Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner

California Candidates Scapegoat Immigrants, Ignore Blacks

By Elena Shore
New America Media

California voters are going to the polls for the primaries today, and San Francisco is embarking on the Secure Communities program, in which fingerprints collected at local jails are shared with immigration authorities. Both events are getting flak from Spanish-language media.

The GOP gubernatorial candidate’s race is getting “nasty,” according to an editorial last week in La Opinión, as Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner essentially compete to see who is more anti-immigrant.

“Demagoguery and bigotry have replaced reason,” the editorial argues. Editors of La Opinión write that they are “deeply upset” that the Republican race has been characterized by what they see as “the debasement of political debate and malice toward the undocumented,” and they call on voters not to forget how ugly things have gotten when they go to the polls in November.

Poizner Raises 'Favored Son' Specter With Anti-Immigrant Speech in Final Days of Campaign

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

California's Republican primary race for governor has become the latest point of combustion for Arizona's profiling-mandated response to illegal immigration.

Arizona's so-called 'paper bag' solution - anyone darker than a paper bag should be questioned by law enforcement - is a tailor-made litmus test for conservative candidates in a conservative state, but the profile-mandating legislative solution in Arizona is a high-risk gamble for California's State Insurance Commissioner, Steve Poizner, who is reaching right for conservative support in a final days bid to close the gap on the Republican gubernatorial primary fruntrunner, Meg Whitman.

Non-Native GOP Candidates Fuel Anti-Immigrant Sentiment Among Conservative Voters in CA Governor's Race

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

California's primary race for the state's top job has become the latest point of combustion for Arizona's racial and socio-economic profiling-mandate response to illegal immigration.

Arizona's so-called 'paper bag' solution - anyone darker than a paper bag should be questioned by law enforcement and arrested if unable to produce documentation proving citizenship - is as tailor-made a litmus test for conservatives today as Johnson's 1964 signing of the voter's rights law was for conservative southern Democrats who eventually became the foundation for the Grand Old Party that Reagan built, and party of the 'birthers.' 

Assessing the USC/LA Times Poll

By Robert Cruickshank

While Calitics was away enjoying the long weekend here in our Golden State, the latest USC/LA Times poll was released. It contains lots of good information, and now that it's been out for a couple of days, we can drill down to see what it reveals, instead of just reporting on the toplines.

Don't get me wrong, the toplines are fascinating. USC/LAT reports Whitman has rebuilt her lead over Poizner (53-29) and that Fiorina has jumped out to a big lead of her own (Fiorina 38, Campbell 23, DeVore 16). Significantly, a lot of Fiorina's support is recent, suggesting a momentum shift to her and away from Campbell. DeVore's recent rise further suggests Campbell is doomed, and is left to plead for donations.

Off to the Races: Toss-up in the Insurance Commissioners Contest

By Steve Maviglio

There's little doubt that this race is the sleeper on the June primary ballot. The two candidates -- both Assemblymembers who probably would have spent long careers in the Legislature if it weren't for term limits -- have similar progressive voting records. They both share a history of activism on insurance issues. And they share the same failing: little name recognition.

Jones' career in the Assembly has been overshadowed in Sacramento by his State Senator, Darrell Steinberg. Meanwhile, De La Torre has done solid service in the Assembly -- gaining headlines for a much-publicized rift with former Speaker Fabian Nunez (they've since patched things up) and pushing health care reform. But De La Torre hasn't become a household name either, even in political circles, despite a short-lived run for Speaker himself a few years back.

Anthem Blue Cross Withdraws Rate Hikes

By Anthony Wright
Health Access

California consumers got some relief today. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that Anthem Blue Cross of California has withdrawn their rate filings, after a review of an independent actuary has revealed various problems, including arithmetic errors and double-counting.

The rate hikes of up to 39% were controversial, the subject of a white-hot presidential spotlight during the health reform debate.

It's great that California ratepayers got a reprieve from outrageous rate hikes by Anthem Blue Cross of California.

But more than rate relief, this withdrawal of the rate hike proposals show why we need regulators to have active oversight over the insurance industry. This review was done under existing law, which provided very limited authority, and it was still able to find basic problems in arithmetic and double-counting.

If It Was Good Enough For Reagan, Why Isn't It Good Enough for Whitman and Poizner?

By Robert Cruickshank

"It" refers to granting amnesty to undocumented immigrants. In 1986 Ronald Reagan signed a bill that included amnesty provisions, yet conservatives and Republicans still revere him. That 1986 bill did not destroy America or its economy, as we had at least two sustained periods of significant economic growth in this country afterward.

Despite the myriad other problems facing California, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner have apparently decided that "illegal immigration" is the most important issue facing Californians. Both have written op-eds in monday's LA Times on the issue, and both try to outdo each other in opposing amnesty, blaming immigrants for California's problems, and pledging a crackdown, even though none of this is either practical or necessary.

Meg Whitman:

At The Top Of The Ticket…Our Ho-Hum Candidates

By Peter Schrag

Last week’s Field Poll numbers on the governor’s race reconfirms two things that should have been obvious for months: (1) The people who might be good enough to deal with California’s problems weren’t going to run -- and aren’t -- and (2) the voters are understandably ho-hum about the bunch that is running:

Some 60 percent of voters either have an unfavorable opinion (27 percent) or no opinion (33 percent) about Republican Meg Whitman; Democrat Jerry Brown is close behind with a ho hum score of 59 percent. Republican Steve Poizner, hanging on for dear life in the race for the GOP nomination, scores a whopping 84 percent on the negative-undecided scale.  

Understandably, (1) and (2) are closely related. Unexciting and flawed candidates make for an unexcited electorate. But given the money already spent at this stage of the campaign and the huge questions the winner will confront, the size of the ennui factor is really depressing.   

Brown is In

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Attorney General Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown, Jr., the Jesuit- and Yale-educated son of governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown - himself earning the state's top job twice in the 1970's at a time of economic hardship for the state similar to today - formally announced his candidacy for governor of California Tuesday.

The former governor's announcement makes Brown the only prominent Democrat currently seeking the party’s nomination in California’s 2010 gubernatorial bid.

California’s Women’s Political Mud Wrestling Squad

By Peter Schrag

The California Republican Party is still dominated by white males, both in its leadership and in its rank and file. But when it comes to political eye-gouging and no-holds-barred knees-to-the-groin campaign combat, there’s little glass ceiling left. Whatever shards Sarah Palin had missed, Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina took care of them last week.

Both are also showing that they can be manipulated, suckered and exploited by political consultants as shamefully as the guys. Since both are also multi-millionaires as well as arrogant and eminently pluckable, is it any wonder that voters have nothing but contempt for the people who want to be their leaders?