The claws are coming out in California — not because it’s Halloween, but because voters have just one week left to cast their ballots in the Nov. 8 election.
As the campaigns enter their final countdown, races for seats in the state legislature and the United States House of Representatives are turning ugly, with candidates or independent committees sending out political attack ads that their opponents have called false or misleading.
In Los Angeles, for example, U.S. Rep. Jimmy Gomez’s campaign sent out three mailers in October portraying his challenger, immigration attorney David Kim, as a MAGA Republican backed by QAnon extremists, the New York Times reports. Hook: Both men are progressive Democrats.
- Longtime Democratic strategist Garry South told the Times: “It’s a race to the bottom.” … I just don’t think these clashes between Democrats should turn into a derby about who can accuse the other of being the most extreme. This is not a healthy debate.’
A similar dynamic is at play in the increasingly heated race between Democrats Angelique Ashby and Dave Jones to represent Sacramento in the state Senate, which has already seen legal battles and huge amounts of special interest spending.
The latest controversy: a Jones campaign flier that accuses Ashby of “lying to Republican voters” and says she has received endorsements from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Fem Dems of Sacramento, a charter Democratic caucus.
It paid off Applause on Twitter from Jim DeBoe, Newsom’s executive secretary, who questioned why the California Democratic Party would support Jones if his campaign “sent an email to Republicans denouncing Democrats.” The Fem Dems also punched Jones for his “decision to use us as pawns for political gain with Republican voters whose values are at odds with our club’s progressive principles.”
- Michael Soneff, a consultant to the Jones campaign, he tweeted: “Dave Jones did not condemn the Democrats. We set the record straight. … Ashby was telling Republicans that she was a Republican. … We tell the voters the truth.”
But allegations of misleading mailers aren’t limited to Dem-on-Dem races.
- NARAL Pro-Choice California slams California Medical Association and California Condominium Association for sending ‘misleading mailer’ in a tight race for a state Assembly seat anchored around Santa Clarita that says incumbent Republican Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares “supports reproductive freedom.” NARAL Pro-Choice California, which supports Valladares’ Democratic challenger Pilar Schiavo, described Valladares as an “anti-choice Republican” who has “time and time again … voted against reproductive freedom.”
- Accusations of racism fly in fierce race to represent Orange County in the US House of Representatives with state Sen. Dave Min of Costa Mesa, called on GOP Michelle Steel to immediately withdraw “despicable campaign ads” that “falsely slander” her Democratic opponent Jay Chen as a “Communist China sympathizer.” The ads, Min said in a statement, “further fan the flames of anti-Asian hatred and will lead to more violence against Asian Americans.” Newsom’s campaign sent out an email endorsing Chen on Monday, the same day Steele’s campaign sent out a press release titled, “Who is racist? Jay Chen’s longtime support of affirmative action hurts Asian Americans.”
In lighter election news: Calling all fans of crossword puzzles! If you’re looking to lean on a statewide ballot measure — or just desperate to make kidney dialysis regulation fun — CalMatters’ Ben Christopher and Jeremia Kimelman have packed in some tips on props, campaign slogans, and other assorted tidbits. An 86-key crossword that we challenge you to complete in less than 15 minutes. Getting help is fine if you use the CalMatters voter guide.
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Other stories you should know
What might the affirmative action decision mean for California colleges?
It looks like the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to take the same stance as California voters in 2020 when they rejected a ballot measure to restore affirmative action at the state’s public universities and agencies. In Monday’s oral arguments, a majority of the nation’s highest court justices expressed skepticism about continuing to allow universities to consider using race as a factor in admissions decisions: “I’ve heard the word ‘diversity’ several times before and I have no idea what that means.” said Justice Clarence Thomas as the court heard two cases seeking to overturn racially biased admissions policies at Harvard and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Tell me what the educational benefits are.
A final decision isn’t expected for months, but if the Supreme Court were to declare affirmative action unconstitutional, it would have an immediate impact on admissions practices at California’s private schools, which enrolled more than 356,000 students in 2020. which, along with other public higher education systems, has been barred from using affirmative action since 1996, offered a glimpse of what that might look like in a brief urging the court to uphold the practice: Despite launching new programs to increase the number of underrepresented students at campus and ending the use of SAT and ACT scores in admissions considerations, “UC strives to enroll a student body that is sufficiently racially diverse to achieve the educational benefits of diversity,” the system’s president and chancellors wrote.
- Femi Ogundele, UC Berkeley’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, told the Los Angeles Times: “I’m learning in this environment that there is no alternative. There is no race-neutral alternative to thinking about race.’
How will the new state bail rules hold up?
Let’s bounce back to the California Supreme Court: You may recall that last year the state’s highest court issued a landmark decision banning the practice of holding defendants in jail simply because they can’t afford bail. But while criminal justice reform advocates applauded the ruling, they acknowledged that it left many questions unanswered and was unlikely to quickly open the prison doors for many of the 44,000 people behind bars across California that day despite not being convicted or convicted of a crime.
Indeed, according to a new report from the UCLA School of Law Bail Practicum and UC Berkeley School of Law Policy Advocacy Clinic, there is no evidence that state bail amounts, pretrial populations or the average length of pretrial detention have decreased since the ruling. .
- Rachel Wallace, clinical supervisor at the Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic, said in a statement: “All the records and data we have received point to the alarming conclusion that many judges are not following the mandates of the (state supreme court) decision. Greater transparency in judicial decision-making and increased efforts at judicial education are key to ensuring that judges adhere to the standards outlined in the judgment.
- Message found that many judges across the state have interpreted the decision as increasing their authority to hold defendants without bail, often ignoring the requirement to consider less restrictive alternatives to pretrial detention.
- Alicia Virani, director of UCLA Law’s criminal justice program, said in a statement: “Many people thought we would finally see relief for Californians, especially black, brown and indigenous people who are subject to targeted policing and are more likely to be held in pretrial detention. Instead, we find that many judges are finding new ways to justify holding people before trial and expanding the reach of the system.”
National Efforts to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs
As California struggles to rein in future growth in health care costs — including pushing a plan to manufacture and distribute more affordable versions of insulin — a report Monday from the California State Library Research Office takes a closer look at whether state policies have curbed unwarranted increases in prescription drug prices.
The report’s conclusion: It’s unclear how effective (Senate Bill) 17 — a 2017 state law that requires drug companies to publicly share and explain certain price increases for certain prescription drugs — “dissuades unreasonable price increases,” in part because does not define an acceptable increase. However, by providing “transparency to a part of the supply chain that was previously either not available or not easily accessible,” the law has armed the public and state lawmakers with important information that they “can use to accelerate the public debate about how to limit or drive drug price increases in California.”
A few other key findings:
- California fined 49 prescription drug makers more than $72.1 million between January 2019 and December 2021 for not notifying the requested price increase.
- However, 37 manufacturers have appealed these fines totaling more than $71.8 million, and 79% of appeals resulted in reduced penalties.
- To date, the state Department of Health Care Access and Information has raised about $6.7 million in penalties from 41 manufacturers.
- One key challenge for the department’s enforcement efforts: identification of all drug manufacturers that are the subject of the report.
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