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Politics

26 Dec 2018
In a scramble to keep people enrolled in health-care plans, what did New Jersey, Vermont and the District of Columbia do earlier this year that California has not done? They began requiring that their residents carry health coverage or face a state penalty for going without it. Such “individual mandates” aim to replace the federal mandate—perhaps the most controversial but essential part of the Affordable Care Act, often called Obamacare —that sought to force people to sign-up for health insurance or pay a tax penalty. The Republican Congress and the Trump administration have repealed that federal penalty, effective next year. The clock is ticking. Obamacare has led to a record number of Californians having medical coverage. But a new study warns that if the state…
20 Dec 2018
Don’t hold regular press conferences. Reward loyalty. If you’re a Californian with presidential aspirations, move to New York. Are you taking notes, Gov-elect Gavin Newsom? In the final days of his fourth and final term as California’s chief executive, Gov. Jerry Brown spoke at the Sacramento Press Club, offering parting, and remarkably candid, tips on how to best govern the Golden State. The hour-long conversation, in the ballroom of the Sacramento Masonic Temple, was moderated by Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton, and Miriam Pawel, author of the family biography The Browns of California. Brown, now 80, drew upon experience gleaned over 16 years as governor, plus job experience as attorney general, secretary of state and mayor of Oakland—and three presidential runs. Tip No. 1:…
03 Dec 2018
The resignation of California Democratic Party chairman Eric Bauman comes at a particularly emotional moment in California politics—on the heels of historic wins for Democrats and after a year of bipartisan reckoning over the apparent culture of sexual bullying within the political class. Bauman became the latest casualty of the #MeToo movement when he resigned last week, hours after Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom called on him to step down over allegations he harassed staff members and party activists with numerous lewd comments and incidents of inappropriate physical contact. Bauman said he has a drinking problem and would seek treatment. “I have made the realization that in order for those to whom I may have caused pain and who need to heal, for my own health, and…
16 Nov 2018
The California Legislature, controlled by Democrats for decades, will be even bluer when the new class is sworn in. Exactly how many more Democrats have been elected is still not certain, because it takes a long time to count votes in California. But all signs point toward growing Democratic caucuses in both the Assembly and the Senate—and a supermajority that sidelines Republicans to near-irrelevancy. That means the prevailing tension in the statehouse probably won’t be between Republicans and Democrats—but between different shades of blue. It could make for some counter-intuitive outcomes—including a Legislature that skews more toward business on some fights. The biggest shift appears to be taking place in the state Senate, which in recent years has been the more liberal of the two…
13 Nov 2018
Millions of Californians dropped off their ballots on Tuesday or mailed them in, but they might want to double-check online—because a missing or a mismatched signature could void their vote. Counties are contacting voters because they’re now required by law to do outreach. Still, voters should confirm online that their ballots were tallied. If not, they should call their county election office to be sure their vote counts, said Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation. “Voters need to be alert and aware,” she said. After this year’s June primary, California lawmakers passed the Every Vote Counts Act, which gives voters time to correct a mismatched or missing signature. The law was enacted after a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union…
07 Nov 2018
Sporting starred and striped jackets and Make America Great Again hats, the California Republicans who gathered on election night in the U.S. Grant Hotel in downtown San Diego were in a remarkably chipper mood. They cheered when the results came in from Florida, showing the GOP candidate apparently won the narrow race for governor. They lustily booed and jeered when the face of San Francisco Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the likely next speaker of the House, appeared on the monitor. If the assembled party activists were disappointed by the fact that, closer to home, they had lost their bid for every statewide office in the state, most seemed to take it in stride. Certainly, no one seemed particularly surprised. Just as the polls predicted, John…
07 Nov 2018
If you’re thinking about staying up all night to watch California election results, grab some coffee: It will probably be a long night … or week … or month—the price we pay for enabling more procrastinators to vote. The holdup? Voters here prefer voting by mail, and California—unlike most other states that allow mail-in ballots—counts every ballot postmarked by Election Day, even if it arrives up to three days later. Typically, mail ballots must be received before or by Election Day in order to count, according to a review by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Four years ago, California was among the 36 states that required mail ballots to arrive by Election Day, with three states requiring mail ballots to arrive even earlier. But…
06 Nov 2018
The California Democratic Party no longer accepts donations from the oil industry, viewing that as politically unsavory for a party pushing to curb climate change. But that hasn’t stopped oil companies from spending millions to help California Democrats win. Instead of giving money to the party, oil companies are donating directly to Democratic candidates and pouring huge sums into outside groups that campaign for a mix of Democrats and Republicans. The petroleum industry has put at least $19.2 million into California politics in the 2017-18 election cycle, according to a CALmatters analysis of campaign finance data. Much of it is helping Republicans, including $2 million to the California Republican Party. The industry also gave roughly $14 million to independent committees supporting some politicians from both…