<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - ]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/election-2012/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area https://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usWed, 22 Nov 2017 17:58:38 -0800Wed, 22 Nov 2017 17:58:38 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Opinion: Jerry Brown's Improbable Victory]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 21:04:34 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/brown-jerry-prop30-1.jpg

Proposition 30, by all conventional measures, should never have passed.

Convincing California voters to tax themselves is tricky at any time.  And this year, the pitch faced hostility on a number of fronts.

Legislative pay raises, hidden state parks money, a competing tax measure from civil rights attorney Molly Munger, an unpopular high speed rail project; all were fodder for campaign opponents who stoked voter resentment and mistrust of government.

It was the worst-kept secret in Sacramento that Gov. Jerry Brown intended, from the moment he was sworn in for a third term last year, to seek voter approval of new taxes.

In a 2010 campaign interview, he told me he hoped to win legislative approval of a special election in 2011.  But Brown could never drum up enough support from Republicans, meaning he had to go the initiative route.

Brown faced plenty of criticism for the way he handled the campaign. His message wasn't consistent; talking about the need to protect schools, then talking about the need to generate jobs.  He started the all-important TV ad campaign relatively late in the season.

Ironically, many of these same criticisms were heard about the way he ran his campaign for governor two years ago.

Brown's unconventional approach causes the political pros in Sacramento to shake their heads in dismay, but it works for him.   Selling Prop 30 depended on two main points; public opposition to cutting funding for schools, and the popularity of taxing the state's wealthiest residents.

Brown couldn't depend on labor unions to fund his campaign to the extent he wanted.  They were focused on another priority, defeating Proposition 32.  But the turnout they generated on 32, along with high Democratic turnout tied to the presidential race, proved to be a benefit.

So did this year's start of online voter registration, which provided a new pool of young voters friendly to Brown's pitch.  It tied in with his decision to campaign heavily on college campuses.

In the end, this wasn't just a vote on taxes or education, it was an expression of how voters feel about the 74-year-old governor and his leadership since retaking an office he last held three decades ago.

Passage of Prop 30 means Brown can avoid presiding over two more years of deep and debilitating program cuts.

Jerry Brown has a dog, not a cat.  But it's clear he hasn't run through his supply of political lives.

<![CDATA[Obama: "The Best Is Yet to Come"]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 11:19:24 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/obama-lead-P1.jpg

President Barack Obama won a second term on Tuesday, emerging from a long, punishing campaign with a new mandate to lead a divided and anxious nation.

"Tonight in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up," Obama said in a victory speech in his hometown of Chicago. "We have fought our way back and we know in our hearts for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."

For full Decision 2012 coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

Obama said his re-election came with a sense of accomplishment and a new surge of hope.

"Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over," he said. "And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and about the future and life ahead."

But the cold reality is that when he arrives back in Washington, the president will face the same obstacles he did before the election. With Republicans maintaining control of the House of Representatives, the era of political gridlock will likely continue.

That challenge was articulated by one of his most outspoken opponents, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of Senate Republicans.

"Now it's time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office," McConnell said. “To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way."

Obama's triumph unfolded incrementally Tuesday night, as he racked up a string of victories in crucial battlegrounds. One after another, states that had been deemed competitive swing states before Election Day fell into the president's hands.

Pennsylvania. Wisconsin. New Hampshire. Iowa. Virginia. With each Obama win, the path to victory for his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, got narrower.

Finally, just after 11 p.m. ET, NBC News projected Obama to win Ohio, his so-called "firewall" and the one state that has sided with the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1960. Obama's win there, thanks in large part to the state's support of his bailout of the auto industry, handed him the Electoral College swing votes he needed.

Romney conceded the race in a phone call to the president just before 1 a.m. ET. He then took the stage at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, telling supporters that he wished the president well.

"This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said.

Obama's battleground victories were so authoritative that Florida, which was considered the biggest  prize, wasn't even a factor.

Florida was the only state that remained too close to call as of 6:00 a.m. ET. Its results won't be known until after the start of business Wednesday. 

So many people turned out to vote Tuesday that Ohio, Florida and Virginia kept polls open long after official closing times to accommodate the people waiting in long lines that snaked from the doors of polling places.

Exit polls indicated that Obama was favored among women, young adults, singles and Latinos — the last group by wider margins than in 2008.

"Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests," Obama wrote in an email to supporters.

The first person Obama called after getting the concession call from Romney was former President Bill Clinton, a campaign official told NBC News.

The former president was one of Obama’s top surrogates, and onlookers credited his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte with Obama's "Clinton bump" in the polls.

Obama, Romney and their proxies spent nearly $2 billion, a record amount for a presidential campaign.

In his concession speech, Romney said he had no regrets and hoped that the country would move past its partisan differences to solve the nation's problems.

"I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," he said. "But the nation chose another leader."

Less than an hour later, at about 1:45 a.m. ET, Obama appeared before a roaring crowd at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. His wife, Michelle, and their two daughters accompanied him on stage while Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" blasted. Then they left him to deliver his victory speech.

Obama congratulated Romney "on a hard-fought campaign."

“We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country, we care so strongly about its future," he said.

The president went on to say that the rancor and rift that characterized the campaign was understandable, given the nation's challenges.

"That won't change after tonight. And it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today."

Obama, 51, the country’s first black president, won election in 2008 on a promise of hope and change, but he triumphed this time with a starkly different message: asking voters to stick with him as he continues trying to fix the economy and improve America’s standing in the world.

He defeated Romney, 65, a wealthy venture capitalist who’d been running for president for the better part of a decade. A win for Romney would have been vindication, of sorts, for his family; his father, George, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968.

The 2012 race highlighted two contrasting visions of the country. Where Romney emphasized the need to lower taxes, relax federal regulations and cut government spending, Obama promised to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and deploy government’s help in pulling the country out of the economic doldrums.

Despite his image as stiff and disinterested in the plight of the middle class, Romney managed to make the race close by appealing to many voters’ disappointment in Obama and widespread anxiety about the economy. Romney promised to bring a businessman’s sensibility to the job, a point he drove home in the first presidential debate, which he dominated. That performance sparked a surge in the polls that made the race tight right up until Election Day.

But Romney, in the end, was not able to fully convince an edgy public that he could do a better job than Obama. Nor was Romney able to overcome Obama’s image as a more likable guy.

Now Romney may well have run his last race for public office.

Obama will begin his second term no longer a symbol of political catharsis but as a flawed but adaptive leader who took a lot of lumps and learned from them.

The president's re-election means there will likely be no overturning of his signature domestic policy achievement, the 2010 health care reform law. Obama has also promised to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year.

Obama must also make good on his campaign promises to finally correct America’s economic path by finding ways to add a million more manufacturing jobs, boost domestic energy production, reduce the county’s carbon footprint, shore up Medicare, cut students' college loan costs and slash the national deficit by $4 trillion.

When he returns to the White House, he won’t have much time to savor his victory, because he’ll face the threat of a year-end "fiscal cliff," when a series of tax cuts are set to expire and massive government spending cuts go into effect.

As he noted in his email to supporters Tuesday night: "There's a lot more work to do."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Marlee Matlin Responds to Trump's 'Retarded' Slur]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2016 12:19:19 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/trumpmarlee.jpg

Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin fired back at Donald Trump Friday afternoon following a report that he routinely referred to the deaf actress as "retarded" during her 2011 appearance on "The Celebrity Apprentice." 

According to The Daily Beast, Trump mimicked and demeaned the star and suggested she was mentally handicapped.

"[Trump] would make fun of her voice. It actually sounded a lot like what he did [to] the New York Times guy,” a source who worked on "The Celebrity Apprentice" told The Daily Beast, referring to when Trump appeared to mock disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski last year. 

In the past several days at least six woman have stepped forward accusing Trump of improper and forcible touching as well as aggressive sexual contact.

Among the accusers: Summer Zervos, a former "Apprentice" contestant from season five. She said Friday that Trump made sexual advances during what she thought would be a business meeting.

Trump has denied all the claims.

Matlin, who won the best actress Oscar for "Children of a Lesser God" (1986) and is also known for a recurring role on "The West Wing," responded on her Twitter account Thursday.

"The term (retarded) is abhorrent and should never be used," Matlin wrote. "The fact that we are talking about this during a very important moment in American history has me deeply upset."

Another source told The Daily Beast Trump's behavior toward Matlin carried on throughout much of the season. "In the boardroom, he would talk to her like she was 'special,'" the source said. "He took her deafness as a some kind of [mental] handicap."

Marlin said she would not responded to Trump in kind with further insults, but would make herself heard by voting. 

The Trump campaign did not respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment.

NBC has also reached out for comment. 

Photo Credit: FilmMagic
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<![CDATA[1 Dead, 30 Hurt in Calif. Bus Crash]]> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 04:22:46 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/141123-norcal-bus-crash.jpg

California Highway Patrol officials have identified the driver of a charter bus that rolled off the 5 Freeway in Northern California on Sunday, killing a passenger and sending 30 more to hospitals.

The bus was traveling from Los Angeles to Pasco, Washington when it ran off the highway in northern Shasta County about 7:40 a.m. and overturned on an embankment, landing wheels up on a side street, CHP officials said.

The driver was identified as 67-year-old Jose Victor Garcilazo Palencia of Los Angeles. He voluntarily went into CHP headquarters for questioning, according to NBC affiliate KNVN. CHP officers say the driver showed signs of fatigue.

All but one of the other 32 people aboard were taken to hospitals in Redding and Mount Shasta, investigators said.

Most had minor injuries and were treated and released. Two patients were in critical condition and three more were in serious condition at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, where most of the patients were taken, hospital spokeswoman Heather Nichols told the Associated Press.

The 33-year-old man who died has not been identified. Investigators said he was a resident of Parlier, a small community in Fresno County.

Earlier Sunday morning during the same trip, the bus had been involved in a minor crash when it struck a Denny's in Red Bluff, CHP officials said. No injuries were reported in the collision, but the building's roof was damaged.

Photos of the all-white bus, a 1996 Vanhool, showed no large logos, but a sign on the door said the bus belonged to a company called Transporters Yellow Arrow.

The bus departed from Huntington Park on Saturday night.

The bus operator, Yellow Arrow LLC, is based in Othello, Washington. It has a current license and before Sunday had no reported accidents in the past two years, according to federal records. It appears to be related to a Mexican bus line.

Families of victims in the crash said they had never heard of Yellow Arrow.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Alayna Shulman/Redding Record Searchlight]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Wins Fla., Final Tally 332-206]]> Tue, 13 Nov 2012 06:09:48 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP784856178433.jpg President Barack Obama beat Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Florida, ending a four-day count, NBC News has declared Saturday. The win gave Obama a final electoral vote tally of 332 to Romney’s 206. The deadline arrived at noon Saturday for Florida’s 67 counties to finish counting their presidential ballots and report them to the secretary of state. The Florida Secretary of State's Office said that with almost 100 percent of the vote counted, Obama led Romney 50 percent to 49.1 percent, a difference of about 74,000 votes, NBC News reported. That was over the half-percent margin where a computer recount would have been automatically ordered unless Romney had waived it. Obama had already clinched re-election on Tuesday before winning Florida's 29 electoral votes. The win gave Obama victories in eight of the nine swing states, losing only North Carolina. In addition to Florida, he won Ohio, Iowa, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Virginia, Colorado and Nevada.
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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Prop 30 Tax Bills to Come Soon]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 16:10:50 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/cal13.JPG

The tax-raising ballot initiative that voters approved on Election Day has just been passed, but some Californians will feel its impact right away.

In hastily called meetings on Wednesday and Thursday, school district officials throughout the state tried to figure out whether they would still need to cut their budgets this year, and bureaucrats re-worked government budgeting scenarios.

At a more personal level, high-earning Californians prepared to shell out up to 3 percent more in income taxes than in previous years.

Under the new law, called Proposition 30 on the state's recent ballot, individuals making more than $250,000 in taxable income after their deductions will pay an extra percentage point in taxes, as will couples who make more than $500,000 together.

Those making more than $300,000 as individuals or $600,000 as a couple will pay an extra 2 percent, and those making more than $500,000 alone or $1,000,000 as a couple will pay an extra 3 percent.

The new assessments will be retroactive to the beginning of 2012.

Consumers, meanwhile, can expect to start paying an extra quarter of a penny on every dollar that they spend in the state starting January 1, when the new sales tax that was part of the measure goes into effect.

Public schools throughout California would receive $14 billion more from the state over the next four years than they would have had the measure failed, according to the Department of Finance. State beaches will be allocated enough money to keep their lifeguards.

“This stops the downward spiral,” said Jonathan Kaplan, an analyst with the non-profit California Budget Project, which endorsed Prop 30.”It creates a foundation on which to build going forward.”

In Southern California, the Los Angeles Unified School District immediately scrapped plans to shut down for an extra 15 days later this year, and even began discussing whether previously approved furloughs for teachers could be rescinded, spokesman Thomas Waldman said Thursday.

Officials at the district that runs Anaheim’s elementary schools were meeting Thursday to re-think millions in cuts, said spokesman Tim McGillivray.

The new law is expected to bring in enough money to stave off deep cuts of up to $6 billion that had been planned for state expenditures, including education. But it will not raise enough money to fully lift California out of its budget hole – or to fully fund education.

Anaheim is still expecting to have to make cuts for the 2013-2014 school year, though they will not be as steep as they might have been had Prop 30 not passed, McGillivray said.

But experts and state officials caution that the new revenues won’t be enough to restore spending in the Golden State to anything close to what it was before the economy crashed in 2008.

For that, the state needs more economic growth – and more jobs.

“This stanches the bleeding,” said Kaplan. “It allows us to have a floor. But it doesn’t solve all of the problems that have been created over the last several years of cuts.”

The state still anticipates a gap between how much it needs to spend during this fiscal year and how much it will take in, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the California Department of Finance.

But, he said, that gap will be considerably smaller now than it would have been. The state’s independent Legislative Analyst’s Office is crunching those numbers now, and is expected to release a report on the state’s fiscal condition next week.

The sales tax will remain in effect for four years, and the income tax for seven years.

Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez]]>
<![CDATA[Nancy Pelosi's Future As Minority Leader Uncertain]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 08:45:37 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Dem-Wed-P13.jpg

Nancy Pelosi will continue to represent San Francisco in Congress for at least another two years. Less certain is how long she'll hang onto the title of House Minority Leader.
Since Tuesday's election, in which Democrats failed to retake the House of Representatives, Pelosi has been "uncharacteristically quiet," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 
She will finish her term, but it's unlikely the Democrats will win any seats in the 2014 midterm elections, the newspaper reported. 
Last year, the Minority Leader's daughter, Alexandra, told media that she "would retire right now, if the donors she has didn't want her to stay too badly," the newspaper reported. 
But Pelosi has a "shocking level of energy" for someone who is 72, according to the newspaper. And Democrats still view her as the "heart and soul of the Congressional caucus and the Democratic Party," retiring Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey said.
It's up to Pelosi -- and she isn't saying what she'll do.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UC, CSU Rollback Tuition Protests Over Prop. 30]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 18:12:42 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/cal13.JPG

Voters approved Prop. 30 tax increases to fund schools on Tuesday.
But on Thursday, students at California State University and the University of California at Berkeley were out protesting - despite the call for no midyear budget cuts - because they want a rollback in tuition and insurance that they will get a piece of the Prop. 30 pie.
Students at Cal and San Jose State University, for example, chanted about  the overall trend in rising tuition fees and reduced courses and services. Many were demanding a rollback in tuition. And despite Prop. 30 saving them from higher costs this year, the students, many who campaigned for Prop. 30, said  they don't want increases to be added in the years to come.

PhD student Charlie Eaton said: "A centerpiece of the campaign for Prop. 30 was that it would stop tuition hikes. That's not enough. We've got to roll tuition back."
Since Prop. 30 was approved, California's state sales tax will increase by .25 percent and income taxes on people making over $250,000 will also go up. The taxes are estimated to raise as much as $6 billion for the state's public schools. Passage of Gov. Jerry Brown's tax increase kept the CSU and UC systems from losing $250 million each in state funding. That means CSU students will receive a $249 tuition-hike refund, and UC undergraduates will not have a double-digit tuition increase, according to the Bay Area News Group.
But universities aren't expected to see a windfall of tax money, only that they won't see severe cuts. They plan to show up at a UC Regents meeting next week to make their voices heard.  It's also possible that CSU trustees next week might approve new student fees.

 Students told NBC Bay Area on Wednesday that they were out in force to ensure that the new tax money would indeed be spent on education, specifically, their universities, and if not, they are planning a widespread student protest in the spring.

Photo Credit: Jodi Hernandez]]>
<![CDATA[First Read: Obama Faces Tough Choices, GOP Has Major Brand Problem]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 12:00:47 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/boehner+and+obama.jpg Now that the afterglow of his reelection victory has faded, President Barack Obama is getting back to work in Washington on Thursday — and has the daunting challenge of the imminent fiscal cliff to contend with, NBC's First Read team writes. With the Democrats hanging onto a majority in the Senate and the GOP keeping the House, this could be the Democrats' best shot at taking the reins and trying to accomplish tax reform on their own terms, according to First Read — as it is unclear how much fight Republicans have left in them, and whether they want to sustain it for another four years. And Tuesday's election results should give the GOP pause and prompt some soul-searching, First Read writes. The Republican brand has become a structural problem, and the lopsided demographics of the vote should hammer home to the party that it cannot afford to alienate all voting groups other than white men. Blaming Mitt Romney's loss on a boost Hurricane Sandy may have given to Obama's campaign is willfully avoiding the real problem, according to First Read.
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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Decision 2016: Will Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio Run?]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 06:18:12 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hillary+clinton1.jpg

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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Pot Legalization In Calif. Could Follow Colorado]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 21:08:01 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/AP859595677189.jpg

When voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in those states on Tuesday, folks celebrated in California, too.
The Golden State could soon follow in the footsteps of voters in Seattle and Denver, according to marijuana activists. The marijuana legalization effort that failed in 2010 -- Proposition 19 -- was not followed up with a successor measure in 2012 largely because financial backers chose to fund Amendment 64 in Colorado and I-502 in Washington, according to reports.
Now, it's "exponentially" easier to raise money for a California legalization measure in 2014 or 2016, according to Ellen Komp, deputy director of California NORML. "This is a game-changer," she told SF Weekly. "This is the win we needed."
Nationwide, with support for legalization polling at 50 percent, marijuana is more popular than Mitt Romney, who took in about 48 percent of the vote nationwide.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Veteran Congressman Stark Loses To Swalwell]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 20:55:57 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WSTARK_7712592_722x406_7087683572.jpg After 40 years in office - the longest term for any Congressman - the uber-liberal, ultra-vocal Pete Stark lost to a Democratic challenger - Eric Swalwell - who is an Alameda County prosecutor and nearly 50 years Stark's junior.]]> <![CDATA[Reality Check: Prop 30]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 11:03:39 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WREALITYCHECK30_7712768_722x406_7093315535.jpg NBC Bay Area's Sam Brock checks the facts when it comes to who is really paying for Prop 30, and how much.]]> <![CDATA[Bay Area Election Results By The Numbers]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:04 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vote-day-P3.jpg

Well, you've waited all day - actually months - for the results. And now, NBC Bay Area is bringing you nine counties' worth of election information.

We've compiled two lists: The top 10 races, from who will win Nadia Lockyer's Alameda County Supervisor District 2 seat, to whether voters in Santa Clara County will decide to increase the minimum wage to $10 an hour. To see the top race list, click here.

Then, to see the county-by-county election results, which includes everything from an Alameda public land measure to a West Sonoma parcel tax, click here.

For full national and local coverage, click on Decision 2012.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Axelrod: There Were a Lot of Tears Flowing]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 19:25:18 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/obama-link-p2.jpg

Between the time Tuesday's presidential race was called and the time Barack Obama took the stage at Chicago's McCormick Place to accept his victory, the president made and received two very important phone calls.

"He spoke with President Clinton. He wanted to call President Clinton after Gov. [Mitt] Romney called because President Clinton was valiant on behalf of this campaign, and, as the president said, [was] our most valuable player," Obama's Chief Campaign Strategist David Axelrod said Wednesday.

"He really wanted to share the moment with him," Axelrod added.

For the most part, Axelrod said Election Night was mostly stress-free.

"The tense time is before the votes start getting counted," he recalled. "As soon as the votes start getting counted, you have models. You can see where the votes are coming in from. We knew very quickly that it was going well."

After a night's sleep at his Hyde Park-Kenwood home, an invigorated and newly re-elected President Obama stopped by his 2012 campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building to meet with the hundreds of volunteers who helped in the effort to secure another four years.

"It was a really emotional visit," Axelrod said. "There were a lot of tears flowing up there and a lot of joy."

Some of the staffers stood on desks to get a better glimpse of the president as he spoke to those who, as Axelrod said, "worked their hearts out."

"He talked about what public service means ... I think the most powerful thing he said was he talked about his own career as a young community organizer and he said to them what inspires him so much is, 'You're so much better than I was. You know so much more,' and he said, 'You give me hope.'"

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For Axelrod, it was his last hurrah in politics.

Back in January, Axelrod announced that he would head to the University of Chicago to create a new Institute of Politics meant to rival the Harvard Kennedy School. The University of Chicago Institute of Politics opens officially in 2013, but began offering preliminary courses in Summer 2012.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Women Win Record Number of Seats in Congress]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 21:29:21 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Tammy+Duckworth.jpg

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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Romney Faces Future as Private Citizen]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 21:28:07 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mitt-romney-concession.jpg

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Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Roundup: California's Ballot Prop. Results]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:41:22 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/New+Hampsire+poll+1.jpg

California voters decided on 11 state ballot measures Tuesday night, including rival tax measures that involved education funding and a proposal that would have repealed the death penalty.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, voters said "Yes" to five measures.

Ballot Proposition Results:

Prop 30, Taxes-Education: Yes
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed $6 billion-per-year tax increase. He said automatic spending cuts would hit public schools if the measure failed.

Prop 31: State Budget, State and Local Government: No
A "Yes" vote would have initiated a budget overhaul that involved a two-year budget cycle and other changes.

Prop 32, Political Contributions: No
The measure would have prohibited unions from deducting payroll funds for political purposes.

Prop 33, Auto Insurance: No
A "Yes" vote meant insurance companies would have been allowed to set prices based on a driver's insurance history.

Prop 34, Death Penalty: No
A "Yes" vote would have repealed the state's death penalty sentence, replacing it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. The change would have been applied retroactively to existing sentences.

Prop 35, Human Trafficking: Yes
The measure increases prison sentences for human trafficking convictions. Convicted traffickers must register as sex offenders.

Prop 36, Three Strikes: Yes
The measure revises California's Three-Strikes law to impose life sentences only when a new felony conviction is considered serious or violent.

Prop 37, Genetically Engineered Food Labels: No
Requires labels for food from plants or animals with genetic material changes Such foods cannot be marketed as "natural."

Prop 38, Taxes for Educaiton, Early Childhood: No
A rival to Prop 30, this measure was proposed by billionaire Molly Munger. The temporary tax increase would have been based on earnings using a sliding scale.

Prop 39, Business Tax for Energy Funding: Yes
Multi-state businesses are required to pay income taxes based on percentage of California sales. Revenues for five years are set aside for clean and efficient energy projects.

Prop 40, Redistricting State Senate: Yes
The "Yes" vote approved new State Sentate districts created by the Citizens Redistricing Commission.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Prop. 36 Passes; Will Modify Three Strikes Law]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:03 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/generic+Jail+prison+bars.jpg

Voters on Tuesday opted to change California’s "Three Strikes and You’re Out" law, which mandates a life sentence for anyone convicted of three serious crimes, NBC projects.

Proposition 36 easily passed 53-percent to 47-percent, according to the Secretary of State.

Under the "Three Strikes" law, someone who commits two felonies defined as serious can be sent to prison for 25 years by committing a third felony of any type – even some forms of shoplifting. Prop. 36 sought to modify that policy, the toughest of its kind in the nation.

With its passage, Prop. 36 would amend the law to make only a violent or serious third felony count as a "third strike."

Decision 2012: Complete Coverage of National, State and Local Contests

As currently written, California’s 1994 three-strikes law counts residential burglary as a strike, allows offenders’ juvenile records to be considered as strikes in some cases and lets the third strike be imposed for any felony. Offenders can be sent away for life if their third felony is for petty theft, forgery or drug possession.

Opponents of Prop. 36 faced an uphill battle against a heavily-funded campaign.

The "Yes on 36" campaign raised more than $2.4 million and had the backing of big names such as business magnate George Soros, who contributed more than $1 million alone. The second leading donor was David Mills, a professor at Stanford Law School, who contributed just under $1 million.

Leading donors contributing to "No on 36" are the Peace Officers Research Association, which contributed $100,000 and the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, which has contributed $10,000.

At least 2,800 inmates, or about a third of the 8,900 inmates convicted under the current three-strikes law, could have their sentences reduced should Proposition 36 pass, according to the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Brown: Prop 30 Taxes for "California Dream"]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:02 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Jerry-Brown-152766328.jpg

Gov. Jerry Brown described voters' approval of his plan to temporarily raise taxes on well-off Californians to fund the state's education system and other services as a decision to raise taxes for the "California Dream."

The plan, which would increase income taxes for residents making more than $250,000 per year and increase the sales tax, was approved after initial returns suggested the measure was headed for a tight race. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, "Yes" votes led "No" votes with 54 percent of the vote.

"We have a vote of the people, I think the only place in America where a state actually said, 'Let's raise our taxes for our kids, for our schools, for our California Dream," Brown said Tuesday night.

Check statewide results here.

A few hours later at a Wednesday news conference, Brown talked about what 54 percent of voters communicated with approval of the measure.

"This is something around 54 percent, so like everywhere else in the world there's division," said Brown. "You don't want to over-read what the voters say. I see this as a vote of confidence with, certainly, some reservations."

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy told NBC4 the district would have faced a catastrophic funding hole without Prop 30.

"It would have taken a month of the school year, immediately," said Deasy. "We were going to watch the dismantling of public education."

Prop 30's tax increases on earnings over $250,000 would be in effect for seven years. A sales tax increase of a quarter-cent cent will be in effect for four years.

Its rival measure, Prop 38, garnered less support. That measure, under which taxes would be raised on most Californians to aid the state's struggling education system, picked up just 28 percent of the vote. The measure, promoted by billionaire Molly Munger, would increase income tax for most Californians for 12 years, depending on how much income those taxpayers earn.

Brown staked his political reputation on Prop 30, saying the measure was needed to save the state's education system and other services. If it did not pass, trigger cuts were set to go into effect that would take billions from public schools, community colleges and state universities.

Critics have argued that Prop 30 will not necessarily increase classroom spending. The money will go to the state's general fund and despite written assurances about accountability and support for schools, there is no guarantee that education will benefit.

“Prop 30 will not increase education spending," said NO on 30 spokesman Aaron McClear. "Instead, it just goes to the politicians to spend on whatever they want.”

Brown said Wednesday that the plan should not be considered a "cure."

"The state has been reaching into the pocket of schools districts because its couldn't pay our bills," he said. "Instead of the state borrowing hat-in-hand from our school districts, we're going to have enough money to fund the schools as our constitution requires. We're not going to see the big cutbacks."

Other critics say a tax hike would only work with voters if it is paired with reforms, such as allowing merit pay for teachers and eliminating the teacher seniority system.

“If [voters] feel they are getting something for the additional taxes, they will pay," said David Fleming of the Los Angeles County Business Federation. "They’ll probably say yes but right now they don’t because they feel it's all a one-way street."

The Mervin Field Poll, out last week, showed that a close vote was likely. The poll showed support dropping below 50 percent, but it also showed 14 percent undecided.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Giants Part of Presidential Voting Trend]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 08:33:00 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Barack_Obama_Election_Giants_World_Series_Trend.jpg

Despite Donald Trump's protestations to the contrary, Barack Obama won the popular vote handily on Tuesday night. It didn't look that way for a while but that's because California polls close later than polls on the East Coast. (Yes, you think it would be obvious.)

California's electoral college votes went to Obama easily. And the Giants' World Series victory, as a result, actually falls right in line with a historical trend.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, there have now been 27 years featuring both a presidential election and a World Series.

And in 21 of those 27 years -- including this season -- the winning presidential candidate picked up the electoral votes from the state hosting the World Series champion.

It's actually much more common, historically, than you might think too. That's because two of those 27 years featured World Series champions without electoral votes. The Toronto Blue Jays (based in Canada, ay?) won in 1992 and when the Washington Senators won the series in 1924, Washington, D.C., didn't have electoral votes.

So there have actually just been four times in the history of America where the state where the World Series champion resides didn't vote for the candidate who won the Presidential election.

Take that, Redskins rule.

Now the Giants just need to follow Obama's lead and pull off a repeat.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SF Voters Approve Tax For City College]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 21:16:00 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/college+generic_722_406.jpg

San Francisco property owners voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday to tax themselves to help keep the doors at City College open.

Measure A passed with 72 percent of the vote.

The  $79-a-year parcel tax will last for eight years and is expected to generate $17 million. The money will be used to make up for state funding cuts on City College's nine campuses that serve 100,000 students.

Supporters had argued that without the new influx of funds, the school would have had to turn thousands of students away from the education they need.

The critics had been vocal, but ultimately, unsuccessful. The Libertarian party of San Francisco opposed the parcel tax, saying City College is in a fiscal crisis because of fiscal mismanagement not budget cuts. Some of those problems, the critics pointed out, included the college spending 92 percent of its budget on salaries and benefits and not collecting student fees. They believed City College should get its fiscal house in order instead of asking voters for a bail out. 

<![CDATA[Election Day 2012: By the Numbers]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:37:24 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/vote-day-P5.jpg

The most important number for President Barack Obama on Election Day was 270, the number of electoral votes needed to clinch his re-election. But for the rest of us, the culmination of the marathon 2012 presidential race provided a host of other fascinating figures.

From the numbers of women elected to the U.S. Senate to the stack of Donald Trump's disgruntled tweets after the race was called for Obama, here is a numerical guide to Election Day 2012:

303 – The number of electoral votes Obama was projected to have won as of Wednesday morning, with Florida still too close to call, according to NBC News. He needed 270 to win reelection.

206 – The number of electoral votes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was projected to have secured, as per NBC News.

2,625,875 – The number of votes separating Obama and Romney in the popular vote count with 97 percent of results in, according to NBC News.

118 million – The number of Americans who voted in the presidential election, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. The number is sure to rise.

131 million – The number of people who cast ballots for president back in 2008, according to the AP.

71 – The percentage of Latinos who voted for Obama in this election, NBC News reported. Latinos represented 10 percent of the electorate.

27 – The percent of the Latino vote that Romney received, the lowest for any Republican in a generation, according to Slate.

89 – The percentage of all votes Romney won that came from whites, compared to 56 percent for Obama.

327,452 –- The peak number of tweets per minute after networks called the election for Obama at 11:19 p.m. ET. Twitter said the moment was its most-tweeted moment of Election 2012 by far.

396,372 – The number of new Facebook "likes" Obama received on Election Day.

20 — The number of women who will occupy the U.S. Senate come January, which will be a record high, NBC News reported.

53 —The number of U.S. Senate seats NBC News projected Democrats held. Another seat was held by Democratic-caucusing Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a seat in Maine was won by Independent Angus King, who Democrats were confident would vote with them although he refused to say with whom he would caucus.

12:50 – The time early Wednesday morning that Romney called Obama to congratulate him on his victory, according to the Boston Globe.

43 – The number of applause interruptions during Obama's victory speech, according to a transcript of the president's speech.

1,118 – The number of words in Romney's prepared victory speech, according to the AP.

455,000 (and counting) – The number of people who retweeted President Obama’s "four more years" message with a photo showing him hugging his wife, according to Twitter.

9 – The number of tweets sent by Donald Trump after Obama was declared winner -- that Trump didn't delete later -- starting with "Well, back to the drawing board!" and concluding with "House of Representatives shouldn’t give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare." Trump deleted other tweets alleging Obama lost the popular vote and calling for "revolution," Mashable reported.

4 in 10 – The ratio of voters who said in exit polls they thought the economy is getting better, according to the AP.

10 – The number of defeated Democratic House incumbents, according to Politico.

12 – The number of defeated Republican House incumbents, per Politico.

2 – The number of states (Maine and Maryland) that approved gay marriage by popular vote, bringing the total number of states where same-sex marriage is legal to eight.

0 – The number of states where voters had previously voted in favor of allowing gay marriage.

1 – The number of members of Congress with backgrounds as reindeer ranchers and Santa Claus impersonators, according to the Detroit Free Press.

7.9 – The U.S. unemployment rate on Election Day, according to the Bureau of Labor Standards.

973,759 – The number of Hurricane Sandy victims still without power on Election Day, according to the Department of Energy.

15 – An estimate of the percentage decline in New York voter turnout compared from 2008 levels, according to the AP.

32 million – The number of early and mail-in ballots cast in 34 states and the District of Columbia before Election Day, according to the AP.

$3.46 – The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Election Day, according to the AP.

Alexandra Ward and Sam Schulz also contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Veteran Congressman Stark Loses To Swalwell]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:01 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Swalwell-Stark-split.jpg

After 40 years in office - the longest term for any Congressman - the uber-liberal, ultra-vocal Pete Stark lost to a Democratic challenger - Eric Swalwell - who is an Alameda County prosecutor and nearly 50 years Stark's junior.

With all the votes in Wednesday morning, Swalwell won with 53 percent of the vote.

Stark (D-Fremont) had long championed the rights of the downtrodden and might be best known for his creation of COBRA, a continuation health insurance coverage mandate.

But over the years, the 80-year-old Congressman had gotten increasingly combative over issues and spoke without thinking.

In April, for example, Stark accused Swalwell of accepting bribes from developers, but then never provided evidence for that claim. He later apologized.

NBC Bay Area had tried to interview Stark several times before the election, but no one from his office had never called back. On Election Night, he was seen driving off in a white car without comment to anyone.

Swalwell, 31, who has been a Dublin city councilman, told NBC Bay Area on Election Day before he won that he hoped voters would choose him, and in doing so, a "new direction."

He said he was "fired up" and would be "someone who will live here and work in Washington, D.C."

Swalwell will represent the newly drawn 15th Congressional District.

Marianne Favro contributed with this report.

<![CDATA[Winners: SJ Mininum Wage, Councilwoman Rose Herrera]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 20:11:48 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/damian_7628508_722x406_5149251653.jpg

There were two big winners in San Jose following Election Day: Workers who will now earn a minimum of $10 an hour, and incumbent city councilman Rose Herrera.

The minimum wage hike, or Measure D, won with a resounding 59 percent of the vote. To see the final results, click here. The increase brings up the minimum wage by $2 an hour.

And Herrera, who was in a bitter battle with political novice Jimmy Nguyen for a seat in District 8, took a commanding lead on Tuesday with 55 percent of the vote. To see the full results,click here.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed had been against the minimum wage, fearing that the extra costs would hurt small business owners, and thus, in turn, hurt the workers.

Early Wednesday outside his home, Reed said he wasn't against people earning a higher wage, but he "didn't want people to lose their jobs" because of the new burden on business owners. Still, he said, "the voters got the last word."

Statistics in other areas show that paying workers higher wages hadn't hurt the business community. For example, the two cities to recently boost their minimum wage, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, have actually enjoyed economic successes.

Since San Francisco raised its minimum wage to $10.24-an-hour at the start of 2012, unemployment has dropped .7 percent and 13,400 jobs have been added. Those statistics come courtesy of California’s Employment Development Department.

Likewise, in Washington, D.C., where minimum wage is hitched to the federal minimum page plus a dollar, the job numbers since the last raise in 2009 are equally as promising- an unemployment drop of 1.3 percent and some 22,500 jobs created, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Reed had backed Herrera, however, and he said early Wednesday morning that he was pleased she had won. She vowed in an interview Tuesday night to bring jobs to the city.

Reed called Herrera's a "big win for fiscal reform..It's a good day for the people of San Jose."

In other South Bay election news, 56 percent of the voters in San Jose passed the Measure A sales tax, which calls for a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase for 10 years, which will raise about $50 million annually for county programs, such as Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. 

<![CDATA[Alaco Supes: Richard Valle Wins Lockyer's Seat]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 15:17:57 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/161*120/nadya.lockyer.jpg

Normally, the Alameda County Supervisor's race isn't all that exciting to those who live outside Alameda County.

But the race for one seat in District 2 became big news when Nadia Lockyer, wife of State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, stepped down in April after her affair and drug addiction became public earlier this year.

Then, the race for her seat became even more high-profile when State Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi said she wanted in - and was later convicted last year on a misdemeanor shoplifting chargg.  She admitted to taking $2,450 in clothes from Neiman Marcus, and is still on probation.

But in the end, the winner of this seat is someone with much less baggage. Richard Valle won with 36 percent of the vote. The former Union City councilman had been installed in July after Lockyer stepped down.

Hayashi trailed in third place.

To see the full results of the race, click here.

<![CDATA[Obama Photo Most Retweeted Ever]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:45:17 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/obama-tweet1.jpg

As it became clear that President Barack Obama was headed for another term in office, the most digitally savvy leader of the free world took to Twitter.

 "This happened because of you. Thank you," he tweeted, with a photo of him hugging first lady Michelle Obama, captioned "Four more years."

In the minutes that followed, the photo broke the record for most retweets, wrestling the crown from Justin Bieber.

Meanwhile, celebrities, journalists and politicos of all stripes weighed in on Obama's re-election, none with as much unhinged fervor as Donald Trump.

A selection of the night's highlights:

<![CDATA[How Obama Won Four More Years]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 15:20:05 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/obama+claps.jpg It was largely demography that catapulted President Barack Obama into a second term on Tuesday, NBC's First Read team writes. The president won the votes of racial minorities by a landslide — 93 percent of black, 73 percent of Asians and 71 percent of Latinos, up from 67 percent four years ago. And as demographics shift away from white majorities in the U.S., First Read writes, the GOP can no longer afford to count on winning national elections with white votes alone. Obama also won the lion's share of women's votes, with 55 percent of women backing Obama to 43 percent backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Women were widely split by demographics, however: Married women broke for Romney 53 to 46 percent, while unmarried women broke for Obama by a landslide 68 to 30 percent. Obama won three out of five voters with family incomes below $50,000, while Romney led among middle and upper income voters. Obama also dominated in the crucial swing counties in battleground states, plus showed tactical muscle in the race overall, according to First Read.
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Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Condoms-in-Porn Initiative on Track to Pass]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:24:36 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/condoms2.jpg

It appeared early Wednesday that Los Angeles County voters opted to require adult-film actors to wear condoms while filming explicit sex scenes, NBC4 News projects.

WIth 46-percent of the vote in, the so-called "Safer Sex in Adult Films" initiative was ahead 59 percent to 41 percent, according to the County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Measure B presented LA voters with the latest opportunity to require adult film actors to wear prophylactics during on-screen vaginal or anal intercourse.

In March, Los Angeles became the first city in the nation to require male adult film actors to wear condoms on all film shoots that receive a city permit. Measure B seeks to extend that law countywide.

The measure would require producers of adult films to obtain a public health permit from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, which could be revoked or suspended if county inspectors found on-set violations of the new law.

According to the measure, anyone on set found to be in violation of the law can be fined up to $1,000, jailed up to six months, or both, adding that each violation found will be punishable as a separate offense.

Producers would have to apply for the permits, prove they completed a training course on blood-borne pathogens and submit a plan for exposure control before they could receive a permit.

The measure cites safer sex practices as the prime method for halting the spread of HIV/AIDS, adding that the "ongoing epidemic of sexually transmitted infections as a result of the making of adult films, has caused a negative impact on the public health and quality of life of citizens living in Los Angeles County."

Actors and producers of adult films vehemently rejected that charge, citing data from the state and local health departments that show a declining rate of HIV/AIDS among residents (see graph below published by the Los Angeles County Dept. of Health).

The majority of funding behind Measure B came from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), which poured some $1.65 million into the Yes on B campaign.

AHF’s push to pass Measure B involved an aggressive outdoor advertising campaign. Throughout the county, billboards declared “Pornographers Vote No on B” and inflatable signs urging passersby to support the measure were erected on the roofs of AHF offices.

Opposition to the measure – which drew the ire of many pornographic actors and producers as well as local business associations – was comparatively silent with significantly smaller coffers.

Measure B’s opponents raised some $118,000 with major funding coming from four porn producers – Manwin, Flynt Management Group of Beverly Hills, Vivid Entertainment of Los Angeles and Phe Inc.

Measure B’s opponents held fundraising parties and took to the Internet in the form of public service announcements -- some satirical -- to plead their case.

In those web slots, adult film actors, including porn legend Ron Jeremy, echoed the major sentiment supporting the No on B campaign, namely that actors are required to test monthly for STD’s and HIV, and the adult film industry’s economic role in the county is too important to impose regulations that could stunt business.

The ballot measure was initially spearheaded by AIDS Healthcare Foundation and members of FAIR (‘For Adult Industry Responsibility’) after as many as 22 HIV infections believed to be tied to the adult film industry were reported in two outbreaks in Los Angeles since 2004.

It also came amid a report that said thousands of sexually transmitted infections occur annually among adult performers, a rate higher than prostitutes in Nevada, where prostitution is legal.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Anti-Death Penalty Prop. 34 Defeated]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:03 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/223*120/quentin.jpg

The latest effort to abolish the death penalty in California was headed for defeat Tuesday night, with results showing that more than half of the voters wanted to keep capital punishment.

With 20 percent of precincts reporting, 56 percent had voted against the measure.

The proposition would have applied retroactively to the nearly 725 people now on Death Row in the state. Prop. 34 also would draw $100 million from the general fund for police agencies to help solve more homicide and rape cases.

To see the live results, click here.

Recent polls showed that Proposition 34, which proposes to replace capital punishment with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, had considerably more support in the state now than it did even just a few weeks ago. But on Tuesday, it looked that those early gains might not be enough. Early in the evening, the no vote had 56 percent of the vote, and the yes vote had 44 percent.

Trying to abolish the death penalty isn't a new effort in California.

But this time, advocates wielded a financial argument in addition to the more familiar questions about the morality of putting people to death, or the risk of wrongly executing the innocent.

Opponents of Prop. 34 had argued - successfully, it seems - that putting people behind bars for life instead of executing them, is cruel to victims' families. And they also doubted the cost and studies anti-death penalty advocates are relying on.

"Their whole argument is cooked out of a so-called study – a biased study,” said Mark Klaas, whose 12-year-old daughter Polly was kidnapped and killed in Petaluma in 1993. "It’s estimates. It could be off by tens of millions of dollars.”

Along with Klaas, opponents to the proposition included California State Sheriff's Association, former governors Pete Wilson and George Deukmejian, the California District Attorneys Association the California Police Chiefs Association.

Larry Gerston, a San Jose State political-science professor and an NBC political analyst, had predicted the anti-death penalty camp was going to lose.

A similar effort in 2004 went down to significant defeat – despite polls that showed a close race as the election neared, he said.

Moreover, Gerston said, voters tend to vote "no" on items when they don't understand an issue.

"California's political culture is pro-capital punishment and it has been as far back as I can remember," he said.

A total of 17 states have abolished the death penalty.

<![CDATA[Sen. Dianne Feinstein Wins 4th Term]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:47:38 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/U.S.+Sen.+Dianne+Feinstein.jpg

It came as no surprise, but Dianne Feinstein was re-elected Tuesday to her fourth sixth-term seat as U.S. senator representing California.

The 79-year-old San Francisco Democrat faced a little-known challenger: Elizabeth Emken, a 49-year-old Republican from Danville, a small suburb near Oakland.

For "Di-Fi" - as the veteran senator has been nicknamed - winning another election was long considered to be "cakewalk," said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University and an NBC political consultant.

Major mainstream newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle have all endorsed Feinstein, too. Feinstein's campaign had raised nearly $14 million through Sept. 30, campaign records showed, while Emken had raised slightly more than $700,000.

Feinstein is probably best known for these roles: chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, supporting same sex marriage and immigration reform, and working to improve California's infrastructure.

Emken, meanwhile, is a political novice.

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Out-of-State Tax Rule Measure Prop. 39 Results Come In]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 10:20:03 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/welcometo_california_generic.jpg

Results for the measure that will limit the tax choices available to out-of-state businesses are beginning to show 63 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed with just five percentage of precincts reporting.

Click here for live results

Proposition 39, a ballot measure that would require multi-state businesses to base their income tax liability on the percentage of their sales in California, according to the official ballot summary.

Busineses that operate in California currently have two choices in how they pay taxes: One method bases a multi-state business’ tax off the amount of sales, property, or employees the firm has in California.

The other method bases the tax off the number of sales conducted in California. If Prop. 39 passes, businesses would be required to use this method. Some of the revenue generated from the taxes will fund clean energy jobs in the state.

Check back here for election results, or browse our Decision 2012 page

The legislature and governor established the two-choice system three years ago. The choice is currently not available to California-based firms.

Prop. 39's backers say it closes a tax loophole that gives multi-state businesses an unfair advantage over California firms.

However, out-of-state manufacturers say California's tax climate is too business-unfriendly already, and the measure will keep them from investing more here.

<![CDATA[Mayor Chuck Reed On SJ Wage, Rose Herrera]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:48:47 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/REDELLANDCHUCKREED6AMHIT_7708199_722x406_6895683553.jpg Early Wednesday morning, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed comments on his disappointment that the minimum wage hike passed and his pleasure that Rose Hererra won her city council seat again. Bob Redell reports.]]> <![CDATA[Elizabeth Warren: Win for Middle Class]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 07:34:54 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/ELizabeth+Warren+victory.jpg

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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<![CDATA[Maine, Maryland Vote to Legalize Gay Marriage]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:11:47 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rainbow-flag.gif Maine and Maryland made history Tuesday, approving gay marriage by popular vote, according to NBC News projections. Those victories for gay rights advocates came less than a year after Maryland lawmakers passed a gay marriage bill and just three years after Mainers rejected gay marriage in a referendum. Washington state also voted Tuesday on a measure to keep gay marriage legal, months after state lawmakers passed a measure approving it, but results were too close to call early Wednesday, NBC News reported. In Minnesota, a proposed state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage was also too close to call. With the addition of Maine and Maryland, eight states will now allow gay marriage. "Tonight we’ve taken the talking point away that marriage equality cannot win at the ballot box," Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign told NBC News. President Barack Obama’s recent support for same-sex marriage likely played a role in the victories, Sainz said. Earlier this summer, a Pew Research Center poll found 48 percent of Americans favoring gay marriage, up from 31 percent in 2004.
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<![CDATA[Eric Swalwell Supporters Pleased With Lead For Congress Seat]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:27:02 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WFAVRO_7706028_722x406_6874691866.jpg Late Tuesday night, Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell was leading veteran U.S. Rep. Pete Stark, 54 to 46 percent. Marianne Favro reports.]]> <![CDATA[Yes On Prop. 30 "Too Close To Call"]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:25:55 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WPROP30HURD_7706018_722x406_6876227805.jpg Late Tuesday evening, Prop. 30 was 50-50 - literally - in terms of being successful. State Schools Supt. Tom Torlakson said the state and its school children are in "big trouble" if the proposition fails. Cheryl Hurd reports.]]> <![CDATA[SF Party To Celebrate U.S. Sen. Diane Feinstein]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:14:50 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/WFEINSTEIN_7705997_722x406_6876227570.jpg Diane Feinstein celebrates her re-election to her fourth term as U.S. Senator in San Francisco. Jean Elle reports.]]> <![CDATA[Republicans In Orange County Vow To Move On After Romney's Loss]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:36:16 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/webcagopreax_7705933_722x406_6873155935.jpg Republicans in Orange County said they are crushed that Mitt Romney lost the election to President Obama. But many said they will find the courage to move on. Jodi Hernandez reports.]]>