Wed, Nov 7, 2012 -- 10:00 AM

Election 2012: California and Bay Area Results

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Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images
Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

Californians decided major issues in Tuesday's election, including whether to abandon the death penalty, label genetically modified foods and raise taxes to fund schools. We discuss those propositions and more results from local and state races.

Host: Michael Krasny


  • Corey Cook, associate professor of politics and director of the Leo McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Common Good at the University of San Francisco
  • John Myers, political editor for KXTV in Sacramento and former Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News
  • Scott Shafer, reporter and host of KQED's The California Report

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Show Highlights

State Propositions

On How Prop. 30 Passed

We talked a lot about how the Governor struggled, I think, to clarify what the message was, the television ad said, you know, "Accountability, Schools," he would go out on the stump and say, "The budget and jobs," and it was a little confusing.

But the bottom line here was that the state budget was built in with these automatic spending cuts if Prop. 30 failed. And when you looked at the polls, and you saw the questions that people were asked, they were very, very concerned. I think 75 percent in the last field poll said they were worried about those trigger cuts and they oppose them as automatic cuts. I think at the end of the day, that's what got the Governor over the top - people said, 'I don't love the taxes but I don't want those cuts.'"

- John Myers

On How Much Relief Prop. 30 Offers to School

You saw a number of school districts around the state who made budgets earlier in the spring for this year; they made a budget assuming Prop. 30 would fail because they wanted to be conservative, they didn't want to have to cut in the middle of the year. So, in those school districts that made those plans it is a question of mine...Are there school districts that now go, 'Hey look, we were conservative, now we actually have the money, can we do some things here."

But the bottom line is -- I do have to point this out to the listeners -- this is a band-aid approach; I mean, this does not bring a lot of new money into the schools. That would have probably been Prop. 38. It will bring a little bit of new money, but it is a bit of a budget band-aid until [hopefully] the economy recovers and some other tax issues are resolved in the state.

- John Myers

On Prop. 34: Repeal the Death Penalty

We've had capitol punishment on the books since the voters put it in place in 1978 in California, it has always polled well, that is, people have supported the death penalty. In the early parts of this election cycle, Prop. 34 looked like it was doing better, there were people who were really, seriously considering doing away with it because of the financial costs of all of the appeals that death row inmates get, but as the race went on, and as the polling went on, the measure got lower and lower, and as, you know, you said, about a five point loss at this point for Prop. 34 supporters and the death penalty would stay in place. So I will point out, that the people who said, who were opposed to Prop. 34, have already issued a statement this morning saying, 'Let's fix the system, it does not work well in California, let's deal with all the death row inmates, let's deal with the block on executions in the state, you know, lets try to fix it."

- John Myers

There hasn't been an execution in California since 2006. There are 14 inmates on death row who have exhausted their appeals and so right now there is still a moratorium from the courts but if California does again proceed with executions, perhaps with a different protocol than the three drug protocol that they had been using, you know, we could begin to actually see some executions. It's been a long time, that could change public opinion too.

- Scott Shafer

On Prop. 37: Labels Genetically Engineered Foods

The big food companies across the country and the agriculture interest spent a tremendous amount of money on ads, raising a lot of questions about how Prop. 37 would work, that the labels wouldn't have really told you anything, that there were too many opportunities for frivolous lawsuits and on and on and on. And to me that's another reminder that the television ads work, and the campaigns work, and when you can poke a hole in an initiative, the default measure of Californians, typically is no.

- John Myers

Bay Area Races

On San Francisco's Board of Supervisors Race in District One

This is the most expensive supervisorial race in San Francisco history and a ton of outside money, independent expenditures. I mean, mailings everyday, door hangers everyday.

Eric Mar appears to have held on to his seat, he was, I think, an embattled incumbent, I think there are a lot of folks who thought this would be an incredibly close race - as of the current counting, I think he has a 16 percentage point lead, which is sizable. I mean when he was elected he narrowly won his seat in the first place.

- Corey Cook

On San Francisco's Board of Supervisors Race in District Five and Seven

The most progressive district in San Francisco, which is District 5, appears to have elected London Breed, who is regarded as the most moderate of the candidates in that district. She is ahead by 8 or 9 percentage points on first place tallies. The department of elections -- this is a rank choice election -- so they actually ran the rank choice tally last night, to give a preliminary count and she actually picks up votes every round so she's in pretty good shape.

So to replace, in effect, Ross Mirkarimi, London Breed is likely to be the victorious candidate in that race.

District 7, which is considered the most conservative district in San Francisco, appears to have elected a progressive. And so these two districts somewhat appear to have swapped themselves. And so I think we have this?largely the same sort of balance we had before, bur for very different reasons. And I think people are going to be sorting out what exactly happened in 5, what happened in 7 for a while.

- Corey Cook

On the Race for Berkeley's Mayor

The Berkeley Mayoral race [hasn't] been close, and I'm a little bit disappointed as somebody who studies rank choice voting, because we had not only candidates that were endorsing each other but actually sharing a headquarters together, which we haven't seen before. And so these three candidates who are opposing Tom Bates actually shared headquarters, they ran together, they said 'Vote for all three of us.' And it appears that Tom Bates will have won without even a rank choice election occurring.

- Corey Cook

On Changes in Oakland

Rebecca Kaplan appears to have won. The challenger Ignacio De La Fuente, challenged her for the city wide seat  -- there's one city wide city council seat in Oakland. There is going to be a lot of turnover in Oakland, there's going to be three new city council members, all in races that are too close [too call], where there are vacancies, so open seats. So three of the eight city council members will be new, which is, I think going to be significant in Oakland.

[Mayor Jean Quan] was at loggerheads with the city council so it certainly can't hurt. Her closest ally on the board was Rebecca Kaplan, her biggest opponent was Ignacia De La Fuente, so a lot of attention [paid] to this race.

- Corey Cook


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