A REPRISE OF PESTICIDE ISSUE: It appears the campaign of Democrat Julia Brownley in the 26th Congressional District is preparing to reprise an attack against Republican Tony Strickland that was used extensively against him in his 2008 campaign for state Senate. In a robocall from the Brownley campaign, the automated caller devotes the entire negative portion of the call to talking about Strickland's 2002 vote against a Ventura County Farm Bureau-sponsored bill to give local agricultural commissioners greater authority to regulate pesticide spraying near schools.
The bill was inspired by a spraying incident adjacent to Ventura's Mound School in 2000 in which pesticide drifted onto the campus, sickening 20 people, including schoolchildren. Local farmers and parent groups came together to develop a plan to prevent such incidents in the future, and fashioned a solution that was authored as legislation by then-Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson. The measure became law, but Strickland voted against it.
The message says that Strickland "took over $31,000 from pesticide companies and then voted against protecting children from potentially cancer-causing pesticides."
Brownley is using the same political consulting firm, SG&A Campaigns, that Jackson employed in 2008, and the Mound School television ad was one of the most effective that Jackson used that year. It now appears that the Brownley camp may be getting ready to recycle it.
PROFILE OF CALIFORNIA VOTERS -- Just in time for another election season, the researchers at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California have produced a straightforward, "Just the Facts" report on the California electorate.
Ever wonder what percentage of independent voters are men? What percentage of the likely California voters live in Los Angeles County? The answers to such questions and many more are provided here. As for those two specific questions, the answers are, respectively, 58 percent and 25 percent.
TARGETING NEW AND INFREQUENT VOTERS -- The Ventura-based community-organizing group CAUSE is about to take on what it calls the largest civic engagement effort in its history, with a goal of of turning out thousands of new and infrequent voters in November to support Proposition 30.
In an email to supporters last week, Maricela Morales of CAUSE writes: "After years of budget cuts, California's schools are at the breaking point...
"On November 6, voters will decide whether we pass Prop 30 to save our schools by raising the tax rate on the richest Californians who have been profiting greatly while low income families continue to suffer. Voters will also have the choice to stop Prop 32, the deceptive initiative that claims to clean up politics, but really opens gaping loopholes for corporations and Super PACs.
"CAUSE is launching a massive effort to talk to voters in low-income communities about how these propositions impact their lives and turn thousands of new and occasional voters out cast their ballot by election day."
Such goals are commonplace before elections, of course, but there is reason this time around to pay some attention. CAUSE is one of several community-based groups around the state that earlier this year played a significant role in qualifying a so-called "millionaire's tax" for the ballot. The petitions were never submitted, but only because their efforts were so successful that they forced Gov. Jerry Brown into a last-minute compromise in which he modified Proposition 30 to satisfy advocates for the millionaire's tax. Grassroots civic organizations, like sports teams, tend to perform a little better once they get some momentum on their side.
COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY POSITIONS: The Ventura County Democratic Central Committee has announced its positions on state and local ballot measures this fall. A position on one measure, Santa Paula's school-unification Measure M, was postponed pending further study.
Here are the positions adopted:
Measure L (NO)--Term limits for City of Thousand Oaks City Council members
Measure N (YES)--City of Simi Valley renewal of managed growth plan
Measure O (YES)--Affordable housing in the City of Moorpark
Measures P through T (YES)--School bond issues for Ocean View, Oxnard, Somis Union and Hueneme Elementary School district (and Measure Q, a parcel tax for the Ventura Unified School District).
Proposition 30 (YES)--protects funding for schools and public safety.
Proposition 31 (NO)--locks California into permanent underfunding of education, health and other vital services
Proposition 32 (NO)--creates exemptions for the very rich and SuperPACs in funding elections
Proposition 33 (NO)--auto insurance rate hike
Proposition 34 (YES)--replaces death penalty with life without parole
Proposition 35 (YES)--increases human trafficking penalties
Proposition 36 (YES)--reforms the "three strikes" law
Proposition 37 (YES)--requires labeling of genetically engineered foods
Proposition 38 (NO)--would provide revenues for schools but conflicts with Proposition 30.
Proposition 39 (YES)--dedicates tax revenue from multistate corporations to fund energy efficiency and clean energy jobs in California. The California Democratic Party is neutral on this measure.
Proposition 40 (YES)--referendum on State Senate district boundaries.