Tags >> California
May 28

Proposition 14

Posted by Bruce Robinson in politics , news , media , legislation , government , election , current events , California

Bruce Robinson

Primary elections in California would be dramatically different if voters approve Proposition 14 in this year’s June 8 primary.

Backers of Prop 14, led by Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado and Gov. Schwartzenegger (together at left) ,  say it will create more opportunities for moderate candidates from the two major parties to advance through the primary and on to the general election. No on 14 spokesman Dave Gilliard counters that this has not happened in the other stated with similar laws in place.

Another flaw in the initiative, according to Dave Gilliard, is that it would no longer require candidates in the primaries to be identified by their party affiliation on the ballot.

Jeanine English of the California AARP, a supporter of Proposition 14, counters that each primary candidate’s voter registration history, going back ten years, will be posted on the Secretary of State’s website. And she adds, the open primary is expected to boost voter participation in those contests.

Another  earlier attempt to reform the California Primary election process, Proposition 62, was quite different from Proposition 14 in the way it addressed third party candidates, notes Stop Top Two campaign leader Christina Tobin.

 Read the SF Chronicle's analysis of Prop 14 here.








May 24

Gray Whales

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , Science , policy , ocean , nonprofit orgs , international , environment , education , current events , coast , climate change , California , animals , activism

Bruce Robinson

Once there were four types of Gray whales in the world’s oceans. Today, only the California Gray Whale survives in sustainable numbers, and its future is looking grim.

Gray whales are not just some of the largest creatures on the planet, says Sue Arnold, CEO of the Gray Whale Coalition, as a species they are also among the oldest.

Protecting the whales is not just an ecological and environmental issue, Arnold says, but there is an economic concern for California, too.

The whale hunting quota of 140 killed in each of the next ten years is now proposed in a “draft compromise” before the International Whaling Commission. But Arnold says the only current gray whale killing is happening in a remote area of Siberia.

Changing conditions in the arctic waters of the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia/

May 21

High School Days Cut

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , West County , unions , teens , students , news , jobs , government , employment , education , current events , California , budget

Bruce Robinson

A three year cost-cutting deal has closed three west Sonoma County high schools for the day today, and further cutbacks are planned for the next two years, even before the next round of budgetary bad news arrives from Sacramento.

Negotiations to set up the reduced school schedule for the next two years progressed quickly once the concept was on the table. Superintendent Keller McDonald says the talks between the West Sonoma County Union High School District and their employee unions were wrapped up in just two weeks.

Today’s short-notice free day was enjoyed by students, suspects teacher Ed Lynch, a teacher at Analy High (left), but the shorter school year schedule for the next two years will, in some significant ways make a difficult situation even worse.



May 18

Prop 16 Protest

Posted by Bruce Robinson in technology , Santa Rosa , rights , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , Green , government , environment , election , economy , current events , climate change , carbon , California , business , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

The opposition campaign to PG&E’s big-budget backing for Proposition 16 took to the streets—well, actually the sidewalks—of downtown Santa Rosa yesterday (above, with Lady Liberty joined by Santa Rosa Mayor Susan Gorin and Healdsburg City Councilman Gary Plass), blasting the measure as “another bailout” for the utility.

The Yes on 16 campaign may have a much bigger budget, but the list of local governments and other groups who have lined up against it is impressive and growing. Ann Hancock, Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, offered a sampling of that roster of opponents at the midday rally on Tuesday.

Healdsburg was among the founding members of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA), a coalition of 17 cities that act as their own electric utility for their residents. ( Read their  statement opposing Prop 16 here.)  There are numerous other such operations elsewhere in the state. Expanding the service areas for any of them would be subject to the 2/3s vote requirement in Proposition 16, as would the creation of any additional local power purchasing entities, says Healdsburg City Council member Gary Plass. But while many cities oppose the measure, there is little they can do to directly combat it.

The lion’s share of the electricity used by the residents and businesses of municipal Healdsburg now comes from an array of renewable sources. Councilman Plass breaks it down for us.

Want to find our more about this measure? You can read an impartial analysis of Proposition 16  or to see the video ads against Prop 16 that won't be shown on television (due to no budget, not topical censorship), go here.


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