FROM Mark Baldassare
Ballot initiatives: How did we get here? Is this a broken system? Is direct democracy working? Some say the number of state ballot initiatives is prohibitive. Others say it's simply proof that power is in the hands of the people. A discussion about California's process.
The California Vote With California's primary less than two weeks away Bernie Sanders has almost pulled to a dead heat with Hillary Clinton. But that's just one finding of the Public Policy Institute in its latest poll of California voters.
Paying for Higher Ed without Raising Taxes, Fees A new poll shows that Californians oppose both tuition increases at the University of California and new taxes that might replace them. That's according to the Public Policy Institute of California, where Mark Baldassare is President.
Is California's Initiative Process Out of Control? California's initiative process was designed 100 years ago by progressive Governor Hiram Johnson. The goal was protection of voters against the predatory practices of the so-called railroad barons, who controlled the legislature. It wasn't used much until 1978, when the Association of Apartment House Owners backed Proposition 13, which cut property taxes and said that they could only be increased by one percent every year, regardless of how much property values increased. Proposition 13, of course, is still with us, and the initiative process has become an industry, as next month's ballot illustrates with 11 different measures. NOTE: You can find more California election coverage and learn more about the issues and specific propositions at kcrw.com/californiaelections .
More Budget Cuts and a Bid to Raise Taxes Governor Brown delivered his State of the State speech today to a joint session of the Assembly and Senate. He proposed more cuts he said nobody likes in the budget, but also asked voters to approve a tax increase or face still more reductions. While pushing for reductions in spending, he called for major investments, including a California High-Speed Rail project that's been called unaffordable by a task force created by voters at the same time they approved the project four years ago. The Governor named education as the biggest item in the state budget, and proposed giving local school boards more authority.
PPIC on Governor Brown's Budget Ideas In the first few days of his latest term as Governor of California, Jerry Brown has proposed an enormous gamble. To help cover the $25 billion budget gap, he wants $12 billion in cuts and $12 billion in extensions of taxes and fees that former Governor Schwarzenegger said would be "temporary." Brown's gamble is a special election to approve extending the taxes and fees, with the possibility that voters might not go along. Then, even more cuts would be needed. Mark Baldassare, president and polling director of the Public Policy Institute of California has the results of its first poll since Brown made his proposal.
California Politics: The Polls and the Money The latest poll by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California shows that Jerry Brown is up eight points over Meg Whitman ; they were tied just a month ago. Barbara Boxer ’s lead over Carly Fiorina has dropped from seven to five points. Mark Baldassare is president and CEO of the PPIC.
Californians Negative on Government and Economy In this year's race for Governor, "California voters are looking for a game-changer [and] they don't see one." They like the candidates for the US Senate , but not the most controversial measures on the November ballot. Those are among the findings of the latest survey of voters by the California Public Policy Institute. In their first debate , Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman disagreed strongly on the issue of a path to citizenship for the 12 million illegal aliens who live and work in this country. Today, Whitman said she'd be willing to take a polygraph on charges that she knowingly employed an undocumented housekeeper for nine years and then fired her when the housekeeper asked for help in changing her status. Yesterday, Nicky Diaz Santillan appeared at a news conference with LA attorney Gloria Allred. Whitman claims the news conference was a smear orchestrated by the Brown campaign, which denies any involvement.
The Billionaire Who Fell To Earth: Whitman Drops in Polls With California’s next election less than a month away, the political picture is changing…fast. In March, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman had a 50-point lead in the Republican primary for governor. Now Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has whittled that down to just 9 points.
Californians Less Concerned about Air Quality, Global Warming California has some of the nation's worst pollution, but residents aren't as concerned as they used to be. They're also less concerned about global warming. And there's a growing divide between Democrats and Republicans as to what measures to take and how soon to take them. Those are some of the findings of the latest statewide poll from the Public Policy Institute of California.
Who Will Rescue California from Its Sad Fiscal Shape? A think-tank with ties to President Obama estimates that California will get about $63 billion from his stimulus package; $19 billion would go for individual tax cuts and the rest would fund infrastructure projects, healthcare, schools and unemployment benefits. Ten billion of that would help reduce the $42 billion budget shortfall, not enough to avoid big tax increases and major cuts in spending. Are Californians ready for what lies in store?
As the Election Nears: Proposition 4 Parental notification for abortion has been defeated in two prior elections, but a poll by the Public Policy Institute shows likely voters closely divided this time around: 46% say yes, 44% no, with 10% undecided. Proposition 4 would prohibit abortion for a minor until 48 hours after a doctor notifies her parents or legal guardian. Doctors could be held liable for damages if they failed to comply. There would be exceptions for medical emergencies and fear of child abuse.
Ballot Initiatives Face Uphill Climb There are 12 propositions on next month’s statewide ballot and five of them call for new money. The biggest is Prop 1A, which would authorize almost 10 billion in bonds for a bullet train between LA and San Francisco. What will the financial crisis mean for its chances?
California's Budget Morass California has one of the world’s top ten economies, but the state’s budget system is being called “the most dysfunctional in the country.” Forty-six states began their fiscal years on the first of this month, but California is one of just four that don’t have spending plans. If there isn’t one before August 1st, borrowing to keep going will get very expensive, and the deficit is already 15 billion dollars.
Can the Initiative Process be Changed? In the June election, California voters will be confronted once again with dueling initiatives — two different measures dealing with the same subject in different ways. This time it’s the government taking of land by eminent domain. In the meantime, the confusion voters will undoubtedly face is a classic example of what we’re addressing today, which is the initiative process itself. When voters directly set policy as Prop 13 did with the property tax, they essentially become a fourth branch of government. But the measures they’re asked to decide are often extremely complex.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Trump plays scolder-in-chief with NATO allies At the opening of NATO’s dramatic new headquarters in Brussels today, President Trump acknowledged that Article 5 — promising that “an attack on one nation is an attack on all” -- has only been invoked one time: in the aftermath of September 11. But the President failed to provide what 27 other Alliance members have been waiting for: a re-commitment by America’s new leader to Article 5. Instead, they got a scolding.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.