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Monday
Mar182013

L.A. CITY HALL: Council District 9, voter turnout, editorial, "Redistricting Pain Felt Again...."

***Following up on earlier report noted here....

* Downtown News (editorial):  "Redistricting Pain Felt Again with Ninth District Turnout and Perry's Finish" - From the DTN:

It was not hard to predict that the hatchet job disguised as City Council redistricting would inflict serious harm on portions of Los Angeles. In February 2012, in the midst of the process that was prying most of Downtown from Jan Perry’s Ninth District and placing it in José Huizar’s 14th, this page decried the situation, writing, “This is an exercise in power politics, not democracy.”

At the time we protested the economic devastation that would result. The only part of Downtown Los Angeles to remain in the Ninth was the L.A. Live/Convention Center campus; the newly drawn territory rolled down the Figueroa Corridor and encompassed a large, impoverished portion of South L.A. The district was suddenly without most of the business interests and high-profile projects that could be leveraged for advances in poorer communities. 

The same fate befell Bernard Parks’ Eighth District. Parks and Perry, as a reminder, were engaged in a bitter feud with Council President Herb Wesson, whose fingerprints were all over the new borders.

This month we witnessed another unfortunate result of redistricting, and while we didn’t predict this one, it’s not hard to fathom: The chopping of boundaries almost certainly played a role in the abysmal turnout rate for the Ninth District during the March 5 city elections. It looks to be another case of a political process harming democracy. The slicing and dicing also may have impacted the fate of Perry, who was a mayoral candidate.....................

Monday
Mar182013

SACRAMENTO: Local government advocacy activities in Sacramento, surge in spending on outside lobbyists, $96 million during two-year 2011-2012 legislative session....

* Los Angeles Times:  "California cities, counties find funds to hire Capitol lobbyists" - "Local governments contend the money they pay for influence in Sacramento is worth it. The sum dwarfs the lobbying bills of the largest unions, big oil companies and other energy interests combined." -  From the LAT:

Although many of California's cities and counties have been struggling financially, putting off road repairs, cutting back library hours and reducing police patrols, there is one way in which they have not held back: hiring Sacramento lobbyists.

Local governments' spending on advocacy in the Capitol has surged in recent years, topping $96 million during the two-year legislative session that ended last fall — an increase of nearly 50% from a decade ago. The sum dwarfs the lobbying bills of the state's largest labor unions, big oil companies and other energy interests combined, according to the California secretary of state's office. No sector spends nearly as much trying to influence government in California as government...................

Monday
Mar182013

POLITICS (Orange County): Report, update, number of registered voters in Orange County, shrinkage of 17%, removal of one of every six voters from active voter rolls, redesignation from active to inactive if individuals haven't voters in the past two biannual federal elections cycles....

* Orange County Register:  "County voter rols shrink by a dramatic 17%" - From the Register:

Orange County has removed one of every six voters from its active voter rolls, a massive update that surpasses the number of voters removed in every other county in the state combined.

About 281,000 registered voters have been re-designated because they haven't voted in the past two biannual federal elections cycles. If they haven't moved or died, they can still vote in future elections – but they will no longer receive sample ballots with candidate information, which cost about 60 cents each to print and mail. If they are permanent mail voters, they will no longer receive mail ballots.

It's the first time Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley has made the large-scale effort to move voters to the inactive rolls and he said he believes this is the only county to do so since November.

   ****

The latest effort began about two weeks ago, when the roughly 300,000 county voters who hadn't voted since before 2010 were notified by mail that they would be removed from the active rolls unless they returned an enclosed postcard requesting to remain on the active list......................

Monday
Mar182013

POLITICS (National, Bay Area): Obama returning to Bay Area for fundraisers, seeking funds to help Democrats pick up House and Senate seats in 2014 elections....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Obama to head to California to raise campaign cash for Democrats" - From the LAT:

After a hiatus from the campaign trail, President Obama will travel to California next month to start reaping cash for Democratic congressional candidates. Obama is due to attend two days of fund-raisers in the Bay Area in early April to benefit House and Senate candidates, according to Democratic officials and an invitation.

The details of Obama’s trip come at a somewhat awkward time for the president, who spent much of the week meeting with Republican lawmakers at the Capitol where he aimed to persuade them that he is focusing on legislating, not winning races. Obama repeatedly told lawmakers that he’s run his last race and said he is dedicated to finding a way to pass his immigration, gun control and economic plans with the help of Republicans in Congress.

Still, the president is expected to be active in his party’s attempt try to pick up seats, and possibly win control of the House, in the 2014 midterm elections.................

***ALSO:

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "POTUS fundraising again? White House confirms Obama return to SF for April fundraising"

  and

* San Francisco Chronicle:  "Obama's on the way to Rep. Mike Honda's neighborhood -- and just in time"

Monday
Mar182013

POLITICS/DEMOGRAPHICS: Reports, analysis, rise of Latino population in the U.S. blurring racial lines; question, "Is 'Latino' a race or an ethnicity?"....

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "Rise of Latino population blurs US racial lines" - From the Chronicle:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Welcome to the new off-white America. 

A historic decline in the number of U.S. whites and the fast growth of Latinos are blurring traditional black-white color lines, testing the limits of civil rights laws and reshaping political alliances as "whiteness" begins to lose its numerical dominance. Long in coming, the demographic shift was most vividly illustrated in last November's re-election of President Barack Obama, the first black president, despite a historically low percentage of white supporters.

It's now a potent backdrop to the immigration issue being debated in Congress that could offer a path to citizenship for 11 million mostly Hispanic illegal immigrants. Also, the Supreme Court is deciding cases this term on affirmative action and voting rights that could redefine race and equality in the U.S.

The latest census data and polling from The Associated Press highlight the historic change in a nation in which non-Hispanic whites will lose their majority in the next generation, somewhere around the year 2043.

   ****

The shift is being driven by the modern wave of U.S. newcomers from Latin America and Asia. . . . . . . . . An equal factor is today's aging white population, mostly baby boomers, whose coming wave of retirements will create a need for first- and second-generation immigrants to help take their place in the workforce.

   ****

Following a racially lopsided re-election, Obama has spoken broadly about promoting social and economic opportunity. . . . . . . .Left unclear is how much of a role government can or should play in lifting the disadvantaged, in an era of strapped federal budgets and rising debt...................

***ALSO:

* San Francisco Chronicle (AP):  "Is 'Latino' a race, or an ethnicity?" - From the Chronicle:

WASHINGTON (AP) — It long has been assumed by sociologists that Latinos eventually would be redefined as "white" as they joined the mainstream, but the Census Bureau now wants to classify Latinos as their own distinct group in the next census, in 2020.

The proposal is based on census research that finds many Latinos do not identify with the current race categories......................