Aiello, Dan

Dan Aiello, is the Sacramento reporter for the California Progress Report.

State Dems call on Brown for one last fight

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

At the end of an unopposed primary race, the elder statesman of California's Democratic party, former governor and current Attorney General Jerry Brown accepted his party's gubernatorial nomination Tuesday night with personal reflection and political guile that long-time political observers called 'vintage' Brown.  

"I'm here as the Democratic candidate for governor," Brown told supporters. "But I'm also here as a Californian that's disgusted with the awful mess in Sacramento, and the politicians and the Wall Street bankers that got us there." 

Propositions 16 and 17 failing, but remain too close to call

Two contentious ballot initiatives in California's primary remained too close to call early Wednesday morning, however, with 81% of the precincts reporting both propositions appeared headed for a narrow defeat.  

As of 2:30 a.m., prop. 16 - yes: 1,638, 192 (47.7%), no: 1,793,969 (52.3%)

As of 2:3o a.m., prop 17 - yes: 1,666,705 (48.3%), no: 1,783,864 (51.7%)

The Secretary of State's election result links below provide you an up-to-the-minute reporting on these initiatives.

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.

Speaker Pelosi Voices Prop 16 Opposition, Fiorina and Whitman Break Away in Polling

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced her opposition to state ballot proposition 16 on Sunday, as many consumer rights advocates worried PG&E's last minute spending would be enough to pass the anti-consumer measure.

Prop 16 is the ballot initiative that would limit the ability of cities and counties to go into the public power business, while preventing existing public utility providers, like Sacramento Municipal Utility District from either expanding services or service area.  

PG&E has used legitimate voter concern over the state's fiscal woes to offer its unrelated and self-serving prop 16 as the solution. 

Prop 17 Ads Refer to Consumer Protections as a "'Flaw"

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

If California voters approve Mercury Insurance Company’s initiative, Proposition 17 in June, they will be repealing part of the consumer protections enshrined in the state's Proposition 103 voters passed in 1988 in response to a poorly regulated and increasingly predatory insurance industry creating new ways to justify rate increases, say initiative opponents.

Los Angeles Times reporter, Michael Hiltzik, calls Proposition 17 ”essentially the latest attempt by Mercury (Insurance) to eviscerate Prop 103."  

Contra Costa Times columnist, Byron Williams, called both Propositions 16 and 17 “Deceptive Perversions of California’s Initiative Process."

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.' 

Prop 16: Ugly Use, but Not Abuse, of California's Initiative Process, Say Experts

By Dan Aiello

There's no doubt that Proposition 16 on California's June Primary ballot is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and with millions at its disposal to buy the deceptive yarn combined with state law forbidding public utilities from responding to the attack, Pacific Gas and Electric has frustrated consumer rights advocates who are calling its effort a shameful abuse of the state's initiative process

While political deception is afoot in the ad claims of the prop 16 campaign from the amount it says is a state deficit to the assertion that prop 16 would effectively resolve it, political experts defend PG&E's 'effort to get an advantage over its competition' as, if an ugly use, not an abuse, of California's century-old attempt at direct democracy.

Catholics Expel 8-Year Old Boy for Having Gay Parents

By Dan Aiello

An 8-year old Catholic boy became the latest casualty in his church's war against same-sex marriage when the third-grader was kicked out of his Massachusetts elementary school after school administrators learned his parents are lesbians.

Administrators of St. Paul Elementary, a private Roman Diocese Catholic school in Hingham, Massachusetts, withdrew the student's admission this week after they learned the boy's parents are lesbians.

"We weren’t hiding," stated one of the mothers of the boy, who spoke on condition of anonymity to protect her son from further harm. She confirmed both parents listed their names on their son’s admission forms. "I’m accustomed to discrimination, I suppose, at my age and my experience as a gay woman, but I didn’t expect it against my child."

Budget Deficit Rooted in Commercial Property Assessment, 'Total System Failure' Finds CTRA Report

By Dan Aiello
California Progress Report

Amidst the perennial partisan finger-pointing over California's budget and deficit, the California Tax Reform Association (CTRA) has released a new report  concluding California's current commercial property tax assessment policy, not its spending on education and social programs as suggested in Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's latest political campaign ads, is the culprit crippling the state's ability to balance its books.

The idea to revise the state's commercial property code is not new.  Following passage of Proposition 13, the realization that no clear definition of what types of transactions constituted a commercial property sale created a huge windfall of tax breaks for commercial property owners - amounting to $7.5 billion dollars annually - that is not enjoyed by residential homeowners.

With AB 2492, State would close a '$7.5 billion' annual corporate tax loophole

By Dan Aiello

The idea of a revision to the state’s property tax law - established with passage of Proposition 13 more than three decades ago - is in no way new to Sacramento.

It was born with the post-Prop 13 realization that what came to legally define a commercial property sale was not the same as what traditionally defined a residential property sale and revisionist proponents claim it was that legal definition which created a corporate tax loophole unintended by the overwhelming number of California voters who supported - and still support - the "stable tax" Jarvis-Gann initiative.

The idea to revise Prop 13's commercial property exemption has been championed by former Senators Quentin Kopp (I-SF) and Martha Escutia (D-LA) over the course of a decade, and more recently by Warren Buffet while acting as Governor Schwarzenegger's financial advisor and as legislation sponsored by the California Teacher’s Association desperate to turn around the state’s lagging national ranking in per-student spending ratios.