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Homepage: https://politomuse.wordpress.com

It’s go time


Ok. We’ve analyzed. You’ve analyzed. You’ve stopped answering unknown callers on your cell phone because you can’t deal with another campaign volunteer. We’ve all done our duty and are maybe juuuust a tad sick of this election cycle so there is only one step left.

We’ve been asked for a cheat sheet of our recommendations – we think the analysis is actually the important part as you need to make the final call. But as requested, here are the short versions with links to each of the, gulp, 17 Propositions:

We’ve also made a few recommendations on some races throughout the state; admittedly with far less analysis and cited reference support.

President: Hilary Clinton

U.S. Senate: Kamala Harris

U.S. Congress:

10th Congressional : Michael Eggman

17th Congressional: Ro Khanna

18th Congressional: Anna Eshoo

19th Congressional: Zoe Lofgren

20th Congressional: Jimmy Panetta

21st Congressional: Emilio Huerta

25th Congressional: Bryan Caforio

49th Congressional: Doug Applegate

State Assembly:

27th Assembly District: Ash Kalra

28th Assembly District: Evan Low

Happy voting!


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A senate bill, a referendum and two propositions walk into a bar and now you have to vote on Propositions 65 and 67

Proof that this election has it all, now we have the plastic bag legislative Rubik’s cube to figure out in dueling propositions – 65 and 67. Who know a plastic bag could be so complicated? You’ll want to read up on the context and our analysis of Propositions 65 and 67 in casting your vote.

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Fall is in the air, must mean a prison related proposition on the ballot

That’s right PolitoMuse followers, with the fall season of sweaters, NHL hockey, and Pumpkin Spice lattes must mean that California has prison related proposition on the ballot.

Good news is that compared with previous years (anyone remember Three Strikes?), Proposition 57 actually has some redeeming qualities. Checkout our analysis on Proposition 57 and see if you agree.

And if you like to stay up with our latest releases, you can sign-up for email notifications (see the right sidebar).

Happy voting!

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Education is our theme of the day – Propositions 51 and 58 analysis

Who doesn’t want more funding for California schools? Seems like election cycle one of these “support our schools” propositions appears on the ballot. But read our Proposition 51 analysis to see if the ends justify the means.

Our second education related proposition is focused on “Removing disincentives for Bi-Lingual Education” While many may see this as a niche issue, Proposition 58 is attempting to address the challenge of getting California’s 1.4 million English learners – more than a fifth of all public school students in the state – to English proficiency. Checkout our Proposition 58 analysis to learn more.

And for a complete list of our November proposition analysis here


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And now some propositions from the sin bin…

Yes today we have analysis on the latest “sin tax” on tobacco. Is increasing tobacco tax 325% a good thing? Read our Proposition 56 analysis to learn more.

Yes and just when you thought the California proposition process couldn’t get any weirder, we bring you Proposition 60 – Condoms Required in Adult Films. Check out our Proposition 60 Analysis

Since we haven’t done a blog post on every proposition analysis, some PolitoMuse readers didn’t realize we have actually done 10 so far. Bookmark our November 2016 Propositions page for the latest and greatest.

Tell a friend!


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Props 62 & 66 – Repeal or Restructure the Death Penalty?

And now a PolitoMuse first, analysis of two propositions!

We analyze proposition 62 and 66 together because whichever receives the most votes over a majority will become the law and because proposition 66 was put on the ballot as a response to proposition 62’s effort to identify the inefficiencies in the existing death penalty.

Checkout our in-depth analysis on Propositions 62 and 66 here

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And more analysis posted including the marijuana legalization proposition

One of the propositions we get asked the most about, is Proposition 64, aka “Legalizing marijuana use, possession, & regulated cultivation under state law.”

The latest Field Poll/Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley found that 60% of likely voters support the measure, with just 31% opposed and 9% undecided.  Findings of the poll are in line with other recent polling, suggesting Prop 64 is likely to pass in November.

PolitoMuse readers will want to read our extensive Prop 64 analysis where we consider the pros and cons of legalization.

And be sure to checkout other updates to here



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November 2016 Analysis Underway

With the 200+ page voter guides hitting mailboxes this week, our phones and email in-boxes have been filled with PolitoMuse followers requests for voter analysis. Yes we’re working on it but this is a big election cycle and lots of complexity. We’ve posted some prop analysis and are diligently working on more and will post as it becomes available.

Here is the link to proposition analysis

Thanks for your patience and for following PolitoMuse.

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The June 2016 Primary is upon us . . .

At the outset a quick note on “primary” elections. These elections are intended to be interim elections where the larger parties select their candidates for the general elections. However, the proposition system we have in California requires qualifying propositions to be listed on the next available election – even if it is a primary. So, while many voters “skip” primary elections thinking they are unimportant, keep in mind that there is nothing “preliminary” about propositions on this ballot – if passed, they become law (often in the form of constitutional amendments that are very difficult to change). This year, there is just one proposition (whew) but be sure to check your local election pamphlet for city and county measures. Also, currently both large parties allow “undeclared” voters to participate in their primary elections for the Presidency– you need only request a particular party’s ballot and other state-wide offices (Senate, Congress etc.) are “open” so you may vote for any candidate irrespective of parties — Our concerns about that system notwithstanding. If you are “undeclared” and do not wish to participate in party primary elections, you should receive a non-partisan general ballot containing the propositions that are on the ballot. If you do not have your ballot you can go to your polling place and demand one.

For long-time subscribers to this forum, you already know this disclaimer: Politomuse is exceedingly anti-“proposition” so we start most of our analysis from a default “no” position. We find propositions destructive because we think they are the ultimate special interest tool, amount to legislation by sound-bite (call us crazy, but we suspect most folks don’t spend the time to analyze these propositions), and they remove discretion from the hands of those we elect as our representatives to investigate and decide these issues. Happily (since citizen referenda are now limited to the general election – thank you SB202) we have only one proposition for this election and it is the unusual one that is presented directly to voters for a good reason.

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PROP – 42 – Legislative Constitutional Amendment Transferring Obligation To Pay Local Costs of “Open Meeting Laws” From State To Local Governments

Recommendation: Weak Yes

Although it is difficult to locate, the impetus for this Proposition appears to stem from the fiscal cut-backs that occurred in 2013.  During the initial State Budget, the Governor and legislature cut the payments made to local governments to cover expenses associated with Open Meeting laws by suspending the requirements that local governments comply, or at a minimum, local governments took that position.  (see http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_25367980/mercury-news-editorial-proposition-42-improves-access-public).  What is even more deeply buried is the reason that suspending the payments could mean that the local governments would not need to comply with the open meeting laws – after all, the state has a long history of “unfunded mandates”; laws that obligate local governments to do or refrain from doing acts that require expenditure of resources without providing those local governments any payment.  (For an analysis of California’s unfunded mandates see http://wpsa.research.pdx.edu/meet/2012/settle.pdf).

Undaunted, we set our Polito-researchers to the task.  It turns out that California is a strange state (we know, tell you something you don’t know).  California’s voluminous and oft-modified (thank you propositions) Constitution actually has a provision that prohibits unfunded mandates.  It is found in the California Constitution, article XIII B, section 6, subdivision (a) (see – http://www.boe.ca.gov/lawguides/property/current/ptlg/ccp/art-XIII-B-all.html#6).  Of course, over the years, the legislature has still found ways to avoid payments.  In particular, one Polito-friendly contact we spoke with who deals with information requests on behalf of local schools told us that while expenses for such requests are carefully tracked (to enable reimbursement by the state), they haven’t actually seen a reimbursement from the state in years.  For a discussion of the history and treatment of unfunded mandates in light of Article 13b of the state constitution see the 2011 case of California School Boards Assoc. v. Brown.  (http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ca-court-of-appeal/1557120.html).

So, while we were unable to find authority for the proposition that the State’s failure to fund reimbursements for “open meeting” laws would necessarily relieve local governments from the obligation to comply (assuming the State used some of the clever tactics employed in the past), there is a realistic fear that such an argument could succeed.

Separately from the fear that “Open Meeting” laws could be undermined in this way we also agree with the proponents’ underlying premise:  That “Open Meeting” laws should be considered core principles of good government and therefore part of a local government’s obligations to fund its own functions.

Moreover, responsibility for paying half of the “Open Meeting” laws – those incurred under the Brown Act” was already transferred to local governments by initiative in 2012. So, it seems sensible to give the same treatment to the other half of these important laws.

Finally, we are also mindful of the unproven “whispers” that local governments routinely “pad” their reimbursement requests and that transferring the cost obligations to those local governments will create an incentive for efficiency.

In short, while it is hard for us to get excited about foisting more expenses onto local governments, at the end of the day this expense seem properly placed at the local level.  Interestingly, even local governments are not really opposing this measure.  We found only one reference to an opponent (which we could not independently verify) to Prop 42, no editorial boards opposing the Proposition, and no funds expended against the Proposition.

Vote:  Yes. 


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