<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Political News, Bay Area Politics]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Mon, 22 Dec 2014 05:28:11 -0800 Mon, 22 Dec 2014 05:28:11 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Proposed State Takeover of UC System]]> Mon, 15 Dec 2014 19:36:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/KNTV_000000009517212_1200x675_373079107714.jpg A lot of people are unhappy about the UC tuition hikes, and it's not just students. Larry Gerston reports.]]> <![CDATA[Race Relations in the United States]]> Sun, 14 Dec 2014 17:48:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP161203131320.jpg The recent treatment of African-Americans by white police officers has led to a national debate on basic civil liberties issues. anger over the perceived -- and real -- inequality has spilled over to California and the Bay Area. NBC Bay Area’s political analyst Larry Gerston discusses the issue.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[California Marching in its Own Political Direction]]> Sun, 07 Dec 2014 12:34:17 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/sacto.jpg While the nation became redder in the November 2014 election, California remained blue. NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston explains how dramatic the difference is between California and the rest of the country.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Activist Urges Peaceful Protests After Garner Decision]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 23:36:16 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AndrewYoung.jpg Andrew Young, a former diplomat who worked closely with Dr. Marin Luther King Jr., says addressing economic issues will help bring people of all backgrounds together. Jean Elle reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Politician's Ex-Staffer Pleads Guilty to Accepting $7,500 Christmas Card Bribe]]> Thu, 04 Dec 2014 10:37:26 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/generic+bribe+bribery+generic+money+changing+hands.jpg

The former chief of staff for a Chicago alderman pleaded guilty Thursday to accepting a $7,500 cash bribe in exchange for obtaining the alderman's letters of support for a license to sell alcohol in their ward.

Curtis V. Thompson, Jr., former chief of staff for Ald. Howard Brookins (21st), accepted 75 $100 bills in a Christmas card from an individual he believed wanted to open a convenience store. The individual was actually a witness in an FBI undercover investigation.

Thompson, 63, faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Thompson was arrested in February after a complaint was filed in a federal investigation that began in 2012. On Oct. 9, 2013, the FBI informant handed Thompson a note offering the $7,500 bribe in return for a letter of support for his liquor license form the alderman, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. After seeing the note, Thompson nodded his head and said, "Okay. I understand."

Two more meetings followed in October and November 2013, during which the informant offered a $12,000 bribe, officials said. After the third meeting, Thompson prepared two letters of support on the alderman's letterhead and signed the alderman's name.

After the informant agreed to pay the bribes, he was handed a letter from the alderman which read, "Please allow this letter to serve as my full support for a 7-Eleven convenience store ... This store will be a welcomed addition to [my] community and those that patronize the area for shopping and convenience needs. As well as wine and spirits (alcohol)."



Photo Credit: Ronen Boidek, Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Group Works to Repeal CA Plastic Bags Ban]]> Mon, 01 Dec 2014 19:13:41 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/CA-PLASTIC-BAG-BAN-VO---00002727.jpg A move is underway to overturn a state law before it even takes effect. Larry Gerston reports.]]> <![CDATA[California Voters Likely to Face Tax Questions in 2016]]> Sun, 30 Nov 2014 12:56:32 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/2014-11-30_12-53-04.jpg California voters made some big decisions in early November, but far more significant decisions may lie ahead. NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston has a preview of looming tax questions voters will likely face in 2016.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[San Jose Councilman Opposes Oil-By-Rail Idea]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:50:19 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/oiltrains.jpg

The need for fossil fuels continues unabated throughout the world.

But there's no need for the Bay Area to enable this, a San Jose City Councilman says.

The Oakland Tribune reports that Councilman Ash Kalra is putting on the record his opposition to a plan that would see as many as 250 trains with 80 oil cars each chug through the Bay Area every year on their way to a refinery in Central California.

The mile-long oil trains would use the tracks near the Bay that currently carry commuter trains through residential areas.

Environmentalists as well as politicians oppose the idea of allowing crude oil trains to bring crude to the Phillips 66 Santa Maria refinery because of the risk of fire as well as pollution.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Push To Outlaw Pedestrian Tolls On Golden Gate Bridge]]> Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:09:28 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/golden_gate_bridge_median_barrior.jpg

The Golden Gate Bridge must stay free.

That's the message of Assembly members Phil Ting and Marc Levine, who are pushing to ensure that no toll for pedestrians and cyclists is imposed upon the Bay Area's iconic bridge.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the pair will introduce legislation on Monday that would block the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District -- which manages the bridge -- from ever imposing a toll.

The bridge district is looking for ways to fix a $32.9 million budget shortfall, and a toll for the many thousands of walkers and bikers who cross the bridge is seen as one potential solution.

Cyclists and walkers both have been in a tizzy since the district suggested looking at the idea on Oct. 24.

Both Ting and Levine had strong words for the proposal, including that it "sends the wrong message" and even goes as far as to deter walking or biking -- which would be "antithetical" to what the state stands for, according to the newspaper.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[How Will Republicans Respond to Obama's Immigration Policy?]]> Fri, 21 Nov 2014 19:02:52 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tlmd_barack_obama_accion_ejecutiva.jpg NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston examines President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration and how Republicans still plan to fight him.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Obama's Immigration Action Will Likely Energize GOP: Political Expert]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 19:13:00 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP977736028841.jpg Political observers say around the country President Barack Obama's immigration policy will likely energize the GOP base, and may be just what the president is hoping. Mark Matthews reports.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[City Council Race Ends in Tie]]> Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:25:46 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Padilla-McCann-Chula-Vista2.jpg

The razor-thin race for a Chula Vista City Council seat has ended in a tie, two weeks after Election Day, San Diego County officials say.

John McCann and Steve Padilla each won 18,450 votes for the District 1 seat, according to Wednesday's last tally from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. The registrar reports there aren't any other provisional ballots left to be counted that could break that tie.

Ultimately, it will be up to the city of Chula Vista to determine who takes the seat.

Padilla said his campaign is pleased with the results from the provisional ballots.

“We’re just focused on making sure every vote is counted,” Padilla said.

However, McCann told NBC 7 on Wednesday he believes what he called "dirty politics" played a role.

“We had over 900-point lead and every day it seems to continuously vanish. Obviously it raises some questions,” McCann told NBC 7.

The registrar's office will begin making sure all the votes are accurately counted ahead of the Dec. 2 deadline for certifying results.

While Chula Vista is be the second-largest city in San Diego County, the city council race came down to the narrowest of margins as the final 1,000 county-wide provisional ballots were counted Wednesday.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

]]>
<![CDATA[Examining California's Political Future]]> Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:18:20 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/capitol84933556.jpg Midterm elections are barely over, and already we're looking at the state's political future. Where voter interest was tepid two weeks ago, it should rebound starting in 2016, as the state's two US Senate seats and governorship come up for grabs. NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Can Republicans Stop President Obama’s Immigration Reform?]]> Fri, 14 Nov 2014 23:24:22 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP977736028841.jpg

With President Obama promising to move forward on immigration reform, Republican lawmakers are scrambling to devise a strategy to stop the President. However, Republicans have yet to settle on how to best react, and it seemingly is in large part because the options available to them come with big risks.

The three tactics getting the most attention among lawmakers are defunding certain government agencies, shutting down the government, and taking legal action. Most political experts note that each action has the strong potential to inflame Latino voters whose support Republicans will need if they hope to win the 2016 presidency.

Getting into the specifics of each tactic may lead many peoples' eyes to glaze over, but understanding them at a basic level is helpful in seeing what new levers of control Republicans will have when they assume complete control of the Congress at the start of the year.

Defunding specific government agencies. As things stand, the President has repeatedly asserted he has the power to expand (and even change) certain immigration-related programs that Congress has already approved. But as clearly stated in the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the power of the purse -- Republicans could decide to halt any or all funding for specific programs.

And as reported in The Hill, here's how that would work: "Republicans... [would] include specific language [in a bill]... to bar federal law enforcement officials from spending any money on processing applications, benefits or work permits for illegal immigrants."

Shutting down the entire government. Republican leaders have repeatedly said their goal isn't to shut down the government, but before the year's end, a spending bill for all government agencies must be passed and signed into law.

With the government set to run out of money on December 11, forcing a showdown over shutting down the government may be the only real power Republicans have.

As The Atlantic's Russell Berman explained, "there isn't much else [aside from the government spending bill] that the administration is demanding of Republicans that it otherwise would expect to receive in the lame-duck Congress."

Impeaching and/or suing the President. Hardline Republicans have mentioned both as viable options. As CNN's Dana Bash noted, "House Republicans already approved to challenge his authority to implement Obamacare. Although the House voted to sue the president in July, the formal legal paperwork hasn't been filed with the courts yet."

However, it's not clear if either legal course would actually hold water constitutionally.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Registrar to Recount Votes in San Jose Mayoral Race]]> Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:40:51 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sam-dave-split.jpg

The California Secretary of State Office is recommending the Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters recount thousands of ballots in San Jose's mayoral race.

Results from the race are extremely close, with roughly 51 percent of the vote going to Councilman Sam Liccardo and 49 percent to Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese.

"They're going to recommend that we do a machine recount on some of the ballots in San Jose," Registrar Shannon Bushey said.

When she receives a letter from Secretary of State Debra Bowen, Bushey will have workers recount roughly 40,000 votes in the mayor's race.

The registrar will also recount the votes for transparency, especially since its IT director quit on the eve of Election Day and the perceived slowness of the vote count.

"We've always been transparent and will continue to be," Bushey said.

The registrar said it will invite the public to witness the recount.

Cortese earlier in the week conceded to Liccardo. Both candidates found out about the plan from NBC Bay Area.

Cortese said he doesn't think the recount will change the outcome, but added the recount is important to let people know their vote was received.

"We've heard many, many people say I want to make sure my vote counts," Cortese said. "And I think right now just because there's rumors or some suspicion or some kind of a cloud over what happened here, it's important to people on an individual basis to know that their vote counted."

Liccardo told NBC Bay Area that he welcomes the recount and said that he supports anything that will increase the confidence of the outcome of the ballot-counting process in Santa Clara County.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Rand Paul Plans Silicon Valley Campaign Office]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 18:45:54 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP13030614019.jpg

Sen. Rand Paul is talking openly about his potential run for president, a campaign he plans to wage in 2016. And he's open about the role Silicon Valley will play in his plans.

POLITICO reports Paul will open an office in his home state and another in Silicon Valley, where he'll "add ties and presumably fundraising heft" among tech elites, who tend to run libertarian when engaging in politics at all.

A Paul for President bid already has endorsements from Sen. Mitch McConnell, the incoming Senate Majority Leader.

Nate Morris, an entrepreneur figure on Fortune's "40 under 40" list, has already been working as a "door opener" for Paul in California tech circles, the magazine reported.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Republican Control of the House and Senate Doesn't Equal Tons of Progress Necessarily]]> Tue, 11 Nov 2014 20:01:39 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/senate-house-of-reps-generic.jpg

Since achieving Election Day success, Republicans have continually promised to use their heightened power to pass hundreds of previously “stuck in the Senate” bills. However, history shows and experts agree that the House typically passes more legislation than the Senate, and to have 300-plus bill languish in the Senate is more common than unusual.

This past weekend, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said, “I think you ought to take a look at history over the last couple of years. The House was extremely productive in passing legislation, and as we all know, bills just started to stack up in the Senate!”

It turns out this comment is part of a larger messaging strategy that Republicans have been using for months now. The current House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, maintains a list on his government website of the 387 bills "Stuck in the Senate."

But NBC Bay Area reviewed a number of the listed bills and found that many, but not all, of them were not of any serious importance. Examples include legislation to protect commemorative coins as well as American battlefields from the Civil War, just to name two.

FactCheck.org did an exhaustive review and found that 31 of the bills were focused on naming or re-naming post offices and other federal buildings.

"There are a lot of different kinds of legislation that have been stuck in the Senate - some of them are certainly substantive. And the substantive ones are actually quite important, whether it's issues around jumpstarting economic growth through the Keystone Pipeline, is one example,” said Lanhee Chen, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and a seasoned political advisor. "And then there are probably others that are less significant. Naming post offices, battlefields, etc...”

And according to the Washington Post, of the last 20 Congresses, 11 had 300-plus House-passed bills that never were considered by the Senate, under both Democratic and Republican leadership.

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from blaming ousted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for the 378 bills stuck in the Senate. And, according to Chen, Reid isn’t entirely free from blame.

“Part of it is the inaction, which may not be unusual. But part of it is the tone, and the nature and the way in which the Senate has been run,” Chen said. “And I think people attribute that to Harry Reid, whether fairly or not. He was the Majority Leader, and so he bears some responsibility for the tone of the discussion."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Liccardo Is Next San Jose Mayor; Cortese Concedes Race]]> Mon, 10 Nov 2014 23:27:12 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sam-dave-split.jpg

The suspense is over in the San Jose mayoral race.

Nearly a week after the election, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese has conceded to Councilman Sam Liccardo.

Cortese told NBC Bay Area on Monday afternoon he was conceding because "it's time to move on."

“Most of the ballots have been counted now,” Cortese said, “and mathematically we decided it’s time to start sharing the news with our supporters: this one wasn’t gonna work out for us the way we wanted.”

Cortese told reporter Robert Handa he called Liccardo to congratulate the new mayor-elect. "You ran a terrific campaign," Liccardo told Cortese.

"I'll be rolling up my sleeves right away," Liccardo told NBC Bay Area in a telephone interview shortly after Cortese announced he was conceding.

"Sam looks forward to becoming the 65th mayor of San Jose and implementing the plan he wrote in his book," Liccardo's campaign manager Ragan Henninger said. Henninger was referring to Liccardo's paperback, "Safer City, Smarter Government, A Plan For San Jose's Future," that he released this fall during the campaign.

Liccardo, outgoing member of the San Jose City Council representing District 3, on Wednesday declared himself the winner, after leading by two points, 51 to 49 percent, as of that morning.

In a statement to supporters, Cortese said he plans to continue "serving the residents of Santa Clara County on the Board of Supervisors, where I will persist in striving to give voice to the voiceless, to move people out of poverty, to ensure taxpayer dollars are invested wisely, and to see to it that local government works for everybody."

Henninger said Liccardo would be sworn in during the first City Council meeting after the first of the year.

She said that Liccardo's transition to replacing outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed "will start immediately."

According to the Santa Clara County registrar's office, with 11,000 provisional ballots still to be counted Liccardo had 88,759 votes or 51 percent to Cortese's 85,280 votes or 49 percent.

Bay City News contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Cortese Tells SJ Cops to Stay on Force if He Loses Mayor's Race]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:12:27 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/dave_Cortese.jpg Several officer had warned of an exodus if Sam Liccardo won San Jose's mayoral race. Michelle Roberts reports.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Weary Rivals in SoCal Race Hopeful]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:15:14 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DeMaio-Peters-June-Primary.jpg

The long, divisive road to the 52nd Congressional District seat stretches on for its two weary candidates, incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters and former San Diego city councilman Carl DeMaio, as officials prepare Thursday to start counting around 46,000 still-uncounted ballots.

Exhausted by a late election night that left DeMaio leading by just 752 votes, both candidates are trying to put a positive spin on the numbers.

“This is a historically bad night for Democrats, turnout historically low, and the fact that we're even close is a miracle. I think we're going to win this thing," Peters said at a news conference Wednesday evening.

The initial surge of results had DeMaio in the lead, but as the late ballots came in Tuesday night, the trend was in favor of Peters.

But DeMaio was just as confident that his campaign will come out on top.

“I believe when all votes are counted, we will prevail, and I will have the honor of being San Diego’s voice in the U.S. Congress,” he said at a Wednesday morning news conference.

The San Diego County Registrar of Voters says there were 36,000 mail-in ballots and 10,000 provisional ballots from the 52nd District to be counted, and all were sorted Wednesday.

On Thursday, the counting starts on those 46,000 ballots. Both candidates are sending representatives to make sure each vote is counted correctly.

The registrar is expected to release more numbers Thursday evening, and a final winner should be announced Monday.

But even after the ballots were cast, the biting comments remained.

When asked if he is prepared for a recount in the event of a very close final tally, DeMaio replied, “After what Mr. Peters has done in this campaign, I wouldn’t be surprised by anything.”

Peters’ response later in the day: “I think the campaign's over now. We can get past the hard feelings, stop whining. You know, let's just count the votes."

With nothing to do but wait, both candidates had time to reflect on their contentious campaigns and their plans for the future.

DeMaio will be hopping a plane to Washington, D.C., next week to attend the Congressional freshman orientation.

“What I emphasized last night was that my candidacy hopefully is the beginning of the Republican Party becoming more inclusive, of us getting past labels and putting people in boxes,” the gay candidate said.

While DeMaio zeroed in on reforming his own party, Peters said his focus will be reaching across the aisle in the now Republican-led Congress.

"Well the middle is my territory. I don't think there's enough of us who want to be in the middle,” he said. “I think one of the problems with Congress is it's so polarized and what I offer is a promise that I will always work with anybody."

Voters will continue to watch the results of the race closely, but the end of election season brings one thing both sides can be thankful for: no more political ads.

]]>
<![CDATA[Governor Jerry Brown Talks Next Four Years]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 08:34:23 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tlmd_jerry_brown2.jpg

The day after he was elected to an unprecedented fourth term in a landslide victory, Governor Jerry Brown sat down with reporters to discuss the next four years.

Sitting at the end of the cedar picnic table in the middle of his Sacramento office, Brown spoke of the future and of the past.

"I don't like to think about my last campaign. I find it a depressing thought," Brown said.

The governor said the next four years would remain "balancing act."

"Certainly I'd like to keep the state on an even fiscal keel," he said. "But I also want to build things — the water, the  high speed rail, the reform of criminal law, realignment — these are big things."

The governor said he wants to phase out the income and sales tax hikes from Prop. 30, passed two years ago.

He argued passage of Propositions 1 and 2 — dealing with water storage and a budget reserve — was a sign that unlike Washington, California is not in political gridlock.

He spoke of the legacy of his family.

Father Pat Brown served two terms as governor and his great-grandfather, August Schuckman, a German born immigrant, who came to California in 1852.

"I take comfort and inspiration from my own forebears, who didn't sit around, waiting, but forged ahead, against great obstacles," he said.

As for this being his last political office, Brown quipped, There are others to run for. Now that we have an incumbent superintendent of instruction, there'll be a vacancy in four years."



Photo Credit: EFE]]>
<![CDATA[Police Chief Concerned Over "Unintended Consequence" of Prop 47]]> Thu, 06 Nov 2014 06:21:24 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/Generic+Jail+Cell.jpg

San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr is letting officers know Proposition 47 changed the rules in California.

Some drug possession- and theft-related crimes that were once considered felonies are now misdemeanors under the new measure approved by state voters on Tuesday.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon helped write Prop 47. He said California is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars incarcerating people with drug addiction and mental illness -- and when they are released they re-offend.

"Six out of 10 times we put someone in prison they go back to prison in three years because we are not dealing with the root cause of the problem in the first place," Gascon said.

Gascon said Prop 47 reduces the penalty for things like shop lifting and possession of heroin to a year in jail. But it also gives them a new option: treatment.

"You try to craft a settlement that puts them into treatment early on, split the sentence or use other tools," Gascon said.

But Suhr said Prop 47 removes an effective tool.

"I'm concerned the unintended consequence is we will not be able to leverage people into the help they desperately need," Suhr said.

Thousands of people serving prison time for crimes that are now a misdemeanor are expected to file for a reduced charge under the new law.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[What's Next For California Under Gov. Brown?]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 18:54:05 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/463273955.jpg NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston looks at what's next for California Governor Jerry Brown.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Artifical Turf, Lighting Coming to SF Soccer Fields]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 17:09:41 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1021-2014-soccerball.jpg

Voters appear to have rejected San Francisco's Proposition H and approved Proposition I, clearing a path for the installation of artificial turf and nighttime lighting at athletic fields in Golden Gate Park, according to complete unofficial election results.

San Francisco residents appear to have approved the use of a multi-million dollar private donation to install turf and lighting at the Beach Chalet soccer fields on the western edge of Golden Gate Park.

Proposition H, which sought to block the project, was rejected by about 54 percent of voters.

A dueling measure, Proposition I, which allows for the
installation of nighttime lighting and artificial turf during park renovation projects if an environmental impact report by city officials determines the changes will double usage of the site, was approved by roughly 55 percent of voters, according to unofficial election results.

Those who came out in favor of the turf and lighting project include the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the San Francisco Democratic Party, as well as the City Fields Foundation, which is managed by the sons of the founders of Gap Inc., William, Robert and John Fisher, among others.

Critics of the artificial turf and nighttime lighting in Golden Gate Park said that while it might allow more soccer players to enjoy the athletic fields later into the evening, newly designed real grass fields with below-ground drainage systems and proper maintenance would suffice while posing no threat to the natural beauty of the park.

Critics also said that nighttime lighting on the fields would be visible from Ocean Beach and would spoil one of the few natural spaces left in the city.

Those who stood against the artificial turf and lighting include the Sierra Club, Golden Gate Audubon Society and 44 groups that make up the Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods, among others.



Photo Credit: Joe Rosato Jr.]]>
<![CDATA[Props 45, 46 and 48 Fail, Prop 47 Passes]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 13:47:01 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/capitol84933556.jpg

Voters passed a sentencing reform initiative in Tuesday's election, but rejected three propositions related to health care insurance rate changes, medical negligence and Indian gaming compacts.

Proposition 47, which requires misdemeanor rather than felony sentences for certain theft and drug-possession crimes, passed with 57.5 percent of the vote with 18 percent of precincts reporting. Proponents of the measure argued the softer sentencing will reduce the prison population and give drug addicts a chance to avoid prison time in favor of treatment.

Voters rejected Proposition 48, which would have approved millions of dollars in tribal gaming compacts between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot tribe to address costs related to the operation of a new casino.

Proposition 45 also failed, by a gap of more than 20 percent with 18 percent of precincts reporting. The measure would have required health insurance companies to publicly disclose rate changes and allowed California’s insurance commissioner to control rates for health insurance. Supporters said the initiative would stem skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Proposition 46, a wide-ranging initiative that included raising the limit on pain and suffering damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, was also defeated Tuesday. Supporters had said the proposition would have detected and deterred medical negligence, over-prescribing of prescription drugs and drug and alcohol abuse by doctors and promoted justice for people who don't have an income -- including retirees, children and stay-at-home parents -- who are victims of medical malpractice.

Prop 46 would've also required random drug and alcohol testing of doctors, and mandated health care practitioners consult the state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain controlled substances.

City News Service contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Larry Gerston on Tight Races, Voter Turnout]]> Wed, 05 Nov 2014 00:06:11 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/voting-dfw-generic-01.jpg NBC Bay Area Political Analyst Larry Gerston discusses some of the closest races in the 2014 November election and voter turnout.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Democrat Holding Slim Lead To Be State Controller]]> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:44:06 -0800 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Vote+Generic+Vote+Tuesday+Voting+Sign.jpg

The race to become California's chief fiscal officer was too close to call Tuesday, with Democrat Betty Yee narrowly leading Ashley Swearengin, a Republican who represented one of the party's best hopes to break the Democratic stranglehold on statewide offices.

With 2.8 million votes counted - and millions more pending - Yee led 51 percent to 49 percent over the Fresno mayor.

The two are competing to run the office that manages California's cash flow, audits government programs and administers pension funds. Due to term limits, Democratic incumbent John Chiang could not run again.

Yee, a member of the state tax body called the Board of Equalization, cast herself as a policy expert in state finances. She said she wants to expand audits of government programs, cities and counties. She also advocated reforming the state tax structure so it does not depend so heavily on personal income taxes paid by the wealthiest Californians.

``I'm feeling very optimistic,'' Yee said, noting that the returns did not include vote totals from heavily Democratic cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Swearengin watched the results at a small party at a friend's house in the city she runs.

``We're just here enjoying the results so far,'' Swearengin said of Republicans' sweeping victories nationally. And of her own race: ``It's very close.''

Swearengin tried to woo independent voters and persuade Democrats to cross party lines by emphasizing her stewardship of finances as mayor of Fresno, which veered toward but avoided bankruptcy during the recession. Her campaign emphasized her executive and fiscal experience as leader of the Central Valley city.

Swearengin said she would try to reduce the state's roughly $300 billion in long-term liabilities and improve its business climate. She angered some members of her own party by refusing to endorse GOP gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari, who lost Tuesday to Gov. Jerry Brown.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>