Karyn Bruggeman of the National Journal revealed that Sacramento GOP political consultant Rob Stutzman worked with two Democratic pollsters to torpedo Senator David Vitter’s campaign for governor of Louisiana. In one of the ugliest races in the country, an anti-Vitter PAC flogged Vitter with an 8 year old prostitution scandal, painting him as unethical and lacking in judgment.
“California-based Republican operative Rob Stutzman oversaw the creation of the PAC’s television ads, and the three ads that they ran were informed by research and polling done by Washington D.C.-based Democratic pollsters Rob Green and Adam Rosenblatt….
“The three men have paired up in the past to work on races in California, most recently on a $12 million competitive state Senate race featuring two Democrats. ‘What we were doing in Louisiana was kind of born of jungle primary politics in California,’ Green said. “
Two decades after the passage of Megan’s Law, federal legislation requiring registration of sex offenders, state and local officials and the courts are still searching for the proper boundary between protecting the public and the rights of felons to move on from past mistakes. Jeremy White, Sacramento Bee:
“Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert earlier this month said she would begin posting details about some offenders who were convicted of a second felony but were granted parole, under a mandate to reduce prison overcrowding, because they have served at least half their sentence and their crime was considered nonviolent. Other California district attorneys are posting profiles of human traffickers and sexually violent predators.
“As the practice expands, civil libertarians are pushing back. Long concerned about balancing the public’s right to know against an offender’s right to move beyond their crime, they also warn of more deadly consequences.
“In 2013 for example, a Sacramento Superior Court imposed a life sentence on an alleged white supremacist who killed a house guest with a rock after learning the man was listed on the Megan’s Law website.”
California’s High Speed Rail has never had it easy, with opposition coming from many corners of the state from the get-go. Now, two ballot measures are targeting the project, pointing to massive increases in costs as part of the reason to kill the bullet train. Jeff Morales, CEO of HSR has pushed back, saying that costs actually appear to be lower than projected. Politifact California’s Chris Nichols rates the claim “mostly true.”
“Jeff Morales, the rail authority’s chief executive officer, said in late October: ‘The actual (construction) contracts that we’ve awarded to date have come in several hundred million dollars below estimates.’
“After digging out the original documents, the winning bids are a combined $480 million below the authority’s cost estimates. That works out to "several hundred" million.
“Still, the lower bids do nothing to wipe away the overall project’s financial uncertainty, several experts said. Its funding gap remains in the tens of billions of dollars.
“The implication behind Morales’ statement about the bids is that the authority is either controlling its costs or could potentially save money. Officials probably wouldn’t talk about the bids otherwise. Even the authority’s chairman said there’s no way to safeguard against all possible higher expenses.”
Millions of Americans play fantasy sports regularly – and bet on the outcome. Most agree that traditional fantasy sports involve a degree of skill, but critics say that the latest online iteration, daily fantasy sports, is just gambling pure and simple. Alex Matthews, Capitol Weekly:
“One of the most involved virtual spectator experiences is daily fantasy sports, or DFS. Sports fans draft teams of their favorite players and pit them against their friends’. The participants then accumulate points based on how the players in their draft performed that week. What started as a seasonal pastime in offices around America has morphed into a daily, multibillion-dollar business, fueled by national TV advertising and the internet. Unlike the traditional office pool, DFS offers same-day cash rewards to winners – a big incentive.
“Assemblymember Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, is one of the many thousands of Californians who play fantasy sports. But Levine is alarmed by the rapid growth of this newer variety of the industry.
“’I’ve been playing fantasy sports for over a decade, and I’m an avid fan of playing fantasy sports,’ Levine said. ‘But these sports betting websites are gambling…We need to make sure that people who engage in daily fantasy sports betting have the protections to ensure that it’s a positive experience for them as well.’”
And, just in time for Turkey Day, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, announced that she plans to revive stalled legislation that would mandate double-time pay for those who have to work on Thanksgiving.
That won’t cover us at the Roundup, so we’ll see you after the holiday.