‘Tis the season of scorecards

‘Tis the season of scorecards.  First we had the California League of Conservation Voters, then the Sierra Club California.  Now Capital Weekly has produced one that purports to measure the voting performance of the state legislature on a Conservative – Liberal continuum.

Some comments below the fold.

It is interesting that the oft maligned (at least on Calitics) Able Maldonado has a more liberal voting record than several Democrats… notably Roderick Wright and Gloria Negrete McLeod.  That is a likely reflection on the makeup of their districts. That confirms the CW bias for contested districts and centrist legislators.

For all of its imperfections, once again, we found this scorecard to be a worthy exercise. Terms like “liberal” and “conservative” are crude political shorthand, but we think the results give a pretty fair representation of the ideological makeup of the Assembly and Senate.

Also, our scorecard reflects what most Capitol observers know to be true: Democrats in contested districts like Alyson Huber and Lou Correa earn more centrist marks than those lawmakers in more solid, partisan districts.

As for the environmental scorecards, the two major ones scored differently.  In some cases, they took the same position. e.g. AB 64.  Others, they were on opposite sides of the questions, most notably on the Special Session Water Legislation, where the Sierra Club scored SBX7.1 and SBX7.2 (oppose) and the CLCV did not include it.  Since this was the most publicly fought over ecological legislation of the year, it looks like the CLCV took the political stance of ducking hard choices, though they have put a lot of energy into promoting those two bills.

Typical of the results was a 100% score from the CLCV for Jared Huffman (AD-6) while the Sierra Club only gave him 12/15, reflecting his strong support of the water legislation.  

3 thoughts on “‘Tis the season of scorecards”

  1. Thanks for covering Sierra Club California’s 2009 Legislative Report Card. I want to note that we have corrected Assemblymember Huffman’s score to reflect the fact that he sent a letter to the Journal asking to be counted as a “No” vote on AB 1066, a logging bill that we opposed. He had inadvertently been recorded as an “Aye,” even though he had opposed the bill all along. This brings his overall score to 13/15.

    Also, although you are right about CLCV’s support for SBx7.1, the Delta Governance bill that we opposed, CLCV did not support or oppose SBx7.2, the water bond. We urge all progressives to oppose this bloated bond.

    Bill Magavern, Director, Sierra Club California

  2. In addition to (intentionally or not) misrepresenting CLCV’s position on the bond measure (which the organization, like most environmental groups, opposed), Wes misrepresents why the water policy package was left out of the annual Environmental Scorecard. So I’ll offer another point of clarification. First and foremost, the selection of the bills included in the Scorecard (a 35-page document which takes several weeks to calculate scores, write, edit and otherwise assemble) took place several weeks before the votes on the water legislation. In addition, while the Scorecard commentary is CLCV’s, the Scorecard itself is the product of a collaborative effort, during the legislative year with over 50 environmental groups. The bills chosen for the Scorecard reflect the consultation and input of the entire conservation community. So, even if the water policies hadn’t been voted upon long after the bills for Environmental Scorecard were selected with input from dozens of groups, the fact that the environmental community was extraordinarily divided on the policies would have meant that the bills weren’t appropriate candidates for the Scorecard. I hope this helps to clear up any confusion about the Scorecard.

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