Sunday, November 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

State GOP turns to referenda

TomEliasW

By
From page A10 | December 29, 2013 |

There was a time, and not so long ago, when politicians who flouted deeply held public feelings often faced survival threats the next time they ran for re-election.

Those days may not be totally over in California, but for the most part they are now confined to intra-party disputes during primary elections. The times appear long gone when the Legislature’s minority party would seriously try to regain a majority in either the state Assembly or Senate as a result of votes by their political opponents.

Republicans, with fewer than 30 percent of the state’s registered voters, harbor no illusions that they will soon win back control of the Legislature. So when conservatives viscerally dislike and detest something, they are now taking the referendum route, asking voters to overturn laws before they take effect.

California voters will see on their ballots next November some products of the GOP’s throwing in that legislative towel.

When Democrats in the 1960s passed the Rumford Fair Housing Act banning racial and religious discrimination in real estate rentals and sales, Republicans made a strong effort to oust many of them and retake a majority.

There has been no similar issue-driven effort in half a century.

Before last year, Californians had not faced a serious referendum drive since 1982 (like ballot initiatives, referenda quality for the ballot by gathering voter signatures). A bipartisan popular vote then overturned the Legislature’s plan to build a Peripheral Canal to bring Northern California river water south around the delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers.

In 2012, voters faced one referendum, placed on the ballot by Republicans unhappy with a nonpartisan citizens commission remap of state Senate districts. The measure lost by 72-28 percent. There was some confusion, as there often is with referenda: A yes vote on the referendum actually supported the law the measure sought to overturn.

It will be similar next year, when voters likely will face three referenda, on the social issues of gambling, abortion and gender identification.

The anti-abortion and anti-transgender rights measures both are the work of conservative political activists, while the anti-gambling referendum is funded mostly by casino Indian tribes disliking the idea of other tribes building gaming resorts off their remote reservations. “Don’t allow gambling where it’s convenient,” they will beseech voters. “Instead, keep using our remote locations.”

In fact, more money could be spent on both sides of that referendum, which aims to overturn gambling compacts approved for two small tribes, than on the transgender- and abortion-related ones.

The gender identification measure, which often may be called a “bathroom battle,” targets a new law letting transgender students in public schools use whichever sex restroom they feel most comfortable in. It also lets them compete in sports with the gender of their choice. So you could have some boys who identify as girls playing on girls’ teams without undergoing sex-change operations.

The abortion-related referendum, for which signatures are now being gathered, seeks to block a new law allowing early-term abortions by specially trained nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives and physicians assistants. That law resulted from a six-year pilot program at UC San Francisco that saw more than 8,000 early-term aspiration abortions conducted and no more complications than when the same procedure is done by doctors.

The idea of that new law is to make abortions more available in more than 25 counties that now have no abortion providers.

Leading opponent the Most Rev. Gerald Wilkerson, president of the California Catholic Conference, maintains that “Until (abortion) becomes illegal, we will oppose measures which expand it.”

Abortion foes hope to get the same degree of volunteer support enjoyed by opponents of the new transgender law. Most signatures to quality the referendum to overturn that one were obtained by volunteers.

But referenda are a piecemeal approach. Even in a day when they are becoming more common, voters offended by some new laws will not get a chance to try repealing most of what they dislike.

And yet, with one party essentially giving up on taking over significant parts of the state’s decision-making process, referenda may be the only recourse for deeply offended voters.

— Reach syndicated columnist Tom Elias at tdelias@aol.com

Comments

comments

.

News

Hollywood readies its big guns for the holidays

By Derrick Bang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Need for local foster parents grows

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1

 
Tactical robot decreases officer risks

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Berkeley, Santa Cruz students protest fee hikes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Couple arrested on drug, firearm possession charges

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Woman confronts suspicious follower

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Bob Dunning: Signs, signs, everywhere a sign

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

For the record

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

 
Auction-bound student artwork stolen in downtown heist

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

UCD awarded $100M to lead program to predict, prevent pandemic threats

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Breakfast with Santa tickets are going fast

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Workshop will answer financial aid questions

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Probationers, parolees graduate from Yolo transitional program

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Free boot camp, yoga fundraiser this week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Enterprise observes holiday hours

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Bell-ringers still needed this holiday season

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Give blood and get a free movie ticket

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Thanksgiving feast is open to all

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Round up at the registers for Davis schools

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Yolo Food Bank invites locals to run with the flock

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Museum announces holiday schedule

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
At the Pond: Stop, look and listen

By Jean Jackman | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Swing your partner!

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A6

 
Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

Fairfield School enjoys a festive feast

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Right at home: gifts you can use and use up

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Dec. 10 jeans drive benefits STEAC

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

 
Davis Community Church history recounted in Sunday talk

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Open your heart

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Bob Hope interview pulled from ‘the vault’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Forum

There’s only one way to fix this

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Students barking up the wrong tree

By Our View | From Page: A14

Rick McKee cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A14

 
Heartbroken over treatment of teacher

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A14, 1 Comment

Google, tell me. Is my son a genius?

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A14

 
Daryl Cagle cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A15

Cordial political discourse: Seven years later, the thoughts resonate

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

 
Easing the stress during college application season

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A15

When the computer stares back

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A16

 
How I want to be remembered

By Marion Franck | From Page: A16

 
Watch out for holiday weight gain

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A16

.

Sports

Turnovers costly as UC Davis loses Classic, 41-30

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Aggie men finish off Furman

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Upset-minded Lions bounce UCD from WWPA tourney

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
New, old-look helmets not enough to lift UCD footballers

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Late shot sinks Aggie women

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
UCD roundup: Seniors play well in Aggie volleyball loss

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Wire briefs: Kings get past depleted T-Wolves

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
With volleyball playoff berth, DHS accomplished its 2014 goal

By Evan Ream | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Features

.

Arts

.

Business

 
Don’t pass up the parking gift downtown

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A13

Doby Fleeman: Give thanks for our innovation culture

By Doby Fleeman | From Page: A20

 
Honey, spreads showcased at open house

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A20

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Sunday, November 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8