CalWatchdog Morning Read – January 3

  • Proposed ballot measure asks if state should take action it already took
  • Kern County law enforcement under fire
  • Did California legalize child prostitution?
  • Making sense of Trump
  • Kamala Harris’ coronation?

Good morning. Happy New Year! We start this year with a question: Should California’s elected officials do everything in their power to make the country decide presidential elections by a national popular vote?

A recently introduced ballot measure asks just that, coming on the heels of the second presidential election since 2000 where the candidate with the most votes lost in the Electoral College, which is mostly a winner-take-all system based on statewide popular vote.

But there’s one catch: California passed legislation in 2011 joining a national effort to scrap the current system in favor of the national popular vote, which CalWatchdog wrote about in February. 

Besides being largely redundant, the ballot measure would be merely advisory, with no force of law (the measure only asks if policy makers should do something; it doesn’t direct them to do anything). It’s similar in effect to Prop. 59 from the November ballot, which focused on campaign finance law. 

“My focus is less on exact means than on the goal,” said the measure’s proponent, Rod Howard, an attorney who specializes in mergers and acquisitions. “The interstate NPV compact is one approach, and an ingenious one. But it’s only one approach, and it does not yet have the force of law.”

CalWatchdog has more.

In other news:

  • Law enforcement: “A year after being branded by a London newspaper as America’s most lethal police force, the Bakersfield Police Department and the Kern County Sheriff’s Office are now the subjects of civil rights investigations by the state Attorney General’s Office.” CalWatchdog has more. 

  • Fact check: “A misleading column about a new state law by an Orange County lawmaker has sparked inaccurate online reports taking off on Facebook. Assemblyman Travis Allen, R-Huntington Beach, wrote a piece for the Washington Examiner under the headline ‘California Democrats legalize child prostitution,’ which has been cut and pasted by a variety of partisan websites as the basis for their false claims.” The Sacramento Bee has more. 

  • Trump: “If you struggle to get a handle on some of President-elect Donald Trump’s comments, here’s a hint: Don’t take him literally. Sometimes Trump shoots from the hip, before he’s thought things through. Sometimes, at least during the campaign, he’d repeat lines that roused the crowd. And there’s a growing perception that sometimes, he’s doing what he’s spent his career doing – being a negotiator, not a typical politician whose words you take at face value.” The Orange County Register has more. 

  • Kamala Watch: “California’s newest U.S. senator, Kamala Harris, faces extraordinarily high expectations as she takes her oath of office on Tuesday,” Politico reports.


  • Back tomorrow. 

Gov. Brown:

  • No public events scheduled.

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