Monday, November 12, 2012


if we are to believe Romero’s fuzzy math:

A quarter of eligible voters gave Democrats supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature. 

But we shouldn’t …see following!

By GLORIA ROMERO / op-ed For the Orange County Register |

Published: Nov. 9, 2012 Updated: Nov. 12, 2012 6:48 a.m.  ::  Pundits called it the most important election of our lifetime.

Yet, half of the California electorate – grown larger due to the ease of online registration – sat out the election. Only 52.8 percent of the electorate bothered to vote; 9.6 million of the 18.2 million voters just didn't show up.Orange County reported a 54 percent turnout, slightly better than San Diego's 53.3 percent but far short of San Francisco's 56.7 percent. Fresno County was just dismal ,at 39.1 percent. The highest was Alpine County at 84.9 percent, but since size matters, that translated to 656 voters of its 773 electorate voting. Los Angeles County turned out at an anemic 49.8 percent, but that translated to 2.4 million voters.

On Election Night and for the first time in decades, California became a truly blue state – with Democrats capturing a supermajority of both legislative houses and the power that comes with it: The right to raise taxes, previously blocked by an ever-growing irrelevant Republican Party, which had increasingly only become relevant for legislative budget votes. And then it was to just say “no.” Now even that relevance was gone.

The majority of the half of the electorate bothering to vote rallied to “save public education” and passed the governor's tax initiative (Proposition 30). Indeed, Californians passed 85 percent of school bond and parcel tax measures, authorizing some $12.8 billion in borrowing.

The majority of the half of the electorate who bothered to vote was swayed by opponents of Prop. 32, which sought to cut the special interest money from both corporations and unions.

While raising concerns about independent expenditures allowed under current law, opponents spent some $70 million of reportable money against the measure. The bright spot, even in this loss, is that, while proponents were vastly outspent by the opponents led by public sector unions, a new coalition of Republicans, Independents and Democrats has clearly begun to form.

If this coalition can be solidified, it may be California's best bet to move political reforms forward in the next decade by working across party lines in a new California political playing field.

So, which way forward for California? Will Democrats rush to tax and spend? Are Republicans forever irrelevant in California? Can special interests ever be toppled in California? Gov. Jerry Brown should be applauded for calling on prudence in the Democrats' exercise of this new power. Even while he courted and carried water for certain monied special interests, he clearly understands the old adage of being careful what you ask for, because you just might get it.

But one lesson is clear: Half of California's electorate – 9 million voters – didn't show up. Slightly more than one-half of the remaining half decided for all 18.2 million voters. Special interests can get what they want when no one bothers to look. Oftentimes they prefer this. Not a good lesson for the civics books.

Voters in Alpine County clearly understood that their vote would be “irrelevant” in the statewide total – they still stood and delivered their vote. That's a great lesson for the civics books.

Gloria Romero is an education reformer and former Democratic state senator from Los Angeles. from Wikipedia: Romero leads the California chapter of Democrats for Education ®eform, an interest group funded by Wall Street hedge fund managers who support charter schools.[10]

smf: I am not going to argue with Dr. Romero over whether more people should vote; I agree they should – and this points to a failing in our educational system. I also believe that if more well-informed folks voted she would not be happy with the  outcome!  But, going all semantic, Eligible voters are NOT the electorate – if you ain’t registered you cain’t vote! Registered voters are the electorate. 

Now - correcting the math: COMMENTS FROM OC REGISTER ONLINE

 Scott Lay ·  Davis, California: smf - Lay has served since 2006 as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Community College League of California, which is the nonprofit association serving California's 72 community college districts in education and leadership development, district services and governmental relations. His Around the Capitol and Nooner blogs are highly respected insider-viewpoint blogs about the goings-on in Sacramento.

  • LAY: I've always liked Gloria, but this is factually wrong and the Register should not have published it. In fact, there are over 3 million votes to be counted, meaning total turnout will be greater than 13.3 million. That's 74% turnout, which is about average for presidential general elections:

2008: 79.4% of registered / 59.2% of eligible.
2004: 76.0% / 57.0%.
2000: 70.9% / 51.9%.
1996: 65.5% / 52.6%.
1992: 75.3% / 54.5%.
1988: 72.8% / 53.5%.
1984: 74.9% / 59.1%.
1980: 77.2% / 57.05%.


  • Ed Van den Bossche:

    Scott Lay shows how this is BS. On top of that, I noticed that the numbers given by this Gloria Romero are inconsistent with the statements she is making. She says only 52.8% of the 18.2 million voters showed up. That is 52.8%. Then she says that 52.8% didn't vote, total 105.6%. Her description at the foot of the article says "education reformer", I guess that's true if you think a total of something is 105.6%, but it's not my kind of education reform.

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