CalWatchdog Morning Read – September 7

  • CalWatchdogLogoTobacco tax one of the most heated ballot measures
  • Santa Ana declares homeless crisis
  • Death row residents conflicted over competing death penalty ballot measures
  • First Los Angeles County city approves marijuana cultivation
  • Environmental group wants to reintroduce grizzly bears to the state

Good morning! Happy hump day. We’re talking about ballot measures first this morning. 

There’s broad agreement that the 17 initiatives on the statewide ballot on November 8 cover some of the most significant public-policy issues to come before voters in more than a decade.

For instance, voters will have a chance to legalize marijuana, outlaw the death penalty, put an end to the state’s virtual ban on bilingual education, approve a broad gun-control package and reduce prison sentences for some non-violent felons.

But two months before the election, one of the highest-visibility measures also is fairly narrow in scope. Proposition 56 would raise California’s relatively low tobacco tax (relative to other states) by $2 a cigarette pack – and increase taxes by an equivalent amount on all other tobacco products (cigars, chewing tobacco, etc.).

It also would significantly increase taxes on electronic cigarettes and vaping products. It has high visibility right now because of a series of advertisements opponents are running on radio stations across the state.

CalWatchdog has more.  

In other news:

  • “Orange County plans to open a temporary homeless shelter in a former Santa Ana bus terminal within 30 days in an effort to address mounting pressure to reduce a large homeless encampment that has engulfed nearby government offices, causing health and safety problems. The action came just hours before the Santa Ana City Council approved a resolution declaring ‘a public health and safety homeless crisis.’” The Orange County Register has more. 
  • “California voters face two capital punishment choices on the November ballot: End the death penalty or speed the way for execution. On death row, inmates are conflicted on the prospects of one-shot appeals, mandated lawyer assignments and simplified execution rules meant to rekindle a capital punishment system that hasn’t executed anyone in a decade, or the simple alternative, throw out the death penalty in favor of life without parole.” The Los Angeles Times has more. 

  • Lynwood is the first city in Los Angeles County to approve marijuana cultivation, reports LA Weekly.

  • “The mighty grizzly bear ruled California’s valleys, forests and coasts with fierce claws and jaws until people shot the last ones nearly a century ago. Now an environmental group is asking the state to consider bringing it back,” reports The San Jose Mercury News, which is showing off its flashy new website this morning.
  • Quote of the day: “Reintroducing grizzly bears to California would be idiotic,” said Pete Margiotta, a Walnut Creek resident and longtime hunter. “Somebody is going to get killed.” 


  • Gone ’til December.

Gov. Brown:

  • Speaking at 12:30 p.m. at the California Independent System Operator’s eighth annual stakeholder symposium in Sacramento.

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