CVIndependent

Sat08182018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Politics

16 Aug 2018
California Republicans say that drivers can have smoother roads, more reliable public transit—and lower taxes. In November, voters will get the chance to repeal a recent increase in the state gas tax and assorted vehicle fees. That tax hike—an extra 12 cents per gallon of gasoline, 20 cents per gallon of diesel, and two new vehicle registration fees—was signed into state law last year, part of a Democratic-led transportation package that directs an extra $5 billion per year toward the state’s dilapidated roads and highways. Making voters pay more at the pump is a tough political sell, but Democrats and other defenders of the law argue that our infrastructure is long overdue for an upgrade. The gas tax hadn’t been increased in more than 20…
13 Aug 2018
Between last year’s deadly wildfires and this summer’s fatal blazes, utilities and insurers with a huge stake in fires’ aftermath have poured more than $3.2 million into California campaign donations, and another $5.2 million into lobbying at the state Capitol—a big spike. Also fiercely lobbying on wildfire bills: plaintiffs attorneys, local governments and electrical worker unions. Now, in the final weeks of the Legislature’s session, lawmakers on a special wildfire committee are considering proposals to beef up safety of the electrical system and change liability laws. CALmatters reviewed new lobbying and campaign finance reports covering the first six months of the year. The takeaways: Lobbying is up—by a lot: The state’s three big electric utilities together more than doubled their spending on lobbying during the…
07 Aug 2018
Although California can’t do much to block the Trump administration’s controversial immigration policies, opponents in the “Resistance State” keep finding ways to chip away at their foundations. The latest: pushing the state and its Democratic leaders to cancel its business deals with, investments in, and campaign donations from private companies with federal immigration contracts: • A group of K-12 teachers are urging their retirement system to divest from GEO Group, CoreCivic and General Dynamics. • Some University of California students and workers are pressing the UC system to sever ties with General Dynamics Information Technology. The company helps the system administer a placement test for incoming first-year students. • Politicians and the state Democratic Party are shedding donations from CoreCivic, operator of private prisons and…
28 Jun 2018
Choking up as he began to speak to a panel of fellow lawmakers, Assemblyman Evan Low paused to collect himself. The room had just quieted after a conservative advocate who opposed his bill heckled the committee—and Low—for not hearing his side out, causing a brief shouting match in the otherwise-staid hearing room. “It was very difficult to present this bill,” Low, a Democrat from Campbell who is gay, said once the ruckus died down. “Because when thinking about childhood and that it would not be OK to be yourself—you heard testimony about suicidal thoughts. I have also had that.” This strikingly personal revelation reflects the emotional debate surrounding Low’s proposal to make California the first state in the country to outlaw the advertising and sale…
07 Jun 2018
With primary-election ballots still being tallied across the state, things are looking good for the California Republican Party … that is, not catastrophically bad. It may be as close to good as the state’s second-biggest political party can hope for in California in 2018. Assuming preliminary results hold, Democrats and Republicans fought to a virtual standstill on Election Day, avoiding the nightmare scenarios that political insiders had been fretting about for months. Republicans made it into the top two spots in some of the most important contests for statewide office. That includes a decisive second-place finish by San Diego businessman John Cox, who will go on to face Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in the race for governor. That could prop up conservative turnout in…
28 May 2018
In his year-and-a-half as California’s attorney general, Democrat Xavier Becerra has made a full-time job of fighting the Trump administration—filing more than 30 lawsuits to defend the environment, immigrants, birth-control access and more. Which makes it odd that when Becerra’s supporters bought TV time to air a campaign commercial for him, they chose the most Trump-boosting network around: Fox News. The ad spends 15 seconds describing Becerra in ways that likely repel the typical Fox viewer, saying he is “leading the resistance, defending Dreamers, stopping the wall, taking on the NRA.” But the other 15 seconds hails one of Becerra’s Republican opponents, Steven Bailey, as the “pro-gun, pro-life” candidate who “stands with President Trump (and) opposes sanctuary cities.” It’s the latest in a series of…
23 May 2018
On Nov. 6, Indio voters will cast their ballots in the city’s first district-based elections, after the City Council moved away from “at large” or city-wide elections under the threat of a lawsuit to force compliance with the California Voting Rights Act of 2001. Of the five districts newly established in Indio, District 2 is the home of the race that’s generating the most early interest. The final candidate pool will not be established until August, but so far, two candidates have announced an intention to run: the incumbent and current mayor, Mike Wilson, who has been on the council since 1995; and political newcomer and lifetime Indio resident Waymond Fermon. In many respects, the two candidates are polar opposites. Wilson, a self-described conservative Republican,…
23 May 2018
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Lisa Middleton got more than 7,000 votes to lead the way in last year’s at-large Palm Springs City Council election, becoming the first openly transgender person to be elected to a non-judicial office in the state of California. That may have been the last at-large City Council election that Palm Springs will ever hold. The city of Palm Springs—like other jurisdictions across the state that currently don’t elect representatives in district-based elections—has received a letter from Shenkman and Hughes, a Malibu-based law firm representing the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, claiming the city is violating California Voting Rights Act of 2001. The Southwest Voter Registration Education Project aspires to increase the presence of Latino candidates in municipal elections. Indio and Cathedral City, facing similar threats,…

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