By Doug Porter
The high season is upon us, the time of year when elected officials offer addresses on how our state is faring — overviews of California and its local governments. Mayor Faulconer will host his smile-a-thon at the Balboa Theater tonight… All together now: Everything is beautiful….
Gov. Jerry Brown will take his turn at the podium next Thursday (Jan 21st). It’s likely he’ll give us all The Lecture on fiscal prudence and run through a laundry list of unfinished projects: funding gaps for Medi-Cal, transportation infrastructure maintenance, and further attention to climate change.
In advance of Gov. Brown’s speech, two major polling outfits have released data purporting to show the mood of the people. Depending on who’s asking, Gov. Brown is either working against the will of the people or has the vision to lead the state into the future.
As is true with nearly all polling in California, there exists a deep partisan split in the state. Conservative/Republican voters, who dominate the interior regions, have a negative view on the state of the state and the governor’s performance. Coastal liberal/Democratic voters are more upbeat.
The Hoover Institution, a right-leaning public policy think tank and research institution located at Stanford University, has released its January 2016 Golden State Poll. Conducted in in partnership with the Palo Alto-based research firm YouGov, the poll’s 1800 person sample is matched on gender, age, race, education, party identification, ideology, and political interest.
Hoover Institution research fellow Carson Bruno offered up the negative view of things in an article for Real Clear Markets, headlined “ California Public Opinion Runs Against Governor Brown.”
He bemoans declining coverage of Sacramento (people would dislike Brown only if they only knew…), along with polling negatives on the concept of a mileage-based user fee. High-speed rail, reforming CA’s prison system, with gun control and climate change are all not among respondents top priorities in the Hoover analysis.
When it comes to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento, the fact that both of them are capital cities is pretty much where the similarities end. While the President’s State of the Union Address is covered during prime time on every TV station, the Governor’s State of the State speech is barely even referenced in state newspapers. But most of all, while national newspapers and television clamor for the best political reporting talent, since Schwarzenegger left Sacramento the clamoring among California’s media has been for the exit. And overall, the public doesn’t appear to be missing the coverage of Sacramento. In the last decade, Google Trend interest in search terms related to the state’s government has dropped almost 90%. Sacramento literally is out of sight and out of mind.
The Field Research Organization also released its latest data this morning. Just over one thousand registered voters in California were interviewed by phone in both English and Spanish. The results were was weighted to align with the distribution of voters by race/ethnicity and other demographic, geographic and party registration characteristics of the state’s registered voter population.
The Field Poll, taken as rains offered some relief from California’s severe drought, points to an increasingly upbeat view among registered voters. Half those surveyed say things in the state are going in the right direction, a ten point jump since May.
From the Sacramento Bee:
Brown, a fourth-term Democrat, has remained relatively popular since returning to office in 2011, and his job approval rating of 56 percent was in line with recent measures.
A majority of voters say Brown has the right experience to deal with California’s problems, has the vision to lead the state into the future and is making California a world leader in reducing the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.
However, voters are split on whether Brown is doing enough to help the average Californian, and a majority fault him for favoring “too many big government projects that the state cannot afford right now.”
Can the Sugar
Some other interesting Field polling emerged yesterday, and the nation’s sugary beverage makers aren’t going to approve.
Nearly four out of five registered voters — 78 percent — support a warning label on sugary beverages, according to a statewide Field Poll released Wednesday. More than half of those surveyed — 54 percent — “strongly” favor a label.
Overall support crossed party lines. “You see bipartisan support, although different levels of support,” said Mark DiCamillo, Field Poll director. Eighty-six percent of Democrats supported a label with 12 percent opposed; among Republicans, 60 percent supported and 37 percent opposed.
This is the second Field Poll in two years on the question, with a slight increase over the 2014 results showing 74 percent support.
Registered voters across the state were asked about their support for a warning stating: “Studies show that daily consumption of soda and other sugary drinks contributes to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay.”
A $350 Million Payday
Over at City Beat, editor Ron Donoho engaged in some informed speculation about what he calls Subsidy-Ball, a riff on the Powerball lottery, wherein the local populace gets $350 million as a consolation prize if Chargers leave town.
Let ’em go, gang. The Spanos Chargers don’t love you. Never did. It was all about the money.
Speaking of green, let’s get back to that $350 million pot of gold San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and County Supervisor Ron Roberts dug up from city/county coffers. C’mon, you all played exotic games of what-if for Powerball. Subsidy-ball will be fun but also pragmatic. Suggest what you’ll invest in for the city—and don’t say hookers and cocaine.
Chris Ward is willing to play. The candidate for San Diego’s District 3 City Council seat penciled out a whole Subsidy-ball budget: $125 million for immediate neighborhood infrastructure; $75 million for upgrades to public safety facilities; $50 million to end veteran homelessness; $50 million to upgrade Balboa Park; $25 million to invest in small business support; $15 million to incentivize water conservation; $10 million to improve city IT.
Point Loma Nazarene University’s Dean Nelson and Mesa College professor Carl Luna also weigh in, pointing out the many wonderful things possible in such a scenario. It’s all great fun, especially after years of hearing about what the city can’t do. The really sad part of this is that all this “found money” is guaranteed to disappear.
On This Day: 1943 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to fly in an airplane while in office. He flew from Miami to French Morocco where he met with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to discuss World War II. 1970 – A display of John Lennon’s erotic “Bag One” lithographs opened in London. 2 days later Scotland Yard seized prints as evidence of pornography. 1995 – The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled bosses can fire workers for being gay.
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