The California Report
Calitics is doing a blog roundup now for the state, to which you can subscribe and even receive via email. It's a great way to keep informed about what's happening throughout the state. But if you don't want to do that, I've collected a few stories I wanted to share.
• I believe that the Supreme Court decision striking down components of California sentencing law is the first step to restoring some sanity in the state's criminal justice system. Judges were free-lancing and adding years to sentences seemingly at random, maybe to curry favor with campaign donors for future runs at elected judgeships (just a guess). Democrats need to capitalize on this by following through with their plan to appoint an independent commission with the ability to change sentencing guidelines.
• Speaking of Calitics, this was a great discussion between Brian Leubitz and Mike Lawson of The Liberal OC about the dynamics of the Ellen Tauscher v. Netroots battle happening in Northern California. I knew the arguments (she's too moderate for her district, she holds the grassroots in contempt), but it was good to see them all in one place. Honestly, I think sometimes people are searching for things to find wrong with Tauscher, but Brian lays out the case reasonably and coherently.
• This new progressive organization called They Work For Us is targeting moderate Democrats in deep blue districts who are insufficiently liberal, and one of the top targets on their list is the aforementioned Ellen Tauscher.
• Surprise, surprise: when you lose an election, and you're a Republican, you can walk into the lovin' arms of K Street and make loads of dirty money as a lobbyist. The latest example? California's own Richard Pombo, who is "in talks with Pac/West Communications, an Oregon-based PR and lobbying firm that has a roster of timber and energy clients."
• Everyone jumping on the bandwagon about this early Presidential primary in 2008 ought to take into account that it will cost the state around $90 million dollars to pull it off, and the local registrars don't have the money budgeted for an extra election (primaries for local and statewide offices will remain in June). So if you want to make a nearly-broken election system worse, go for it! Power to the people! Maybe if the Governor wants it so much, he can raise the revenue for it. Or privatize it! Give away naming rights! "Welcome to the 2008 Tostitos California Presidential Primary!"
• If News Corp. really does buy the LA Times then I really am cancelling my subscription. I've threatened to like 12 times, but this one will be binding.
• Good news, California homeowners, loan defaults are at an 8-year high! I'm perpetually looking to buy a place, and the market is just getting soft enough that I might this year, but one thing I have learned from the housing bubble is that a nice, solid, 30-year fixed mortgage is nothing to shake a stick at.
• Finally, I know LA Times blogger Robert Salladay hates me (and this'll set off his dog whistle, since he seems to link to me whenever I write his name), but I must give him credit for pointing out this bullying, misogynistic meme that Assemblywoman Sally Leiber isn't allowed to push legislation affecting children because... she doesn't have children and she has a bunch of cats and she's a weird old hag. I don't really agree with her nanny-state anti-spanking legislation, because I find it totally unenforceable unless you outfit every kid under 4 with a Fisher Price walkie-talkie set to the local police department. But to attack her personally is irrelevant and demeaning.