SACRAMENTO: California Legislature, Democratic supermajorities?: Commentary (Dan Walters), "California Democrats seek to recover supermajorities" ....

* Sacramento Bee:  "Calfornia Democrats seek to recover supermajorities" - From the Bee:

Democrats won supermajorities – more than two-thirds of the seats – in both houses of the Legislature in 2012. Democrats lost those supermajorities two years later as Republicans gained a few seats. Democrats will try to restore their legislative supermajorities in 2016, buoyed by the prospect of a higher voter turnout in a presidential election. However, even if they succeed, which is no better than a 50-50 bet, it won’t make much practical difference.

Although we pundits consumed much ink and airtime speculating about what Democrats would do if they achieved supermajority status in 2012, in fact it meant very little. In theory, they could have raised taxes and placed constitutional amendments on the ballot, but their leaders were reluctant to do either. Meanwhile, business interests were busily electing pro-business moderate Democrats, which turned out to be a much more important factor in what happened, or didn’t happen, on legislation, particularly in 2015. The moderate bloc stymied the legislative agendas of liberal groups that business opposed.

The announcement that Henry Perea, a moderate Democratic assemblyman from Fresno, would resign rather than finish his last term will be an early test of his party’s chances of making gains in 2016.


All in all, Democrats’ chances of restoring supermajorities seem slim – but again, it wouldn’t mean much if they did.


POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election: "Who's most likely to be the Republican nominee?"; also, "Five unknowns that could determine the winner in 2016" ....

***2016 presidential election....

* Washington Post (Chris Cillizza)  "Who's most likely to be the Republican nominee?"

* Los Angeles Times (David Lauter):  "Five unknowns that could determine the winner in 2016"


POLITICS/URBAN AFFAIRS: Commentary (Roberto Suro): "Whatever Happened to Latino Political Power?" ....

* New York Times (Roberto Suro):  "Whatever Happened to Latino Political Power?" - From the NYT:

DEMOGRAPHY is destiny, or so the saying goes, but Latinos are learning this political season that destiny can take detours.

As their population in the United States surged from 35 million in 2000 to nearly 57 million, Latinos became the subjects of a feel-good political story that bathed a marginalized minority in the glow of demographic triumphalism. Acting as a cohesive political force, Latinos were supposed to power Democratic majorities for decades and enshrine the welcoming immigration policies they overwhelmingly favor. Instead, the 2016 campaign is showing how viscerally the paranoia of a majority can take aim at those gaining ground. Rather than a moment of triumph, this could be the year of the Latino eclipse.

“Today we march. Tomorrow we vote.” That chant brought more than a million people into the streets in 2006 to protest tough immigration policies promoted by conservative Republicans. Since then Latinos have held to an ethnic empowerment strategy based on a single policy objective — citizenship for unauthorized immigrants — and a single tactic — becoming an essential constituency in presidential elections.

Sure enough, in 2008 and 2012 about two-thirds of the Hispanic electorate backed the candidate who promised a path to citizenship. But Barack Obama did not deliver, even when his party controlled both houses of Congress, and then he earned the title “deporter in chief” by hustling nearly two million unauthorized immigrants back across the border. Nonetheless, here we are again. Latinos are rolling the dice for a third time, betting most everything on one issue, one party and one candidate. Trouble is, the game has changed but the strategy hasn’t.......................


POLITICS (National): 2016 presidential election, commentary (Doyle McManus): "What's the biggest problem facing the country? Democrats and Republicans disagree." ....

* Los Angeles Times (Doyle McManus):  "What's the biggest problem facing the country? Democrats and Republicans disagree." - From the LAT:

As they barnstorm across the caucus and primary states, the Republican and Democratic frontrunners for the presidential nomination often sound as if they're from different countries, not just different parties.

According to Republicans, the United States faces a daunting list of crises: an existential threat from Islamic extremism, a tidal wave of illegal immigration, a federal government out of control. Democrats, meanwhile, are focused on the economy: too few good jobs, too much inequality (both gender and racial), too little access to healthcare. They're not just offering different answers to the nation's problems; they're asking different questions.

Two examples from candidates high in the polls: .....................


POLITICS/ENVIRONMENT: Southern California Gas Co., Porter Ranch: "Leaking gas well in Porter Ranch area lacked a working safety valve"; also, "Attorneys: SoCalGas could have prevented Porter Ranch gas leak with right safety measures" ....

***Southern California Gas Co., Porter Ranch, latest reports....

* Los Angeles Times:  "Leaking gas well in Porter Ranch area lacked a working safety valve"

* Daily News:  "Attorneys: SoCalGas could have prevented Porter Ranch gas leak with right safety measures"