engage in sexual activity. That marks a shift from the popular sexual-assault prevention refrain, "no means no." (CBSLA)

With rising awareness of sexual assaults across the country, this is a positive step forward. While opponents have tried to belittle this as something out of an awkward high school health class video, the truth is far from that. Sure, date rape drugs are already illegal, but in an environment like a college campus, information is key. You can't always get into the head of a college freshman, but this legislation makes that two-way disclosure a greater part of the conversation.  

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Governor Signs Smartphone Theft Bill

by: Brian Leubitz

Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 14:52:19 PM PDT

Leno bill requires anti-theft software

by Brian Leubitz

Gov. Brown signed Sen. Leno's SB 962 today addressing the growing epidemic of smartphone theft in California. SB 962 requires all smartphones sold in California to come pre-equipped with theft-deterring technological solutions to render the devices useless if stolen. The bill is the first of its kind in the nation prompting every consumer to enable a kill switch as the default setting during the initial setup of a new smartphone. Sen. Leno then went full Colbert in his assesment of the bill:

"California has just put smartphone thieves on notice," said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. "Starting next year, all smartphones sold in California, and most likely every other state in the union, will come equipped with theft deterrent technology when they purchase new phones. Our efforts will effectively wipe out the incentive to steal smartphones and curb this crime of convenience, which is fueling street crime and violence within our communities."

On a more serious side, this bill, in some ways, is just legislating what has been happening already. However, many lower end phones may not have seen this feature for several years. It isn't any huge issue to add it at this point, but this makes it the law in the state.  And because this is California, phone makers will just end up making all phones comply with this law.

This was quite a controversial bill, but ultimately, Leno and SF DA George Gascón built a coalition that could get this law passed. It is a big step in not only protecting property, but also encouraging public safety in general.

Discuss :: (1 Comments)

A Necessary Drop in the Immigration Bucket

by: Brian Leubitz

Thu Aug 21, 2014 at 17:39:09 PM PDT

California leaders agree to $3M for legal aid for undocumented children

While three million dollars is really just a drop in the bucket for the  the many undocumented children and their legal expenses, it sends a strong statement:

Gov. Jerry Brown, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Legislative leaders announced legislation Thursday that sets aside the money for non-profits that provide legal help to unaccompanied minors currently in California.
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"These young people have legal rights and responsibilities, but they cannot fully participate in complex immigration proceedings without an attorney," Harris said. "It is critical that these children, many of whom are fleeing extreme violence in Central America, have access to due process and adequate legal representation." (SF Chronicle / Melody Gutierrez)

While Rick Perry is sending the national guard to the border, California leaders are doing what they can to help these children. It is a positive step, and shows that America (and California specifically) is still a caring nation.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Get Ready for Lots of Advertising: Props 45 and 46 Favored by Likely Voters

by: Brian Leubitz

Wed Aug 20, 2014 at 18:35:35 PM PDT

Proposition Yes No DK
45 - Justify Rates 69 16 15
46 - Drug Testing/Malpractice 58 30 12
47 - Sentencing 57 24 19
Measures draw ire of health insurance companies and doctors

by Brian Leubitz

The Field Poll has been doing a study of health care issues with the California Wellness Foundation, and today they released their numbers on the two health care related measures on the ballot. (Poll summary)

As you can see from the numbers to the right, the health insurance companies aren't that popular. As you can see if you look a bit higher to the right, they are starting to spend on advertising. Their basic argument is that Prop 45 has some issues with possibly conflicting with Covered California. You can find lots of reports on both sides, and it is still something of an open question. Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says that his office can easily handle the rate review process in the allotted period of time, and if he is right, then there shouldn't be a problem. However, expect to see a lot of TV ads, mostly from the NO side.

On Prop 46, the malpractice limit is one of those issues that has split the Democratic party. Now, I have made my thoughts perfectly clear on MICRA, you can go back nearly five years when I wrote my first post on it, and I have further discussed it since. MICRA is great for malpractice insurance companies, because they get to keep hiking rates on doctors while their costs are controlled. But it is bad public policy.

Prop 46, though, has another element meant to curb substance abuse in doctors, and the terrible ramifications that has. That component has angered doctors and civil liberty groups, but has been popular with voters. All in all, the numbers are pretty healthy for the time being.

That being said, the opponents of Prop 46 have a lot of money, and will be using it this fall.

Prop 47, a sentencing reform measure, is good policy. However, it stands a decent shot of passage. There isn't any big money opposed to this yet, but there is still time, I suppose.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

Brown Signs Up for Debate with Kashkari

by: Brian Leubitz

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 17:34:59 PM PDT

Candidates for Governor will face off on Sep 4 in LA

by Brian Leubitz

Neel Kashkari has been lobbying for a debate with Governor Brown for a while. It's the typical challenger stuff, claiming he was dodging, or chicken, yada, yada. But for a position as large as Governor of California, a debate is a worthwhile use of everybody's time. Once you strip away all the BS, hopefully we can have a productive conversation. And that conversation will happen on September 4 in Los Angeles.

Kashkari had challenged Brown to 10 debates, but until now, Brown had brushed off that proposition. Most polls show Brown leading Kashkari by about 20 points, and last month the governor told reporters he "hadn't made up (his) mind" as to whether or not he'd debate the former U.S. Treasury Department official.

But both Brown and Kashkari campaigns have now agreed to the September debate, which will be produced by KQED, the Los Angeles Times, the California Channel and Telemundo California. KQED's senior California politics and government editor, John Myers, will moderate the one-hour forum. Journalists from the Los Angeles Times and Telemundo will ask the candidates questions as well. (KQED / Scott Detrow)

Yes, Brown is leading, and it would take some sort of monumental change for Kashkari to get close to the Governor in the vote total. But this should be an interesting chance to hear two perspectives on the state. Brown has a strong record these last four years, but maybe Kashkari can at least try to drag his party into something approaching respectability over these last two and a half months.

Discuss :: (0 Comments)

A Battle Over Increasing the Minimum Wage in San Diego

by: dougbob

Tue Aug 19, 2014 at 10:12:44 AM PDT

A City Council veto override on Monday has set the scene for a showdown between local and national business interests vs. a labor-community coalition over San Diego's Earned Sick Day / Minimum Wage ordinance.

Following months of public hearings and invitations (mostly declined) for local businesses to hammer out a compromise, the city council passed an ordinance providing access to five earned sick days and setting a local minimum wage increasing to $11.50 over three years.

This action makes San Diego the largest city in the nation to raise the minimum wage.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer--said to be one of the bright new faces in the GOP-- then turned thumbs down on the bill on Friday, August 8th. Although the council was slated for vacation for the rest of the month, a special session was called by president Todd Gloria. The 6-2 vote upholding the ordinance surprised nobody.

It didn't take but a few hours before a well-financed Chamber of Commerce-led group announced it would be collecting signatures to force a referendum on the ordinance, hoping to suspend (until the June, 2016 elections) an increase in pay for an estimated 172,000 local workers, along with denying access to earned sick days to 279,000 individuals.

They have 30 days to gather at least 33,866 valid signatures; National Petition Management has been reportedly hired to do the dirty work. If they fail to make that threshold, the first stage of the wage hikes will go into effect in January with an increase for local minimum-wage workers from $9 an hour to $9.75.

Decline to Sign Campaign

Funded by national restaurant chains and some of California's biggest donors to Mitt Romney, the Chamber's "Small Business Coalition" (managed by the right-wing Revolvis political consultancy) is facing off against Raise Up San Diego, which has called for a citywide decline to sign campaign, simply called "Don't Sign It," to defeat the referendum against the ordinance.

This attempt at forcing a referendum will be the fourth big dollar effort at overturning council-enacted legislation in the last two years orchestrated by conservative business interests who've long been used to getting their way in local government.

As San Diego has faded from being a solidly Republican town to having a Democratic majority among registered voters, the business as usual crowd has turned to well-financed misinformation campaigns run by right wing spin-doctors.

And until now they've been on a winning streak, enabled by local media either owned by financiers of these campaigns or incapable of reporting on issues outside the framing provided by the Chamber of Commerce and their allies.

Told, Sold and Lied To

Over the past two years San Diegans have been told, sold and lied to about:

**requiring impact statements on big box store construction,
**reinstating a linkage fee (tied to affordable housing funding) suspended for nearly two decades on big construction projects,
**and creating a barrier between residential and industrial projects in the neighborhood with the highest asthma rate in the state

Each campaign has used numbers pulled out of a bodily orifice to create the impression that people's job's would be in danger. The last campaign even went so far as spread stories about the US Navy (a major local employer) pulling out of town.

The local daily newspaper is owned by "Papa" Doug Manchester, known for his financial support of right-wing causes. He was a backer for Dinesh D'Souza's smear-o-mentary, 2016: Obama's America.  

The Sunday edition of UT-San Diego  featured a "news" story giving opponents of the increase major play.  

This time around, the Chamber types, hiding behind the 'money is free speech' notion, are out to claim they are the defenders of democracy. They are saying the referendum is needed since the City Council passed this ordinance without putting it up for a public vote.

It's Orwellian beyond Orwellian; Big Money is trying to play the pity card because the City Council did the job voters elected them to do. And they're claiming the "decline to sign' campaign is a plot by labor bullies to harass business.

The Raise Up San Diego coalition is taking a stand on this issue. Two-thirds of voters - 63%, according to a recent Greenburg Quinlan Rosner Research poll - support the Earned Sick Days and Minimum Wage Ordinance.

When you have a local oligarchy capable of throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars or more on the table everytime they see something they don't like, it becomes harder and harder to persuade people to vote in local elections.

And that, my friends, would be the point.

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