"Opting for the convenience of their kitchen table over
a neighbor's garage, nearly half of Californians are expected to cast their
votes by mail rather than at a polling site on Nov. 4, marking a milestone shift in the practice of democracy,
elections officials said," reports Jennifer Oldham in the Times.
"At least 40% of the state's registered voters already have decided they want
to vote by mail, according to data compiled Friday
by the California Assn. of Clerks and Elected Officials.
The percentage is expected to grow as Tuesday's deadline to apply for a mail-in ballot approaches.
"Nearly half of the state's voters are expected to cast their ballots by mail
this year. By comparison, 32% of voters used mail-in ballots in the 2004 presidential election and only 24% did so in 2000."
The LAT's Dan Morain reports on the difficulties for California's Republican congressional delegation in next Tuesday's election.
"Democrats already hold 34 of the state's 53 congressional seats. But they are particularly emboldened
this year, flush with money and buoyed by registration
gains. Republicans are struggling with, comparably,
a lack of funds and lower levels of enthusiasm.
"'We're not on the offense. We're only on defense,' said Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), who is happy to find himself unopposed this year."
Morain cites the now expected reelection of Jerry McNerney,
the emergence of Charlie Brown as the favorite to beat
Tom McClintock succeed John Doolittle, and the fact that David Dreier is having
to run a serious campaign.
"Allan Hoffenblum, a GOP strategist who tracks state
races as publisher of the nonpartisan California Target
Book, called the [Brian] Bilbray race a toss-up."
Hmm...we noticed that the California Republican Party shipped out $3 million to Nevada and Colorado. We wonder how many
California Republicans who might lose close races will
react to that money being gone...
From our High-speed Skelton Files, George Skelton thinks out loud about his vote on Proposition 1A.
"Actually, I'm confident the bullet train would work fine. It would
be a terrific alternative to miserable air travel on
airlines that treat passengers like cattle, or to long,
boring, hazardous car trips. A rolling "Field of Dreams" -- build it and they will ride.
"I'm just not confident of the shaky financing or that
California, given the difficulty of raising taxes,
can afford this luxury without sacrificing genuine
necessities. It's a shame the state has fallen into that position,
but it's the reality."
Oh, come on now. It's just another $40 billion or so. Who would even notice?
As we consider approving more bonds for infrastructure,
the Bee's Steve Wiegand writes that few of the dollars from the $42.7 billion in bonds marketed as economic stimulus approved
in 2006 have actually gone out the door.
"Only slightly more than half of the 2006 bond package has been committed to specific projects
so far, and much less has been transformed into actual
"Moreover, the state Treasurer's Office says only about $3.3 billion of the bonds actually have been sold.
"But in an economy where a lack of bad news is seen
as good news, even the prospect of public works funding
is bringing faint smiles to those who make a living
from building things.
"'It's a bright spot, definitely,' said Bob Rivinius
, president of the California Building Industry Association.
'While we haven't seen bricks and mortar going up, the money is starting
to get out there, and that's encouraging.'"
The AP's Michael Blood writes:
"A company backed by investors linked to Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger is pressing regulators to speed up a review of its
proposed $2 billion solar-energy complex, warning that delays would send a "chilling signal" to the emerging green power industry. But the California
Energy Commission staff opposes the move, depicting
it as an end run that could break apart a precedent-setting review of the planned solar site near the Mojave
"At the center of the dispute is a project widely viewed
as a potential breakthrough in large-scale U.S. solar development."
Dan Walters writes that our roads suck, and that probably won't change anytime soon. "Bottom line: California roads are awful, they're getting worse, and there's an unspoken political conspiracy to block improvement.
Conservative politicians oppose any new taxes, and
liberals implicitly believe that intolerable roads
will propel drivers into buses, trolleys and trains.
"The rest of us suffer."
"At least 64,000 people from all 50 states and more than 20 foreign countries have given money to support or oppose
a same-sex marriage ban in California, reflecting broad interest
in a race viewed by some as second in national importance
only to the presidential election.
"Ten days before the vote on Proposition 8, campaign finance records show that total contributions
for and against the measure have surpassed $60 million, according to an analysis by The Associated Press," reports the AP's Lisa Leff.
"That would be a record nationally for a ballot initiative
based on a social rather than economic issue, campaign
finance experts say. It also eclipses the combined
total of $33 million spent in the 24 states where similar measures have been put to voters
"Campaign committees formed to respectively back and
battle the amendment were close in fundraising as of
Oct. 25, AP's analysis found. Supporters have raised at least $28.2 million, while opponents have taken in $32.3 million, closing a fundraising gap that had them $8 million behind a month ago.
"The measure is likely to attract more money than any
race other than the billion-dollar presidential election, judging by campaign-finance data from other high-profile contests. The closest appears to be the U.S.
Senate race in Minnesota, at $35 million."
Meanwhile, the Chron's Matthai Kuruvila looks at the efforts by Prop. 8 opponents to paint the campaign as a Mormon-led effort.
"The church largely stays out of politics. But in this
case, the Salt Lake City-based church has sent letters, held video conferences
and in church meetings asked for volunteers to support
the campaign. In response, some church members have
poured in their savings and undertaken what may be
an unprecedented grassroots mobilization for the effort.
"Prop. 8 is on pace to be the costliest race in the nation,
except for the billion-dollar presidential election. The Yes on 8 campaign estimates that up to 40 percent of its donations come from Mormons. Some others
estimate that Mormons account for over 70 percent of donations from individuals.
"All of California's Catholic bishops have all come out in favor of the
measure. So have many evangelical Christians and Orthodox
Jews. Yet it is Mormons, who account for 2 percent of the state population, who are catching
the most heat.
"Prop. 8 opponents are increasingly narrowing their focus on
Mormons, harnessing technology and open-records laws in their efforts. One Web site run by
a Prop. 8 opponent, Mormonsfor8.com, identifies the name and hometown of every Mormon
donor. On the Daily Kos, the nation's most popular liberal blog, there is a campaign to
use that information to look into the lives of Mormons
who financially support Prop. 8."
And, here are the biggest takes for the weekend, courtesy
Yes On Prop 10, A Coalition Of Renewable Energy And Alternative Fuel
No On 8, Equality For All: $1,691,387
California Republican Party: $696,729
Democratic State Central Committee Of California: $576,717
Yes On 11: $545,750
Protectmarriage.com - Yes On 8, A Project Of California Renewal: $472,317
People Against The Proposition 5 Deception: $412,500
Huber For Assembly: $363,709
Friends Of Hannah Beth Jackson 2008: $257,377
Eisenhut For Assembly 2008: $252,660
And finally, we close with a word from our sponsors,
the official beverage of The Roundup.
"Campaigners have slammed a nicotine-packed “fag-in-a-can” drink called Liquid Smoking."
"The tipple, made up of 15% nicotine, will be sold in pubs to help punters beat
the smoking ban.
"Makers have claimed it is a “healthy” alternative to lighting up.
"Liquid Smoking, supplied by Dutch firm United Drinks
and Beauty Corporation, is already a big hit in the