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Articles Posted by SmithL

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  • A few more thoughts on Pete Stark’s defeat

    11/07/2012 7:31:47 PM PST · by SmithL · 23 replies
    Inside Bay Area ^ | 11/7/12 | Josh Richman
    We’ve posted my story for tomorrow’s print editions on how Rep. Pete Stark’s defeat marks both the end of an era and, probably, the start of another Democrat-on-Democrat race for the 15th Congressional District in 2014. Here’s a few final thoughts for which there wasn’t room in that story, but which seem noteworthy nonetheless. This was a contest for which our editors wanted election-night photographs, but Stark’s campaign refused to tell us Monday and Tuesday where he would be Tuesday night; I still don’t know where he watched the returns. I take this as a sign that his campaign staff...
  • TENNESSEE: 'Super-majority' for GOP assured in Legislature

    11/06/2012 10:15:39 PM PST · by SmithL · 7 replies
    Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | 11/7/12 | Tom Humphrey
    NASHVILLE — Republicans gained at least five seats in the state Senate Tuesday and at least two in the state House, giving the party a "super majority" in both chambers, according to unofficial election returns. By controlling two-thirds of the seats in both chambers for the first time since the Reconstruction era, Republicans would have a quorum and could continue in session even if all Democrats walk out. The two-thirds "super majority" also allows united Republicans to suspend normal rules and instantly pass legislation. Going into the election, Republicans held a 64-34 majority in the state House with one independent...
  • Poll predicts fewer voters in California than four years ago

    11/06/2012 10:34:17 AM PST · by SmithL · 21 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/6/12 | Laurel Rosenhall
    The number of Californians who vote in today's election is expected to drop by 1 million compared with four years ago, despite a record number of registered voters in the state. And for the first time in state history, more votes are expected to be cast by mail than at a precinct. Those are predictions of a Field Poll released today, which says 69.9 percent of registered California voters, or nearly 12.75 million people, are likely to turn out for this year's general election, compared with 79.4 percent in the 2008 contest between Sen. John McCain and then-Sen. Barack Obama....
  • {CA State} Senate GOP leader 'cautiously optimistic' about blocking two-thirds

    11/05/2012 7:04:42 PM PST · by SmithL · 3 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 11/5/12 | Torey Van Oot
    It's not just Democrats making a final push in the state's four competitive Senate seats. Senate GOP leader Bob Huff hit the trail last week to boost candidates he needs to win to prevent Democrats from winning a veto-proof supermajority in the upper house. . . .
  • Arguments laid bare at nudity ban hearing

    11/05/2012 6:57:56 PM PST · by SmithL · 20 replies
    SFGate: City Insider ^ | 11/5/12 | John Reilly and John Cote
    Let’s face it, it would’ve been weird if everyone’s clothes stayed on for the entirety of Monday’s hearing on legislation that would ban public nudity in San Francisco. For two hours, speakers tussled over whether the Castro “naked guys” were a few harmless individuals just expressing themselves, or a growing public nuisance that San Franciscans should no longer have to tolerate. Supervisor Scott Wiener, who represents the Castro, is proposing legislation forbidding genital exposure on city sidewalks, plazas, parklets, streets and public transit while exempting street fairs, festivals and parades. “Over the past two years, the situation on our streets...
  • CALIFORNIA: True source of $11M contribution revealed

    11/05/2012 6:52:44 PM PST · by SmithL · 8 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/5/12 | Marisa Lagos
    Americans for Job Security, a conservative, pro-business national group, is the true source of the $11 million last-minute infusion of campaign cash into a California political committee that supports an antiunion ballot measure and opposes Gov. Jerry Brown's tax proposition, state campaign finance regulators announced early Monday. But the hard-fought disclosure, which comes just one day before the election, creates more questions than it answers, because under federal law, Americans for Job Security does not have to reveal its donors.
  • Republicans play offense in Tenn. House races

    11/04/2012 7:12:50 PM PST · by SmithL · 2 replies
    AP via KnoxNews ^ | 11/4/12 | ERIK SCHELZIG - Associated Press
    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Buoyed by overflowing campaign accounts, redrawn legislative districts and an unpopular Democratic president at the top of the ticket, Tennessee Republicans are expecting to add to their already considerable advantage in the state House on Tuesday. While seven Republican incumbents were defeated in the August primaries, there is little reason to expect any spillover into the general election. Gov. Bill Haslam on Friday predicted "a good night for Republicans," with the GOP picking up supermajorities in both chambers. The two-thirds majority would give Republicans the ability to overcome any procedural challenges by Democrats, and prevent the...
  • VIDEO: Jerry Brown campaigns for tax measure at LA churches

    11/04/2012 6:54:35 PM PST · by SmithL · 10 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 11/4/12 | David Siders
    LOS ANGELES - The choir sang, morning announcements were made and Mildred Rodgers watched as Gov. Jerry Brown took the pulpit at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. She has grown accustomed to politicians visiting in elections years. "Every voting season," Rodgers said. "It's really funny when we get two running for the same (office)." This morning there was only Brown, campaigning in four traditionally black churches here for his ballot initiative to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners. The churches Brown visited in Los Angeles' poorer neighborhoods have hosted Brown before, and...
  • Arizona group ordered to release records {by California Supreme Court}

    11/04/2012 6:36:24 PM PST · by SmithL · 18 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/4/12 | Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer
    The state Supreme Court issued an order Sunday to allow California's political watchdog to identify contributors to an Arizona group's last-minute infusion of $11 million to the campaigns opposing Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative and supporting an antiunion measure on Tuesday's ballot. But the Arizona group declined to turn over its records by the court's 4 p.m. deadline and told a state lawyer it was planning to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, said Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission. The refusal reduced the likelihood that the donors will be publicly identified before Tuesday, when the...
  • Is there a Plan B for the state budget if California's Proposition 30 fails?

    11/04/2012 9:31:27 AM PST · by SmithL · 20 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 11/4/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Gov. Jerry Brown has framed it as a simple choice for voters: Pass Proposition 30 or schools will suffer early shutdowns and college students will pay higher tuition. But education leaders privately have discussed fallback efforts to spare schools from some of the worst consequences, especially after the initiative fell below 50 percent in recent polls. School groups are expected to lobby hard to reverse or ease budget reductions headed their way if voters reject Proposition 30. They have two main paths: the Capitol or the courts. "The education community will use every tool at its disposal to fight the...
  • Survey shows voters' thoughts on character traits of Obama, Romney

    11/02/2012 8:45:18 PM PDT · by SmithL · 10 replies
    Knoxville News Sentinel ^ | 11/2/12 | BARTHOLOMEW SULLIVAN, Scripps Howard News Service
    Results from an online survey posted on Scripps websites (including knoxnews.com) suggests people seek leadership, honesty, judgment and fairness in their next president but don't see either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama strongly possessing all of those traits. Voters think character is an important determinant in selecting political candidates, according to polls cited by Neal H. Mayerson, whose non-profit Cincinnati-based VIA Institute on Character designed the online survey that was placed on several Scripps websites in recent weeks. The nonscientific survey asked respondents to identify the top character traits they sought in the next president from a list of 24....
  • DOJ sending voting observers to 23 states

    11/02/2012 6:29:19 PM PDT · by SmithL · 26 replies
    SFGate: Politics Blog ^ | 11/2/12 | Dan Freedman
    With Election Day only four days off, the Justice Department is planning to send 780 observers to polls in 23 states including Texas, California and New York. DOJ lawyers and other employees will monitor voting in Harris, Fort Bend, Dallas and Jefferson Counties in Texas; Alameda and Riverside Counties in California; and Orange County in New York. The Justice Department observers will join a growing throng of lawyers and poll watchers sent by the presidential candidates as well as state and local candidates. In addition, Houston-based True the Vote, self-proclaimed poll integrity organization, has pledged to deploy a virtual army...
  • GOP registration dips below 30 percent in Calif.

    11/02/2012 6:19:28 PM PDT · by SmithL · 59 replies
    AP via SFGate ^ | 11/2/12 | HANNAH DREIER, Associated Press
    ACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has reached an all-time high of 18.2 million registered voters, while the number of registered Republicans has fallen below 30 percent, signaling a worrisome decline for the state's minority party, officials said Friday. In its final update before Tuesday's general election, the secretary of state's office said the number of registered voters has increased by 950,000 since the 2008 presidential contest. Officials attribute that surge in part to the state's new online registration system, which helped many young, Democratic-leaning Californians sign up to vote this fall. That system was seen as a threat to the...
  • Verdict: Richard Baumgartner guilty of 5 of 6 federal counts

    11/02/2012 1:03:53 PM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    KNOXVILLE — A federal jury this afternoon convicted disgraced judge Richard Baumgartner on five of six counts of misprision of a felony. On their fourth day of deliberations, the 10-woman, two-man panel found the former Knox County Criminal Court judge guilty of lying to an Anderson County judge, a Knox County judge, a state prosecutor, a child support referee and the director of transitional housing at the YWCA.
  • Oakland teachers failed kids over grant

    11/02/2012 11:38:22 AM PDT · by SmithL · 11 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/2/12 | Chip Johnson
    The Oakland Education Association might want to consider changing its name. The teachers union was one of six unions in California that refused last week to support their school district application for millions of dollars worth of federal funding offered by the Race to the Top program. Without union support, the districts could not qualify for the grants, which - if won - would have paid for high-quality math programs for fourth-through-eighth-grade students. Clearly the union placed the welfare of its membership above that of the students, so it's somewhat misleading that it calls itself an "education association." The big...
  • Same-sex marriage leading in Washington

    11/02/2012 11:35:19 AM PDT · by SmithL · 13 replies
    San Francisco Chronicle ^ | 11/2/12 | Joe Garofoli, Chronicle Political Writer
    Tacoma, Wash. -- If you believe the polls, and many people here are wary even when they're favorable, then Washington voters are poised to legalize two things Californians haven't: same-sex marriage and marijuana. With ballot measures on both issues before Washington voters Tuesday, the lessons learned from California's Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in 2008, and Proposition 19, which would have made marijuana legal but was shot down in 2010, have been echoing across Washington for months. Some voters are noticing a different tone to the campaigns, with the issues being framed differently in a state where, in the...
  • Tennessee Supreme Court allows library card ID for voters, for now

    11/01/2012 7:29:05 PM PDT · by SmithL · 16 replies
    Memphis Commercial Appeal ^ | 11/1/12 | Richard Locker, Amos Maki, Zack McMillin
    NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Supreme Court Thursday ordered state and local election officials to accept Memphis' library photo identification cards for voting purposes in Tuesday's general election provided the voter is properly registered. The Shelby County Election Commission instructed its staff to comply immediately on the last day of early voting Thursday, said commission chairman Robert Meyers. "The instructions are to accept as valid the Memphis photo library cards, which means those voters that present with a Memphis library photo ID would then be allowed to vote on the machines. And any voter who has cast a provisional paper ballot...
  • Is Eric Swalwell a Tea Partier? Um, no.

    11/01/2012 7:09:55 PM PDT · by SmithL · 9 replies
    Inside Bay Area ^ | 11/1/12 | Josh Richman
    Supporters of Eric Swalwell, the Democratic insurgent who’s challenging Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, are up in arms about a recent Stark mailer which depicts Swalwell in a cup of tea – a la the Tea Party. Here are some excerpts: “Who is really behind Eric Swalwell? On the doorstep, at meetings, driving this rookie city councilman’s campaign? Tea Party supporters. They’ve given money, given energy and given life to the Swalwell campaign – and they’ll succeed unless we stop them.” “Campaign finance reports show that over $86,000 of Eric Swalwell’s contributions come from Republicans. Swalwell claims he’s no conservative, but...
  • Gavin Newsom criticizes Jerry Brown in KGO Radio interview

    10/31/2012 6:16:11 PM PDT · by SmithL · 5 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 10/31/12 | Kevin Yamamura
    Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom two weeks ago criticized Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative approach, suggesting to KGO Radio in San Francisco that the governor was slow to hit the campaign trail and that he was telling college students "something that's not true." Newsom spoke to KGO on Oct. 17, a day after Brown appeared at UCLA in the first of several appearances at state colleges and universities. But the interview got little statewide notice until Bee columnist Dan Morain referenced Newsom's caustic words for Brown in today's Bee. Though both Democrats who support Proposition 30, Newsom and Brown have endured...
  • What to do if Proposition 30 fails?

    10/31/2012 9:52:31 AM PDT · by SmithL · 26 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 10/31/12 | Dan Walters
    As the political odds turn against Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's tax measure, political insiders are turning their attention, however reluctantly, to the fallout should, indeed, voters reject the sales and income tax hike on Tuesday. The measure would deliver $6 billion a year in new revenues and should it fail, Brown and the Legislature have already passed $6 billion in so-called "trigger cuts" that would be imposed, overwhelmingly on K-12 schools. So that would seem to be that. But it's not. As Brown campaigns – with increasing desperation – for the measure, he insists that were it to fail,...