Tag Archives: John Perez

Yee Advances to General Election as Pérez Concedes

SF Gay Pride 2009 - State BOE Betty YeeFormer speaker concedes to allow election to move forward

by Brian Leubitz

The trouble with elections decided by less that 500 votes is that you are basically within the margin of error. It isn’t the same kind of error you get in a poll, but the point remains. There are just going to be mistakes somewhere along the line. That’s the nature of the process. But John Pérez has decided that in the interest of moving the election forward to concede.

While I strongly believe that completing this process would result in me advancing to the General Election, it is clear that there are significant deficiencies in the process itself which make continuing the recount problematic. Even in the effort so far, we have found uncounted ballots, but there is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end, given the fact that counties must begin printing ballots in the next few weeks in order to ensure that overseas and military voters can receive their ballots in a timely manner. (John Pérez release)

Yee thanked the former speaker and is looking forward to the general election:

“I want to thank Speaker Emeritus John A. Pérez for doing the right thing in recognizing that the recount was unlikely to reverse the outcome of the June primary election.  This allows us to move forward and to be united for the November general election.  John A. Perez is an outstanding leader who has played an important role in helping to put California back on sound fiscal footing.  He ran a strong and positive campaign and will have a long career of leadership and public service.”

Betty Yee Finishes 2nd, Faces Swearingen in November

Yee defeats former Speaker John Pérez

by Brian Leubitz

Maybe you see races decided by 484 votes for some City Council races, or in some some states in exceptionally close elections. But in a California statewide election? That razor’s edge is extremely rare:

A month after the primary election, Democrat Betty Yee finished 484 votes ahead of John A. Pérez for second-place in the state controller’s race, officials announced Monday.

Lake County Registrar Diane Fridley used nearly all of her allotted 28 days to certify the results in the down-ballot contest that sparked a daily ritual of political junkies refreshing their web browsers. (SacBee)

Just how close is that? It is 12 thousandths of a percent of the vote total.   Or approximately the same as the vote difference in Florida in 2000 (percentage wise).

Pérez can seek recounts of specific precincts, but there is always the risk of going the other way. There is no guarantee of picking up votes in any one precinct. Because Lake County took so much time, there is a limited decision period for Pérez to decide if he wants to seek that recount. But as of right now, Betty Yee looks to be the favorite over Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearingen in November.

Yee and Pérez still waiting on Lake County

Lake County holds the last remaining uncounted ballots.

by Brian Leubitz

UPDATE June 30: Lake County News has an update:

The Board of Supervisors will meet in a special evening session next Tuesday to take up, among other things, the final canvass for the June 3 election. The board will meet beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 1 … Registrar of Voters Diane Fridley has until 5 p.m. Tuesday to complete the count, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Fridley’s office is the last of the 58 county election offices statewide to complete the final count for the June 3 primary, according to the unprocessed ballot posted by the California Secretary of State’s Office on Friday.

Maybe tomorrow we’ll have an idea of what is going on in Lake County for those last 6,000+ ballots.

The Controller’s race is now sitting at a 861 vote lead for BoE member Betty Yee over former Speaker John Pérez. And the only remaining outstanding mail-in ballots come from Lake County:

But before any decisions are made on a possible recount, there are about 6,000 ballots to count in Lake County, where Pérez outpolled Yee by about seven percentage points in election day results. Diane Fridley, the Lake County registrar, said Tuesday that the office plans to process 5,263 vote-by-mail ballots Thursday morning and will sometime later deal with 743 provisional and 47 damaged ballots. The office will finish its work no later than next Tuesday’s deadline, said Fridley, who is on light duty following surgery and has only a skeleton staff to help with the ballot work.

Fridley said it’s the first time in her 36 years at the office that any statewide race could come down to Lake County. Both campaigns have been in touch and plan to have representatives in her Lakeport office on Thursday.

“We’re working as fast as we can,” she said.(SacBee)

It does seem a bit odd that Lake County is now the focus, but we are still waiting on those results. In the results previously announced in that county, Pérez and Republican David Evans basically tied with 2326 and 2325 votes. Yee trailed behind with 1662 and Swearingen with 1134. If the proportions are the same with those 5,263 votes, Pérez (and Evans) would pick up about 390 votes on Yee. That would still leave Yee ahead by over 400 votes.

But to be clear, this is an extraordinarily close race. In the end, it could come down to a few thousandths of a point. In an election with about 4 million votes, the odds of that happening are just mind-boggling.

Lake County said that they would be counting on Thursday, but no results have been released on the web yet. I’ll update this post if results are released

The Controller Race Continues

SF Gay Pride 2009 - State BOE Betty YeeBetty Yee holds 2nd place (barely) as counting continues

by Brian Leubitz

Counties across California are making progress on the unprocessed ballots. For most races, this isn’t really a big deal. However, in the Controller’s race, where the 2nd place result is likely to be determined by a few thousand votes at most, every vote is critical. Here’s the situation as of 10AM today:

LA Pride Mayor Villaraigosa's Garden PartySwearingen: 870,625

Yee: 758,401

Pérez: 757,328

Evans: 752,556

Evans is falling behind a little bit, which is a very comforting sign for all the Democrats out there worried about a 2 Republican race. (Like, umm, me.) But with 791,885 unprocessed ballots, including over 148K in Los Angeles County alone, there is a lot of uncertainty left. You can check the most recent unprocessed ballots report here. The most recent report at the time of writing this is from last evening.

Counties have a little less than a month to certify their results to the Secretary of State, so a bit of patience is required. Not necessarily easy though.

UPDATE: John Pérez has now taken a small lead (1123 votes) as of Wednesday morning as a big batch of LA ballots came in. The total unprocessed votes now stands at 328,576.

UPDATE 2: Yee took the 2nd place spot back this afternoon. She now leads by 2,820 over Pérez.

Top 2 Promotes Gamesmanship, Bad Outcomes for Voters

Election Results Leave Many Puzzled

by Brian Leubitz

Yesterday was the election, but I’m not going to give you the typical wrap up of last night’s election. There are many good places for that, the LA Times, the SF Chronicle, the Sacramento Bee, all the usual suspects. I also highly recommend Josh Richman’s Political Blotter. But today, I’m on a bit of a mission/rant, one that I started last night on twitter. And it really can’t be fully fleshed out in 140 character chunks.

This is our first real statewide primary with the so-called “jungle primary” aka Top 2. We saw same strange outcomes in 2012 with legislative and Congressional races, but those could be shrugged off as local anomalies. The 31st Congressional District is usually cited as the worst case scenario, with Pete Aguilar, the top Democratic vote getter falling two points short of making the top 2.  But in that race, Democrats only received 48.5% of the vote. Not having a Democrat was a bit silly, and could have been avoided (with a back room deal). However, the general election would still have been a tough race.

But take a look at the following scenario: Democrats split 48.4% of the vote, with a left-leaning third party candidate getting another 5.7%. In this scenario, Republicans garner only 46%. However, two Republicans move on to the general election.

Supporters of Top 2 often claim that June shouldn’t be determinative. It is a low-turnout election, so the two most popular candidates should move on. Or that the Democrats should have done a better job in organizing, or choosing candidates. They should have split that 48.4% better, or one candidate should have been stronger. But isn’t that essentially encouraging back-room deals? That is not what democracy should look like. If the good government groups that were behind the measure along with Gov. Schwarzenegger hoped they were enpowering the people, they should have known better.

This of course brings us to the Controller’s race (updated results here). Right now, the case isn’t as grim as my scenario just listed. Ashley Swearingen, the Republican Mayor of Fresno, leads all candidates with 24.4%. Former Speaker John Pérez is currently in second place with 21.7%, leading Republican David Evans by 2,436 votes and Democratic Member of the BOE Betty Yee by 5,643 votes. If those numbers hold up, Pérez would be the favorite to win in the fall.

But just who is this David Evans? He filed no campaign finance report with the Secretary of State, or at least nothing has yet appeared on Cal-Access. His website is vague and very 1998. He does have that video I posted, but there is otherwise very little information to go on. He is apparently a CPA, which I suppose is a reasonable qualification, especially when voters are none too pleased with their politicians. And his ballot designation of “Chief Financial Officer” and first ballot position are quite valuable when voters are coming into the ballot booth with very little information. But even with a good ballot designation, how exactly did he get 636,109 votes?

Because there is no campaign finance report, we don’t know how he used whatever small amount of money he had. Maybe he bought a few slate cards and hoped that his ballot designation would bring him luck. Apparently it did, although the legality of “Chief Financial Officer” seems somewhat questionable, considering adjectives aren’t normally allowed. Maybe there were some IEs for him, whether out of gamesmanship or sincere support for Mr. Evans, but I wasn’t able to track down on Cal-Access, but who knows with that website.

That being said, how could it truly be said that if Evans picks up 3,000 votes, that he and Swearingen are the strongest two candidates? Or the candidates that the voters of California want to see on the ballot. Not only does Top 2 disenfranchise lesser parties, in this case it could possibly disenfranchise the majority of the voters in the race between the two left-leaning parties.

Top 2 is fatally flawed. It is riddled with problems that promote the worst kind of gamesmanship and do nothing to promote democracy. Maybe somebody could dream up a more workable system, but it is a solution in search of a problem. And now it is a problem in search of a solution: the easiest being the complete repeal of Top-2 voting.

Toni Atkins to Get the Gavel on May 12

LGBT Health Symposium 21729Takes over from Speaker Perez

by Brian Leubitz

We’ve known Toni Atkins was going to be our next speaker for a while now, but the date of transition was something of a mystery. Now we have that answer:

The Assembly will have a new speaker May 12.

Assemblywoman Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) was designated speaker-elect in an Assembly vote two weeks ago.

Multiple Capitol sources confirm that on Wednesday, current Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) announced at an Assembly Democratic caucus meeting that the transition will take place in about six weeks. (LA Times)

Her first big task? Well, that would be the budget. The May revise will come out right around that date, so her team will need to be ready to respond from day 1. A thrilling way to hit the ground running, I suppose.

CADem14: No Endorsements in Controller, SoS

Competitive Endorsement Races Amounted to a Whole Lot of Nothing

by Brian Leubitz

If you happened to walk into the Westin Bonaventure over the weekend, you may be confused why the key cards said “Alex Padilla”. But the endorsement races for the Secretary of State and Controller races were the highlight of the weekend.

But when it came down to it, the races weren’t settled at the party convention and the party will remain silent, at least until after the general election.  In the controllers race, Speaker John A. Perez got a plurality, but wasn’t able to garner anywhere near the necessary 60% required to get the endorsement. Betty Yee was able to attract strong support as well, showing that we might have an interesting race here.

In the Secretary of State race, Alex Padilla was nearly able to pull off the 60% endorsement. However, when all of the votes were counted, Padilla fell a few votes short.

In the end, the voters will have to decide for themselves without the help of the party endorsement. One thing is clear, all of the five Democratic candidates in the two races are qualified for the position. Perhaps the endorsement is most useful to let voters know when there is a Democratic candidate who doesn’t honor the values of the Democratic party.

Speaker Perez to Run for Controller

Assembly Speaker John Perez-Democratic Advocates for Disability Issues-DADI-Kennedy Democrats-Granada Hills-91344-818-VAASWill face off against at least Betty Yee

by Brian Leubitz

In the merry-go-round of politicians, it is never surprising to see elected officials turn up on down ballot statewide races. Speaker John Perez, the first openly gay speaker of the Assembly, has today announced that he will be running for Controller:

Assembly Speaker John Pérez announced Wednesday he will run for state controller next year when he is termed out of his current job.

The announcement came as Pérez fielded audience questions at his Town Hall Los Angeles talk at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown.

“I’m faced with the reality that I’m term-limited next year and really struggled with what I would do,” Pérez said. “In the last two days I’ve made a decision. This afternoon I will be announcing that I will be running for controller.” (SCPR)

While rumors have swirled as to whether former LA Mayor candidate (and City Controller) Wendy Greuel will run for the position, Board of Equalization member Betty Yee has been running for a while. Yee, who has served in the Dept. Of Finance prior to her election to the BoE, has a wealth of experience for the position, and her grassroots connections will make her a strong candidate. But Perez will have a big war chest for the race and has higher name id than Yee.

Perez probably scares away most of the LA area elected officials thinking about the race (other than Greuel), and no serious Republican challenger has announced a run yet. But if it is to be a contest between Yee and Perez, it would get interesting.

Take Action Now — Stop Sacramento’s 11th Hour Assault on Environmental Protection

Take ActionWe need your help! In the last week of the legislative session, polluters may be getting a big gift if last minute legislation is not amended.

Californians can look forward to hazardous waste being “left in place” instead of removed and sent to specially constructed and licensed facilities under last minute amendments to Speaker John Perez’s Assembly Bill 1330. The legislation now calls for meeting environmental targets by “reducing the disposal of hazardous waste.”

That’s like “cleaning up” Prince William Sound by letting Exxon leave oil in the Bay.

Will you help us stop this outrageous power grab by polluters by calling on your legislators for amendments today?

The toxic amendment appears to be the brain child of polluters and Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) Director Debbie Raphael. The DTSC has been the subject of whistleblower and consumer complaints that it is falling down on the job, but the last minute amendments would let polluters have a pass on cleaning up their pollution. Among the beneficiaries are Boeing, Chevron, KB Homes, Lockheed Martin and Waste Management, all prolific donors in Sacramento.

No doubt major industry players from Boeing – with its radioactively contaminated Simi Valley land – to KB Homes – and their plans to build on radioactive sites next to industrial factories without adequate clean up, are rubbing their hands together. This legislation disposes of the need for disposal, saving them millions of dollars and making official what the DTSC has already been quietly sanctioning.

Waste that is not removed continues to expose the public to toxins via different pathways from breathing it in to ingesting it through food or water.

Please take a minute to weigh in with your state lawmakers and stop this power grab by polluters.

Posted by Liza Tucker, Consumer Advocate and Author of the Golden Wasteland Report. For more information on Consumer Watchdog and our Toxics Watchdog project, follow us online on Facebook and Twitter.

The Quick Scandal of the Public Records Act

Legislation was swiftly killed by Democratic leaders after attention focused on the plan

by Brian Leubitz

Sometimes there are scandals that rage like wildfires so quickly that there is no other way for them to just burn up all the fuel.  Today, it seems the Public Records Act brouhaha was something along those lines. First, some background

California’s Public Records Act, revered by citizen activists and journalists as a fundamental right to open government, came under assault last week in a cost-cutting move as legislators approved a new state budget. But now, with Gov. Jerry Brown poised to sign the budget, lawmakers are split over a campaign to restore funding to save the transparency law.

Long story short, the Public Records Act was a state mandate for local government action. That meant that the state had to pay those expenses. In a cost-cutting move, the leaders and the Governor opted to basically eliminate the state mandate to cut funding to the local governments for open records. Most municipalities would simply then be forced to pay for their own open records.

But, in a time of still tight budgets, it wasn’t clear that all municipalities would provide adequate funding, so good government advocates through up a big stink today.  All of the state’s major newspapers editorialized against the measure. And it worked. Sort of.

The Assembly reversed course, with the Speaker saying that he was planning on reversing the trailer bill responsible for the fracas. However, the Senate leaders, thought otherwise. Senators Steinberg and Leno proposed a constitutional amendment that would let the voters decide who pays for the open records. (See the video to the right…whenever it is marked public)

I’m not sure this is ultimately the best decision to be made by the voters, but the option is there. Relatively uninformed voters will ultimately decide who pays for the open records, but it punts the issue until next June.

Open records are critical to vibrant democracy. Who pays for them doesn’t really matter, but with the state reaching for additional funds everywhere it can, you can see local government skepticism. And many municipalities just won’t prioritize open records. A final outcome will be likely be decided on this tomorrow.