California Politics (Summer06)Presentation Transcript
California Government and Direct Democracy
What is difference in state and municipal jurisdiction?
How does CA government break from the tradition of a republic?
Who’s interests are served by the use of initiatives, referendums, and recalls?
States existed before the nation was created.
Constitution designed to maximized state sovereign.
Created a national government with powers to unify the states, but not to replace state governments
Federal government has enumerated power
States and municipal govts have reserved power
Federal, state, and municipal governments also share concurrent powers
Federalism Concurrent Powers Enumerated Powers Reserved Powers Reserved Powers Federal State Municipalities
Meet the population’s general needs and deliver services
Administration of justice
Only ¼ of the states revenues come from the federal aid
Most revenues must be meet by a variety of taxes
Federal and California Constitutions
Excessively long and detailed
California Constitution is 110 pages
California has amended 425 times
California Executive Branch
Different than federal executive where president appoints all of the executive positions
State executive positions are elected:
Lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, controller, treasurer, insurance commissioner, and superintendent of public instruction, board of equalization
California Legislative Branch
2 year terms (max of 3 terms)
4 year terms (max of 2 terms)
Make state laws, but laws can be made through initiatives
Draw state and federal legislative districts
Stupid State Laws
CA-Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship
Al-It is illegal for a driver to be blindfolded while operating a vehicle
S.Dak-If there are more than 5 Native Americans on your property you may shoot them.
LO- Biting someone with your natural teeth is "simple assault," while biting someone with your false teeth is "aggravated assault."
California Judicial Branch
3 level structure
Trial Courts (Superior Courts)
All civil and criminal cases
Misdemeanors and felonies
Organized in 6 districts
Review contested lower court rulings
7 Justices which are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the commission on judicial appointments
Interprets state constitution
Governing Body: Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors “five little kings”
District 1: Gloria Molina
District 2: Yvonne Burke
District 3: Zev Yaroslavsky
District 4: Don Knabe
District 5: Michael D. Antonovich (currently Mayor of the County of Los Angeles)
The board decides which issues should be addressed and in what manner
The board also hires the executive body (administrators in the county
LA City Governments
Most widely used
Mayor is chief executive
Council is legislature
Both mayor and council are elected
Different forms of Mayor-Council Plan
Strong mayor plan-mayor has more authority as an administrators and with the budget, and less checks from council
Weak mayor plan- Mayor has to share power with the executive officers and the council
Unique to California
California and Oregon use the tools of initiatives, recalls and referendum more than any other state.
Origin of Initiatives, Referendums, and Recalls
Due to the corruption that pervaded all levels of government at turn of the century and early 20 th century, citizens sought clean up politics and government by gaining direct control over it.
On October 10, 1911, by way of a special election called by Governor Hiram Johnson, the initiative process was established in California (SCA) 22.
Under the direct initiative, a measure is put directly to a vote after being submitted by a petition.
“ policy as is” means there are no debates, reviews, compromises, and amendments to legislation
People did not want an elite group (the state legislature) to make laws that would effect them without their direct input and consent.
Citizens wanted to make laws themselves and allow all the voters decide if it was valid.
Referendum calls for voters to ratify or repeal an existing act of the legislature.
Bond measures and amendments to the constitution are automatic referendum.
Makes legislature more accountable.
They cannot over spend public funds.
Recall petition and election:
Allows voters to remove and replace a state or municipal official. This must be an elected official.
A recall requires a “notice of formal intent” to be filed
Then a specified amount of time, a certain number of valid voter signatures must be collected
Voters then go to the polls and decide on two issues. One, should the official be removed from office. If the recall passes, then who should take his/her place.
Make official more accountable.
Prevents corruption and other malfeasance.
Competing Argument 1
Initiatives, referendums, and recalls allow democracy to be at its purest form. Issues not being address by legislature can be met here. Citizens know what is best for themselves and their communities; therefore, they know which laws, policies, and leaders are beneficial.
Competing Argument 2
Initiatives, referendums, and recalls are tools of the elite. It creates the illusion that popular will is being addressed, when in fact, these are tools of wealth individuals and organizations.
Competing Argument 3
Average citizens are not well informed enough to make such complex decisions on policies and law. Moreover, people are emotive and passionate. They can only see the immediate rather than the long term ramifications.
Support for Argument 1
Legislature is constrained on certain issues
Cannot be innovative
Cannot appear soft on crime or drugs
Initiatives allow for progressive ideas
Prop 215 (1996-medical marijuana)
Prop 36 (2000- drug treatment for first or second time convictions for possession)
Support for Argument 2
What is similar about these propositions?
Prop 184 (1994- 3 strikes)
Prop 187 (1994- withhold medical care and education from undocumented)
Prop 209 (1996- dismantled affirmative action)
Prop 227 (1998- limited bilingual programs)
Those initiatives received more than $400,000 from the Republican party
Support for Argument 2 : Gibbs and Bankhead Hypothesis
These propositions were orchestrated by the conservative movement, who were fearful of the non-white population.
These propositions were trying to protected the conservative way of life.
Support for Argument 2 : Tools of the Elite
Proposition 38 (2000-school vouchers)
Silicon Valley venture capitalist, Tim Draper and his family, put in 25 million into the proposition
Proposition 82 (2006-universal preschool)
Initiated by Rob Reiner, the producer and director
Darrell Issa but $500,000 of his own money to get the recall passed
Support for Argument 3: Weak Initiatives
Citizens are not versed in law
Many laws created through the initiatives process are thrown into the courts
94 laws and constitutional amendments passed through the initiative process between 1986 to 2000.
Of 40 laws passed through propositions, 26 were challenged (65%).
Of these challenges, 13 were invalidated in whole or part (50%).
Support for Argument 3: Weak Initiatives
Passions interfere with law making
Prop 184 (1994- 3 strikes)
Californians were angered by the kidnapping and murder of 12 yr old Polly Klass.
The highly publicized arrest of Richard Allen Davis revealed that he was a career criminal with prior violent crime convictions.
Media used phrases such as no compromise, no discretion, tough on crime, and zero tolerance rallied the public
After hearing all arguments, do you support the public use of initiatives, referendums, and recalls?