California campaign spending boosts business-friendly Democrats


Hoping to reshape the Democratic coalition governing the California Legislature, business-backed outside groups spent millions during the 2014 election cycle to elect Democrats they believe will be more sympathetic to their interests.

Newly elected Democratic candidates aided by business-funded groups posted an impressive record. In seven out of 10 races to fill open seats, the Democratic candidate who benefited from independent spending by business groups prevailed.

Those results have prompted talk of a new generation of business-friendly Democrats assuming office. Some groups that spent lavishly on behalf of those Democrats are touting their success.

Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy, for example, spent $1.1 million on the effort,
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Why 8 Out of 9 Californians Don’t Buy Earthquake Insurance

By , August 25, 2014

Early estimates suggest the economic losses from Sunday’s 6.0-magnitude earthquake in Northern California, the largest quake to hit the Golden State in 25 years, could hit $1 billion. When it comes to rebuilding, much of the cost will come out of people’s own pockets.

The percentage of homeowners with earthquake insurance in California and across the U.S. has declined, despite rising estimates of the risk of an earthquake. A survey by the Insurance Information Institute, a nonprofit that’s funded by the insurance industry, found that 7 percent of U.S. homeowners have earthquake insurance, down from 13 percent just two years ago. In the West, ground
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California Legislature is looking more moderate due to voting reforms

By George Skelton, LA Times,, Nov 12, 2014

Until last week, no Democratic state legislator running for reelection had lost to a Republican in 20 years. Then suddenly three did.

When incumbents start losing their legislative seats, it means something is happening.

The national Republican wave? Sure. Some of that washed into California. But it wasn’t just that.

Also credit — or blame — voter-approved reforms that are starting to affect California’s legislative elections.

First, voters stripped the Legislature of its power to shamelessly gerrymander districts to protect incumbents. The remapping duty was handed to an independent citizens’ commission. The first effect was felt in the 2012 elections.

The idea was to make redistricting less
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California’s new Legislature inexperienced but has more time to adjust

BY JEREMY B. WHITE, JWHITE@SACBEE.COM, Updated 11/10/2014 12:27 AM

Like fire clearing an old growth forest, last week’s election elevated a class of freshman lawmakers who will join last cycle’s surge of first-term legislators to form one of the least experienced Legislatures in years.

When the 2015-16 Legislature convenes later this year, a majority of lawmakers – 72 out of 120 – will arrive with at most two years of state-level experience. The critical mass of relative newcomers reflects a shift in California’s term limit rules with dual consequences: While the incoming class of lawmakers is sparse on state legislative experience, it could also remain largely intact for a decade.

“I think it’s probably the
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No Senate supermajority for California Democrats, Assembly margin still in doubt


Two years after California Democrats swept to commanding two-thirds majorities in both houses of the state Legislature, they were unable to again claim the same margin in the Senate and the Assembly remained in doubt with key races too close to call.

Republicans captured two closely contested Senate seats central to the supermajority hopes of Democrats. Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen defeated former Democratic Assemblyman Democrat Jose Solorio, while Republican Sen. Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, repelled a challenge from Democrat Luis Chavez to retain a spot in the Senate he first won in a tight special election last year.

“I think the people want to see more of
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Once a crusader against big money, Gov. Brown is collecting millions


Twenty years ago, one of the first callers to Jerry Brown’s radio show, “We the People,” asked whether campaign money had influenced him as governor in the 1970s and ’80s.

“You bet I was influenced,” he said. ”You think you can collect $10 million or $20 million and not let it affect your judgment? Your behavior is influenced, and that is the vice that is destroying us.

“People who work in a fish factory,” he added tartly, “don’t realize they stink.”



Oct. 31, 9:35 a.m.: Earlier versions of this post identified a person in a photo caption as Anne Gust Brown, Gov. Jerry
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A Guide to Homeowners’ Liability for Injury to Trick or Treaters

By Christopher J. Boggs | October 31, 2014

Halloween pranks. Google this phrase and more than 5 million results link you to a myriad of ways to “mess with peoples’ minds” on Halloween. Some of the recommended pranks require a higher education to understand; some ideas are, well, strange; but some pranks are meant to do one thing – scare people (mainly kids). When kids and adults get scared, they do strange things, and sometimes they get hurt, or hurt someone else.

This is not intended to take the pranksters’ fun out of Halloween. Rather this is a review of the legal liability placed on those who set out to scare the little candy
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California Earthquake Authority Proposes to Lower Rates

By Don Jergler | October 23, 2014

The California Earthquake Authority on Thursday proposed an average 8 percent decrease in rates.

CEA’s Advisory Panel recommended the rate decreases, along with additional coverage options in deductibles, discounts and certain limits, to the CEA Governing Board, which next meets in December. Board approval would advance the proposals to regulatory consideration by the California Department of Insurance.

If the board and CDI clear the way, CEA’s new expanded coverages and lower rates would begin to take effect Jan. 1, 2016.

CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy said an increasingly rate-friendly reinsurance space and capital markets with an appetitive for investing in catastrophe bonds generated enough savings for the carrier to offer the rate
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Pelosi makes the case against Prop. 45

San Francisco Chronicle | October 27, 2014

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi covered plenty of territory in her meeting with The Chronicle’s Editorial Board on Monday, but one issue made her more animated than any other: state Proposition 45’s threat to the landmark federal health care law she shepherded through Congress in 2010.

“If I wanted to kill the Affordable Care Act, I would do this,” she said, slapping a copy of the initiative on the table for emphasis.

Pelosi’s expression of opposition to Prop. 45 was noteworthy in both its vehemence and its level of detail of its “potential to be very disruptive” to Covered California. It also was significant because Pelosi emphasized that
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Does Prop 103 Violate Itself?

By Ian Adams | Right Street Blog | October 20, 2014

The history of the American administrative state has been filled with attempts to introduce “rationality” and “discipline” to circumstances in which markets, left to their own devices, allegedly lead to socially or politically undesirable outcomes.

Brimming with good will and well-meaning intention, champions of state intervention seek to invent systems to accommodate and serve those least able to care for themselves. Californians can even directly participate in such efforts through the initiative process.

In 1988, a slim majority of California voters passed Proposition 103, a landmark initiative they were told would reform the state’s auto insurance market for the better. What they did not count
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