Violent Criminals Could Get Out Early, Claim Prop. 57 Foes

October 27, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A group of law enforcement officials blasted a measure on the November ballot billed as an effort to keep “non-violent” convicts out of prison, saying the proposition will put dangerous people back on the streets.

“Do we really need more parolees and hard-core criminals on the streets? That’s what Proposition 57 does,” said Brian Moriguchi, president of the Professional Peace Officers Association of Los Angeles at a press conference in Downtown Los Angeles last Friday.

The proposition, backed heavily by Gov. Jerry Brown, would allow parole consideration for people convicted of “non-violent” felonies after serving the minimum amount of time required as part of their sentence and authorize the awarding of sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior and education.

It would also give judges the final say over whether juvenile offenders at least 14 years old should be prosecuted as adults.

Brown and other backers of the measure insist it will put an emphasis on ,rehabilitation, reducing the likelihood of felons to commit new crimes. They also deny that it will put violent offenders back on the streets, and even non-violent offenders eligible under the proposition would have to prove they are
rehabilitated and do not present a danger to the public before they are released.

But Moriguchi and other officials — including Sheriff Jim McDonnell, District Attorney Jackie Lacey and county Supervisor Mike Antonovich — said the measure is essentially an effort by the state to relieve its prison-overcrowding problem at the expense of community safety.

Moriguchi said the recent killings of Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen and Palm Springs police Officers Lesley Zerebny and Jose Gilbert Vega were carried out by parolees.
Antonovich said Proposition 57 will follow the path of legislation known as AB 109, which redirected some low-level offenders to county jails instead of state prisons, often leading to them serving less time than they otherwise would. He said that legislation was also expected to apply to only “non-violent” offenders.

“What happened? Seventy percent are either high-risk or very high-risk,” Antonovich said.

“It’s time that we wake up and get realistic,” he said. “We need to protect our communities, we need to protect our people. … We need to unite to return this state to a Golden State where it’s safe to walk the streets instead of having fear where people in the community are now having to buy private security to supplement the local law enforcement to protect their property and protect their lives and families.”

Supporters of the measure deny allegations that the measure would result in felons being automatically released from prison or authorize parole for violent offenders.

“Overcrowded and unconstitutional conditions led the U.S. Supreme Court to order the state to reduce its prison population,” Brown and other supporters wrote in its ballot argument in favor of the measure. “Now, without a common-sense, long-term solution, we will continue to waste billions and risk a court-ordered release of dangerous prisoners. This is an unacceptable outcome that puts Californians in danger — and this is why we need Prop 57.”

As Trump Conjures the Voter Fraud Boogeyman, Voter Suppression is the Real Issue

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

New America Media – As Donald Trump roams the country encouraging hatred of immigrants and distrust of the election process, in many places it’s immigrants and minorities who have reason to worry about being blocked from the polls.

November 8th will be the first presidential election since the 2013 Shelby v. Holder Supreme Court decision, which did away with provisions of the Voting Rights Act that protected minority voters from discriminatory practices at the polls.

The Shelby decision has been part of a more general trend toward voter suppression across the country since 2010, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. One of the most common measures is imposing strict requirements for voter ID. Restrictions on voting tend to disproportionately affect not only immigrants and people of color, but also young people and students, seniors, low-income people, and people with prior felony convictions.

According to the Brennan Center, just this year – 2016 – 14 states have put new laws into effect that restrict voting. And in the past six years, the states most likely to create new policies suppressing votes are ones that had the highest rates of African American turnout in the 2008 election that put President Obama in office, and ones that had the highest rates of Latino population growth between 2000 and 2010.

In addition to state-sanctioned measures, though, says Judith Browne Dianis, the executive director of The Advancement Project, “The other concern that we have for this election cycle is that we may see anti-democracy vigilantes being engaged in erecting barriers to the ballot.”

“The Trump campaign and other lawmakers at state and local levels have repeatedly lodged false claims about voter fraud that they say is widespread, and the Trump campaign has gone even further, calling for aggressive poll-watching,” she says. “There’s this continuing narrative of conjuring up the boogeyman who is going to steal an election.” Dianis spoke in a telebriefing organized by The Media Consortium.

Advocates are most concerned about places where the scaremongering around voter fraud intersects with anti-immigrant rhetoric and a backlash against people of color.

In Georgia, for example, there’s been a trend toward “precinct closings and precinct consolidations in predominantly black communities” that makes it harder for people to register to vote, according to Nse Ufot, the executive director of the New Georgia Project. The closures often happen “under the pretense of saving money.” For voting rights advocates, working against the tide is difficult because “each County Board of Elections is essentially run as a fiefdom.”

For immigrants in Florida, according to Maria Rodriguez, the executive director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition, “There is a systematic exclusion from the voting process and from democracy.” Florida has nearly a million undocumented immigrants, who
are disenfranchised despite being “the backbone of agriculture and tourism.”

Additionally, Rodriguez says, among the state’s legal permanent residents, there’s currently a 66,000-case naturalization backlog “of people who had hoped to become eligible to vote in this election.” They will not be able to.

The news is not all dark, however. The New Georgia Project alone has registered more than 100,000 voters this year. In July, a federal court ruled against North Carolina’s strict voter ID law, stating that it “target[ed] African Americans with almost surgical precision.” In August, Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe restored voting rights to 13,000 people with felony convictions (after attempting, earlier in the year, to restore voting rights to 200,000 felons).

California, with its longtime Democratic legislature, has undertaken an abundance of measures over the past ten years to increase its voter rolls, including online registration and vote-by-mail. And in California, a third of new voters are Latino.

Indeed, in a broader sense, minority voters have more power than ever before. According to Pew Research Center, nearly 1 in 3 eligible voters in the upcoming election will be a member of a minority group, and minorities account for more than 40 percent of newly eligible voters born in the United States. In swing states, where margins are thin, the impact of ethnic voters is gaining importance. With the nation’s changing demographics, the tide will continue to turn.

 

Part 2: EGP Ballot Recommendations Nov. 8 General Election

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In EGP’s Oct. 13 edition, we issued our first round of endorsements for the upcoming General Election on November 8. Today, we weigh in on a number of other measures before voters.

First, however, we want to again remind voters that there’s a lot at stake in this election.

Yet, we’re hearing from a growing number of people that they’re dislike and distrust of the presidential nominees for both major political parties — Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump — is so strong, they may not vote. They tell us that the toxic nature of the presidential campaign has led them to conclude that no matter who wins, the American people will lose.

With races for President, U.S. Senator and as many as 24 initiatives on some ballots, this is not the time to sit out.

Nor is it time to buy into the Trump’s claim that the election is “rigged” against him and we can expect widespread fraud at the ballot box. Election officials across the country dispute his claim, and contend that because state and municipal election systems operate independently, widespread fraud is impossible.

At stake on Nov. 8 are billions of dollars in new taxes, extensions of current taxes or the issuance of bonds to pay for housing for the homeless, upgrades to parks, K-12 schools and community colleges, as well as major shifts in crime, drug and legislative policies.

If you’re eligible to vote but not yet registered, the deadline is Monday, Oct. 24.

It’s your future; you should have a vote in it.

Statewide Ballot Measures  (Read full endorsements at  www.EGPNews.com/2016 )

Prop 55 – Vote No

Like voters all over the country, Californians are angry and disillusioned with the veracity of the people they elect. They’ve grown tired of the promises made to them by lawmakers who will say just about anything to get them to vote to increase revenues to state coffers, whether needed or not.

When Californians passed Prop. 30 in 2012, during a time of deep economic strain that caused painful cuts to education, health and social services, Gov. Brown and state legislators promised voters the tax increases would be temporary. They said the tax levies would give legislators time to make changes to the state’s tax code to stave off future volatility, but they have failed to live up to those promises.

And now that those taxes are close to sun setting, they want voters to extend the taxes another 12 yeas – when they’ll all be out of office – promising once again to make changes to the state’s deeply troubled tax structure.

Granted, it’s scary to think that we could be faced with the types of cuts made during and after the Great Recession, but the answer is not another temporary fix.

When they say something is temporary, is should be just that, because once trust is lost it’s very hard to get back.

 

Prop 57 – Vote Yes

Prop. 57 — the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 – would change when and how some nonviolent felons can be paroled, and would put the decision for when juveniles 14- to 18-years of age can be prosecuted as adults in the hands of a juvenile court judge rather than in the hands of prosecutors. It would allow convicted felons to get sentence credits for rehabilitation, good behavior, and education, allowing them to be released after their base prison time sentence, but before they completed the prison time added on for enhanced charges, such as past convictions.

While some of the language in the measure is vague, EGP recognizes that most inmates are already being released early, serving only part of their sentence due to court ordered mandates on prison overcrowding and state laws that allow early release under certain conditions. We believe that this measure, if implemented as intended, will allow for a more thoughtful and thorough review that will allow prosecutors, crime victims and their families to make their cases before parole is approved.

Many Prop. 57 opponents have no objection to allowing a judge rather than prosecutors to decide if a juvenile should be tried as an adult, and say they could support the measure if this was all it was about. EGP believes that in the name of law and order, too many overzealous prosecutors, and the public for that matter, have been to quick to charge young offenders as adults, and this must change.

 

Prop 58 — Vote Yes

According to the state, 1.3 million students are identified as English Learners; outside estimates put the number closer to 2 million, meaning that one in every three students speaks a language other than English at home. The majority speak Spanish, but a growing number of students speak Vietnamese or Tagalog.

Prop 58 — the Multilingual Education Act — would allow school districts, with input from the community, to decide on the best approach for helping English Learners become proficient in English. Passage would allow students to be taught in bilingual or dual-language immersion programs, repealing the English-Only mandate approved by voters under Prop. 227.

It’s a change that make sense to us.

The most important aspect of this measure is that it will require school districts to get community and parental input into their programs, and require that they continue to ensure that English Learners master the English language.

 

Prop 61 – Vote No

This measure seems like a good idea on its face, since it bars all state programs that purchase prescription drugs from paying a price higher than the lowest price paid by the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs.

While this proposal may help reduce the cost of many drugs for state agencies, it will not help the majority of consumers who don’t get their medications through state sponsored programs.

Prop 61 would just complicate the effort to keep drug makers from gauging consumers and reaping outlandish profits because their products are medically necessary.

EGP is convinced that Americans need to take matters in their own hands and demand that legislators, both at the state and federal levels, decide which they value more: contributions from pharmaceutical companies, or the votes of their constituents that keep them in office.

 

Prop 63 – Vote Yes

California has made great progress in gun control and Prop 63 will add new restrictions that will serve to improve out existing laws. Prop. 63 would require anyone who loses their right to own a gun, due to a felony conviction, restraining order rising out of a domestic violence case, or some other matter, to actually give up guns in their possession.

Probation officers will be required to report to the court whether the prohibited gun owner has sold, given away, or stored the weapon with a firearms dealer or turned it over to a law enforcement agency.

EGP believes these restrictions are a positive step toward ensuring guns are taken out of the hands of those who lost their right to have one in their possession.

 

Prop 64 –Vote Yes

EGP urges a Yes Vote on Prop. 64 ,which will legalize and tax marijuana sales to adult users in the state.

We have come to the conclusion that marijuana is in many ways already legal in California, since law enforcement agencies for the most part don’t even attempt to enforce the laws already on the books, and access under the ruse of medical necessity has made it widely available.

Licensing, regulating and taxing marijuana sales makes sense. The added revenue will be a boon to state coffers.

We don’t know what effect the legal use of pot will cause in California or how employers in the state will be able to handle consumption on their premises, or regulate employee use, but we believe there is room in the legislation to come up with sensible solutions and penalties for those who abuse the privilege.

 

County Measures

Prop A – Vote Yes

The litany of park programs Measure is supposed to fund are necessary to County residents’ quality of life, but we should not deny that it could pose a potential financial burden to some property owners.

We want to ensure that County properties owners understand that the funding will hit their property tax bill with 1.5 cents per square foot of improved property they own, so they’d be wise to keep their eyes on how raised revenue is utilized.

 

Prop M – Vote Yes

EGP was initially very concerned about the fact that transportation projects east of the Los Angeles River would be delayed for decades, and the idea that a tax initially approved as temporary would become permanent.

The reality is we need an ongoing source of revenue to pay for improvements to our transportation system, backlog of street repairs and the dire need for traffic congestion relief.

We are very pleased that planners at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are moving toward finding strategies to speed up major transportation in all areas of the County, since all residents are now impacted by traffic congestions, infrastructure deterioration and a need for mass transportation.

 

Measure CC – Vote Yes

The need for continued education during our technology revolution, the need to provide classes to students to better prepare for college and state-of-the-art facilities for students is why we support the Los Angeles Community College District’s request for $3.5 billion in construction bond revenue.

 

Los Angeles City Measures

HHH – Vote Yes

It’s time to stop discussing the need to provide housing and services to our homeless population and to just do it.

It will take money to pay for the housing needed to get the homeless housed, and approving $1.2 billion in General Obligation bonds will make a substantial investment to meet those costs.

There are 28,000 homeless people living on the streets of Los Angeles, and the $1,2 billion in bond money will help build 10,000 housing units over the next decade. HHH deserves a yes vote: it’s the right thing to do.

 

JJJ –Vote No

While we understand there is great need for affordable housing and good paying jobs, Measure JJJ is the wrong way to tackle the problem.

JJJ’s mandates on wages, among the highest prevailing wage requirements anywhere, could have an adverse effect on the building of the housing the measure purports to support.

We believe developers will be reluctant to invest in affordable housing under this measure.

 

RRR –Vote Yes

We need to amend the city charter to modernize the governance of the city-owned utility and approving Measure RRR will help bring that about.

RRR will clarify the lines of authority, management and oversight at the DWP, but will not overhaul the utility.

The DWP’s very powerful Union also needs a management that can negotiate with it at a level that carries some weight.

 

SSS –Vote No

The cost of adding Airport Police to the same pension plan as LAPD officers and LA Firefighters is too costly a venture for the city, even if initially at their own expense.

 

Previous Ballot Recommendations

United States President — Hillary Clinton

United States Senator   — Loretta Sanchez

Proposition 51 — School Bond Funding: Vote No

Prop 52 — State Fees on Hospitals: Vote Yes

Prop 53 — Voter Approval of Revenue Bonds: Vote No

Prop 54 — Legislation/Legislature Transparency Act: Vote Yes

Prop 56 — $2 a Pack Cigarette Tax: Vote Yes

 

Updated Oct. 21, 2106: Under Prop 56, new added tax would be $2. per pack of cigarettes, not $2.50.

 

Read full endorsements at  www.EGPNews.com/2016

 

Stand Up and Be Counted – Maybe

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

It took Nick Alati half a day to cast a ballot in Arizona’s August primary — and his vote didn’t even count.

A self-employed home inspector in suburban Phoenix, Alati had moved recently. He tried to update his registration information, but never received a new voters card. On primary day, he went to the precinct in his old neighborhood, but poll workers turned him away, sending him to another spot. That precinct, not finding him in the rolls, sent him right back.

There is no act more central to a democracy than voting. Electionland is a project that will cover access to the ballot and problems that prevent people from exercising their right to vote during the 2016 election. Read more and sign up.

Back at the first precinct, poll workers allowed him to fill out a provisional ballot. Under federal law, no one who wants to vote can just be turned away: Instead, people are allowed to vote provisionally when there are questions about their eligibility, though some of these ballots are discarded for a variety of reasons.

Alati went ahead and filled out the form, even though he suspected his vote might be tossed. Still, when I told him his vote indeed had been disallowed because he’d voted in the wrong places, Alati said it was upsetting.

“I tried very hard to be registered,” said Alati, calling the back-and-forth between polling places a “pain in the butt” and “time off without pay.”

“I’m not getting paid to go vote, it’s my job as a citizen of the United States,” he said.

State-to-state differences in the handling of provisional ballots can end up leaving people like Alati disenfranchised.

Alati was one of 3,330 people in Maricopa County who voted with a provisional ballot in the August primaries. Some 1,300 of these votes were discarded, more than half for the same reason as his was. At the time, poll workers weren’t allowed to warn voters that provisional ballots cast in the wrong location would be wasted, said Elizabeth Bartholomew, communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department.

“We didn’t want to leave it up to poll workers to say that their ballot would not count,” she said.

Provisional ballots can be indicators of deeper voting issues — or not, said Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. When unusually large numbers are cast somewhere, it can be a sign that the state hasn’t properly updated voter rolls, or that they’ve done a poor job communicating with voters about ID requirements or polling locations. But it can also indicate a state is just trying extra hard to let people vote. Similarly, states that reject high numbers of provisional ballots may have rules that are overly strict — or just be good at detecting ineligible voters.

Prompted by the 2000 election, when thousands of would-be voters were turned away in Florida, federal legislators passed a bill mandating that all states offer provisional voting except for the handful that already offered same-day registration. But the law set few guidelines on how to count provisional ballots, or under what circumstances they can be tossed out; there remain substantial differences in how provisional ballots are treated state-to-state — and even county-to-county.

Voters cast provisional ballot for lots of reasons. In almost all states with voter ID laws, for example, people without appropriate identification can vote provisionally; their ballots are supposed to count as long as they return to specified locations with proof of who they are.

In the 2012 election, some 2.7 million voters cast provisional ballots, about a quarter of which were disallowed. According to the Election Administration Commission, the top reasons provisional ballots are rejected nationwide are that voters aren’t registered (38 percent) or vote at the wrong site (25 percent).

But the likelihood that a ballot gets tossed for a particular reason can vary sharply from state to state: In Texas, 15 percent of provisional ballots were rejected for being cast in the incorrect place; in Ohio, it was 28 percent; in Indiana, it was 45 percent.

Experts say some states likely do a poor job of informing voters where they’re supposed to vote — and that casting provisional ballot in the wrong place is likely futile. Poll workers routinely get only a few hours of training and may not know the consequences of voting in the wrong spot, or may not express those consequences to voters.

Voters themselves sometimes refuse to listen when poll workers try to tell them where to go and what to do.

“Many voters will just say, ‘No, I want to vote,’” said Tammy Patrick, a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center (and an Electionland advisor). Patrick, who served on a 2014 presidential commission to modernize voting and address problems, also said she’s seen party officials, lawyers and others stop voters from leaving polling places and demand that they ask for provisional ballots.

Fifteen states, including California, count portions of provisional ballots cast in the wrong precincts or jurisdictions, accepting votes for candidates for statewide or federal offices that could have been cast anywhere or that apply to wherever a voter is registered.

Arizona, however, is one of 22 states that take a harder line, rejecting such ballots entirely. The Arizona Democratic Party has sued the state over this, as well as having what the plaintiffs say are an inadequate number of polling places.

Following complaints after the August primary that voters were not told their ballots would not be counted if they voted in the wrong precinct, Maricopa County election officials are placing warning signs like these in all polling locations.

“These are individuals who took the time to register to vote, went to the polls on election day, presented the sufficient ID to vote, and yet their ballot was thrown out completely because they went to the wrong precinct,” said Spencer Scharff, voter protection director for the Arizona Democratic Party. “To throw out a ballot when a voter is eligible to vote for the majority of the things on the ballot is disheartening.”

In Maricopa County, complaints came in from both parties after the August primary about poll workers not informing voters that provisional ballots cast in the wrong location almost certainly would not count, Bartholomew said.

Melita Towler was left confused by the process. She’d cast a provisional ballot at the polling place nearest to where she was on primary day and said no one told she needed to vote in the precinct where she was registered. She was surprised to learn that her ballot hadn’t been counted.

“If they had just said that to me, I would have gone somewhere else,” she said. “I’m glad I found this out before the election in November.”

As a result of the complaints, Bartholomew said, the county changed its policy for the November presidential election. “Now, we are training our poll workers to let them know that if you are in the wrong polling place your vote will not count,” she said.

Maricopa County will also place signs reflecting this outside of precincts and near the roll book table, and has ramped up voter education stressing that the law requires voters to vote in the correct precinct.

“This has been in state law for many years, so every single election we try to make sure that these issues get smaller and smaller,” she said. “We’re hoping that number will continue to decrease and voters will go to the correct polling place.”

Whether you are a voter interested in sharing your experience at the polls this fall, or a journalist wanting to be a part of the Electionland coalition, find out more about the project and sign up.

 

Jessica Huseman is a reporting fellow at ProPublica.

 

Democrats Making Few Gains Among Latinos, Survey Finds

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Despite Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s more than yearlong bombardment of offensive remarks against Mexican immigrants—in which he called them rapists, thieves and killers and promised mass deportations—overall views of the Republican and Democratic parties among Hispanics have not changed much since 2012, according to a survey released Oct. 11 by the Pew Research Center.

Almost half of registered Latino voters surveyed, 54%, continue to consider the Democratic Party as more concerned with their needs than the Republican Party. Only 11% of those surveyed said Republicans are more concerned, while 28% said there is no difference between the political parties.

The numbers are not much different than they were four years ago when Democrats held a similar edge, when by a 61% to 10% margin Latino voters said they viewed Democrats as more concerned about Latinos.

The lack of movement is surprising considering that 75% of registered voters surveyed said they had discussed Trump’s negative comments about Hispanics or other groups with family, friends or coworkers.

“Among Hispanic registered voters who have discussed Trump’s comments, 74% say they have given ‘quite a lot’ of thought to the presidential election and 74% say they are ‘absolutely certain’ they will vote,” according to the Pew survey.

About 6 in 10 registered Latino voters favor Clinton (58%) over Trump (19%); 10% favor Libertarian Gary Johnson and 6% favor Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Democrats were doing better at this stage of the 2012 race between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, with Obama ultimately winning 71% of the Latino vote.

Clinton is not doing as well as Obama among Latino Millennials (those ages 18 to 35 in 2016), reports Pew Research. Millennials will make up nearly half of the record 27.3 million eligible Latino voters, but at 48%, their support of Clinton lags behind older Latinos (36 and older) whose support for Clinton stands at about 66%, and 21% for Trump.

About two-thirds (64%) of Latino Millennials who back Clinton describe their support as more a vote against Trump than a vote for Clinton. By contrast, 65% of older Clinton supporters say their support is more of a vote for her than a vote against Trump.

The big question, according to the survey results, is whether Latinos will turnout to vote given that their voter turnout numbers have long trailed those of other groups.

In 2012, 77%of registered Latinos voters said they were “absolutely certain” they would vote, that number has dropped to 66% for the upcoming November election. The sharpest decline is among Latino Millennials, with 62% saying they are certain they will vote compared with 74% who said the same four years ago.

Democratic political strategies worry that the lack of passion for Clinton’s candidacy could result in Latino Millennials failing to show up at the polls, which could prove problematic in swing states where Trump supporters continue to enthusiastically support his candidacy despite a barrage of news reports detailing allegations of boorish and inappropriate behavior toward women.

 

Clinton’s Lead Over Trump Growing, Survey Says

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Hillary Clinton holds an 11-point lead over her Republican rival for president, Donald Trump, according to a survey published October 11 by The Atlantic in partnership with PRRI.

According to the survey, likely voters favor Clinton by 49% compared to 38% for Trump.

Only two weeks ago, the same survey showed a tie between Clinton and Trump, with each standing at about 43% among voters most likely to show up at the polls.

But Clinton’s lead has been going up steadily since the first debate between the candidates in Hempstead, New York, on Sept. 26, when her lead grew six points (47%-41%),

In the aftermath of the release of a scandalous video last Friday showing Trump engaged in a lewd conversation about women, Clinton now leads Trump by 11 points, according to The Atlantic survey.

A big part of the change is being attributed to the flip within independent voters, the survey shows.

A week ago, Trump held an advantage of eight points over Clinton, (44%-36%) among voters without a party affiliation; however, among independents likely to vote, 44% now favor Clinton compared to 33% who favor the Republican candidate.

Also contributing to the shift, according to the survey, is the lack of growth in the number of white women without college degrees who support Trump, which is now at a draw with Clinton’s at 40% of likely voters.

This is especially telling about the split among Republicans, since conservative candidates usually win the support of this demographic by a large margin; in 2004 George W. Bush led by 19 points, John McCain led by 18 points in 2008, and in 2012, Mitt Romney’s led by 20 points.

Trump is still holding strong among male voters, with 65% compared to Clinton’s 22% among white males without a college degree, and 46% verses 39% for Clinton among those with a college degree.

“In a moment in which Trump needs to expand his support, this new survey shows his decline of support within independent voters and his fallout among women. Even if the white evangelicals continue to support the candidate, that enthusiasm on its own won’t be enough on Election Day,” PRRI’s Director Robert P. Jones said.

The website Real Clear Politics compares election survey results and has Clinton leading Trump by 6.5% (48.1% to 41.6%).

The survey’s results were based on telephone interviews conducted through a partnership between the Atlantic and PRRI between October 5 and 9 and were among a sample of 1.327 adults with a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

 

EGP Ballot Recommendations – Nov. 8 General Election

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

There’s a lot at stake in the November General Election, from the election of a new U.S. President and U.S. Senator from California, U.S. House of Representatives and members of the State Assembly. There are also
17 State, two L.A. County, one Community College District and four City of Los Angeles measures on the ballot. It’s a lot to keep track of and it’s easy to understand how some voters could feel overwhelmed.

But if ever there was a time to not sit out an election, this is it. There are billions of dollars and major shifts in crime policy at stake, all with potential long-term impacts to our economy and way of life.

 

Clinton for President

EGP endorsed Hillary Clinton for President during the June Primary Election and our support of her candidacy is even stronger today.

In June, we noted that her credentials as a former U.S. Senator and former Secretary of State and even her role as the country’s First Lady have made her the most qualified in the race for this country’s highest office. That hasn’t changed.

The mean-spirited, hateful, misogynist bullying by her Republican challenger Donald Trump is of deep concern to us. We believe that he has repeatedly failed to demonstrate the type of self-control and temperament needed to gain cooperation by other elected officials here at home and on the world stage.

In our view, a vote for Trump could be a vote for further deterioration of our political process, killing any chance of his achieving any of the vague policies goals he claims to have.

We are impressed by Clinton’s agreeing to examine and fix areas of the Affordable Care Act that are not working well, and her understanding of the fragile state of international affairs.

 

Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senator

As we stated in our Primary Election endorsement of Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate, her years of experience in the House of Representatives make her the most qualified candidate to replace Barbara Boxer.

In the currently charged, politically polarizing environment, it is especially noteworthy that her colleagues in the Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, have during this election stood up to support her candidacy because of her hard work ethic, ability to work in a bi-partisan way to get things done, and her extensive knowledge in key areas like the Armed Services.

We said we were disappointed by the early anointing by state Democrats of her opponent State Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, and that still stands.

We find statements that Latinos will get their chance when Sen. Feinstein retires unsettling. They remind us of all the times Latino candidates for office have been told to step back, “it’s not your turn yet.”

They’re wrong. It is time. Vote for Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate

 

Statewide Ballot Measures

Proposition 51 – Vote No

The School Bonds. Funding for K–12 School and Community College Facilities. Initiative Statute would authorize $9 billion in general obligation bonds for new construction and modernization of K–12 public school facilities; charter schools and vocational education facilities; and California Community Colleges facilities.

It is EGP’s first inclination to say yes to any Proposition that provides funding for schools and colleges. But the fact is that the need to construct new K-12 schools is declining along with enrollment. What this measure really does is secure billions of dollars for developers and contractors at a cost of $17.6 billion to taxpayers: $9 billion for the principal and $8.6 billion on top of the $2.7 billions were already on the hook for bonds approved in the past.

The cost of new spending should be done at the local level to meet local needs. Cities can require developers to pick up the slack for school funding, something they have been spared from doing as long as state bond funds are available.

 

Proposition 52 – Vote Yes

The Medi-Cal Hospital Fee Program Initiative permanantly extends the fee imposed on hospitals to fund Medi-Cal services. It’s true hospitals in California will get back the fees they paid, but the added matching funds from the federal government increases the funds available to provide patient care to Medi-Cal patients and the uninsured that would otherwise be lost.

The funding that hospitals are paid for the services in question are among the lowest in the nation and should probably be raised to insure adequate hospital services for all Californians.

Proposition 52 is a win for the State, and a hedge against the ever increasing cost of health care.

 

Proposition 53 – Vote No

The California Voter Approval Requirement for Revenue Bonds above $2 Billion Initiative is unnecessary as far as we are concerned. Voters expect their elected officials to decide what funds for local projects are needed and adding another constitutional amendment will only complicate matters for local jurisdictions.

The measure is poorly reasoned and written, and will add unnecessary delays to an already slow process.

 

Proposition 54 – Vote Yes

The last minute bargaining that goes on in the Legislature often winds up with the inclusion of untold numbers of items into legislation that the public has no time to vet.

In an effort to provide greater transparency, this proposition calls for the posting of any bill or changes to a bill on the Internet 72 hours prior to a final vote. It also authorizes use of recordings of all public meetings of the Legislature to be posted online for the public to review.

This proposition requires no new tax money, but it will certainly expand the public’s right to know what its elected officials are doing, and the ability to voice their opposition, or for that matter, their support, to legislative action.

Proposition 56 – Vote Yes

Increasing cigarette taxes by $2 per pack and taxing other tobacco related products and electronic cigarettes containing nicotine, as this measure proposes, will help reduce the number of smokers in the state, and recoup some of the high cost of treating smoking-related illnesses.

We believe that increasing the cost of the new smoking sensation, electronic cigarettes, among our young people will cut their use.

Revenues raised will be used to increase service reimbursements to doctors, pay for smoking prevention programs and healthcare by the very people who need and use the services the most. California can no longer afford to pick up the tab for the damages caused to public health and our environment by smoking, let alone the cost of providing health services to those addicted to nicotine.

Record Number of Californians Have Jobs

September 29, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

California employment has reached record levels and — while the future is somewhat uncertain because of the presidaential election and a pair of key measures on the November ballot — employment will likely continue to grow over the next two years, according to a UCLA economic forecast released Wednesday.

UCLA Anderson Forecast senior economist Jerry Nickelsburg wrote that the number of payroll jobs in the state has reached 16.5 million, up 6.7 percent from its previous peak. Factoring in farm labor and self-employment, the number of people working is at a record 18.2 million, up 7 percent from its previous high, according to Nickelsburg.

“How long can this go on?” Nickelsburg asked. “In less than two months, there will be a presidential election and on Jan. 20, 2017, less than four months away, a new president will be inaugurated. Who that president will be is unknown, but to be sure, whomever it might be will impact the forecast for California.”

Also looming large on the state’s economic horizon are two measures on the November ballot— Proposition 55’s proposed sales tax extension and Proposition 64’s proposed legalization of recreational marijuana use.

“Also, we hear of the threat of war — a trade war, that is,” Nickelsburg wrote in his essay, an allusion to Donald Trump’s statements on U.S.-China relations. “The impact of a trade war on the logistics industry, a vital industry for California, requires further investigation as it bears directly on the risk to the California forecast.”

But Nickelsburg concluded that despite the changes ahead, “economic policy, taxes and grass (marijuana) will not be significant players of the next 2 1/2 years.”

“The current forecast is for continued steady gains in employment through 2018,” Nickelsburg wrote. “What this means is a steady decrease in the unemployment rate in California over the next two years. We expect California’s unemployment rate to be insignificantly different from the U.S. rate at 5.4 percent by the end of the forecast period.”

Nickelburg predicted total employment growth of 2 percent this year, then 1.7 percent and 1.1 percent in the next two years.

On the national front, UCLA Anderson senior economist David Shulman predicted growth of gross domestic product of 2 percent to 2.5 percent in 2017 and 2018, with employment growth slowing from 200,000 jobs per month to 150,000 per month in 2017 and 125,000 in 2018.

“Remember the closer an economy is to full employment the more the demographics of the work force takes hold,” Shulman wrote. “The unemployment rate is forecast to be in a very tight 4.8 percent to 5 percent range for most of the forecast period as the labor force participation rate rises modestly.”

 

Hispanics Massing to Vote Against Trump

September 8, 2016 by · 2 Comments 

Donald Trump’s success with non-Hispanic non-uneducated white men has spilled over into the Hispanic male world. How can one explain that? Let’s look at the numbers from the gigantic poll taken by Latino Decisions of 3,729 registered Hispanic voters between August 19 and August 30.

No more stupid poll results from mainstream polling that interviews a tiny handful of Hispanics then posts the results as if they reflect Hispanic views and potential votes. This poll is so large and so professionally done by Hispanic PhDs that it only has a Margin of Error (MOE) of 1.6 percent.

No more Trump braggadocio about how Hispanics are going to vote for him in such numbers that he will carry the Hispanic vote.

It must be admitted however that Hispanic men are reflecting Trump’s success with non-Hispanic non-college educated white men.

From the beginning Trump has led among white non-college educated men. As of Labor Day, that is the single demographic unit Trump has a lead with; he doesn’t lead among college educated whites, women, Catholics, Blacks or Hispanics. He leads only among white men. His over-all Republican support is 15 to 20 percent less than what Mitt Romney received in 2012.

Back to Hispanic men; 24 percent of those registered Hispanic men polled by Latino Decisions support Donald Trump, 68 percent support Clinton. That whopping 24 percent support among Hispanic men for Trump is a gigantic 10 points higher than among Hispanic women. They give a huge 14 percent support to Trump.

Over-all 68 percent of Hispanics view Hillary Clinton “very or somewhat favorably.” Trump tubes it with Hispanics; 74 percent view Trump as “very or somewhat” unfavorably.

Predominately English speaking Hispanics break 65 percent for Clinton, 24 percent for Trump. Predominant Spanish speakers break 77 percent for Clinton, 14 percent for Trump. Native born and naturalized Hispanics mirror the language percentages.

Trump has one political accomplishment that he can be very proud of – he has motivated Hispanic voters like no other candidate since George W. Bush in 2004. Of course, Hispanics loved George W. Bush and flocked to the polls to give him 44 percent of their vote. Some Hispanics such as immigrant Evangelicals who had been in the country ten or more years gave 80 percent of their vote to President Bush.

Nothing like that will happen on November 8.

Seventy percent of those polled believe that Trump has turned the Republican Party sharply against Hispanics. Add that to his flipping and flopping on whether or not he is going to organize a storm-trooper like “deportation force” to round up “detain” (in his own words…Which would require huge prisons or detention camps) 11 million illegals plus their American citizen children and deport every single one of them at today’s cost of $12,000 per deportee and only after they have exhausted all of their legal Constitutional rights the Supreme Court has directed they have since the 1880s.

The Hispanic population is more motivated this year to vote for President than in 2012; the poll concluded that 76 percent of Hispanics polled feel that way.

Why? Two reasons: 39 percent rank immigration as their number one issue with the economy ranking second with 32 percent. More importantly, 59 percent of those polled stated they knew or were related to someone here illegally.

The poll reflects that Hispanics are set in concrete on voting in November and not voting for Donald Trump. That is “written.”

 

Raoul Lowery Contreras is the author of several books, including MURDER IN THE MOUNTAINS (Floricanto Press, 2016) now available at Amazon.com

 

High Expectations for Latino Vote

June 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Following the “disappointing” U.S. Supreme Court’s announcement that it was divided 4-4 and therefore a lower case decision blocking President Obama’s plan to expand the relief from deportation to the undocumented parents of U.S. born citizens and permanent residents will stand, activists say the future of immigration reform could now depend on the Latino vote.

If judges had overturned the Fifth Circuit’s decision in U.S, v. Texas, as many as 4 million undocumented immigrants would have been shielded from deportation and allowed to obtain work permits under Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) programs announced in November 2014.

Lea este artículo en Español: Hay Altas Expetativas en el Voto Latino

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has said she supports Obama’s immigration programs, while Donald Trump, the GOP’s presumptive nominee, says he will deport all undocumented immigrants if elected president.

Latinos are the second fastest growing group in the U.S. and according to political analysts, Trump needs to get 47% of the Latino vote if he hopes to win the White House in November.

In California, nearly one in every four registered voters (24%) is Latino. There are also 1.5 million legal permanent residents who are Latino and eligible to become citizens, but have not yet started the process, which among other benefits would give them the right to vote, something immigration rights activists are counting on.

Araceli Quijada, 54, has been a legal permanent resident for 36 years. The Boyle Heights resident says health issues and lack of time have kept her from applying for citizenship, but “I hope to do it this year,” she told EGP in Spanish.

Maria Montoya said she hasn't become a U.S. citizen out of fear. (Claudia Carrasco)

Maria Montoya said she hasn’t become a U.S. citizen out of fear. (Claudia Carrasco)

83-year old Maria Montoya has been a legal permanent resident for 15 years and says she fears the citizenship process. “At my age, it is difficult to learn the questionnaire in English,” she told EGP in Spanish.

Told twice —by nonprofit Hermandad Mexicana and a lawyer—that she had to take the written and oral tests in English, she decided not to apply, noting that it’s hard to find the right kind of help for someone of her age.

A recent analysis by the Willian C. Velasquez Institute (WCVI) showed “anemic growth” of Spanish Surname voters in California.

The analysis, using information from Political Data, Inc, showed a 3.1% increase – from 4.11 million to 4.24 million – in Spanish Surname voters between April 2015 and June 2016.

The numbers show the trends in Latino participation, WCVI President Antonio Gonzalez told EGP, explaining the increase in “net new voters.”

“Many more new Spanish Surname voters are registered to vote but they are not in that ‘net total’ either because they moved and didn’t re-register, left the state or passed away, shrinking the number of California Spanish Surname registered voters prior to the June 7 Primary Election, he said.

However, NALEO Educational Fund Spokesperson, Paula Valle told EGP the number of new Latino voters may be higher, adding they expect more than 3,839,000 Latinos in California to vote in the November Presidential Election.

“This would mark a 22 percent increase in Latino turnout in the state from Election 2012, and a 12 percent increase in the Latino share of the vote in the state from Election 2012,” she said.
Both agree a bigger effort to mobilize the Latino vote in California is needed.

“… Scant resources have found their way to Latino registration groups early in the election cycle despite promises from national funding sources as well as parties and candidates,” opined Gonzalez. He said increases in overall voter registration “was likely among non-Latinos and/or reflected lots of re-registrations of those who had moved.”

Of the total projected number of eligible Latino voters in the U.S. in 2016, about 44% or 27.3 million are millennials, between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the Pew Research Center.
“Eligible voting age unregistered Latinos will usually register to vote if they are directly contacted,” but they won’t register if they do not feel a connection to the political/electoral process, explained Gonzalez about the unmet voting potential.

Pro-immigrant activists hope that Latino Vote can change the future of immigration reform. (CHIRLA)

Pro-immigrant activists hope that Latino Vote can change the future of immigration reform. (CHIRLA)

Organizations are not focusing exclusively on Latinos and are spending more time on voter education than actual voter registration, Gonzalez told EGP, adding that they are exaggerating their success to please donors.

Research conducted by the National Immigration Forum found that 91% of legal permanent residents want to become U.S. citizens, but 61% have never received information about the process.

The New Americans Campaign—a coalition of several nonprofits that assist in the naturalization process—helps to bridge that information gap and show legal permanent residents that becoming a citizen isn’t as expensive or as difficult as they think, Communications Associate Meredith Brandt told EGP.

Becoming a U.S. citizen brings it’s own benefits, including the right to vote, she pointed out.

“This right gives immigrant communities the power to voice their priorities on all issues that affect their families and their communities,” she said.

32-year old Claudia Carrasco, a permanent resident for 14 years, told EGP she’s lately become more interested in becoming a citizen.

“I’m still shocked that even with [Trump’s] racist remarks and bigoted comments towards all minorities, he was chosen as the republican nominee” for president, she told EGP.

Carrasco won’t be able to vote in November but says she plans to campaign for the Democratic ticket. She agrees that Latinos who don’t speak English need more information about the importance of citizenship and voting.

Gonzalez says he hopes WCVI’s study will help give community leaders the information they need to address California’s problem of slow growth in Latino voter registration.

The number crunchers say Latinos are cynical about voting because they don’t see anything being done to counter attacks against them, said Gonzalez. “Maybe we are…but is the response to that really going to be nothing? We hope not, because between our size and the number of growing eligible voters, the power to change this is already ours.”

 

For more information about how to become a citizen visit:

The New Americans Campaign

NALEO or call its toll-free bilingual hotline (888) 839-8682

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Twitter @jackiereporter

jgarcia@egpnews.com

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