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L.A. District Attorney Steve Cooley endorsed Prop. 36.
California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 36, which amends the state's Three Strikes law to mandate that a third strike, which carries a life sentence, be a serious or violent crime.
Sixty-nine percent voted "yes" on the measure. California's Three Strikes law, once considered the toughest in the country, now looks more like dozens of other similar laws around the country.
California voters have rejected changes to the law, passed 18 years ago, in the past. In 2004, Proposition 66, which would have more drastically changed the law, failed despite polling well in the weeks before the election. Proposition 36, a considerably more modest reform, did not see the kind of coordinated opposition past reform efforts faced.
Nevertheless, district attorneys around the state opposed the change, which gives them less discretion over who should face the state's toughest punishments. But the L.A. and San Francisco D.A.'s, Steve Cooley and George Gascon, notably endorsed Proposition 36, saying the reform would help strengthen the law's legitimacy.
It's the morning after the big election. Take a look at the results.
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Today is Wednesday, Nov. 7, and here is what's happening in Los Angeles:
As expected, Rep. Brad Sherman beat Rep. Howard Berman in the San Fernando Valley, per KPCC.
An advisory measure that would have urged the Board of Supervisors to amend the charter and make the assessor an appointed rather than elected position failed, according to City News Service.
Measure J, which would extend L.A. County's half-penny sales tax for public transit, appeared to be falling short of the two-thirds needed for approval. The Los Angeles Times says it's too close to call.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
The flag waves in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
The story of this year’s California Congressional races is — surprise! — money: money from the parties, money from PACs (including one started by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg), money from siblings, and money from the candidates themselves.
36th Congressional District — Coachella Valley:
In an apparent upset, Republican incumbent Mary Bono Mack is losing to Democrat Raul Ruiz. Bono Mack was a prime target for Democrats. Ruiz is an emergency room doctor. Both parties poured in the money, flooding both the Palm Springs and LA TV market with political ads. Bono Mack's husband Connie Mack gave up his House seat to run for the US Senate in Florida. He lost.
RUIZ: 51.4%; BONO MACK 48.6%
35th Congressional District — Chino
N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg dropped $2.5 million of PAC money into Democratic State Senator Gloria Negrete McLeod’s campaign to defeat veteran Democratic Congressman Joe Baca. The Congressional baseball team loses its star pitcher. It was a bad night for the Baca family as well; the Congressman's son Joe, Jr. lost his race for the state assembly.
Alice Walton / KPCC
Members of the L.A. Democratic Party and the County Federation of Labor at the Stadium Club in Dodger Stadium, celebrating President Barack Obama's re-election.
Good morning, folks. Let’s get back to where we were with the campaigns at Dodger Stadium.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measure, Proposition 30, passed with 54 percent of the vote. Proposition 32 was defeated, achieving just 44 percent of the vote. Both of those are victories for the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which spent months working to defeat Prop 32.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s transportation tax extension was defeated this morning. Measure J fell just short of the two-thirds vote needed. The measure would have extended L.A. County’s half-cent sales tax for public transit projects. Though the mayor was Measure J’s biggest cheerleader, he was MIA in Los Angeles last night. Villaraigosa flew to Chicago for President Barack Obama’s victory party.
In response to the defeat, the Los Angeles County Democratic Party said in a statement Wednesday, "Once again, the special interests and conservative forces have managed to twist the truth and defeat our efforts to create hundreds of thousands of job here in Los Angeles County. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party will continue to stand up for Angelenos and fight against the special interests from further impeding progress in Los Angeles County."
Rina Palta / KPCC
Bethany Webb, whose sister was killed in a massacre at a Seal Beach hair salon, was part of a large coalition formed in an effort to end California's death penalty.
Proposition 34, the initiative that would have replaced the death penalty with life without parole in California, failed by almost 6 points.
The vote marked the first time in decades that the voting public has been asked to consider the efficacy and ethics of capital punishment. In 1978, voters passed Proposition 7, which engraved the death penalty into the state's penal code, with polls showing solid popular support for the punishment ever since.
But Proposition 34's backers put on a strong campaign, raising over $7 million, airing television ads, and forging a coalition of former prison officials, crime victims, and judges to tour the state and lend law enforcement credibility to the cause.
And the timing, to organizers, seemed right: a budget crisis, a public less willing to spend money on prisons, and a stalled death penalty system that's been mired in litigation for years, effectively halting executions in the state.