FROM Kathay Feng
Lawmakers' Five-Day Vacation to Maui -- All Expenses Paid This coming weekend, members of California's Assembly and Senate will be taking off for a five-day vacation at a five-star resort on the Island of Maui. It's all paid for by corporations and unions that try to influence the law-making process in Sacramento. They support a nonprofit called, the Independent Voter Project, which organizes the event. Every year, Patrick McGreevy of the LA Times tries to find out who's going and what they're going to be talking about.
Nonpartisan Goals and Political Expectations Elections are supposed to be competitive between political parties, but consider this. In the past 10 years in California, just one out of 53 congressional seats has changed hands, only six of 80 Assembly seats and no seats in the State Senate. That's because the state legislature drew district boundaries to preserve the status quo. Voters decided they'd had enough, and created a citizens commission to draw new lines using the data from this year's census. Eight of 14 commission members have been chosen by a complex process administered by the State Auditor — four Asian Americans, two whites, one Latino and one African American.
Prop 11 and the Politics of Redistricting Every ten years when there's a new federal census, the state legislature redraws boundaries for the Congress and the State Board of Equalization. They also reapportion their own districts in the Assembly and Senate. Proposition 11 on next month's ballot would take that last task away from the legislators themselves and give it to a board of 14 appointed commissioners.
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?
East Asia: President Trump's first foreign policy test Starting with North Korea's latest test of nuclear missiles, a chain of events is causing instability in Asia. Could it turn into the first real foreign policy crisis of the Trump Administration?