Politics, government and public life for Southern California

CA court: Arizona group doesn't have to reveal $11 million donation details [UPDATED]

California supreme court

Steve Rhodes/Flickr (by cc-nc-nd)

The California Supreme Court is the next stop for a battle over the release of information about an $11 million donation from an Arizona group to proposition 30 and proposition 32 on the November 2012 state ballot.

A California Appeals court in Sacramento refused Friday to compel an Arizona group that donated $11 million to two California ballot proposition campaigns to submit to an audit. 

UPDATE: The Fair Political Practices Commission has appealed the case to California’s Supreme Court, which has asked both sides to submit briefs this weekend. A decision could come Sunday or Monday.

It’s the latest twist in a legal battle over whether Arizona-based Americans for Responsible Leadership should have disclosed the names of donors who gave money to a campaign fighting Prop 30 — Gov. Brown’s tax initiative — and in support of Prop 32 — a ban on payroll deductions for political contributions.

California’s Fair Political Practices Commission wants to see documents about the donation to determine if donors knew that the money was earmarked for a specific campaign. If they knew, California law requires their names be disclosed.


Archived video: Ralph Nader moderates third-party presidential debate

Ralph Nader Announces His Running Mate Choice

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Ralph Nader listens from the hallway during a press conference at the National Press Club Feb. 28, 2008 in Washington, D.C.

A third party presidential debate that will be moderated by Ralph Nader is being held Sunday, Nov. 4, just two days before the election, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific, 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

You can submit your own questions for the debate via Nader’s Facebook page. The post says that Nader will choose two to ask during Sunday’s debate. Nader is also accepting questions via Twitter at @Ralph_Nader.

Watch video of the debate archived here:

Video streaming by Ustream

The candidates at this debate include the same four who faced off at a recent debate moderated by Larry King: Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Jill Stein (Green Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party) and Rock Anderson (Justice Party).

Only two of those candidates, Johnson and Stein, appear on California ballots. Goode and Anderson failed to qualify for ballots in this state. California ballots also include Peace and Freedom candidate Roseanne Barr and American Independent candidate Thomas Hoefling.


That's My Issue: The economy

TMI Lawrence Man, The Economy

Amy Lieu/KPCC

Lawrence Man tells us about the issue that will be of concern to him this election season: the economy.

This post is part of KPCC & WNYC's "That's My Issue" series, and represents the views of its author, not of either station. 

My most important issue is the economy.

So many people are out of a job, including myself.  I’m on limited income, so certainly, it makes it very difficult. I’m sure for other people as well.

I’ve been recently going to the Far East, like Hong Kong and Shanghai to look for jobs, so if [the American economy] gets better, then I will have a better chance to find jobs here..  

Let us know how a particular experience has affected your political opinions. Record it online, or drop us a note. Your piece could appear on WNYC and KPCC's websites, as well as on our air.  



Prop 32 puts union power in the spotlight

Union members run elections phone bank to defeat Prop 32

Alice Walton

California Unions have mobilized tens of thousands of members to phone voters to urge a no vote on Prop 32.

California allows unions and corporations to donate directly to a candidate for state or local office, or to a committee for that candidate.  Proposition 32 would ban the practice. It would also ban the use of union payroll deductions for political contributions. It’s that last part of the measure that has mobilized unions to fight the measure—and made it the most expensive proposition battle in this year’s election.

Former State Senator Gloria Romero is advocating for Prop 32. The L.A. Democrat says her seven years as majority leader opened her eyes to the power of special interest dollars. “I served in the legislature, I rose to a leadership position, I’ve sat in many of those backrooms," Romero recalls. "Basically, I’ve seen it all.”

What Romero saw was the political access money buys and how it can kill legislation.  Like the time she tried to pass a five-cent sales tax on beer to help fund trauma centers.


Redistricting has turned this election season upside down

LA City Councilmember Tony Cardenas on truancy

Tami Abdollah / KPCC

Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas is running virtually unopposed for Congress in the new 29th District in the San Fernando Valley.

You’ve probably heard about the contentious race between Congressmen Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. The two Democratic incumbents were pushed into a re-election contest because of redistricting. That’s just one of many examples of how new boundaries are affecting the 2012 election. 

In 2008, a voter-approved proposition removed responsibility for redistricting from politicians, who historically protected incumbents. About 30,000 people applied to be named to the 14-member Citizens Redistricting Commission. The 2012 election is the first result of its labor. 

Consequently, the San Fernando Valley is on the cusp of electing its first Latino member of Congress.

Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas finished the June primary with 64 percent of the vote. He will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot against perennial candidate David Hernandez.