governance

Latino Leaders Call For District Based Elections

Apr 23, 2015
Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

Latinos make up 40 percent of California’s population, but just about 15 percent of the state’s mayors and city council members. A bill backed by the state’s legislative Latino caucus is seeking to make city governments more representative. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The bill would require some cities with populations of more than 100,000 to hold district-based municipal elections, instead of at-large elections. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

 he city of Visalia is getting closer to altering how they elect their city council. As FM 89's Jeffrey Hess reports, it's a move that some hope will increase diversity in city government.

The city is planning a series of public hearings, beginning in early April, to finalize the five new districts that will each elect one council representative. 

Visalia spokeswomen Nancy Loliva says the city is drawing districts for the first time to settle a voting rights lawsuit over the current system where all council members are elected at-large.

Lawmakers React to Brown's Inaugural Speech

Jan 5, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

In his inaugural address, Governor Jerry Brown touched on some themes that could bring the California legislature together. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there were also signs of partisan divide.

Brown’s wide-ranging speech hit on everything from schools, to prisons to pensions. Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins says it will set the tone for the year.

Brown Optimistic, Yet Cautious In Fourth Inaugural Address

Jan 5, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A rosy look back at California’s last four years and a cautious look ahead to the next four. That’s the tone Democrat Jerry Brown struck after being sworn in for a record fourth term as California governor today. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Jerry Brown spent more than half of his fourth inaugural address looking not forwards but backwards.

Brown: “While we’ve not reached the Promised Land, we have much to be proud of.”

He touted the state’s balanced budget…

It's "Gut-And-Amend" Time At The Capitol

Aug 28, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

It happens every year in the waning days of the California Legislature: A bill is amended to address a completely different subject, then brought up for a vote without going through the full legislative process. It's known as “gut-and-amend.” And although the practice draws scorn from many, lawmakers insist there are good reasons to use it. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

County Registrars: Overhaul Recount Process, But Carefully

Jul 22, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The recount in the state controller’s race may be over, but that hasn’t stopped critics of California’s recount process from calling for an overhaul. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, county election officials are warning state lawmakers to write new rules carefully.

San Bernardino County Registrar Michael Scarpello spent last Friday staffing up. His county’s recount was scheduled to start on Monday. But it didn’t, because former Assembly Speaker John Pérez canceled his recount bid Friday afternoon.

Brown Calls Special Legislative Session on New Budget Reserve

Apr 16, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown is throwing the full weight of his office behind his push for a new state budget reserve by calling the legislature into special session next week.  But Republicans say he’ll have to strengthen his proposal to win their support.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

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California is the nation's most populous state. Its farms feed the nation, its studios and filmmakers entertain the world, and its technology companies help define our future. But some say the state is simply too large, too diverse and too unwieldy to govern effectively. 

Fluke Enters Senate Race as Number of Women in California Legislature Declines

Feb 6, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Women’s rights advocate Sandra Fluke is running for a state senate seat. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, her candidacy comes as the number of women in the state legislature is dropping.

Women make up more than half of California’s population, but just over a quarter of the state legislature. The number of women elected to the legislature has been dropping for several years. It’s an issue Fluke has been working to fix.

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

The year 2014 will be a big one California voters. Not only will citizens choose the state’s next governor, and who will represent them in Congress, a number of big issues will likely be on the ballot in the form of propositions. A handful of groups are currently gathering signatures right now to put the issue of marijuana legalization before voters in November.

Major Changes Proposed for California Elections Rules

Jan 2, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Two big changes to California elections could come up for debate in the state legislature in 2014.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on proposals that would eliminate special elections and require cities and counties to hold their votes at statewide elections.

Panel: California's Direct Democracy Process Needs Changes

Oct 24, 2013
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Three former leaders of California’s three branches of government disagree about whether the state’s direct democracy process is serving voters well – but they all agree on a potential way to improve it.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on today’s Public Policy Institute of California panel.

New Poll Says Voters Support Changes to Initiative process

Oct 9, 2013
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new report suggests that although Californians strongly support the state’s initiative process, they’d like to see changes to limit the power of special interests and increase the role of the legislature.  

The report comes from the Public Policy Institute of California.  It analyzed its polling data to determine whether several potential initiative process changes would be popular.  Turns out they are, says the PPIC’s Mark Baldassare.  For example:

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

A new version of term limits, a new way to draw voting districts, a new system for running primary elections. Those three changes all took effect in 2012. Each was intended to moderate the California legislature. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, there is hope the changes have been effective, but so far there’s no proof.

New lawmakers are frequently sworn in at the California State Capitol. But the class taking the oath of office last December faced a different legislative future from classes who came before them.

City of Fresno

Jump-starting infill development is the focus of a new city ordinance being advanced today by Fresno City Councilmember Clint Olivier.

His draft ordinance, called the Best Utilization of Infill Land Development Act, or BUILD, would eliminate some development fees for new residential  construction on small vacant lots within the city.

It would waive fees that go to pay for police, fire, traffic and parks services.  

Casey Christie / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A federal three-judge panel is reiterating its order to California Governor Jerry Brown to reduce prison overcrowding. Today’s ruling even removes any state and local laws that might get in the way. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The judges have ordered California to immediately expand its good time credit program, which allows inmates to get out of prison early.  The judges also waived any state or local laws preventing the release of prisoners.

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California Senate leaders say they’ll introduce a Constitutional Amendment to ensure compliance with the state’s Public Records Act. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, the move comes after an unexpected public outcry against watering it down.

A provision attached to the budget bill made complying with certain parts of the state’s Public Records Act optional. The change enraged members of the media and lawmakers have been scrambling to undo the move since then.

City of Fresno

Fresno City Manager Mark Scott announced today he is leaving his job to take a similar position in the city of Burbank. Mayor Ashley Swearengin will promote current assistant city manager Bruce Rudd to replace him. The move is effective July 19th.

Scott spent the last three years on the job in Fresno, dealing with a number of issues ranging from budget deficits and hits to the city’s credit rating, to controversy over animal control and development lawsuits between the city and the counties Madera and Fresno. 

California Elected Officials To Get Pay Raise

Jun 19, 2013
Valley Public Radio

The salaries of California's state lawmakers and constitutional officers weren’t exempt from years of state budget cuts. But some of those cuts were restored today  when a state commission voted to give lawmakers a pay raise. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

It may be a happier holiday season for state elected officials. The California Citizens Compensation Committee has approved a five percent raise, which will take effect in December.

California Budget Could Loosen State's Public Records Act

Jun 18, 2013
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

 

Local government agencies will no longer be required to follow key provisions of California’s Public Records Act in a bill that’s part of the budget state lawmakers approved over the weekend.  As KPCC’s Julie Small reports, Governor Jerry Brown is expected to enact the change—which is less drastic than one he proposed.

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