A vote-counting machine and voting stickers.
The results for the 11 propositions on Tuesday's ballot reinforced one thing: California voters remain unpredictable. They softened the Three Strikes law, but kept the death penalty intact; our supposedly health-conscious denizens don't care to know if their food is genetically modified; and they voted for a tax hike, even as the state economy continues to struggle. Go figure.
Prop 30 — Temporary taxes to fund education: The Governor’s initiative rebounded after a precipitous drop late in the polls (54%-46%). The threat of $6 billion in cuts to public schools and universities was the motivation for a majority of voters. (For more, click here.)
Prop 31 —Establishes two-year state budget cycle: This cornucopia of government reforms fell flat with voters, who rejected it by a wide margin (60%-40%). While Californians consistently give state lawmakers low approval ratings, they were not convinced the proposed changes would make much of a difference. Some politicos think the measure was too confusing for voters.
All 80 of California's State Assembly seats were on Tuesday's ballot in contests that ranged from slam-dunks to squeakers. Some of the races got pretty rancorous, too.
The citizen-led redistricting made many races more competitive than they had been in years. Changes in California law also led several districts to have general election runoffs featuring candidates from the same party.
Sacramento Bee reporter Torey Van Oot tweeted that Assembly Speaker John Perez told her he expected Democrats to secure a two-thirds majority in the lower house. Such a supermajority would remove the ability of Republicans to block Democratic budget votes.
Here's a rundown of some of the more competitive and noteworthy Southern California Assembly races. Complete results also on our results page.
--Assembly District 39: San Fernando Valley: Richard Alarcon (D) / Raul Bocanegra (D)
The voter fraud charges hanging over the head of Los Angeles City Councilman Alarcon seemed to take a toll. Bocanegra knows how Sacramento works — he's worked as legislative director for state senators.
ALARCON: 37%; BOCANEGRA: 63%
Prop. 30, a measure to increase taxes and stave off nearly $6 billion in education cuts, appeared to be headed for passage as election results trickled in early Wednesday.
The measure received support from 53 percent of voters with 72 percent of statewide precincts reporting and less than half of L.A. County's votes counted. The passage marked the end of a last minute frenzy by Gov. Jerry Brown and supporters to reverse dropping poll numbers.
Prop. 30 will increase personal income tax for seven years on Californians earning more than $250,000. It would be implemented retroactively, starting Jan. 1, 2012. Those earning between $250,000 and $300,000 will pay 1 percent more. People making between $300,000 and $500,000 will pay 2 percent more and people making more than $500,000 will pay 3 percent more in taxes.
Republican Abel Maldonado conceded to Democratic Rep. Lois Capps Tuesday night. With 100 percent of precincts reporting at least partially, Capps led 54.8 percent to 45.2 percent, 119,344 votes to 98,391.
Maldonado released a statement which began, "A short while ago, I spoke with Rep. Lois Capps, and offered her my congratulations on her victory tonight. For anyone today who supported my campaign, I am honored and grateful for your support, not just today, but throughout my life in public service."
Maldonado thanked his family and said he would be spending more time with them following his campaign. He also thanked his staff and volunteers.
"It wasn’t easy, but nothing ever worth fighting for ever is and even though the outcome wasn’t the one we had hoped for, this was a campaign we all can be proud of," Maldonado's statement said.
An El Monte City Council proposal to add a penny-per-ounce tax to sweetened beverages appeared headed to failure Tuesday night after the beverage industry spent at least $1.3 million to defeat it.
Planning Commissioner Art Barrios, a local advocate for defeating Measure H, said the City Council and Mayor Andre Quintero miscalculated the tax's appeal and mislabeled it from the start.
"I think it was an ill-conceived ballot issue," Barrios said. "They brought it out as an anti-obesity measure, but that's not what it was. It was strictly for revenue generation."
With 84 percent of the count tallied, more than 76 percent of voters turned down the tax.
Quintero cited national and local statistics on health and obesity in arguing that the tax on sweetened drinks was similar to taxes on liquor and tobacco by raising revenue to help health programs.